Thursday, 1 March 2007

Cardinal Bertone: Holy See's Diplomacy Serves Humanity

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2007 ( Holy See diplomacy does not seek its own interests, but rather the true good of the human person, says the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this at the meeting on "Diplomatic Representations of the Holy See: History, Research and Present Importance," held at Rome's Luigi Sturzo Institute last Thursday.

The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 177 countries and participates in 33 intergovernmental organizations and groups. It has 101 apostolic nuncios in nunciatures and two apostolic nuncios at the disposition of the Vatican Secretariat of State and the president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

Vatican diplomacy "contributes with its own means to dialogue and collaboration with the civil community and its authorities, which must serve the integral good of the person, who is at the same time citizen and member of the Christian community," noted Cardinal Bertone.

"Pontifical diplomacy acts in this sense in the numerous countries that accept a pontifical representation and in the Areopagus of international organizations and meetings," he added.

International organizations

The Holy See has permanent observers to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in Paris; the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, in Rome; the Council of Europe; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna; and the World Tourism Organization, in Rome.

Cardinal Bertone said: "The interests that the Church and the Holy See pursue are not for their own advantages but seek only the true good of man and of humanity, because they know, as St. Irenaeus reminds us, that 'the living man is the glory of God.'"

The Church also carries out "its mission of teaching, sanctification and guidance of those who are baptized," the secretary of state said. The Church, he added, promotes everywhere "the right to religious liberty which allows each person to freely seek and find the one who is source of life."