Pope John Paul II received the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Faridzade, as he presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy See, and spoke on the means of achieving international peace and order, the duty of bleievers to express and defend human dignity imprinted by God, and the need for religious freedom to be promote in Iran.
Referring to Iran's concern about "the deterioration of the international situation and the threats that weigh on humanity on different levels," the Holy Father said it was necessary that states that a balanced international order can be ahcieved "take advantage of recognized, stable and effective instruments, like the United Nations and other international organizations.”
“This action to promote peace also implies brave action against terrorism,” he continued, “in order to build a world in which everyone can be recognized as children of the same Merciful and Omnipotent God."
The Pope affirmed that “the Holy See will spare no effort to convince the leaders of States to always renounce violence and force and to make sure that negotiation always prevails as a means of overcoming disagreements and conflicts that emerge among nations, groups and individuals."
Referring to the words of the ambassador, he reaffirmed the duty of believers to announce "the fundamental values expressed in religion which guarantee, through natural law, a sign of the imprint of God in man, the dignity of all persons, and which regulate the relations among men.”
“As I have recalled many times," he added, "Catholic faithful ... bear witness in favor of a culture of life that respects man from his conception to his natural death, and that guarantees the defense of his rights and basic duties.”
“Among these fundamental rights, the right to religious freedom is in the forefront," said the Pope.
He emphasized that "the Holy See counts on the help of the Iranian authorities in order to allow the faithful of the Catholic Church present in Iran, as well as other Christians, the freedom to profess their religion and to promote the recognition of the juridical personality of ecclesiastic institutions.”
“Freedom to worship is an aspect of religious freedom which must be the same for all citizens of a country," said the Pope.
The people of Iran, the Pope said, need "to freely express their religious convictions, to gather with their brothers and sisters to worship God, as well as ensuring, through catechesis, the transmission of religious teaching to children and further study for young people and adults, while respecting the laws of the country."