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Monday, 10 June 1985


Mr Ambassador,

I extend a warm greeting to you as you present the Letters whereby Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II accredits you as her Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. I thank you most heartily for your kind words.

In your discourse you make reference to certain recent events that I too believe have confirmed and strengthened the cordial relations that exist between Great Britain and the Holy See. My Pastoral Visit to your country, of which my heart is still filled with wonderful memories, provided me with a unique opportunity of knowing your people better and of experiencing more directly your traditions and way of life. I am glad that during that journey Providence enabled me to meet not only Catholics but also members of other Ecclesial Communities, including so many distinguished ecclesiastics.

You yourself have mentioned the Common Declaration that I signed with Archbishop Runcie in Canterbury Cathedral. I was happy for that occasion on which the concrete steps of these past years were reaffirmed and the paths to further ecumenical dialogue were indicated. I am convinced that with God’s help the reconciliation and unity in faith for which we long will one day be attained.

I am pleased that you have also referred to the change in the status of the respective Missions of Great Britain and the Holy See. This has great symbolic value and manifests progress in the dialogue for peace.

Your mention of the part played by the Holy See in resolving a territorial dispute is a timely reminder that the most serious and seemingly irreconcilable difficulties can be solved with God’s help and through patient and prudent negotiations.

In this regard, you rightly recall my constant solicitude for an end to the violence in Northern Ireland. As you have stated, I have repeatedly condemned all forms of violence and terrorism as an unacceptable response to existing difficulties. I have likewise stressed that without justice and a deep respect for the dignity of every human person there can be no foundation for a true and lasting peace. I therefore encourage and support every worthy effort aimed at reconciling opposing factions and at bringing to an end the tragic suffering that has too long endured.

Inevitably there occur discouraging moments in the dialogue for peace, but the process must never be abandoned. God will give the grace; men and women of good will must provide the effort. I urge the leaders involved to create every opportunity to promote the cause of peace and to use every available resource and talent towards securing it.

Mr Ambassador, I trust that your period of service will render the diplomatic relations between Great Britain and the Holy See ever more cordial. I can assure you that you will find here a spirit of willing cooperation as you go about the fulfilment of your duties. For my part I assure you of my prayerful support in the exercise of your mission.

I would ask you to convey my greetings and good wishes to Her Majesty and the members of the Royal Family. It was a particularly happy experience for me to receive in recent audience the Prince and Princess of Wales, and I desire to express once again the joy of that meeting.

May God be with you and may he abundantly bless the people whom you represent.

*AAS 77 (1985), p. 1074-1075.

Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. VIII, 1 pp. 1760-1761.

L'Attività della Santa Sede 1985 pp. 492-493.

L’Osservatore Romano 11.6.1985 p.6.

L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n.24 p.11.


© Copyright 1985 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana