Pope to Moldova: Retain Your Christian Values

Notes 20th Anniversary of Nation’s Independence

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2011 (Zenit.org).- As Moldova seeks entry in the European Union, Benedict XVI is urging the nation to be careful not to lose its Christian values in the process.

In a letter he hand delivered Thursday to Stefan Gorda, the new ambassador of Moldova to the Holy See, upon receiving the envoy’s letters of credence, the Pope warned against losing «the age-old values of your culture.»

«Because of its tradition and Christian faith,» the Holy Father added, «Moldova can courageously help the European Union rediscover what it no longer wants to see and even denies.»

«Moreover,» he stated, «Moldova’s peace, justice and prosperity, which will result certainly from the realization of its European aspirations, will only be effective if they are experienced by each one of your fellow citizens in the quest for the common good and a permanent ethical concern. Among the essential values are religious values.»

In 1991, the tiny, landlocked Eastern European state declared its independence as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Twenty years later, the Benedict XVI stated in his letter, «it is possible to see what has already been achieved and what still remains to be built.»

«It is evident that unity in peace and in serenity is a factor that fosters economic and social development, and that this development also has a positive effect for the realization of unity,» the Pope commented. «I pray that lasting solutions will be found for the good of all through a just political mediation and the safeguarding of the various identities.

«Your nation has written glorious pages in the history of the European Continent. May this past inspire your present!»

Orthodox Church

Benedict XVI recalled that diplomatic relations between Moldova and the Holy See were established 18 years ago, and that they are «harmonious […] because of the Christian faith that dwells in your nation and its inhabitants.»

Nearly 94% of Moldovans belong either to the Moldovan Orthodox Church or the Orthodox Church of Bessarabia. There are an estimated 20,000 Catholics in the country (.5% of the total population).

The Pontiff said of the Orthodox Church: «It has always shared with the Catholic Church the need to defend religious and cultural values against the materialism and relativism that put into question the Christian contribution to life and society. I hope that fraternal relations between Orthodox and Catholic faithful will deepen.

«These relations of reciprocal respect and friendship are a testimony of love that indicates that beyond the divisions and their consequences, hearts can open to reconciliation, solidarity and fraternity.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32814?l=english

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