Bolivia must avoid division and restore unity, Pope tells ambassador


Today the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Carlos Federico de la Riva Guerra, the new ambassador of Bolivia to the Holy See.  The Pope addressed the ambassador saying that though there are tensions in the country, the Church is ready to assist in restoring unity to its people.

In his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father recalled how "Bolivia's deep Christian roots have sustained its people” along the country’s history and have “promoted a sense of respect and reconciliation, so necessary in the difficult moments the nation has had to face.”

Currently, Bolivia is in the midst of trying times.  Pope noted, Bolivia "is experiencing a process of profound change which is producing difficult and at times worrying situations. ... We cannot remain indifferent when social tension is increasing and a climate unfavorable to understanding is spreading", he said.

To overcome these tensions, he indicated that "the authorities ... and the leaders of political, social and civil organizations" must seek "to promote ... the conditions necessary for dialogue and agreement. This praiseworthy aim will be facilitated if all Bolivians contribute the best of themselves with openness and diligence and, at times, not without abnegation and sacrifice."

"In this way," he continued, "sincere and altruistic collaboration among individuals and institutions contributes to eradicating the evils afflicting the noble Bolivian people" who, he added, "have also often been affected by natural catastrophes which call for efficient measures and fraternal sentiments to help resolve their serious consequences."

"Rebirth", said Pope Benedict, that is "civil and social, political and economic rebirth always calls for disinterested effort and generous commitment in support of a people who are appealing for material, moral and spiritual assistance. The attainment of peace must be based on justice, truth and freedom, and on mutual co-operation, love, and reconciliation among everyone."

The Pope reminded the ambassador that the Church is ready to assist the country in restoring unity.  The Church, "faithful to her mission, is always ready to collaborate in pacification and in the human and spiritual development of the country, proclaiming her doctrine and publicly expressing her opinion on questions concerning the social order. Hence, while recognizing the areas of responsibilities that are proper to the state, she sees her own duty as that of guiding the faithful, calling on them and on all of society to reject racial hatred, revenge and vendetta".

Benedict XVI pointed to the crisis surrounding the violation of human rights in Bolivia saying, "It is necessary for the defense and safeguarding of human rights to be firmly supported by ethical values such as justice, desire for peace, honesty and transparency, as well as by effective solidarity to correct unjust social inequalities.”

The family is integral to building these values.  “For this reason,” he added, “instruction in what is morally right, in what is just and unjust (without which no society could survive), is incumbent upon education from earliest infancy. The family plays a decisive role in this task and hence must be given the necessary assistance to accomplish its mission and become the 'principal agency for peace', for the benefit of everyone."

The Pope concluded by praying that Bolivia may witness the triumph of "the truth that seeks respect for others, even those who do not share the same ideas; the peace that joins with justice and opens the doors to harmonious and stable development; the good sense that strives to find balanced and reasonable solutions to problems; and the harmony that unites wills in overcoming adversity and achieving the common good."

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