Papal Address to Envoy From Seychelles

«Economic Development Must … Respect the Integrity and Rhythms of Nature»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2010 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Thursday upon receiving in audience Vivianne Fock Tave, the new ambassador from Seychelles to the Holy See.

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Mrs. Ambassador,

I receive you with pleasure this morning in which you present the letters that accredit you in the capacity of ambassader extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Seychelles to the Holy See. I thank you for transmitting to me the greetings of Mr. James Alix Michel, president of the Republic, whom I had the honor of receiving during his recent visit to the Holy See. I would be very grateful if you would express to him my gratitude for the cordiality expressed during our meeting. Through you, I also greet the authorities, the different political leaders and the whole of the people of Seychelles.

Your country continues to progress and to affirm itself on the path of peace, prosperity and stability. Without a doubt, this is the result of the persistent efforts and of the generous contribution of all political and social spheres, of the public and private sectors. I am happy to congratulate the government and the people of Seychelles for having surmounted the challenge of the world economic crisis, confirmed by a renewal of tourism and of direct foreign investments, by an impulse of the national economy, giving favorable fiscal space to the reduction of the debt and priority expenses. However, the liberation of the economy preserving the social gains is a mutation which does not require a change in mentalities: It is a question of supporting this evolution to anticipate the effects that cannot always be controlled in time giving a necessary ethical base and playing the card of responsibility. «Everyone has the right to participate in economic life and the duty to contribute, each according to his own capacity, to the progress of his own country and to that of the entire human family» (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 333).

The planning of economic development must also consider carefully the need to respect the integrity and rhythms of nature because natural resources are limited and some are not renewable. The solution of the ecological problem calls for economic activity that respects the environment more, conciliating the needs with environmental protection and «strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment» («Caritas in Veritate,» No. 50).

In this realm, I appreciate in particular the government’s initiatives to restore and preserve the coral reef. This is the front line of defense in the rising of the level of the ocean and also continues to be an important habitat for the raising of fish — principal contributor of protein of the country. It also provides income and employment in the areas of fishing and tourism. Hence, it is necessary that consumers and agents of industrial activities develop greater responsibility in their behavior.

To increase everyone’s responsibility also entails an active and effective cooperation in respecting and protecting human dignity in face of every attempt to propose reductionist and deformed images, or the instrumentalization of each person. International tourism, notable factor of economic development and cultural growth, can become an occasion for exploitation and moral degradation (cf. «Caritas in Veritate,» N. 61). Only acknowledgment of human dignity makes possible the common and personal growth of all (James 2:1-9).

To foster this integral human development and also to reinforce solidarity between generations, it is necessary to protect the family. Promoted and supported by the state and society, the family has a totally original and irreplaceable function in the education of children. With the family, your nation will continue building its future, giving an appropriate formation to its young generations so that they will be able to transcend the limits in which at times there is a desire to enclose them and giving them the concrete means to struggle against social evils, especially unemployment and drugs. From this point of view, I highlight and encourage once again the efforts made for a long time to develop an educational system of quality. It is also appropriate to support the most underprivileged and to fight against corruption by guaranteeing an objective equality before the law among the different social classes.

For her part, the local Church wishes to continue making a specific contribution to your nation, both in supporting the family, education, and the formation of young people as well as the integral human development of each person. This development implies spiritual growth and not just material growth whose criterion of orientation is found in the active force of charity in truth (cf. «Caritas in Veritate,» No. 76-77). The spiritual search that dwells in the heart of the people of Seychelles finds in Christ its meaning and plenitude; it dynamizes the whole of the society, with the capacity to breathe into it the force of reconciliation to promote justice, fraternity and to build prosperity and peace. With this objective, I encourage the continuation of that collaboration and I wish to greet warmly, through you, the bishop of Puerto Victoria and his collaborators, as well as the whole of the Catholic faithful present in your country.

At the time you begin your noble mission of representation to the Holy See, I wish to renew the expression of my satisfaction for the excellent relations maintained by the Republic of the Seychelles and the Holy See, and I address to you, Mrs. Ambassador, my best wishes for the fulfillment of your mission. Be assured that you will always find in my collaborators the reception and understanding you might need. On Your Excellency, your family and your collaborators, as well as on the people of Seychelles, and on its leaders, I invoke from my heart abundant divine blessings.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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