VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The cultural heritage of Christianity is more than a treasure to be preserved in a museum or the annals of history, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope spoke of the importance of Christian culture on Saturday upon receiving in audience Nikola Ivanov Kaludov, the new ambassador of Bulgaria to the Holy See.
“The Christian culture that profoundly permeates your people is not only a past treasure to preserve,” the Pope explained, “but rather the guarantee of a truly promising future in as much as it protects man from the temptations that always threaten to make him forget his own grandeur, as well as the unity of the human race and the demands of the solidarity that it implies.”
In his addressed delivered in French, the Holy Father also recalled that this month marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, “which allowed Bulgaria to choose democracy and to rediscover free and autonomous relations with the whole of the European continent.”
Benedict XVI welcomed Bulgaria’s efforts to be “more strongly” integrated in the European Union while underlining the importance of respect for the identity of each country to “enrich the whole of the community,” and its concern to construct “peaceful relations with the countries that surround it.”
“It is also necessary to be attentive to create the conditions of a successful globalization,” added the Pope.
In this connection, the Pontiff quoted his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate”: “It is essential that development […] not concern only the economic realm, but that it take into account the totality of the human person,” because “the measure of man does not reside in what he has, but in the expansion of his being according to all the potentialities that his nature harbors. This principle finds its ultimate reason in the creative love of God, which fully reveals the Divine Word.”
The Holy Father recommended taking into account the spiritual dimension of man and of ethics: “If the development of man and of society is to be authentic, it must necessarily imply a spiritual dimension.
“It also exacts on the part of all public leaders a great moral exigency vis-à-vis themselves in order to be able to manage the authority entrusted to them, in an effective and selfless way.”
Benedict XVI also expressed his hope that the nation’s political leaders will foster “dialogue” between the various religious components of the country, manifesting “consideration” to the “different spiritual families.”
The Pontiff also stressed the contribution of the Catholic community to the common good of the nation and he encouraged it to engage “with audacity, through as close a cooperation as possible with all the citizens of good will, to witness at all levels the dignity that God has inscribed in man’s being.”