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Pope welcomes new Chilean ambassador, speaks on Church-state cooperation

Catholic World News - October 07, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI expressed his sympathy for Chilean earthquake victims, and for the workers still trapped in a mine there, as he met on October 7 with a new ambassador from Chile to the Holy See. The Holy Father told the new envoy, Fernando Zegers Santa Cruz, that he prays regularly for the miners’ safety.

Pope Benedict called attention to last year’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of a Vatican-mediated treaty between Chile and Argentina, ending a tense standoff between the two South American neighbors. "That historical agreement will remain for future generations as a shining example of the immense benefits that peace brings,” he said.

Speaking more generally about Church-state affairs, the Pontiff said that "although Church and State are independent and autonomous, each in its own field, they are both called to loyal and respectful collaboration in order to serve the personal and social vocation of the same people.” He continued:

When the Church raises her voice on the great challenges and problems of the present time-- such as wars, hunger, widespread extreme poverty, the defense of human life from conception until natural end, or the promotion of the family founded on marriage between a man and woman, primary educator of children-- she is not acting out of special interest or of principles perceptible only to people who profess a particular religious faith. Respecting the rules of democratic coexistence, the Church does this for the good of all society, and in the name of values that everyone can share.

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