New Zealand’s new ambassador to the Holy See was among diplomats received in audience by Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace on December 14.
The New Zealand ambassador is Andrew Jenks, who has worked in diplomatic and legal roles since 1993.
A graduate of the University of Otago, and later Victoria University of Wellington, Mr Jenks has, since October, 2016, been New Zealand’s ambassador to Spain, Andorra, Malta and Morocco.
He is married with three children.
Alongside Mr Jenks at the papal audience were new ambassadors to the Holy See from Yemen, Swaziland, Azerbaijan, Chad, Liechtenstein and India. The ambassadors presented their credentials.
Pope Francis asked the ambassadors “to convey to the heads of state of your respective countries my sentiments of appreciation and esteem, and to assure them of my prayers for them and the people they serve”.
The Pope noted the diverse cultures, histories and religious traditions of the nations represented at the audience and praised the “positive and constructive role that such diversity plays in the concert of nations”.
“The international community faces a series of complex threats to the sustainability of the environment and of the world’s social and human ecology, as well as risks to peace and concord stemming from violent fundamentalist ideologies and regional conflicts, which often appear under the guise of opposing interests and values,” the Holy Father continued.
“Yet it is important to remember that the diversity of the human family is not itself a cause of these challenges to peaceful coexistence. Indeed the centrifugal forces that would drive peoples apart are not found in their differences but in the failure to set out on the path of dialogue and understanding as the most effective means of responding to these challenges.”
The Pope told the ambassadors that their presence was a reminder of the “key role that dialogue plays in enabling diversity to be lived in an authentic and mutually enhancing way in our increasingly globalised society”.
“Respectful communication leads to cooperation, especially in fostering reconciliation where it is most needed. This cooperation in turn assists the progress of that solidarity which is the condition for the growth of justice and due respect for the dignity, rights and aspirations of all.”
The Pope said young people today need to learn “the delicate art of diplomacy and the arduous craft of nation-building”.
“Passing this precious legacy on to our children and grandchildren will not only secure a peaceful and prosperous future, but will also meet the demands of intergenerational justice and of that integral human development that is the right of every man, woman and child,” he said.
Francis also stated that “a commitment to dialogue and cooperation must be the hallmark of every institution of the international community, as well as of every national and local institution, for all are charged with the pursuit of the common good”.