ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
1. I welcome Your Excellency with pleasure on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as the first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Holy See, and I thank you for your kind words. I would be grateful if you would kindly convey my thanks to H.E. Mr Nzarbaiev, President of the Republic, for the cordial greetings he addressed to me.
To form together a national community which is enriched by individual differences is also an opportunity. It presupposes learning to live side by side, which "never implies a dull uniformity or enforced homogenization or assimilation; rather it expresses the convergence of a multiform variety and is therefore a sign of richness and a promise of growth" (ibid., n. 10). May your country, which is celebrating 10 years of independence, continue its peaceful progress towards this goal, with ever greater concern for dialogue among its cultures, for the development of collaboration with the neighbouring countries and for integration into the international community!
Indeed, in a state built on a regard for rights, religious freedom is a precious good, an expression of the fundamental dignity of the human person who freely chooses, according to his conscience, the religion to which he belongs. There is no doubt that this freedom invites people and religious communities to contribute together to the common good, with respect for one another and within the framework of the country's laws. I hope that in this rich diversity Kazakhstan will find a solid basis for its human and spiritual development.
5. Mr Ambassador, today you are beginning the noble mission of representing your country to the Holy See. Please accept my very best wishes for its success, and be assured that you will always find among those who work with me the necessary understanding and support! I very willingly invoke an abundance of divine blessings upon you, upon your family, upon all who work with you and upon on all your compatriots.
*L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly edition in English n.23 p.5.
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