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Canberra (Australia), 25 November 1986


Your Excellencies, dear Friends,

I am grateful to Archbishop Brambilla for his words of warm welcome to this Apostolic Nunciature. I am indeed pleased to have this opportunity to greet all of you and to express my esteem for your important role as Heads of the Diplomatic Missions here in Canberra.

1. In 1970, during his visit to Australia, my predecessor Paul VI also met the members of the Diplomatic Corps. At that time he spoke of a number of similarities between the mission of the Diplomatic Corps and his own mission. As he said: "You are working for the cause of the international order and the peaceful progress of peoples, committing yourselves to that general effort of collaboration which is so necessary for the world of today – collaboration in establishing the conditions of a just peace, and in laying the foundations of an interdependent society where the rich help the poor and the powerful sustain the weak".

These memorable words summarize so much of what is important and essential in your activity, so much of what is noble in your calling as diplomats.

2. You have the good fortune of being accredited to a country that highly esteems values on which the International order is based, and that has done much for the peaceful progress of peoples. In an effort to bear witness to human dignity and to recognize the interdependent character of society, Australia has generously opened its door to millions of immigrants and refugees, proclaiming freedom, equality and respect for human rights among its highest priorities. It is in this context that you are called to offer collaboration and make your contribution to the cause of the international order and the peaceful progress of peoples.

3. Earlier this year I stated my conviction that the "establishment of an order based on justice and peace is vitally needed today... The need to consider the common good of the entire family of nations is quite clearly an ethical and juridical duty". As diplomats you have assumed as your own this ethical and juridical duty. You are called to be servants of humanity, specialists in working for the common good of the entire family of nations. You are of course concerned for your own countries and their interests. And yet you know that excessive self-interest can never be truly advantageous, because in the long run it will harm itself. At the same time the real interests of the International common good are truly beneficial to each nation of the world.

4. As a united Diplomatic Corps you must exemplify in your dealings with each other the reality that you are called to promote in the world: solidarity, dialogue and brotherhood. These aims must also be your method, and they invite you to share and collaborate in a spirit of mutual trust. This means that you must be people in the vanguard of change where change is necessary. And in fact the greatest changes needed are a continuous newness of heart and openness to others.

As diplomats you are challenged " to make the basic and primary needs of humanity the first imperative of international policy". This is so because humanity truly has a unity of interests; humanity is truly a single family.

5. Peace is the fruit of just and honest relations at every level of human life, including the social, economic, cultural and ethical levels. And world peace is the fruit of a just international order. Twenty-five years ago Pope John XXIII began to speak at length about the demands of justice in the relationship between nations differing in economic development. Appealing to the solidarity that binds all people and makes them members of the same human family, he urged all nations enjoying an abundance of material goods not to neglect the plight of those nations that are afflicted by poverty and hunger and that do not enjoy fundamental human rights. You yourselves cannot do everything that is needed to renew the international order, but you can do a great deal. Your conduct, your contacts and your counsels must all reflect the vision of an international order that is new and uplifting and filled with hope precisely because it recognizes a universal human solidarity:

This vision must at the same time recognize the threats to peace wherever they appear:

– in excessive and sterile self-interest;
– in exclusive blocs closed to the well-being of the rest of the world;
– in whatever impedes the development of peoples;
– in the arms race, whether nuclear or not;
– in the social and economic abysses that separate nations;
– in the injustice that tramples on human rights;
– in the violence of hatred and terrorism;
– in the whole systems that prevent people from deciding their own future.

6. It is on the basis of a new vision of the international order which perceives both the obstacles to peace and the possibility of overcoming them that the dialogue of peace takes place.

This dialogue aims at removing suspicion, division and confrontation; it strives to defend the fragile treasure of trust – the trust needed in the human family – between brothers and sisters sharing the same humanity. The dialogue of peace aims at promoting universal solidarity in the cause of worldwide development: aiding the hungry, the sick and the needy; and at the same time assisting vast sections of humanity to use their talents to build, with God’s help, their own future.

All this is not only the object of your dialogue but also the aim Of your exalted mission: the building of a more just and peaceful International order. Dear friends: may Almighty God give you light and strength in your service to your countries and to the entire family of interdependent nations.

*AAS 79 (1986), p. 946-948.

Insegnamenti IX, 2 pp. 1609-1612.

L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n. 48 p.14.


© Copyright 1986 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana