Pope hopes to expand Vatican diplomacy

Pope Benedict said on Wednesday that he hopes to establish diplomatic ties with nations that are not yet represented at the Holy See.

Catholic World News reports that in his first discourse to the diplomatic corps, the Pope did not refer directly to any specific international problems, or mention any particular countries except his own.

It says that he remarked that his native Germany had suffered through "war and the separation among brothers belonging to the same nation because of devastating and inhuman ideologies which, masked by dreams and illusions, brought down the yoke of oppression upon men and women."

The Pope thanked the assembled ambassadors for their diplomatic efforts, and for the gestures of support they had made after the death of Pope John Paul II and his own election. He mentioned that he was also grateful for the support offered by "the nations with whom the Holy See does not yet have diplomatic relations," and looked forward to strengthening ties with those countries. Although he did not list those nations, the Pontiff obviously was alluding to countries such as Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and especially China.

Paying tribute to the international diplomatic efforts of his predecessor, John Paul II, Pope Benedict said that the Holy See would continue to act in "defense of the cause of peace." He welcomed the involvement of all nations in efforts to "overcome the temptations toward clashes between cultures, ethnic groups, and different worlds."

Finally, the Pope told the diplomats that the Catholic Church does not seek any special status from secular governments. Rather, the Church asks only "the legitimate conditions of freedom for her mission," and promises cooperation with all civil authorities in promoting the common good.

Pope hopes to expand Vatican diplomacy (Catholic World News 12/5/05)

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13 May 2005