Speeches 2005-13 264
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
I welcome and greet each and every one of you, as I receive you collegially in the context of your ad limina visit. I thank Archbishop Murilo Krieger for the words of devoted esteem he has addressed to me on behalf of all of you and of the people entrusted to your pastoral care in the South III and South IV Regions, also having explained their challenges and their hopes. In hearing all this, I feel in my heart a surge of gratitude to the Lord for the gift of faith mercifully granted to your ecclesial communities and zealously preserved and painstakingly transmitted by them, in obedience to the mandate that Jesus left us to bring his Good News to every creature seeking to permeate today's culture with Christian humanism.
With regard to culture, one's thoughts turn to two classical contexts where it is formed and communicated university and school focusing mainly on the academic communities that come into being in the shadow of Christian humanism and are inspired by it, doing honour to the name "Catholic". Now, "the fact that in their own individual ways all members of the school community share this Christian vision, makes the school "Catholic'; principles of the Gospel in this manner become the educational norms since the school then has them as its internal motivation and final goal" (Congregation for Catholic Education, 1977, The Catholic School, n. 34).
May the Catholic School, in a convinced synergy with families and with the ecclesial community, promote that unity between faith, culture and life that constitutes the fundamental objective of Christian education.
Catholic schools too, in various forms and ways, may be helped in their educational task by the presence of teachers who are believers in the first place, but not exclusively, Catholic teachers of religion and by students who have had a Christian formation, as well as by the collaboration of families and of the Christian community itself. In fact, a healthy secularism at school implies the denial of transcendence nor mere neutrality in the face of those prerequisites and moral values, including religious education, that are found at the root of an authentic formation of the person.
The Catholic school cannot be considered as existing separate or apart from other educational institutions. It is at the service of society: it carries out a public role and a service of public usefulness that is not reserved exclusively to Catholics but open to all who wish to avail themselves of a good education. The problem of its juridical and financial parity with the State school may be correctly understood only if we start by recognizing the primary role of families and the subsidiary role of the other educational institutions. Art. 26, 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children". The centuries-old commitment of the Catholic school is set in this direction, impelled by an even more radical force, that is, by the power that makes Christ the centre of the educational process.
This process, which begins at primary and at secondary school, is achieved at a higher and more specialized level at university. The Church has always shown solidarity to the university and to its vocation to lead the human being to the loftiest levels of knowledge of the truth and of dominion over the world in all its aspects. I am pleased to express here my deep ecclesial gratitude to the various religious congregations among you which have founded and supported prestigious universities, reminding them nevertheless that the latter do not belong to those who founded them nor to those who attend them. Rather, they are an expression of the Church and of her patrimony of faith.
In this regard, beloved Brothers, it is worth remembering that last August the Instruction Libertatis Nuntius on Certain Aspects of the "Theology of Liberation" published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith celebrated its 25th anniversary. It stressed the danger that is entailed in an a-critical acceptance on the part of certain theologians of theses and methodologies that derive from Marxism. Its more or less visible consequences consisting of rebellion, division, dissent, offence, and anarchy make themselves felt, creating in your diocesan communities great suffering and a serious loss of vitality. I implore all those who in some way have felt attracted, involved and deeply touched by certain deceptive principles of Liberation Theology to consider once again the above-mentioned Instruction, perceiving the kind light with which it is proffered. I remind everyone that ""the supreme rule of her [the Church's] faith' derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others" (John Paul II, Fides et Ratio FR 55); and that in the context of Church bodies and communities, forgiveness offered and received in the name of and out of love for the Most Blessed Trinity, whom we worship in our hearts, puts an end to the suffering of our beloved Church, a pilgrim in the Lands of the Holy Cross.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, in union with Christ the Virgin Mary, so deeply loved and venerated in your dioceses and the whole of Brazil, precedes us and guides us. In her we find pure and undefiled the true essence of the Church and thus, through her, we learn to know and love the mystery of the Church which lives in history. We feel profoundly part of her, we become in our turn "ecclesial souls" learning to resist that "inner secularization" which is threatening the Church and her teaching.
