VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2005 ( Struggling against poverty means overcoming enormous social differences and promoting education, the family, woman and life, John Paul II told Panama's new envoy to the Holy See.

The Pope made those points in a message handed today to Lawrence Chewning Fábrega by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who received the ambassador's letters of credence.

The Holy Father, convalescing after his recent hospitalization, has not yet resumed his ordinary audiences.

His message to the new ambassador analyzed Panama's present situation on the international scene of globalization, "which must be faced with solidarity."

In particular, the Pope encouraged the Panamanian government's concern to "combat the poverty in which part of the population still lives."

He further encouraged the establishment of "more favorable conditions for the creation of jobs and supervision given the scourge of corruption."

John Paul II believes that Panama -- a nation of 3 million people, of whom 85% are Catholic -- must direct "the investment of available resources in projects aimed at eradicating poverty."

This means aiming to "remedy the enormous difference in the distribution of wealth; to form the different generations in respect for the dignity of every ethnic group; to improve the educational system," he added.

The Pope also called for the improvement of the work of the "judicial power" and the situation of prisoners, making it "more human and just," in order to facilitate their reintegration "in society," and "to provide the necessary means for the integral development of the Panamanian man."

The Holy Father encouraged efforts to "achieve better conditions for the genuine development of the family," and appealed for the safeguarding of woman's role "in the different ambits of society" and for "better opportunities for young people."

The Church herself, the message continued, "generator" throughout her history "of culture in Panama" wants "to continue to be so in the face of a culture that denies respect for life and is indifferent to so many people who are suffering."