Excerpt from a speech delivered on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of His Holiness Pope Francis – 9 May 2017
|It is tonight my great honor and pleasure to welcome you on the occasion of the 4th Anniversary of the Election of Pontificate of Pope Francis. He was elected as the 266th Successor of the See of Peter on the night of March 13, 2013, when a white smoke came out from the chimney of St Peter’s Basilica, where the College of Cardinals were gathered at the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope of the Catholic Church. Before that moment, he was called Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and he took the name Francis immediately after being elected.|
Kuwait and the Holy See have always enjoyed excellent relations in the political, religious and social field. Our diplomatic relations which started 49 years ago, have bloomed to a true friendship: Until the year 1999, the Nuncio in Lebanon served as a non-resident Ambassador to Kuwait: then in 2001, a resident Apostolic Nuncio has been named in Kuwait in the person of HE Most Reverend Giuseppe De Andrea, of happy memory. Bilateral talks continued until His Highness the Amir met personally with Pope Benedict in the Vatican in May 2010. Then later, in September 2015, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah made a historic visit in the Vatican and also met with Pope Francis.
Both our countries have collaborated together so as to preserve this religious tolerance enjoyed by all Creeds until today. We are thankful for the existing places of worship in Kuwait, hoping to have more, one day to accommodate the spiritual needs of the people. Their existence shows to the world that Kuwait enjoys peace precisely because of this religious tolerance strongly supported by His Highness the Emir and the efforts of the Government of Kuwait to preserve this tolerance. All places of worship are considered to be a contribution to peace since it is precisely in these sacred places where people find inner peace with God and their neighbor.
At the beginning of the Pontificate of Pope Francis, during his first Mass as Pope, He appealed to the people of the whole world to be guardians of creation and guardians to each other. He stressed that we all have to care for the earth, the common home of all of us, of all humanity, to care for each other, to care to preserve life, avoid individualism and materialism which will promote hatred and violence.
During his return trip from Poland last August for the World Youth Day, He implored the young people of the world to reject violence and extremism of all forms and to seek always the God of peace. And in his recent address to the participants in the International Peace Conference in Al-Azhar Conference Centre, Cairo, 28 April 2017, he stressed and I quote: “Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘NO’ to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion and in the name of God. Together let us affirm the incompatibility of violence and faith, belief and hatred. Together let us declare the sacredness of every human life against every form of violence, whether physical, social, educational or psychological. Let us say: the more we grow in the love of God, the more we grow in the love of our neigbour”.
By H.E. Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla
Apostolic Nuncio in Kuwait