Today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye, the new French ambassador to the Holy See. The Holy Father touched on several topics regarding France and the Vatican including bioethics, the economy and promoting peace.
After greeting the new ambassador, the Holy Father began speaking about the bioethical debate in France. The Pope spoke of his contentment "at the parliament having reached prudent conclusions, replete with humanity, on questions concerning the end of life. ... My hope is that this prudence, which recognizes the intangible nature of all human life, is upheld when it comes to revising the laws on bioethics."
Turning to the current economic crisis, the Pontiff noted that measures are needed that "favor social cohesion, protect those most exposed and, above all, restore to the majority of people the capacity and opportunity to become real players in an economy that creates true services and real wealth," he said.
After having expressed his pleasure at the French government's desire to enter into dialogue with the Catholic Church, Benedict XVI also thanked French bishops for their concern "to lay the foundations for inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, in which the various religious communities have an opportunity to demonstrate that they are agents for peace."
In the face "of the many crises currently characterizing the international scene ... the Holy See follows with concern situations of conflict and cases of violation of human rights; yet she does not doubt that the international community, in which France plays an important role, can make an ever more just and effective contribution in favor of peace and harmony among nations, and for the development of all countries."
The Holy Father concluded by reflecting on the Catholic communities in France "whose joy," he observed," will surely be great this year at the canonization of Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor."
He continued, "This event will show once again how living faith is prodigious in good works, and how sanctity is a healing balm for the wounds of humankind."