Pope calls on international community to protect religious freedom
Janauary 9, 2012. (Romereports.com) To welcome the new year, Benedict XVI met with 182 ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican’s Regal Hall. The pope talked about some key events that happened throughout 2011. He also talked about the challenges this new year will bring. Among them he listed the economic crisis and religious liberty.
The Ambassador of Honduras, Emilio Valladares and the Ambassador to the Principality of Monaco, Jean-Claude Michel, officially greeted the pope on behalf of all the dignitaries.
Alejandro Emilio Valladares
Honduras’ Ambassador to the Holy See
“We can describe ourselves as a large family with members from every continent that speak different languages.”
Ambassador of the Principality of Monaco to the Holy See
“May God, through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II give strength to the Successor of Peter to exercise his apostolic ministry. This is what my peers and I wish for.”
During his speech, the pope called for religious freedom, calling it a fundamental right of all people.
“Often, this right is limited and violated for different reasons. In addressing this issue, I must honor Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti, whose tireless fight for the rights of minorities led to his tragic death.”
The pope said he’s concerned about the violence in Syria, the Holy Land and Iraq. He also added he’s worried about the recent attacks against Christians in Nigeria. To solve these issues, he called on the world’s international community.
“The international community, in turn, should stimulate its creativity and efforts to promote peace by respecting the rights of each party.”
As part of the solution, the pope once again highlighted the message he gave during World Day of Peace, when he said the answer lies in giving the youth a better education, that promotes values.
“Education is a crucial theme for every generation, for it determines the healthy development of each person and the future of all society. This makes the task a priority during these difficult and delicate times.”
The pope individualy greeted every ambassador to the Holy See. The Vatican has full diplomatic relations with 179 countries. In addition to that list, there’s also the European Union, the Order of Malta, and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Most recently, Malaysia was the last country to have established diplomatic relations with the Vatican on July 27, 2011.