Nuncio’s Words at the Reception in His Honor offered by Retired Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Monday 11 February 2008
Honorable Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Your Excellency Mr. Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Your Excellencies Members of the diplomatic Corps Honorable Government Representatives, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban has done me the kindness of holding this Reception in my honor, to welcome me as the Apostolic Nuncio of this Country, a role that I have had the privilege to exercise now for more than three months.
Justice Panganiban’s thoughtfulness and generosity have touched me deeply, and though I feel unworthy of the attentions he has extended to me, I want with these few words to express my heartfelt gratitude.
Since the time that I have begun my service in the Philippines, I have learned of Justice Panganiban and of the no small contributions he has made to his country.
When people speak of him, they do so in the superlative, and describe him as a ‘gifted jurist’, a man of ‘intelligence, competence, integrity and independence’.
He is also a man of faith, who has seen that God and his providence have never been absent from his personal and professional life.
I know of course that, in honoring me this evening Justice Panganiban is paying his respect to the Holy See whom I represent and, in particular, to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI is seen by many as a universal moral reference point, someone who acts in world affairs according to the logic of the true, the good, the beautiful.
The Pope finds himself today among the handful of people who are proponents of reason and humanism, a radical humanism that is inspired by and directed to, God.
Art Panganiban is surely among those who can identify with the ideals of the Pope, and I am humbled that a man of such humanity and virtue as the Chief Justice should wish to honor me, as he has done this evening.
I thank him most sincerely and greet him and his dear wife Leni and, in the name of His Holiness the Pope, I invoke God’s blessing on them and their family.