ADDRESS OF POPE JOHN
Saturday, 8 January 2005
I am pleased to welcome you at the presentation of the Letters of Credence
accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic
of Cuba to the Holy See. I am grateful for your kind words and for the greetings
from Dr Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and the Government
of the Republic. I express my best wishes to him for his good health and for the
integral prosperity of the beloved Cuban Nation. For this Nation I ask God,
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, venerated in your Country under
the lovely title:"Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre", to
deepen the sentiments of mutual understanding and genuine brotherhood that will
enable the Homeland to be the true home built by all.
Likewise, the Holy See keenly hopes that the obstacles standing in the way of
free communication and exchanges between the Cuban Nation and a part of the
international community can be removed as soon as possible, and thus the
conditions required for its authentic development strengthened through
respectful and open dialogue with one and all.
If the Church's action among the Cuban People is to be more effective in
promoting the common good, it would be appropriate that she be able, in an
atmosphere of genuine religious freedom (cf. Dignitatis Humanae, n. 13),
to maintain and increase the bonds of solidarity that already exist with her
other Sister Churches. The latter do not hesitate to support the Cuban People
generously in very different ways. In particular, they make available priests
and men and women religious who further the work of the Catholic Church in Cuba,
whose members belong to the Cuban People and who live united and in communion
and harmony with the Apostolic See.
Mr Ambassador, at the time when you are beginning your duties in this diplomatic mission, I would like to confirm to you the willingness of the Holy See and of the Church in Cuba to persevere in their service to the men and women who live in your Country, and to take the path of constructive dialogue to overcome any differences. I renew my greetings to the Cuban Authorities and invoke God's help and an abundance of his Blessings upon you, your family and your collaborators, as well as upon the entire Cuban Nation which I always remember with affection.
*L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n. 3 p. 5.
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