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Pope Calls Upon Iran to Serve the Cause of Peace

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist While accepting the credentials of Ali Akbar Naseri, the new ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran today, Pope Benedict XVI called for a “new phase of international cooperation” and reassured believers in Iran that he is always “near to them.” According to the Vatican Information Service, while speaking about Iran, the Pope affirmed that "it is a great nation that possesses eminent spiritual traditions and its people have a profound religious sensibility. This can be reason to hope for a greater openness and confident collaboration with the international community. For its part, the Holy See is always willing to work in harmony with those who serve the cause of peace and promote the dignity that the Creator endowed to all human beings."   "Today," he continued, "we must hope for and sustain a new phase of international cooperation, more concretely rooted in humanitarian principles and in the effective assistance of those who suffer, one less dependent on the cold calculation of exchange and technological or economic benefits."   He also emphasized that "faith in the one God should draw all believers closer and urge them to work together to defend and promote the fundamental human values." In this context he recalled that "among universal rights, religious freedom and the freedom of conscience occupy a fundamental place because they are the origin of all other freedoms. The defence of other rights that arise from the dignity of persons and peoples, particularly the protection of life, justice, and solidarity, should also be the object of true collaboration".    "As I have already had repeated occasion to emphasize, the establishment of cordial relations between believers of different religions is an urgent need in our day, in order to build a world that is more human and that conforms more to God's plan of creation."   The Pope stressed that "Catholics have been present in Iran from the first centuries of Christianity and have always been an integral part of the nation's life and culture."   He added that the Holy See "trusts the Iranian authorities to strengthen and guarantee Christians the freedom of professing their faith and of assuring the Catholic community conditions essential to its existence, especially the possibility of counting on sufficient religious personnel and their ability to move within the country to ensure religious service to the faithful."   The Holy Father emphasized that "the Holy See, by its nature and its mission, is directly interested in the life of the local churches and wishes to make all the necessary efforts to help the Catholic community in Iran keep alive the signs of Christian presence in a spirit of benevolent understanding with all."   Finally, addressing the Catholics who live in Iran, the Pope assured them that he is "near to them and prays that they persevere in maintaining their own identity and remaining rooted to their land, generously working with all their compatriots in the development of the nation."   © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

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