January 10, 2011.
True to tradition, Benedict XVI met with ambassadors accredited by the Holy See, at the start of this year. Before 178 representatives from around the world, the Pope defended the right of religious freedom. He said it is the “fundamental path to peace” and a basic human right. The Pope then denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Egypt, as well as Pakistan's law against blasphemy. In Islamic countries where religious freedom is not respected the situation of Christians is precarious. Benedict XVI“To the authorities of that country and to the Muslim religious leaders I renew my heartfelt appeal that their Christian fellow-citizens be able to live in security, continuing to contribute to the society in which they are fully members.”
Benedict XVI asked Chinese authorities to ensure full autonomy for the Church and noted that Catholics in China “live in a time of difficulty and trial.”
The Pope said that religious freedom is not only freedom of worship, but it also guarantees religious communities the freedom to operate in the open. Benedict XVI also addressed his concern over the control of education that takes place in some Latin American countries. Benedicto XVI“I exhort all governments to promote educational systems respectful of the primordial right of families to make decisions about the education of their children, systems inspired by the principle of subsidiarity which is basic to the organization of a just society.”
The Pope used Mother Theresa of Calcutta as an example. During the 100th year since her birth, civil and religious authorities joined together to honor her throughout the world. Benedicto XVI“People like her show the world the extent to which the commitment born of faith is beneficial to society as a whole.”
After the close of the event, Benedict XVI urged for a real and effective compromise, in order to ensure respect and religious freedom.
The Vatican maintains diplomatic relations with 178 countries, and even has ambassadors to the European Union, the Order of Malta and a special mission to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Only the United States has diplomatic relations with more countries in the world.