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Clementine Hall
Thursday, 19 December 2019



Your Excellencies,

I am pleased to receive you for the presentation of the Letters by which you are accredited as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your countries to the Holy See: Seychelles, Mali, Andorra, Kenya, Latvia and Niger. I would ask you kindly to convey my sentiments of esteem to your respective Heads of State, together with the assurance of my prayers for them and for your fellow citizens.

Our meeting today takes place as Christians throughout the world prepare to celebrate the birth of the one whom we address as the Prince of Peace. In fact, peace is the aspiration of the entire human family. It is a journey of hope, encompassing dialogue, reconciliation and ecological conversion (cf. Message for the 2020 World Day of Peace). In a world sadly marked by civil, regional and international conflicts, social divisions and inequalities, it is essential to undertake a constructive and creative dialogue based on honesty and truth, with the aim of fostering greater fraternal solidarity among individuals and within the global community. For her part, the Catholic Church is committed to cooperating with every responsible partner in promoting the good of each person and of all peoples. It is my prayerful hope that your mission will contribute not only to the consolidation of the good relations existing between your nations and the Holy See, but also to the building of a more just and peaceful world in which human life, dignity and rights are respected and enhanced.

The path to peace begins with openness to reconciliation, “which entails renouncing our desire to dominate others and learning to see one another as persons, sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters” (ibid., 3). Only when we set aside indifference and fear can a genuine climate of mutual respect grow and flourish. This, in turn, leads to the development of a culture of inclusion, a more just economic system and various opportunities for the participation of all in social and political life. Your presence here is a sign of the resolution of the nations you represent and of the international community as a whole to address the situations of injustice, discrimination, poverty and inequality that afflict our world and threaten the hopes and aspirations of coming generations.

Increasingly, we see that the path to peace is blocked also by a lack of respect for our common home and particularly by the abusive exploitation of natural resources viewed only as a source of immediate profit, without consideration of the cost to local communities or to nature itself. Our world is facing a series of complex challenges to the sustainability of the environment, not only for the present but also for the immediate future. The recent Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region called for a renewed appreciation of the relationship between communities and the land, between present and past, and between experience and hope. A commitment to responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources is urgently demanded at every level, from family education, to social and civic life, and to political and economic decision-making. The common good and that of the home in which we dwell demand cooperative efforts to advance the flourishing of life and the integral development of every member of our human family.

Dear Ambassadors, as you now begin your mission to the Holy See, I offer you my prayerful best wishes and I assure you of the constant readiness of the various offices of the Roman Curia to assist you in the fulfillment of your responsibilities. Upon you and your families, your co-workers and all your fellow citizens, I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.

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