Benedict XVI's Address to Diplomatic Corps

"Overcome Temptation of Clash of Civilizations"

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today, when receiving in audience the ambassadors representing the 174 countries with which the Holy See enjoys full diplomatic relations.



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Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am happy to meet with you today, less than one month since the beginning of my pastoral service as Successor of Peter. I very much appreciate the words just addressed to me on your behalf by professor Giovanni Galassi, dean of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See, appreciating the care of all the diplomats for the mission the Church realizes in the world. To each of you, as well as to your collaborators, I present my cordial greetings and best wishes, thanking you for the attentions you dispensed during the great events we lived through the past month of April, as well as the work you carry out daily.

In addressing you, my thoughts also go to the countries you represent and to their leaders. I also think of the nations with which the Holy See does not yet enjoy diplomatic relations. Some of them associated themselves to the ceremonies on the occasion of the death of my predecessor and my election to the See of Peter. Appreciating these gestures, I wish to express my gratitude to them today and address a deferential greeting to the civil authorities of those countries, formulating the desire to see them represented as soon as possible in the Apostolic See. From those countries, in particular those in which the Catholic communities are numerous, I have received messages that I have appreciated particularly. I would like to express the great appreciation I feel for these communities and for the ensemble of peoples to which they belong, assuring all that they are present in my prayer.

When meeting with you, how can we not evoke the long and fruitful ministry of dear Pope John Paul II! Tireless missionary of the Gospel in the numerous countries he visited, he also offered a unique service to the cause of the unity of the human family. He showed the way to God, inviting all men of good will to ceaselessly revive their conscience and build a society of justice, peace, solidarity, in mutual charity and forgiveness. Nor must we forget the innumerable meetings with heads of states, heads of government, and ambassadors, here, in the Vatican, in which he defended the cause of peace.

For my part, I come from a country in which peace and fraternity have a great place in the heart of its inhabitants, in particular, of those who, like me, knew war and the separation of brothers belonging to the same nation, because of devastating and inhuman ideologies that, cloaked in dreams and illusion, imposed on human beings the yoke of oppression. You will understand therefore that I am particularly sensitive to dialogue among all men, to overcome all forms of conflict and tension, and to make our world a world of peace and fraternity. Uniting efforts, all together, the Christian communities, leaders of nations, diplomats, and all men of good will, are called to realize a peaceful society to overcome the temptation of the clash between cultures, ethnic groups, and different worlds. To achieve this, every nation must draw from its spiritual and cultural heritage the best values of which it is bearer to go out, without fear, to meet the other, ready to share its spiritual and material riches for the good of all.

To continue in this direction, the Church does not cease to proclaim and defend fundamental human rights, unfortunately still violated in different parts of the world, and works so that the rights of every human person will be recognized to life, food, a roof, work, health care, protection of the family, the promotion of social development, and respect of the dignity of man and woman, created in the image of God. You may be sure that the Church will continue to offer her collaboration to safeguard the dignity of every man and to serve the common good, in the framework and with the means proper to her. She asks for no privileges for herself, but only the legitimate conditions of freedom and action to fulfill her mission. In the concert of nations, she always wishes to foster understanding and cooperation among peoples, based on an attitude of loyalty, discretion and cordiality.

Finally, I ask you to renew my gratitude to your governments for their participation in the ceremonies on the occasion of the death of Pope John Paul II and of my election, as well as my respectful and cordial greetings, which I accompany with a special prayer that God fill you and your families, as well as your countries and all those who reside in them, with the abundance of his blessings.

[Translation by ZENIT]