We have the state of the school address, the state of the state address, the state of the nation address, and even have the state of the world. Today, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his 'state of the world' speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Depending on how you count, there are between 178 to 181 diplomats at the Holy See. Please note the Pontiff's concentration on religious freedom; he is, head and shoulders above all world leaders, the voice for religious freedom as the path to true, lasting peace. The Pope's address, the original was delivered in French:
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you, the distinguished representatives of so many countries, to this meeting which each year assembles you around the Successor of Peter. It is a deeply significant meeting, since it is a sign and illustration of the place of the Church and of the Holy See in the international community. I offer my greetings and cordial good wishes to each of you, and particularly to those who have come for the first time. I am grateful to you for the commitment and interest with which, in the exercise of your demanding responsibilities, you follow my activities, those of the Roman Curia and thus, in some sense, the life of the Catholic Church throughout the world. Your Dean, Ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, has interpreted your sentiments and I thank him for the good wishes which he has expressed to me in the name of all. Knowing how close-knit your community is, I am certain that today you are also thinking of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Baroness van Lynden-Leijten, who several weeks ago returned to the house of the Father. I prayerfully share your sentiments.