As I ask the Lord to pour out an abundance of his light upon the whole world of education in Brazil, I entrust its leaders to the protection of the Virgin Most Holy and impart to you, to your priests, to the men and women religious, to the committed lay people and to all the faithful of your dioceses, a fatherly Apostolic Blessing.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the heart of Christian cities, Mary is a sweet and reassuring presence. In her discreet style, she gives everyone peace and hope, both in the happy and sad moments of life. In churches, chapels or on the walls of buildings there is a painting, mosaic or a statue as a reminder of the presence of the Mother, constantly watching over her children. Here too in Piazza di Spagna, Mary is placed high up as though on guard over Rome.
What does Mary tell the city? Of what does her presence remind us? It reminds us that "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Rm 5,20), as the Apostle Paul wrote. She is the Immaculate Mother who tells people in our day too: Do not be afraid, Jesus has defeated evil, he has uprooted it, delivering us from its rule.
How great is our need of this good news! Every day, in fact, in the newspapers, on television and on the radio bad news is broadcast, repeated, amplified, so that we become used to the most terrible things and inured to them, and in a certain way poisoned, since the negative effect is never completely eliminated but accumulates day after day. The heart hardens and thoughts grow gloomy. For this reason, the city needs Mary whose presence speaks of God, reminds us of the victory of Grace over sin and leads us to hope, even in the most difficult human situations.
In the city invisible people live or survive who every now and then hit the front page headlines or television news and are exploited to the very last, as long as the news and images are newsworthy. This is a perverse mechanism which unfortunately few are able to resist. The city first hides them and then exposes them to public scrutiny, pitilessly or with false pity. Instead, there is in every person the desire to be accepted as a person and considered a sacred reality, for every human history is a sacred history and demands the utmost respect.
The city, dear brothers and sisters, is all of us! Each one of us contributes with his life to its moral atmosphere, for better or for worse. The border between good and evil runs through every heart and none of us should feel entitled to judge others. Rather, each one must feel duty bound to improve him or herself. The mass media always tends to make us feel like "spectators", as if evil concerned only others and certain things could never happen to us. Instead, we are all "actors" and, for better or for worse, our behaviour has an influence on others.
We often complain of the pollution of the atmosphere that in some parts of the city is unbreathable. It is true. Everyone must do his or her part to make the city a cleaner place. Yet, there is another kind of contamination, less perceptible to the senses, but equally dangerous. It is the pollution of the spirit; it makes us smile less, makes our faces gloomier, less likely to greet each other or look each other in the eye.... The city has many faces but unfortunately collective dynamics can make us lose our in-depth perception of them. We perceive everything superficially. People become bodies and these bodies lose their soul, they become things, faceless objects that can be exchanged and consumed.
Mary Immaculate helps us to rediscover and defend what lies within people, for in her is a perfect transparency of the soul in the body. She is purity in person, in the sense that spirit, soul and body are fully consistent with one another and with God's will. Our Lady teaches us to be open to God's action and to see others as he sees them: starting with the heart. And to look at them with compassion, with love, with infinite tenderness, especially those who are lonely, despised, or exploited. "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more".
I want to pay homage publicly to all those who in silence, not with words but with deeds, strive to practice this evangelical law of love that propels the world forward. There are so many of them even here in Rome and they rarely hit the headlines. They are men and women of all ages, who have realized that it is not worth condemning, complaining or accusing; that it is better to respond to evil by doing good. This changes things; or rather it changes people, and hence improves society.
Dear Roman friends, and all of you who live in this city! While we are busy in our daily routine, let us listen to Mary's voice. Let us hear her silent but pressing appeal. She tells each one of us that wherever sin increases, grace may abound all the more, starting in your our own heart and in your life! And the city will be more beautiful, more Christian and more human.
Thank you, Holy Mother, for your message of hope. Thank you for your silent but eloquent presence in the heart of our city. Immaculate Virgin, Salus Populi Romani, pray for us!
I receive you with great pleasure at this solemn ceremony in which you are presenting the Letters that accredit you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba to the Holy See and with which the important mission that your Government has entrusted to you begins. I am grateful for your kind words and for the greeting you have conveyed to me from H.E. Mr Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers, which I reciprocate with my very best wishes for his lofty responsibility.
