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Friday, 30 June 2006


Mr Ambassador,

I am pleased to offer you a cordial welcome, Your Excellency, at this ceremony for the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay to the Holy See.

I thank you for the kind words you have addressed to me, as well as for the thoughtful greeting you have been so good as to convey from H.E. Mr Tabaré Vázquez Rosas, President of the Republic. I ask you to express to him my very best wishes for his personal well-being and that of his family, as well as for the prosperity and peaceful coexistence in solidarity of this noble Nation.

On its path through history, Uruguay has continued to make its own the Christian ideals of justice and peace. Various concepts of the human being and human destiny coexist in its heart peacefully and with mutual respect, but without diminishing the sincere and real appreciation of the religious dimension and, in particular, of the Church's mission.

A demonstration of affection for the Holy See by so many Uruguayans, as Your Excellency has said, constitutes the undying memory of the two Visits to your Country made by my Predecessor, John Paul II, which lives on, commemorated by a monument in the place where he celebrated his first Mass in Montevideo.

In this perspective, it is to be hoped that the Christian vision of man, created in the image and likeness of God and called to a supernatural destiny, can be openly expressed in the education of the new generations.

In fact, the educational task must not be limited to the merely technical and professional dimension but must include every aspect of the person:  his social side and his desire for transcendence, which is expressed in love, one of his noblest dimensions.

The loftiest values rooted in peoples' hearts and in the social fabric are as it were the soul of peoples, which make them strong in adversity, generous in loyal collaboration and eager to build a better future full of life where all, without exception, have the opportunity to develop the full dignity of the human being.

Therefore, certain tendencies that attempt to limit the inviolable value of human life itself, from conception to its natural end, or separate it from its natural context, such as human love in marriage and the family, are viewed with concern.

The Church certainly encourages a generous "culture of life" which creates hope and not only for strictly denominational reasons. As you well know, Mr Ambassador, there are many eminent people also in your Country who for ethical and rational reasons are similarly preoccupied.

Related to this by their very nature are the issues of the family, the essential structure of society, and that of the union in marriage of a man and a woman, in accordance with a plan imprinted in human nature by the Creator.

There are numerous people in the mass media who denigrate or deride the important value of marriage and the family, thereby encouraging selfishness and confusion rather than the generosity and sacrifice necessary to protect the health of this authentic "primary cell" of the human community.

Promoting the family, helping it to carry out its indispensable tasks, means at the same time gaining social cohesion and above all, respecting its rights which cannot be eroded by other forms of union that claim to usurp them.

Today, the vast problem of poverty and marginalization is a pressing challenge to governors and those in charge of public institutions. On the other hand, the so-called "globalization process" has created new possibilities but also new risks that must be faced in the larger concert of nations.

It is an opportunity to go on weaving, as it were, a network of understanding and solidarity between peoples - without reducing everything to merely commercial or pragmatic exchanges - where there is also room for the human problems of every location, especially the problems of emigrants who are forced to leave their country in search of a better standard of life, which sometimes has serious consequences on their personal, family and social contexts.

The Church, considering the practice of charity as an essential dimension of her being and mission, pays careful attention by means of self-denial to the needy of any condition or provenance, and collaborates in this task with the various public bodies and institutions so that no one in search of support is left without a friendly hand to help in overcoming difficulties.

To do this, she offers her personal and material resources, but above all human closeness in the endeavour to relieve the most grievous poverty, loneliness and neglect, knowing that "a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe and by whom we are driven to love" (Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, n. 31c).

Mr Ambassador, before ending this Meeting, I would like to express to you my best wishes that the mission you are beginning will be fruitful and will contribute to reinforcing the diplomatic relations of your Country with the Holy See, at the same time making them easier and more cordial.

I ask you once again to convey my sentiments and hopes to His Excellency the President of the Republic and to the other Authorities of your Country, while I invoke the maternal protection of Our Lady of the Thirty-Three upon you, Your Excellency, your distinguished family, your collaborators and the beloved sons and daughters of Uruguay.

*L'Osservatore Romano n. 30 p. 3.


© Copyright 2006 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana