.- This morning, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Mario Juan Bosco Cayota Zappettini, the new ambassador of Uruguay to the Holy See. During his discussion with Ambassador Zappettini, the Holy Father discussed the importance of advancing the human condition within an increasingly globalized world.
Pope Benedict said that there are, "new possibilities and new risks" arising from globalization, which must be faced "with the broadest possible agreement among nations."
Globalization, he said, "is an opportunity to create a network of understanding and solidarity among peoples, without reducing everything to merely commercial or pragmatic exchanges." In this network there should be room "for the human problems of each place and, in particular, of emigrants forced to leave their own land in search of better living conditions; something which at times has grave consequences on the individual, family and social spheres."
The Pope said that there is a, "huge problem of poverty and marginalization," which represents "an urgent challenge for leaders and those in charge of public institutions."
The Church, which considers charity to be, "an essential dimension of her being and her mission, selflessly demonstrates her ... concern for the needy of all conditions and origins. In this task, she collaborates with various entities and public institutions so that no one seeking support may be lacking a friendly hand to help them overcome their difficulties.
"To this end," the Pope concluded, "she offers personal and material resources, but, above all, human closeness which seeks to alleviate the deepest poverty, solitude and abandonment, in the knowledge that a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in Whom we believe and by Whom we are driven to love.”
Pope Benedict also spoke of presence of the Church in Uruguay saying, “Over its history, Uruguay has gradually adopted the Christian ideals of justice and peace. In the bosom of the country, different concepts of man and his destiny coexist peacefully and in mutual respect, without this diminishing the sincere and real appreciation for the religious dimension and, in particular, for the mission of the Church."
"The most exalted values, rooted in the hearts of individuals and in the social fabric, are like the soul of peoples, rendering them strong in adversity, generous in loyal collaboration, and hopeful in building a better future ... in which everyone without exception has the opportunity to achieve their full dignity as human beings.”
"For this reason," the Holy Father added, "we look with concern at certain tendencies that seek to limit the inviolable value of human life itself, ... or to disassociate it from its natural environment, which is that of human love in marriage and the family. The Church clearly promotes a generous and hope-giving 'culture of life,' and not only for strictly religious reasons."
"Supporting the family, helping it to carry out its indispensable duties, also means gaining in social cohesion and, above all, respecting the rights of the family, which cannot be relinquished in the face of other forms of union that seek to usurp them."
Though it is slowly changing, Uruguay remains one of the most secular countries in South America. 66 percent of Uruguayans say they are Catholic (compared with 92% and 74% respectively in neighboring Argentina and Brazil) and a remarkable 31 % of Uruguayans profess no religion. In the early part of the 20th century the government passed several anti-Catholic laws, some of which remain in effect. In Uruguay, Christmas is not a government-recognized holiday; instead the government recognizes “the Day of the Family” on December 25th. Likewise, during Holy Week the government celebrates “Tourism Week.”