2013-12-20 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) Diplomacy is an important service that can “favor the culture of encounter.” That was the message Pope Francis had on Friday for Italian diplomats. Greeting a group of Italian diplomats and protocol officers in the Clementine Hall in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis thanked them for “all the help” they give to his ministry with their work – especially the behind the scenes work that “is not noticed but that is so precious.” The Pope expressed particular gratitude for their assistance in helping to organize the inaugural mass for his papacy on March 19th. “It is difficult to comprehend all the diplomatic activity that went on behind that great encounter,” he said.
He also expressed satisfaction with their “collaboration with the Secretariat of State and with the Prefecture of the Papal Household and the ethical and spiritual dimension” that they succeed in cultivating in their work.
In remarking on the ceremonial aspect of their work, the Pope said this is “the most visible” but is an aspect that leads to something less apparent: “the growth of positive relations based on reciprocal recognition, on respect and on the common search for paths to development and peace.”
And their Italian cultural heritage, the Pope affirmed, gives them “an extra card” up their sleeve. “Italy has always been in the world the synonym of culture, of art, civilization.” He encouraged them to ensure that this is enriched by “the culture of encounter” and that “this patrimony benefits the common good – what Paul VI called the civilization of love.”
Wishing them a Merry and blessed Christmas, Pope Francis recalled that this feast is “an encounter between God and mankind.” “A Child is given to us,” the Pope said, who "fully embodies this encounter.”