.- Today at the Vatican, John Paul II received the Letters of Credence of Monique Patricia Antoinette Frank, the new ambassador to the Holy See from the Netherlands.
Addressing her in French, the Pope underscored how the world needs "to build a future of peace among men" and "to consolidate a stable international order, guaranteed by a better sharing of resources at an international level and policies actively aimed at development."
There must also be "dialogue among the different peoples that comprise a nation" which is aimed at reciprocal respect, he said
The Pope pointed out that, as part of the Church's contribution to this process, "I once again took the initiative, almost three years ago, of gathering together in Assisi the leaders of the great religions of the world so as to show together our common will for peace; I called them to a deeper dialogue among all religions, and I asked them in particular absolutely to renounce any legitimization of recourse to violence for religious motives and, even more, to explicitly condemn this.”
Since then, the Holy See has worked to promote, at all levels, an authentic inter-religious dialogue, inviting all Christians, in all societies where they live, to act in this same spirit, as artisans of peace and dialogue, notably among the faithful of other religions with whom they live."
The Holy Father echoed the ambassador's words about "the important part your country plays in the fight against hunger and poverty in the world and its commitment in favor of development and health assistance to populations especially exposed to the drama of pandemics such as AIDS."
He also recalled the position of the Holy See on this question, which "considers it necessary ... to combat this illness in a responsible way, increasing prevention especially through education with regard to the sacred value of life, and formation in the correct practice of sexuality, which involves chastity and fidelity."
Noting that "the Netherlands has just assumed the presidency of the European Union, at a time when it is welcoming new countries," he said "the Holy See has always followed and encouraged the European project as a constructive contribution to peace on the continent itself, but also beyond."
"For several years now," affirmed John Paul II, "Dutch society, marked by the phenomenon of secularization, has been engaged in new policies in legislative matters concerning the beginning and the end of human life.”
The Holy See has never failed to make its clear position known and to invite the Catholics of the Netherlands always to bear witness to their attachment to absolute respect for the human person, from conception to natural death."