05/22/2007, 00.00
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Pope: greater respect for democracy and human rights for East Timor

On receiving the new ambassador to the young majority Catholic States, Benedict XVI applauds the “civic maturity” shown by the Timorese during the recent presidential elections, he invites politicians to renew social order and state of law and appeals to the Church to continue in its’ evangelizing mission and in the promotion of moral values among politicians economists and businessmen.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the “the great civic maturity of the people of Timor”, who have recently selected their new president and invited the political authorities to “to restore public order effectively, using legal means, and to ensure a renewed confidence in the legitimate institutions of the State”, the only guarantee for human rights and an expression of hope for the young majority Catholic country.  These were the main points of a message delivered by the Pope to the first East Timorese ambassador to the Holy See Justino Maria Aparício Guterres, who presented the Pope with his letter of credentials yesterday in a private audience at the Vatican.


“The large turnout in recent presidential elections, won by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jose Ramos Horta, - noted the Pope - demonstrates the great civic maturity of the people of Timor, and the hope they have in the process of constructing a democratic State”. “Those in charge of the political, social and economic life of East Timor," he said, "face an arduous journey not without obstacles: there is no lack of internal and external misunderstandings; resources are insufficient to answer the many needs of health, education and employment; and not everyone is ready to abandon their personal or party interests”.


Benedict XVI appealed to the government and opposition to “find new avenues for dialogue and collaboration to avoid the temptation of abandoning oneself to personal or party interests” such as those which have continued to affect the country since independence (2002).


In his address Benedict XVI also underscores the importance “the Holy See gives to the promotion of the person and of peoples”.  “The Church, - he explains - in enlightening the moral conscience of political, economic and financial leaders," highlights "the principle of solidarity as the basis for a true economy of communion and distribution of wealth, both in the international and the national spheres. Such solidarity requires that the efforts to resolve problems of underdevelopment, and the sacrifices necessary to overcome economic and political crises, be shared equally, bearing in mind the needs of those least able to defend themselves”. In expressing his “profound affection” for the nation the Pope also sent his express greeting to the head of state Xanana Gusmao.


After 25 years of Indonesian occupation East Timor declared independence in 2002. Out of a population of over one million 98% are Catholic.



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