Given below is the text of an English-language note published on October 20 by the Vatican press office following the news that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had been killed in the city of Sirte:
The news of the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi marks the end of a much too long and tragic phase of a brutal struggle to bring down a harsh and oppressive regime.
This dramatic event obliges us yet again to reflect on the immense toll of human suffering which accompanies the affirmation and collapse of any system which is not based on the respect and dignity of the human person, but rather on the prevailing affirmation of power.
It is hoped now that the Libyan people might be spared further violence due to a spirit of revenge, and that the new leaders can undertake as soon possible efforts necessary for bringing peace and rebuilding in a spirit of solidarity, based on justice and the rule of law. May the international community also be committed to generously helping in the rebuilding of the nation.
For its own part, the small Catholic community will continue to offer its own witness and service to all people, especially in the charitable and health fields. The Holy See will assist the Libyan people with the instruments available to it in the field of international relations with a spirit of promoting justice and peace.
In this regard, it is necessary to keep in mind that it is a constant practice that when the Holy See establishes diplomatic relations, it recognises States and not governments. For this reason the Holy See has not proceeded in establishing a formal recognition of the National Transitional Council (CNT) as the government of Libya . Given that the CNT is now acting effectively as the government in Tripoli , the Holy See considers it the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, in conformity with international law.
The Holy See has already had contacts with the new Libyan authorities. Firstly, the Secretariat of State, which has the responsibility for the diplomatic relations of the Holy See, has been in contact with the Libyan Embassy to the Holy See following the political changes in Tripoli . During his recent participation at the General Assembly of the United Nations, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, had the opportunity to speak to Abdurrahman M. Shalgham, permanent representative of Libya to the United Nations. More recently, Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, apostolic nuncio to Libya , who is based in Malta , travelled to Tripoli for a three-day visit (from 2-4 October) in which he met Mahmoud Jibril, prime minister of the CNT. Archbishop Caputo was also received by the minister for foreign affairs.
"During these various meetings the importance of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Libya was affirmed by both sides. The Holy See renewed its support for the Libyan people and for the transition. The Holy See wished the new authorities every success in their rebuilding the country. On their own behalf, the leaders of the new Libya expressed their appreciation for the Holy Father's humanitarian appeals and the efforts of the Church in Libya through its services in hospitals and help centres run by thirteen religious communities (six in Tripolitania and seven in Cirenaica)".