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, 28 August 1973


Mr. Ambassador.

Your Excellency has just expressed to Us the lofty sentiments that inspire you on the threshold of your mission as Brazil's Plenipotentiary and Ambassador Extraordinary to the Holy See. We thank you profoundly, as also His Excellency, the President of the Republic, General Emilio Garrastazu Medici, whose noble wishes you have transmitted to Us.

In generous terms, you have recalled the aspirations towards justice, peace, liberty and progress shared by your dear compatriots. Yes, your country forms a great nation whose importance in the congress of peoples is increasingly manifest. The Brazilian Catholics, for their part, occupy a favoured place in the universal Church on account of their number of baptized members, of their bishops, as also by reason of the resources of their deep religious sentiment which they are called upon to fructify. With a special affection we follow the praiseworthy efforts of these sons and of these brothers to deepen their own faith and to fulfil its demands in family, professional and civic life. We stand beside their pastors, priests, religious men, religious women and laity who collaborate with them, in order that We may strengthen their hope: to make widespread all the spiritual and human gifts which God has deposited in your People to its own honour and for the service of the whole Church.

You have said that your country works resolutely towards progress, welfare, a rise in the standard of living and of education. Indeed, we are aware of the comprehensive changes which are undertaken there in order to increase the agricultural and industrial production; to equip your immense territory, to supply the hunger for instruction. The Church understands the necessity to promote such initiatives. She encourages her sons to work on it fearlessly and unselfishly, solicitous that the various categories of citizens should share in the responsibilities and in the fruits of this development. Because when one speaks of development, social progress is as important as economic growth (cf. Populorum Progressio n. 34).

The Common Good itself could not be attained except in so far as one is guaranteed the various human rights and duties of which, just ten years ago, Our Predecessor John XXIII drew a striking picture in the Encyclical Pacem in Terris. Without justice and respect for the dignity of all men without distinction, as Your Excellency has emphasized, there would be no lasting peace nor any genuine progress. The Christian vitality of the believers, their piety inseparable from charity, are thenceforth seen as a capital contribution to the search for solutions that are deeply human, and for the setting up of a genuine brotherhood in accordance with the standards of the Gospel. We do not anticipate but that your country with its christian traditions will comply with this quality of humanism of which our world has so great a need

Such are the heartfelt wishes which, with respect for their competence, we make for your people and its government. We assure them of all the spiritual aid within our power in order to enlighten and strengthen the conscience of the Christians and of the men of goodwill. To yourself, Mr. Ambassador, We wish a happy and beneficial mission to the Apostolic See. We implore the blessings of the Most High upon Your Excellency, upon all the people of Brazil and upon the leaders of that dear country.

*ORa n.37 p.2.


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