Pope receives five new ambassadors to the Holy See including David Cooney of IrelandSaturday, May 5th, 2012
“States have a duty to promote their cultural and religious heritage, which contributes to the development of a nation," said Benedict XVI when he received five new non-resident ambassadors to the Holy See including Mr David Cooney of Ireland (pictured).
In his French-language address to the diplomats including Mr Cooney and others from Ethiopia, Fiji, Armenia and Malaysia, the Holy Father said, "Religion helps us to recognise others as brothers and sisters in humanity. Giving everyone the opportunity to know God, in complete freedom, is to help them forge a strong personality which will enable them to bear witness to good, and put it into effect even at great cost. In this way we will build a society in which sobriety and fraternity triumph over misery, indifference and selfishness, over exploitation and waste and, above all, over exclusion.”
On Friday morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI also spoke of how modern communications media has made our planet smaller. Therefore, awareness of the great suffering caused throughout the world by material and spiritual poverty calls people to mobilise in order to face threats to human beings, society and the environment.
He spoke of the exodus to the great cities in many countries, and how armed conflict, hunger and pandemics, which affect so many people, give rise to new forms of poverty in our time. The global economic crisis has caused an increasing number of families to live in precarious conditions.
“When poverty coexists with enormous wealth, a sense of injustice arises which can become a source of rebellion. Therefore it is necessary for States to ensure that legislation does not increase social inequality and that people can live dignified lives,” he said.
He explained that the development to which all nations aspire must involve human beings in their entirety, not just economic factors. Experiences such as micro-credit and initiatives to create cooperative associations show that it is possible to harmonise economic objectives with social necessities, democratic government and respect for nature.
At the end of last year, the Irish Government selected Mr David Cooney, the former Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to act as the first non-resident ambassador to the Holy See. (See ciNews Christmas Day 2011).
The Government announced the closure of the Embassy to the Holy See on November 3 2011, stating the move was part of a cost-saving exercise. The Embassy was one of the country’s oldest diplomatic missions, dating from 1929. David Cooney previously served as Secretary at the Irish Embassy to the Holy See from 1981 to 1985. He is married with four children and is a practicing Catholic.
by Ann Marie Foley