.- This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of six new ambassadors to the Holy See. They are: Lars Moller of Denmark, Maratbek Salievic Bakiev of Kyrgyzstan, Carlos Dos Santos of Mozambique, Princess Elizabeth Bagaya of Uganda, Makram Obeid of Syria, and Makase Nyaphisi of Lesotho.
"The year just ending, witnessed numerous conflicts on many continents," said the Pope in the French-language talk he addressed to the ambassadors. "As diplomats, you are doubtless concerned by the situations and outbreaks of tension that affect local populations, and cause many innocent victims."
The Holy Father assured his listeners that "the Holy See shares your disquiet for situations that put the survival of many peoples at risk, and cause the poorest to bear the burden of suffering and the lack of the most basic amenities." In order to face up to such circumstances, he continued, the leaders of civil society "must pay greater attention to their people, seeking more effective solutions in order to resolve situations of distress and poverty and to share goods as equally as possible, both within each country and across the international community.”
"Indeed," the Pope added, "the leaders of society have a duty to ensure that deep dissatisfaction with the political, economic and social spheres in a country or region is neither created nor maintained. Because this could lead people to think that society and it decision-making classes ignore them, and that they have no right to enjoy the fruits of national production.”
"Such injustices can only lead to disorder and engender a kind of escalation of violence. The search for peace, justice and understanding among everyone must be a primary objective and calls for leaders of nations to pay heed to real-life situations, committing themselves to suppressing everything that opposes equality and solidarity, especially corruption and the hoarding of resources."
"I know that a certain amount of courage is needed in order to remain firm in the face of difficulties when the aim is the good of individuals and of the national community," the Holy Father concluded. "Nonetheless, in public life, courage is an indispensable virtue in order to avoid being swayed by partisan ideologies, by pressure groups or by thirst for power. ... As the Church's social doctrine recalls, the good of individuals and of peoples must always be the priority criterion in decisions regarding social life."
Following the papal address, delivered to the ambassadors as a group, each of the diplomats was given the text of a discourse concerning the situation in his or her own country. To the Mozambican ambassador, Benedict XVI highlights the need for national reconciliation; to the ambassadors of Uganda and Lesotho, he recalls the Catholic Church's efforts in the fight against AIDS; and in the text given to the Syrian diplomat, the Pope expresses his hope in a development of relations between Syria and the Holy See to facilitate the question of Church property taken over by the State. He praises the respect for the family and the tolerance among various ethnic communities in Kyrgyzstan, and commends Denmark's efforts in seeking to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.