On receiving the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of Spain, Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, the Pope spoke firmly and clearly as he exhorted Spain to draw on it’s Christian roots for the building up of a Spanish society open to noble human values and the transendent dignity of the person.
Referring to his last trip to Spain in May of 2003, the Pope said that "it was a very clear sign of hope for the Church and also for Spanish society, since noble values lived intensely are like a soul which gives cohesion to human activity and instills creativity and fullness in moments of collapse or adversity which Spain has experienced very recently with some tragic experiences, due to the scourge of terrorism."
"At a moment when a new order is being born in old Europe, Spain cannot fail to bring forth among its many contributions the express manifestation of its Christian roots, from which as in other European countries, a refined concept of the person open to transcendence has been developing for centuries, which is also a decisive factor of integration and universality."
After emphasizing the Church's respect for civil authority, John Paul II said that neither Church nor State can be ignored because "the common good frequently requires different forms of collaboration between both, without discrimination or any exclusion.”
“This,” he continued, “is the content of the partial accords between the Church and the State, which were immediately established after the approval of the present Spanish constitution."
The Pope affirmed that the Church "makes an effort to invite all men and women of good will to build up a society based on fundamental and irreplaceable values for a just national and international order, worthy of mankind."
He continued by underlining the "incoherent nature of certain tendencies in our time that, while on the one hand increase the well-being of people, also attack their dignity and their most fundamental rights, as happens when the fundamental right to life is limited or converted into a tool as in the case of abortion.”
“Protecting human life,” said the Pope, “is a duty for all, since the questions of life and its promotion are not only a prerogative for Christians but also a duty which pertains to every human conscience that aspires to the truth and is concerned about humanity's plight.
“In terms of guaranteeing everyone's rights, public officials are obliged to defend life, especially the life of the weakest and defenseless," he said.
"In this field," he continued, "some poorly-called 'social advances' are in reality only for some people at the cost of the sacrifice of others, and public leaders, who guarantee rights but are not the origin of the innate rights of all, must consider these 'advances' with concern and alarm."
The Holy Father pointed to the family, "the central and fundamental nucleus of all of society, the unparalleled milieu of solidarity and natural school of peaceful co-existence,” and said that it “deserves the greatest protection and help in order to carry out its duties. Its rights are more important than bigger social bodies.”
“Among these rights,” he added “let us not forget that of being born and raised in a stable home, where the words mother and father may be said with joy and without deception."
“Society will benefit from the smallest,” he continued, "if it does not give in to certain voices that seem to confuse marriage with other very different forms of union, some that are even opposed to marriage, or that seem to consider children as mere objects for one's own satisfaction."
"The family has the right and duty to educate children, doing so according to certain moral and religious convictions, since integral development cannot elude the transcendent and spiritual dimension of man,” affirmed the Pope
“Neither can the teaching of the Catholic religion be underestimated in state institutions, based precisely on the right of families who request it, without discriminations or impositions."
At the end of his speech, John Paul II urged that during this Holy Year of St. James, the Apostle James may, "as he was for centuries, continue to be a luminous beacon for the peoples of Spain and continue to make of his lands a path sown with strength and hope for so many pilgrims from all over Europe."