Benedict XVI, received in audience Maria Jesus Figa Lopez-Palop, the first woman to serve as Spain’s Ambassador to the Holy See.
At the beginning of his address, the Pope recalled his visit to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona this past November where, he said,
“I saw many demonstrations of the vitality of the Catholic faith of those lands that have seen the births of so many saints and which are sown with cathedrals, centers of assistance and culture, which are inspired by the fertile tradition and faithfulness of its inhabitants to their religious beliefs.
This also entails the responsibility of diplomatic relations between Spain and the Holy See that always endeavor to promote, with mutual respect and collaboration, within each one’s legitimate autonomy in their respective areas, everything that promotes the good of persons and the authentic development of their rights and freedoms, which include the expression of their faith and conscience, both in the public as well as in the private sphere”.
The Holy Father highlighted that “the Church, in carrying out her mission, seeks the whole good of each nation and its citizens, acting in the area of her competency and fully respecting the autonomy of civil authorities. She seeks the good of those who are dear to her and those who ask God to serve Him in society with generosity, honor, skill, and justice. This goal, in which the Church’s mission and the function of the state meet, moreover has given expression to bilateral accords between Spain and the Holy See”.
Referring afterwards to the difficult economic situation today, with its resultant unemployment “that provokes discouragement and frustration, especially in the youth and less-privileged families”, the Pope assured his prayers that God “will enlighten those with public responsibilities, that they will tirelessly seek a path of recovery that is beneficial to all of society”. In this regard he emphasized the praiseworthy work that the Catholic institutions are carrying out to swiftly assist those most in need”.