ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Saturday, 5 January 1991
I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican at the beginning of your mission as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Papua New Guinea to the Holy See. Your young nation, which last year celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of its independence, has set for itself the lofty goal of building a harmonious society honouring and embracing the rich ethnic diversity of its people. With the assurance of my prayers for your country’s peace and prosperity, I ask you to convey my cordial greetings to the Governor General, the Government, and all your fellow citizens.
You have spoken of your nation’s support for initiatives favouring peace and stability in the world. All who sincerely work for the integral development of human society will find a willing cooperator in the Catholic Church. Ever mindful of the unity of the human family, the Holy See is convinced that efforts to promote dialogue and solidarity between individuals and peoples are incumbent upon all nations, and constitute one of the most pressing moral requirements of our time. Through its presence within the international community, the Holy See strives to encourage and strengthen such dialogue, especially with regard to those spiritual and ethical values which are the essential foundation of a just society and of true and lasting peace.
In this context, the Church is committed to serving the well being of individuals and peoples, in particular where human dignity and rights are threatened, or where there are poverty, hunger or a lack of sufficient health-care and educational opportunities. The Church has an age-old tradition of such service, and it is to the human person in the real circumstances of life that her efforts are devoted. In this light I express the fervent hope that the difficulties which have arisen concerning Bougainville will be met by all concerned in a humanitarian manner and with full confidence in dialogue and negotiation as the proper path to an effective and just settlement.
On another level, concern for the natural environment has emerged in recent years as one of the most urgent issues affecting our world. The ecological problem constitutes a global challenge, involving both the developed and the developing nations. Papua New Guinea can make a specific contribution to the growth of awareness within the international community of the pressing need to address this question effectively. Inasmuch as "many ethical values, fundamental to the development of a peaceful society, are particularly relevant to the ecological question" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius ob diem ad pacem favendam dicatum pro a. D. 1990, 2, die 8 dec. 1989: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XII, 2  1463), your nation’s efforts to promote responsible stewardship of the gifts of nature can draw strength and guidance from your people’s moral, cultural and religious traditions.
You have referred to the role played by the Catholic Church in the development of your country. The Church’s activity in this area is based upon her conviction that "the advancement of the human person and the growth of society are dependent on each other (Gaudium et Spes, 25). Almost seven years ago, at Port Moresby, I gave joyful thanks to God for the ways in which Catholics have contributed to the well-being and development of their country (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio in aeronavium portu Moresbiensi habita, 2, die 7 maii 1984: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII, 1  1301). Today, their work for the integral good of all the people of Papua New Guinea continues, especially through their commitment in the fields of education, health care and social services.
Mr Ambassador, I offer you my prayerful good wishes as you undertake your new responsibilities within the diplomatic community accredited to the Holy See, and I assure you of the readiness of the various offices of the Roman Curia to assist you in the fulfilment of your duties. I cordially invoke upon you and upon all the beloved people of Papua New Guinea the abundant blessings of Almighty God.
*AAS 83 (1991), p. 759-760.
Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. XIV, 1 pp. 40-42.
L'Attivitą della Santa Sede 1991 pp. 20-21.
L’Osservatore Romano 6.1.1991 p.5.
L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n.3 p.4.
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