Benedict XVI's Address to Andorran Ambassador

«Harmony Is Possible Within Countries and Between Peoples»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2010 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Thursday upon receiving in audience Miquel Àngel Canturri Montanya, the new ambassador from Andorra to the Holy See.

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Mr. Ambassador

I am delighted to receive Your Excellency and to accredit you in your capacity of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Principality of Andorra to the Holy See. I thank you for the kind words you addressed to me and in turn, I wish to transmit through you my cordial greetings to the two co-princes, the archbishop of Urgell and the president of the French Republic. Through you, I also greet the government, the authorities and the Andorran population. 

The principality, going back to Charlemagne, is ruled by the pariage. The co-lordship approved by the Holy See at the time, converted into co-sovereignty, which you evoked in your address, is the legacy resulting from an historical evolution that has taken into account the legitimate interests of the Andorran people and has guaranteed its sovereignty. This original and unique system of its kind enables the population to live in peace, far from conflicts. It is true that the institutional solution that your country has found cannot be applied in other places, yet it is appropriate to draw a lesson from it. Harmony is possible within countries and between peoples. Juridical inventiveness and good will often enable numerous problems to be solved which, unfortunately, arise between peoples, and favor the much desired international concord.

In this context, I wish to point out the excellence of relations between the principality and the Holy See. These relations, which are situated in an historical continuity of entity and support — you have pointed out moreover that the Holy See has always supported Andorra when its sovereignty was in danger — have been consolidated in the first place by the establishment of diplomatic relations and later, two years ago, by the signing of a bilateral agreement. This agreement is the result and expression of a healthy and loyal collaboration between the Church and the state, which, with different titles, are at the service of the personal and social vocation of human persons. Yesterday as today, the cordial relations between the Church and Andorra serve these same persons more effectively for the benefit of all. This agreement is a supplementary stone contributed to the consolidation of relations between the principality and the Church.

In the words you addressed to me, you mentioned, Mr. Ambassador, the recent demographic evolution of your country. It shows the attraction it exercises over young generations. It is a question above all of young Andorrans who return to the country. Moreover, your nation also welcomes new populations. This openness entails a necessary awareness and responsibility on the part of institutions and of each one. In fact, social harmony, which could become unbalanced, is linked not only to a just and adapted legislative framework, but also to the moral quality of each citizen because «solidarity is seen … under two complementary aspects: that of a social principle and that of a moral virtue» (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 193).

Solidarity is raised to the rank of social virtue when it can lean at the same time on structures of solidarity, but also on the firm and persevering determination of each person to work for the common good, because we are all responsible for everyone. For its part, moral virtue is expressed through decisions and laws that are adjusted to ethical principles. These consolidate democracy and enable Andorrans to live according to age-old positive values, permeated by Christianity, and to cultivate and preserve its very marked identity.

To arouse the lasting sense of solidarity, which I have just mentioned, the education of young people is, undoubtedly, the best way. Whatever your level of responsibility, I encourage each one to show creativity in this realm, to invest the necessary means, and to sow generously for the future, being concerned to give them the necessary ethical bases. With education, it is also appropriate to give the family the support it deserves. Basic cell of society, the family fulfills its mission when it is fomented and promoted by the public powers as the first place of apprenticeship of life in society. Giving all the components of the family the necessary help, it will facilitate effectively social harmony and cohesion. The Church can make a positive contribution to the consolidation of the family, weakened by contemporary culture.

During my recent trip to Barcelona, I had the pleasure of seeing the presence of a beautiful delegation from your country. These faithful of all ages, but especially young people, went to express their adherence to the Successor of Peter. I would like to thank them for this warm presence and invite them, without wishing to abuse your intermediation, to the forthcoming World Youth Days.

I take advantage of the opportunity of this meeting, Mr. Ambassador, to greet warmly, through your mediation, your archbishop and his collaborators, as well as the whole of the Catholic faithful who live in your country. May they keep the desire to give witness of Christ and, in agreement of all Andorrans, to build a social life where each one can find the paths of personal and collective fulfillment! They will also give witness of the always timely fruitfulness of the Word of God.

At the moment you begin your noble mission of representation to the Holy See, I give you, Mr. Ambassador, my best wishes for the good fulfillmet of your mission. Be assured that you will always find in my collaborators the reception and understanding you might need. The people of Andorra have a particular veneration for the Virgin Mary, the Virgin of Meritxell, patroness of the co-principality whose national feast is celebrated on Sept. 8, Marian solemnity. 
I entrust the authorities of your country and the whole of the population to her maternal protection. On Your Excellency, your family and your collaborators, as well as on the whole of the Andorran people and its leaders, I invoke from my heart the abundance of divine blessings.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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