.- On Thursday in the Vatican, the Holy Father met with and received the Letters of Credence from eight new ambassadors to the Holy See. During his dialogue with the diplomats, the Pope spoke on the importance of religion in culture, stressing that “religions lived according to their profound essence have been, and still are, a force for reconciliation and peace.”
“At this moment in history religions must, through open and sincere dialogue, seek the path of purification in order to conform ever more closely to their true vocation.”
The Holy Father continued to say that “peaceful coexistence of different religions in each nation is sometimes difficult. More than a political problem, this co-existence is a religious problem which lies within the bosom of each one of those traditions. Believers are called to ask God about His will concerning each human situation.”
“For people of faith or people of good will,” continued the Pontiff, “the resolution of human conflicts and the delicate coexistence of different religious expressions can be transformed into an opportunity for human coexistence within a social order full of goodness and wisdom, the origin and impulse of which lies in God. Such coexistence, respecting the nature of things and the inherent wisdom that comes from God, is called peace.”
Pope Benedict also spoke to the diplomats on the need for “environmental responsibility” since “the continual degradation of the environment constitutes a direct threat to man's survival and his development, and threatens peace among individuals and peoples.”
The Holy Father concluded his address by saying that “the peace we so long for will not come into being save by the joint action of individuals, who discover the true nature of God, and of leaders of civil and religious society who - respecting the dignity and faith of all people - know how to give religion its noble and authentic role in creating and perfecting the human person.”
“This overall reworking, at once temporal and spiritual, will enable a new beginning towards the peace that God wishes to be universal.”
The eight new ambassadors to the Holy See are Hans Klingenberg of Denmark; Francis K. Butagira of Uganda; Suleiman Mohamad Mustafa of Sudan; Elkanah Odembo of Kenya; Mukhtar B. Tileuberdi of Kazakhstan; Abdul Hannan of Bangladesh; Alpo Rusi of Finland, and Einars Semanis of Latvia.