September 13, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY:


STRONG SOCIETIES ARE BUILT ON STRONG FAMILIES

 VATICAN CITY, SEP 13, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Jozef Dravecky, the new ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Holy See.

   In his English-language address to the diplomat the Pope recalled how next year marks the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Slovak Republic and the Holy See. In this context, he thanked the ambassador for his reassurance that Slovakia is committed to fulfilling the two unresolved points of the "Basic Agreement" between the two States, regarding "conscientious objection and the financing of Church activities." The other two points, concerning Catholic education and spiritual ministry to Catholics serving in the armed forces, have already been ratified

   On the subject of education, Benedict XVI reiterated the importance of States guaranteeing "the Church the freedom to establish and administer Catholic schools, affording parents the opportunity to choose a means of education that fosters the Christian formation of their children. ... Indeed, a solid education that nourishes all the dimensions of the human person, including the religious and spiritual, is in the interest of both Church and State. In this way, young people can acquire habits that will enable them to embrace their civic duties as they enter adulthood."

   "The family," he went on, "is the nucleus in which a person first learns human love and cultivates the virtues of responsibility, generosity and fraternal concern. Strong families are built on the foundation of strong marriages. Strong societies are built on the foundation of strong families. Indeed, all civic communities should do what they can to promote economic and social policies that aid young married couples and facilitate their desire to raise a family.

   "Far from remaining indifferent to marriage," he added, "the State must acknowledge, respect and support this venerable institution as the stable union between a man and a woman who willingly embrace a life-long commitment of love and fidelity."

   "The rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Slovakia holds great potential for revitalizing the soul of the European continent," said the Pope noting how the ambassador had "drawn attention to the heroic sacrifices made by countless men and women in your nation's history who, in times of persecution, labored at great cost to preserve the right to life, religious liberty, and the freedom to place oneself at the charitable service of one's neighbor."

   Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that "the celebrations marking the 1150th anniversary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius will renew Slovakia's vigor to bear witness to these timeless values. In this way, she will inspire other member States of the European Union to strive for unity while recognizing diversity, to respect national sovereignty while engaging in joint activity, and to seek economic progress while upholding social justice."

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