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Thursday, 17 January 1991


Mr Ambassador,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept your Letters of Credence as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the Holy See. I would ask you to convey my cordial greetings to President Mugabe and to assure him of my good wishes that your nation will always be guided by the ideals of reconciliation and peace which inspired its independence and subsequent growth. As I suggested during my Pastoral Visit in 1988, Zimbabwe can be a sign to the Southern African region and to the entire world that "a better future can be built on the basis of justice and brotherhood, under God, without discrimination" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio in Hararae in Zimbabua aeronavium portu, 1, die 10 sept. 1988: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XI, 3 [1988] 649).

Among the positive aspects of the present world situation is the growing realization of the need to address that profoundly disturbing division which continues to exist between the affluent nations and those which are materially less developed. A deeper awareness of the unity of the whole human family and of the radical interdependence of all peoples is gradually fostering a widespread conviction that only genuine solidarity, understood as a moral category determining human relations, can effectively safeguard the dignity and rights of individuals and therefore build peace within societies and between nations. The urgent need for such solidarity makes specific demands on every country. All are challenged to develop a national life which promotes mutual respect and generous cooperation, while those which have been blessed with an abundance of material wealth are also called to respond generously to the needs of less developed countries. In Zimbabwe, as elsewhere, the practice of the virtues which favour togetherness will serve the cause of peace in so far as they "teach us to live in unity, so as to build in unity, by giving and receiving, a new society and a better world" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 39).

Like other African nations, Zimbabwe is faced with a pressing need to ensure a sound and lasting development for her people. Even in its strictly economic dimensions, however, the authentic progress of a society will always be guided by the highest standards of moral responsibility. As your nation seeks to grow in a way which responds to the legitimate hopes and deepest aspirations of all its citizens, it is important that it should contribute to the emergence of a model of integral development which will be genuinely African both in its inspiration and aims, and not dependent upon external models. For "the countries of Africa themselves must be in charge of their own development and historic destiny. Outside aid is urgently needed, but it will only be helpful if the essential force of growth and development is truly African" (Eiusdem Hararae in Zimbabua, allocutio ad nationum Legatos habita, 7, die 11 sept. 1988: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XI, 3 [1988] 702).

I appreciate Your Excellency’s reference to the ways in which the Church has helped to promote the well-being of Zimbabwe’s people over the years. After taking an active part in the achievement of independence, the Catholics of Zimbabwe loyally participate in the process of nation-building by engaging in respectful dialogue on important issues affecting national life and by direct involvement in such critical areas of social progress as education and health care. Guided by their concern for the integral development of each human person, they strive to build a society that fully corresponds to the dignity of its citizens and makes "its life one that is more human" (Gaudium et Spes, 38). I am confident that they will continue to make a valued contribution to public life by addressing the moral and ethical dimensions of important issues affecting the future of the nation and all its citizens.

Mr Ambassador, I am certain that you assume your new diplomatic responsibilities with a keen awareness of the special nature of the Holy See’s activity within the international community. I assure you of the willing cooperation of the various offices of the Roman Curia in the fulfilment of your lofty mission. Upon yourself and all the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.

*Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. XIV, 1 1991 pp. 123-125.

L'Attività della Santa Sede 1991 pp. 57-58.

L’Osservatore Romano 18.1.1991 p.4.

L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly edition in English n.3 p.4.


© Copyright 1991 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana