ADDRESS OF POPE JOHN PAUL
Thursday, 13 January 1983
I am happy to extend a cordial welcome to Your Excellency as I receive from you the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uganda. I thank you for the kind greetings which you have conveyed from His Excellency Dr Apolo Milton Obote, and I would ask you to reciprocate his best wishes and assure him of my continuing warm regard for all the citizens of your country. Indeed, as you have pointed out in your address, it was my pleasure recently to Welcome the President to the Vatican, thus demonstrating the interest and concern that I have for your nation and its development. Since that time I have nominated a new Pro-Nuncio in Uganda, Archbishop Rauber, and I trust that this appointment will continue to strengthen the bond of communication and co-operation between Uganda and the Holy See.
It was with much interest that I noted your references to the social rebirth and reconstruction that your country is now experiencing. I am keenly aware of the struggle that is accompanying the process of re-establishing a more stable order so that the common good may be safeguarded and advanced. Internal peace is always of primary importance for a nation properly to fulfil its responsibilities to its own people and to contribute to the international activities of the world community. Citizens should be able to live in a climate of peace so that their search for well-being may bear results. They have the legitimate expectation that their Government will do its best to ensure greater stability and security, protect the inalienable rights of the human person and promote the value of human life. As I said in my message for the 16th World Day of Peace, this effort within a nation requires a “dialogue for peace” demanding that all parties - civic and military leaders as well as private citizens - ceaselessly work for reconciliation and understanding. It is my hope that your country will succeed in resolving the difficulties that at present confront it, and by means of dialogue arrive at the peaceful social order to which it aspires.
For this reason I am particularly grateful for your reference to the fact that the entire Catholic Church is willing to cooperage in fostering both the material and spiritual development of the people. While underlining the truth of your statement, I also pledge my own prayers for the attainment of this goal. The clergy and laity of the Church in Uganda are positively disposed towards every effort that aims at promoting the well-being of the human person. The Church, in fact, desires to share in “the joys and the hopes, the grief and anxieties of the people of this age”, as mandated by her Divine Redeemer.
Mr Ambassador, I am filled with hope for the future of Uganda. I am confident that the same heroic courage that characterised the lives of the Martyrs of Uganda is reflected in the people of your nation today, as they seek to meet the challenges that lie before them. Thus as we embark upon this New Year, I ask Almighty God to pour forth an abundance of blessings upon you and upon the noble nation you represent.
*AAS 75 (1983), p.365-366.
Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. VI, 1 pp. 107-108.
L'Attivitą della Santa Sede 1983 pp. 30-31.
L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n.4 p.4
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