After receiving the Letters of Credence of Ambassador Martin Bolldorf, the Holy Father emphasized that, “The State and the Church, from different points of view, both have at heart the good of man ... whose interests and dignity must never be made subject to parameters of feasibility, utility, and productivity.”
The Pope recalled how "Austria and the Holy See have a long history of fruitful union…which is more than a mere historical truth.” The vast majority of Austrians are Catholic, the Pope noted, which in itself, “influences orientations, choices and common interests that significantly concern man, his freedom and his dignity, as well as his future in time and in society.”
"One of these common interests is Europe," the Holy Father added, "especially as regards developments in the process of European unification. Nowhere else in the world as in Europe do history and culture bear the mark of Christianity. The regional and national field - the homeland ... whence the majority of people draw the most important elements of their own cultural identity - is becoming ever more incorporated into the European field, the common homeland that is Europe."
Referring to the road towards European integration, the Pontiff insisted that much depends, “on the citizens' faith in this project. In discussions on the expansion of Europe and on its Constitution, the question constantly arises of the identity and spiritual roots upon which the community of European States and peoples rests.”
“The most profound sources for a crisis-proof European 'whole' are to be found in shared convictions and in the values of history and of the Christian and humanist tradition of the continent."
.- The interests and dignity of humans “must not be made subject to parameters of feasibility, utility, and productivity,” Pope Benedict XVI affirmed yesterday in a meeting with the new Ambassador of Austria to the Holy See.