Between aspirations and difficulties, Cuba has achieved a decisive protagonism, mainly in the economic and political context of the Caribbean and of Latin America. On the other hand, certain signs of détente in relations with the neighbouring United States promise new opportunities for a beneficial mutual rapprochement, with full respect for the sovereignty and rights of the States and of their citizens. Cuba, which continues to offer numerous countries its collaboration in vital areas such as literacy and health care, thereby encourages international cooperation and solidarity, without subordinating them to interests other than aid to needy peoples. It is to be hoped that all this may contribute to making the appeal that my venerable Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, launched during his historic Visit to the Island, a reality. He said, "May Cuba, with all its magnificent potential, open itself up to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba" (Address at Arrival Ceremony, José Martí Airport, Havana, 21 January 1998).
Like many countries, your Homeland is also suffering the consequences of the serious world crisis which, in addition to the devastating effects of the natural disasters and the economic embargo, is affecting the poorest people and families in particular. In this complex general situation, the urgent need for an economy, built on sound ethical foundations, that makes the person and his rights, both his material and his spiritual good, the focus of its interests increasingly felt. In fact, the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity (cf. Caritas in Veritate ).
It is important that Governments endeavour to remedy the serious effects of the financial crisis but without neglecting the basic needs of the citizens. The Catholic Church in Cuba, which at this time as always feels close to the people, desires to contribute with her modest and effective help. She likewise wishes to stress that the broad cooperation achieved with the Authorities of your country has made possible the implementation of important projects of assistance and reconstruction, specially on the occasion of natural disasters.
I hope that the practical signs of openness to the exercise of religious freedom will continue to increase, just as has happened in recent years, for example, with the possibility of celebrating Holy Mass in some prisons, of having religious processions, of the restoration or restitution of certain church buildings, of constructing several houses for religious and the provision of social security for priests and religious. Thus the Catholic community will be able to carry out its specific pastoral task with greater ease. With a view to advancing on this path, especially for the benefit of Cuban citizens it would also be desirable that dialogue continue, in order to establish jointly similar forms to those established with other nations, with respect for your country's own features, the juridical framework that appropriately defines the existing relations between the Holy See and Cuba which have never been interrupted and which guarantee the appropriate development of the Church's life and pastoral action in this nation.
The Catholic Church in your Homeland is concentrating on the preparations for the celebration in 2012 of the Fourth Centenary of the discovery and presence of the blessed image of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre [Our Lady of Charity of Cuba], Mother and Patroness of Cuba. This beloved Marian title is a luminous symbol of the religious feeling of the Cuban people and of the Christian roots of their culture. Indeed, the Church, which cannot be confused with the political community (cf. Gaudium et spes GS 76), is the depository of an extraordinary spiritual and moral heritage which has contributed to definitively forging the Cuban "soul", giving it its own character and personality. In this regard, all the men and women and especially youth, today, as in any other epoch, need to rediscover those moral, human and spiritual values, such as, for example, respect for life from its conception until its natural end, which make human life more dignified. In this regard, the main service that the Church offers to Cubans is the proclamation of Jesus Christ and his message of love, forgiveness and reconciliation in truth. A people that walks on this path of harmony is a people with hope for a better future.
Furthermore, the Church, conscious that her mission would be incomplete without the witness of charity that is born from the Heart of Christ, has implemented numerous projects of social assistance in your Homeland which, although they are small, reach out to many sick, elderly and disabled people. An obvious demonstration of this love is also the life and work of so many people who have let themselves be illuminated and transformed by Christ's message, such as Bl. José Olallo Valdés, whose beatification the first ever to be celebrated in Cuba was attended by the H.E. the President of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers.
I am also confident that this atmosphere which has enabled the Church to make her modest charitable contribution will also encourage her participation in the means of social communication and in the realization of complementary educational tasks, in conformity with her own specific pastoral and spiritual mission.
