Pope receives Australia's new Ambassador to the Holy See
Pope John Paul II has received Dr John Herron as Australia's new Ambassador to the Holy See.
In his address, the Pope told Dr Herron, a former minister in the Howard government, that solidarity with developing nations was "a well known and laudable trait of [the Australian] people".
The Holy Father said: "Involvement of Australians in peace-keeping missions, their generous assistance with aid projects and more recently their support of the newly independent nation of East Timor, all speak well of [Australians'] desire to contribute to the international security and stability necessary for authentic social and economic advancement."
The Pope said Australia has an opportunity to become an increasingly important agent for peace.
"Drawing on the strength of Australia s many years of sound diplomacy, her emerging role as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region gives your nation the opportunity to become an increasingly important agent of peace for those countries seeking a maturity in international solidarity," he said.
Dr Herron was a senior surgeon at the Mater Hospital prior to entering the Senate in 1990. He served as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (1996-01).
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Text of John Paul II's Address to New Australian Ambassador (Zenit)
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Ambassador to the Holy See | Embassy to the Holy See
19 May 2003