VATICAN CITY, FEB 28, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of the new ambassador of the Republic of Argentina, Carlos Luis Custer, and recalled that this year marks the centenary "of the inauguration of the monument of Christ the Redeemer in the Andes, on the border with Chile."
"If then," he said, "it was an expression of confidence in divine help in order to resolve serious problems for the life of the country," now this solemnity "is again a great reason for hope, for it revives that joyful faith and anticipates the future commitment to continue to promote values that are inspired by the Gospel and that contribute decisively to building a more peaceful, unified and reconciled society which strives to improve the conditions of life of all citizens without exception."
John Paul II underscored that Argentina "is a unique witness to the fruits that the cordial relations and spirit of collaboration between the Church and nations have in different milieux." In some cases, he affirmed, such relations facilitate finding solutions "to critical questions that endanger the inestimable value of peace on the path of dialogue and understanding." In other cases, he said, good relations help to "minimize external factors which influence serious economic trends, while never ceasing to encourage those who suffer these consequences so that they may develop their great capacity to work and be creative in order to overcome them."
The Holy Father highlighted the Church's effort "to invite all men and women of good will to build a society based on fundamental values that cannot be compromised in order to achieve a national and international order worthy of man. One value is certainly that of human life" which must be "carefully guarded, immediately putting a stop to the many attempts to subtly degrade the primordial good of life, turning it into a mere instrument for other ends."
"Another pillar of society," he continued, "is marriage, the union between man and woman, open to life, which gives a place to the natural institution of the family." Laws, he added, "must scrupulously guarantee these rights of the family and help them with their duties when they are unable to fulfill them on their own." In this context, he recalled that the "lawmaker, and the Catholic lawmaker in particular, cannot contribute to formulating or approving laws contrary to the 'primary and essential norms that regulate moral life'."
"It is necessary to remember this," he concluded, "in a moment in which there is no lack of attempts to reduce marriage to a mere individual contract, in a moment of values which are very different from those that pertain to marriage and the family, and which end up degrading it as if it were a gratuitous association within a social body. Therefore, perhaps more than ever, public officials must protect and promote the family which is the fundamental nucleus of society in all its aspects, knowing that in this way they are promoting a stable and promising social justice." The Pope concluded by expressing his appreciation to Argentines "for their efforts in favor of marriage and the family during international meetings, and I invite you, at the same time, to continue doing so."
CD/CREDENTIALS/ARGENTINA:CUSTER VIS 20040301 (510)