I do not want to conclude without directing a thought to the ever noble, plucky, long-suffering and hard-working Cuban people, expressing to them my heartfelt closeness and affection, while at the same time not omitting to entrust them to the Lord, the Author of all gifts, in my prayers. Mr Ambassador, I ask you kindly to convey my respectful greeting to the highest Authorities of the Republic of Cuba. At the same time I express to you, Your Excellency, my best wishes that you may felicitously and fruitfully fulfil your lofty mission to the Holy See which begins today and, through the intercession of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, I invoke upon you, upon your family and upon your collaborators abundant gifts from the Most High.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I willingly accepted the invitation to pay a visit to the "Hospice Fondazione Roma" and I am very glad to be with you. I address my cordial thoughts to the Vicar, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, to their Excellencies the Auxiliary Bishops and to the priests who are present. I warmly thank Professor Emmanuele Emanuele, President of the "Fondazione Roma", and Duke Leopoldo Torlonia, President of the "Circolo San Pietro", for the significant words they have courteously addressed to me. Together with them, I greet those in charge of the "Hospice Fondazione Roma", its President, Mr Alessandro Falez, the health-care personnel and the nursing and administrative staff, the Sisters and all those who in various capacities work in this praiseworthy institution. I then express my special appreciation to the Volunteers of the "Circolo San Pietro". I am well acquainted with the zeal and generosity with which they offer help and comfort to the sick and their families. The "Hospice Fondazione Roma" came into being in 1998 with the name "Hospice Sacro Cuore", at the initiative of the then-General President of the "Circolo San Pietro", Marquis Marcello Sacchetti, whom I greet with deep and grateful respect. The task of this institution is the care of terminal patients, in order to alleviate their suffering as far as possible and to accompany them lovingly while their illness takes its course. In 11 years, the number of patients in the Hospice has risen from three to more than 30, who are cared for every day by doctors, nurses and volunteers. To them we must add the 90 patients who are nursed at home. All this contributes to making the "Hospice Fondazione Roma" to which, the Alzheimer's unit has been added over time, as well as an experimental nursing project destined for people affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis a particularly important reality in the panorama of health care in Rome.
Dear friends, we know that certain serious pathologies inevitably give rise to moments of crisis in the sick, to bewilderment and to a serious confrontation with their personal situations. The progress of the medical sciences often offer the necessary instruments for facing this challenge, at least with regard to the physical aspects. Nevertheless, it is not always possible to find a cure for every disease and as a result in hospitals and health-care structures across the world we often encounter the suffering of numerous brothers and sisters with incurable illnesses, who are frequently in a terminal phase. Today the prevalent efficiency-based mentality often tends to marginalize these people, considering them a burden and a problem for society. Those who have a sense of human dignity know instead that they must be respected and supported while they face the difficulties and suffering associated with the condition of their health. To this end, there is increasing recourse today to palliative treatment that can alleviate the pain that illness causes and help the sick live through it with dignity. However, as well as the indispensable clinical treatment, it is necessary to offer the sick practical gestures of love, closeness and Christian solidarity in response to their need for understanding, comfort and constant encouragement. This is what is successfully carried out here, at the "Hospice Fondazione Roma", which makes the focus of its commitment the treatment and caring acceptance of the sick and their relatives, in harmony with the teachings of the Church which, down the ages has always shown herself as a loving mother to those who suffer in body and in spirit. As I express my pleasure in the praiseworthy work carried out, I wish to encourage all those who making themselves true icons of the Good Samaritan who had compassion and went to [his neighbour]... and took care of him" (cf. Lc 10,34) offer daily to the residents and their kin adequate assistance, attentive to the needs of each one.
Dear sick people, dear relatives, I have just met you individually, and I have seen in your eyes the faith and strength that sustain you in difficulty. I have come to offer each one of you a concrete witness of closeness and affection. I assure you of my prayers, and I ask you to seek support and comfort in Jesus, so that you may never lose trust and hope. Your illness is a very painful and unique trial, but in the face of the mystery of God who took on our mortal flesh, it acquires meaning and becomes a gift as well as an opportunity for sanctification. When suffering and discomfort are aggravated, remember that Christ is associating you with his Cross because he wants to say, through you, a word of love to those who have lost the way in life and, locked into their own empty selfishness, are living in sin and far from God. In fact, the condition of your health testifies that true life is not here but with God, where each one will find his joy, if he has humbly placed his footsteps behind those of the truest man: Jesus of Nazareth, Teacher and Lord.
