Church and State Can Cooperate, Says Pope

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2005 ( John Paul II believes that the Church and state can and must collaborate in their service to the person and the common good with relations of “autonomy and difference.”

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The Pope touched on the role of religion in public life in a message he sent today to Lawrence Chewning Fábrega, Panama’s new ambassador to the Holy See.

For the Holy Father, the fact that the great majority of countries, such as Panama, have established relations with the Holy See, is proof of the “understanding and close collaboration” that can exist between “public authorities and the Church.”

John Paul II expressed his pleasure when learning that the new government of Panama, whose president is Martín Torrijos Espino, “manifested its intention to continue and to enhance these relations.”

“From the autonomy and difference of their own tasks and in rigorous respect of their respective competencies,” the Pope said, “the Church and public powers have a converging object: to promote the integral good of every person and the common good of society.”

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