.- Upon receiving the credentials of the new ambassador from Brazil to the Holy See this morning, Pope Benedict stressed the need to defend all life from conception to natural death.
Speaking to the new ambassador, Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, the Pope lauded how Brazil has "always been a stern defender" of human dignity and said that he hopes this continues to be true, "especially when this involves explicit recognition for the sanctity of family life, the protection of unborn children [and of life] from the moment of conception to natural end."
On the subject of "biological experimentation," the Holy Father informed the new diplomat that "the Holy See has always firmly promoted the defense of ethical principles that do not damage but protect the existence of the embryo and its right to be born."
Benedict XVI then turned to the Brazilian government’s efforts to struggle against poverty at both the "national and international level."
The Holy Father noted how "the policy of redistributing internal revenue has facilitated greater wellbeing among people," expressing the hope that Brazil may "continue to encourage a better distribution of wealth, increasing social justice for the good of the people."
But there is another type of poverty that concerns Benedict - moral poverty. "Over and above material poverty, the moral poverty which is spreading throughout the world also has a decisive influence, even where there is no lack of material goods," he said.
"In fact, the danger of consumerism and hedonism, together with the lack of solid moral principles to guide the lives of ordinary citizens, weakens the structure of Brazilian families and society. For this reason we cannot overemphasize the urgent need for solid moral formation at all levels - including the political sphere - in order to counter an ongoing threat from persisting materialist ideologies, and in particular the temptation to corruption in managing public and private finances. In this, Christianity can make an important contribution."
Finally, the Holy Father referred to a recently-signed agreement "defining the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Brazil and regulating the fields of mutual interest between the two sides," highlighting how this is "a significant sign of the sincere collaboration that the Church - while performing her own mission - wishes to maintain with the Brazilian government."
Benedict XVI also spoke of his hope that the agreement "may facilitate the free exercise of the Church's evangelizing mission and further strengthen collaboration with civil institutions for the integral development of the person."