The Season of Advent in which we are immersed speaks to us of the visit of God and invites us to prepare the way for him. In the light of faith we can interpret in illness and suffering a particular experience of Advent, a visit from God who mysteriously comes to set us free from loneliness and the lack of meaning and to transform suffering into a time of encounter with him, a time of hope and of salvation. The Lord comes, he is here beside us! May this Christian certainty also help us understand "tribulation" as a way in which he can come to meet each one and become for him or her the "close God" who liberates and saves. Christmas, for which we are preparing, offers us the possibility of contemplating the Holy Child, the true light that comes to this world in order to manifest "the grace of God, that brings salvation to all men" (Tt 2,11). To him, with the sentiments of Mary, we all entrust ourselves, our lives and our hopes. Dear brothers and sisters! With these thoughts I invoke upon each one of you the motherly protection of the Mother of Jesus, whom the Christian people in trouble call upon as Salus Infirmorum, and I cordially impart to you a special Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of deep spiritual joy and authentic peace in the Lord.
Mr President of the Region,
Mr Mayor, Mr Mayors,
Reverend Parish Priest,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a cause of great joy to me to receive honorary citizenship of the Commune of Introd, where I have been able to spend unforgettable periods of rest, surrounded by the splendid Alpine panorama that favours the encounter with the Creator and restores the spirit. In addressing my cordial greeting to each one of you, I would like to thank in particular the President of the Autonomous Region of the Valle d'Aosta, Mr Augusto Rollandin, and the Mayor of Introd, Mr Osvaldo Naudin, for the courteous words they have wished to address to me on behalf of those present and of all those whom they represent.
I consider the decision of the Municipal Council of Introd, which has wished to enrol me among the community's honorary citizens, as a sign of affection of all the Introleins and inhabitants of the entire Valley of Aosta who have always given me a warm and cordial welcome that is at the same time discreet and respectful of my need for rest. I can now rightly say that I am at home in Introd, this delightful Alpine place to which I am bound by happy and grateful memories and a sentiment of special spiritual closeness.
At this moment, so many memories flood my mind, especially the chalet surrounded by woods, that is a place of spiritual repose, with its splendid view and a sign of affection of the population, of the Mayor and of all of you. I could recount many more things. We have spoken in these days of what they do with the chalet in winter. I am glad to know that it is well looked after and protected. I am happy to learn from the words of Mr Mayor that my presence in the Aosta Valley, and earlier still that of my beloved Predecessor John Paul II, has encouraged the growth in the faith of those people so dear to me, and rich in Christian traditions and so many signs of religious vitality. It is likewise known to me that under the diligent guidance of her Pastor, dear Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi, the Church in the Valley of Aosta never tires of grafting onto the ancient trunk of this spiritual patrimony, the ever new "news" of Jesus, the Word of God, who became man to offer to human beings the joy of living, already on this earth, the exalting experience of being beloved children of God. This task appears particularly urgent in a society that nourishes illusions and false hopes, especially in the new generations, but which the Lord, today too, calls to transform itself into a "family" of God's children, who live with "one heart and soul" (Ac 4,32) to bear witness to love for life and for the poor.
Dear friends, as I renew to you my sentiments of affection and gratitude, I invoke God's Blessing upon you, upon your families and upon the entire Valle d'Aosta Region. May the Lord continue to protect your Communities and your Region and help it to build a future which, putting God first, will be increasingly just, supportive and full of hope!
It is with pleasure that I welcome you to the Vatican and accept the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Denmark to the Holy See. I thank you for the kind greetings which you bring from Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, and I would ask you to convey to Her Majesty, to the Government, and to the people of your country my gratitude for their good wishes and the assurance of my prayers for the spiritual well-being of the nation.
