VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2009 ( A vigorous society is based on the "solidity of the moral values that sustain, ennoble and dignify it," say Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience Delia Cardenas Christie, the new ambassador of Panama to the Holy See. In his address he underlined the "irreplaceable elements that create a healthy social fabric and build a vigorous society."
Specifically, he referred to the "defense of such primordial aspects as commitment to social justice, the struggle against corruption, the endeavor in favor of peace, the inviolability of the right to human life from the moment of conception to its natural death, as well as the safeguarding of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman."
Benedict XVI pointed out that the Church contributes "in a decisive way to dynamiting the present and enlivening the hope for a promising future."
And he added that "in the framework of the respective competencies and of reciprocal respect, the task of the Church, which because of her mission, is not confused with that of the State, and cannot be identified with any political program."
The Pope explained that, as opposed to the state, the Church "moves in a realm of a religious and spiritual nature, which tends to the promotion of the dignity of the human being and the tutelage of his fundamental rights."
"However, this distinction does not imply indifference or mutual ignorance, given that, although by different title, Church and State converge in the common good of the citizens themselves, being at the service of their personal and social vocation," he added.

500 years  

Benedict XVI recalled that the Diocese of Santa Maria la Antigua was established in 1513,  making it the "the first on terra firma of the American continent."
To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the diocese, the Church in Panama is preparing several initiatives that, according to the Holy Father, "will reflect the rootedness in your homeland of the ecclesial community, which does not pretend any good other than that the people themselves, of which she is a part and which she has served and serves with loftiness and generosity."
The Pontiff said that he prays to God "that this event will enhance the Christian life of all the beloved sons of that nation, so that the faith will continue to be in it an inspiring source to address in a positive and advantageous way the challenges which that Republic faces at present."
Benedict XVI acknowledged "the commitment that the Panamanian authorities have manifested repeatedly to strengthen democratic institutions and a public life based on robust ethical pillars."
In this connection, he pointed out, "efforts must not be spared to foment an efficient and independent juridical system, and that one act in all realms with honesty, transparency in community management and professionalism and diligence in the resolution of problems that affect the citizens."
"This will favor the development of a just and fraternal society, in which no sector of the population is neglected or driven to violence and marginalization," he added.
He also pointed out "the valuable role that Panama is playing for the political stability of the Central American area, at a time in which the present juncture highlights how a consistent and harmonious progress of the human community does not depend solely on economic development or technological discoveries."

Africa Synod Propositions 41-50

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2009 ( Here are Nos. 41-50 of the 57 propositions that were published unofficially Saturday by the synod press office at the conclusion of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops on the theme The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.»