He said that, "I wish today to express my gratitude and to send greetings to the civil authorities of these countries, hoping to see them represented very soon to the Holy See."
"Messages that I especially appreciated arrived from these countries, notably from those whose Catholic communities are numerous. I would like to say how dear these communities and their people are to me, and I assure them they are present in my prayers," he said.
Pope Benedict went on to highlight "the long and fruitful ministry of the beloved John Paul II," as a "tireless missionary of the Gospel to the many countries he visited, rendering a unique service to the cause of unity of the human family." John Paul, he said, "invited all people of good will ... to build a society of justice, peace, and solidarity in charity and mutual pardon."
"For my part," the Holy Father said, "I come from a country where peace and fraternity are dear to the hearts of the people, notably those who, like me, have known war and the separation among brothers belonging to the same nation because of devastating and inhuman ideologies which, masked by dreams and illusions, brought down the yoke of oppression upon men and women."
"You will therefore understand", he continued, "that I am especially sensitive to dialogue between people in order to overcome all forms of conflicts and tensions and to make our earth a land of peace and fraternity."
The Pope stressed that: "everyone is called to realize a peaceful society in order to vanquish the temptation of clashes between cultures, ethnic groups and different worlds. Thus, each people must draw from its spiritual and cultural patrimony the best values of which it is a bearer."