ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
Friday, 10 May 2002
1. I am pleased to welcome you this morning, to thank you and to tell you once again of my confidence on the occasion of your 30th General Assembly that took up the theme: "Intercultural Dialogue: a Chance for Humanity". I thank the President, Mr Bernard Lacan, for his kind words. I greet the members of the Catholic Centre, especially the director, Mr Gilles Deliance, and express to you my gratitude for your activity at the service of culture. I am delighted that the Holy See's Permanent Observer to UNESCO, Mons. Renzo Frana, is with you, and I thank him for all his work over the years with this organization of the United Nations.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the appointment of the First Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO in the person of Mons. Roncalli, Bl. Pope John XXIII. Since then, the Holy See has carefully followed UNESCO's activities in the fundamental sectors of education, sciences, human sciences, communications and information, so many aspects of culture, "the fundamental reality which unites us and which is at the basis of the establishment and purposes of UNESCO" (Address to UNESCO, Paris, 2 June 1980, n. 8; ORE, 23 June 1980, p. 9).
The great realms of education and culture, of communications and science, entail a fundamental ethical dimension. To respond appropriately, it is necessary to acquire a correct scientific knowledge, to undertake a deep reflection and to offer the enlightenment of Christian humanism and the universal moral values. The family must be the object of special attention, because the family has the first responsibility for educating the young.
In choosing to hold your meeting in Rome, you show your attachment to the Successor of Peter and to the Holy See. Touched by this gesture, I thank you for the Church's mission with UNESCO that you carry out generously and attentively, at the service of all men and women.
I wholeheartedly impart my Apostolic Blessing to each and everyone of you, and to all your loved ones.