Pontiff's Address to Salvadorian Envoy

«Peace Is the Yearning of Every Person»

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today upon receiving in audience El Salvador’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Manuel Roberto López Barrera.
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Mr. Ambassador:
1. With great pleasure I welcome you to this solemn ceremony of presentation of the letters that accredit you as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of El Salvador to the Holy See, and I thank you for the cordial sentiments you expressed on the part of the government and of the beloved Salvadorian people. I am pleased to correspond to this delicate attention and I beg you to please convey my deferent greeting to the president of the Republic, Mauricio Funes Cartagena, assuring him that the Apostolic See will contribute to support the path of dialogue and peaceful coexistence undertaken by the authorities of your country, so that every Salvadorian may consider his homeland’s soil a genuine home that welcomes him and offers him the possibility of living in it with serenity. In this way, the strengthening of internal agreement will enhance the good of the nation and contribute to its having an important place in the whole of Central America, where it is important that there are voices that invite to mutual understanding and generous cooperation, for the sake of just progress and the stability of the international community.
2. With the permanent dedication of Your Excellency to the mission you begin today, the authorities of your homeland have wished to exalt the diplomatic representation of El Salvador to the Holy See, in agreement with the majority feeling of your fellow citizens, who profess profound veneration and filial devotion to the Successor of St. Peter. The personal gifts that adorn Your Excellency, your faith, as well as your vast experience in several fields of teaching, public administration and social life, are the best guarantee in your endeavor to reinforce the fruitful and fluid relations that your country has had with the Holy See for a long time.
3. These close ties that unite the faithful Salvadorian people to the Chair of the Prince of the Apostles manifest a most noble tradition and it is impossible to separate them from the history and customs of that blessed land, since the days in which the sons of St. Dominic and St. Francis arrived there. The Catholic faith fell into a fertile furrow and inspired, from the name itself of that Central American nation to a never ending number of famous artistic monuments, shaping also the fecund health, educational and charity initiatives, as well as the innumerable personal, family and social virtues that the Christian condition bears with it. That patrimony of values fermented with the evangelical leaven is a heritage that Salvadorians have received as a mark of honor, a flow of wisdom that they must nourish to consolidate the present correctly and in order, and from which sufficient moral energies can be extracted in view of projecting a luminous future.
4. The Church in El Salvador, from her specific competence, with independence and liberty, tries to serve the protection of the common good in all its dimensions and to foment those conditions that will enable men and women to develop their persons integrally, permeating, to do so, the social context with the light that issues from her renewing vocation in the midst of the world. Evangelizing and giving witness of the love of God and of all men without any exceptions, she becomes an effective element for the eradication of poverty and a vigorous incentive in the struggle against violence, impunity and drug trafficking, which is causing so much ruin, especially among young people. On contributing in the measure of her possibilities to the care of the sick and the elderly, or to the reconstruction of areas devastated by natural disasters, she wishes to follow the example of her Divine Founder, who does not allow her to remain aloof from the aspirations and dynamisms of the human being, or to look on with indifference when such primordial exigencies as the equitable distribution of wealth, honesty in carrying out public functions or the independence of the courts of justice are weakened. Nor does the ecclesial community fail to looks for answers when many are lacking suitable housing or do not have a job that enables them to fulfill themselves and maintain their families, being obliged to emigrate from the homeland.

In the same way, it would be strange if Christ’s disciples were neutral in the presence of aggressive sects, which appear as an easy and comfortable religious answer, but which, in reality, undermine the culture and habits that, for centuries, have conformed Salvadorian identity, clouding also the beauty of the evangelical message and splitting the unity of the faithful around their pastors. Instead, the maternal work of the Church in her constant determination to defend the inviolable dignity of human life from its conception until its natural end — as proclaimed also by the country’s Constitution — the value of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, creates a climate where the true religious spirit is fused with the boldness to reach ever higher targets of well-being and progress, opening the nation to an expanded horizon of hopes.
5. It is consoling to see the effort of your country in the construction of an ever more harmonious and solidaristic society, advancing on the clear path of those Agreements that were signed in 1992, and which put an end to the long internal struggle that El Salvador went through, land of abundant natural riches that speak eloquently of God and that must be conserved and protected earnestly to bequeath them in all their luxuriance to the new generations.

The Salvadorian people, of sacrificial and industrious spirit, will find great joy if the peace process is seen confirmed daily and decisions tending to favor the citizenry’s security are implemented. In this respect, I pray to the Almighty with fervent confidence that your fellow countrymen will be given the help that is necessary to give up definitively everything that provokes confrontations, replacing enmities with mutual understanding and the safeguarding of their persons and possessions. To achieve these goods, it is necessary that they be convinced that violence achieves nothing and everything worsens, as it is a dead end, a detestable and inadmissible evil, a fascination that fools the person and fills him with indignity. Peace, on the contrary, is the yearning of every person. As gift of the Divine Savior, it is also a task to which all must cooperate without hesitation, finding in the state a firm protector through pertinent juridical, economic and social dispositions, as well as adequate police and security forces and corps, which protect in the framework of legality the well-being of the population. In this path of overcoming obstacles they will always find the outstretched hand of the children of the Church, whom I earnestly exhort, so that, with their witness of disciples and missionaries of Christ, they identify with him more every day and they pray that he make of every Salvadorian an architect of reconciliation.
6. To Our Lady of Peace, heavenly Patroness of El Salvador, I entrust the concerns and challenges of a personal, family and public order of your compatriots. May she also assist and protect you, Mr. Ambassador, in the significant responsibility that you now begin and in which you will always have the diligent solicitude of my collaborators. While invoking her maternal protection on Your Excellency, your egregious family and the staff of the diplomatic mission, I implore copious blessings from the Almighty for the Republic of El Salvador.
 [Translation by ZENIT]

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