The Church’s diplomatic relations form a part of her mission of service to the international community. This engagement with civil society is shaped by her conviction that in an increasingly globalized world efforts to promote integral human development and a sustainable economic order must consider the fundamental relationship between God, creation and his creatures. Within this perspective, tendencies towards social fragmentation and piecemeal development initiatives can be overcome by the recognition of the unifying moral dimension constitutive of every human being, and the moral consequence pertaining to every economic decision (cf. Caritas in Veritate ). Indeed, contemporary scepticism in the face of political rhetoric, and a growing uneasiness with the lack of ethical points of reference governing technological advances and commercial markets all indicate the imperfections and limitations found within both individuals and society and the need for a rediscovery of fundamental values and a profound cultural renewal in harmony with God’s design for the world (cf. ibid., 21).
Your Excellency, the world’s attention is currently drawn towards Denmark as it hosts the United Nations summit on climate change. The political and diplomatic deliberations at play in addressing the demands of such a complex matter test the resolve of stakeholders to forgo nationalistic or short-term alleged advantages in favour of longer-term benefits for the entire international human family. While some consensus can undoubtedly be reached through the elaboration of shared aspirations matched with policies and targets, fundamental change in any form of human behaviour – individual or collective – requires conversion of heart. Courage and sacrifice, fruits of an ethical awakening, enable us to envisage a better world and embolden us to pursue with hope all that is necessary to ensure that future generations are bequeathed the whole of creation in such a condition that they too can call it home. When the “moral tenor of society” (ibid., 51) declines, however, the challenges facing today’s leaders can only increase.
This urgent need to emphasize the moral duty to distinguish between good and evil in all human action in order to rediscover and nurture the bond of communion that unites the human person and creation was a central theme of my recent address to FAO. On that occasion the international community considered the pressing issue of food security. Again, I stated that, important as they may be, development plans, investments and legislation are not enough. Rather, individuals and communities must change their behaviour and their perception of need. For States themselves this includes a redefining of the concepts and principles that have hitherto governed international relations to include the principle of altruism and the resolve to seek out new parameters - ethical as well as juridical and economic - capable of building relationships of greater fairness and balance between developing and developed countries (cf. Address to FAO, 16 November 2009).
Within this framework a holistic understanding of the health of society can emerge in which our duties towards the environment are never detached from our duties towards the human person and in which a moral critique of the cultural norms shaping human coexistence, with particular concern for the young, is considered central to the well-being of society. Too often efforts to promote an integral understanding of the environment have had to sit alongside a reductionist understanding of the person. Typically the latter is lacking in respect for the spiritual dimension of individuals and at times is hostile towards the family, pitting spouses against each other through a distorted portrayal of the complementarity of men and women, and pitting mother and unborn child against each other through a misconstrued portrayal of “reproductive health”. Responsibility in relationships, including the responsibility of careful parenting (cf. Caritas in Veritate Familiaris Consortio, 35), can never be truly nurtured without profound respect for the unity of family life according to the loving design of our Creator.
Denmark’s assistance to humanitarian causes is widespread and multi-faceted. The Kingdom’s commitment to supporting peace-keeping operations and development projects together with its growing commitment to the continent of Africa are readily recognized by the Holy See for their generosity and professionalism. Among the principles we share in regard to development is the conviction that any form of corruption is always an affront to the dignity of the human person and will always be a severe impediment to the just and equitable progress of peoples. Denmark’s domestic record in this regard is commendable and your foreign financial aid policies rightly insist upon accountability and transparency on the part of receiver nations.
Mr Ambassador, the members of the Catholic Church in your country will continue to pray and work for the spiritual, social and cultural development of all the Danish people. In ecumenical fellowship with other Christians they are attentive to the needs of the migrant communities present in your land as well as other groups that are vulnerable in various ways. Additionally the Church’s schools, pupils from which I regularly welcome to my weekly General Audience, serve the nation as they seek to bear witness to the love and truth of Christ.
Your Excellency, during your term as Denmark’s representative to the Holy See the various departments of the Roman Curia will do all they can to assist you in the discharge of your duties. I offer my best wishes for the success of your endeavours to strengthen the cordial relations already existing between us. Upon you, your family and all your fellow citizens I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.
Speeches 2005-13 264