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Thursday, 12 August 1971


Mr Ambassador,

We are pleased this morning to receive the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq to the Holy See. In you We welcome the official envoy of your government and the representative of your people.

The Iraqi people are dear to Us in many ways and the role that your homeland has played in the history of the world is considerable. Among the many facts of your history We note with admiration the origin of him who was to become the honoured and revered patriarch of three great religions.

We are grateful for the greetings of your President and for the good wishes that he sends Us not only for Our person but for the well-being of the Catholic Church. In Iraq the Catholic Church is not a stranger, and We like to think that she will always be able to enjoy that freedom necessary to fulfil her religious mission and to render her services in the fields of assistance and education. The Church seeks to be of aid also in those sectors mentioned by Your Excellency: to contribute, namely, to the liberty, prosperity and dignified life of the Iraqi people. It has been the constant aim of Our pontificate to promote the development of peoples and thus to foster true and lasting peace among the families of the earth.

We are thankful for the kind words of appreciation of Our work on behalf of all men. This aspect of universalism has indeed merited Our special attention; recently We spoke out in favour of the victims of situations of injustice “who are discriminated against, in law or in fact, on account of their race, origin, colour, culture, sex or religion” (Octogesima adveniens, 16). You can be assured of Our desire to work for justice, freedom and peace throughout the world, and of Our predilection for those in want, for those who suffer and for those oppressed.

It is Our hope that your mission will be a happy and successful one and bring honour to your country; in this respect We assure you willingly of Our cooperation.

We would ask you to convey Our respectful greetings to the President of Iraq and to assure your people of the friendship and esteem of the Holy See. Upon Your Excellency and the mission you now begin We invoke the blessings of the Almighty.

*AAS 63 (1971), p.692-693.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. IX, p.690-691.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1971, p.317-318.

L'Osservatore Romano 13.8.1971 p.1.

ORa n.34 p.2

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