Pope Extols Collaboration and Autonomy in Church-State Ties

Receives Spain’s New Ambassador to the Holy See

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- When John Paul II received Spain’s new ambassador to the Holy See, he advocated church-state relations characterized by autonomy and collaboration.

«In the exercise of its own mission, the Church seeks the integral good of every nation, acting in the realm of its competencies and fully respecting the autonomy of civil authorities, which it appreciates,» the Pope said during the ceremony to receive the letters of credence of Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo.

It is a question of «two autonomous realms that cannot ignore one another, as both benefit from a loyal and constructive dialogue, given that the common good often requires different forms of collaboration between both, without any discrimination or exclusion,» the Holy Father added.

John Paul II then illustrated the Church’s right to speak out on matters of public life.

«In its evangelizing action, the Church invites all men and women of good will to build a society based on fundamental values that can never be given up for a national and international order that is just and worthy of the human being,» he said.

«This is united to its religious mission and has an ethical character of universal reach, based on the unsurpassable dignity of the human person, created in the image of God, from which his inalienable rights stem, which, precisely, public institutions must serve and promote, according to the classic principle of subsidiarity,» the Pope added.

«In this way, human coexistence, instead of obeying only partial or passing interests, must be governed by the ideals of freedom, justice and solidarity,» the Holy Father indicated.

Spain’s new ambassador was until recently director of the Higher Information Center for Defense, having played a key role in the aftermath of the March 11 Madrid terrorist attacks.

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