Speeches 1970

January 1970



Monday, 19 January 1970

We are indeed happy that your short stay in the Eternal City has given Us the opportunity of meeting you, Monsignor Nolan, and your co-workers, and of giving renewed assurance of Our deep appreciation of the valuable work that has been done and is being done by the members and benefactors of Pontifical Mission for Palestine and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

The land of Palestine is especially dear to us Christians as that which Jesus walked in the days of His earthly life.

And He is again present in that same region today in the persons of all who are “hungry or thirsty or strangers or naked or sick or in prison” (Cfr. Matth Mt 25,34) thus laying upon us, as followers of His teaching and worshippers of His Divine Person, the binding duty to minister to Him under that appearance.

Your association has for many years dedicated itself with exemplary generosity and zeal to that service of the Lord.

In His name We thank you for that devotion, and, as an earnest of the reward “prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Cfr. Mt 25,44), We bestow upon you and those who share in and assist your work, Our wholehearted Apostolic Benediction.

February 1970



Friday, 6 February 1970

Beloved Missionary Priests and Sisters,

the grace and the peace of God our Father, and of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

We are most happy to receive you in Our home. It was only natural that your short stay in Rome should close with this meeting, which We have all desired.

You desired it, as devoted children like to see their beloved Father again. Even more ardently did We desire it, that We might listen to you, thank you for what you have done for the Kingdom of God, inspire you with renewed confidence, and thus restore serenity to your minds.

We are therefore grateful to you for having come, and together with you we give thanks to the Lord for the news you bring Us concerning Nigeria, a land We love so dearly. This news confirms Us in Our hope of the restoration of normal life in the areas which have suffered most in the sorrowful conflict now ended; and this recovery is due to the immediate intervention of the Federal Government, which has taken effective steps to banish the spirit of revenge.

There have been, We feel certain, advances towards that complete reconciliation of minds which will make the Nigerian Federation truly great and prosperous.

You have come here without recriminations, indeed with deep love for the country you have left, where you did your duty as missionaries. You have come with a hidden hope which We seem to see in the serenity of your faces, the hope, perhaps, of one day returning to where you have left your hearts.

We hope it will be so, and We trust that the good will of the Federal Authorities will at the opportune time bring this hope to realization.

Meanwhile other confreres of yours, especially the zealous and self-sacrificing Nigerian clergy, will fill the posts which you have left vacant. We wish to send them at this moment Our greeting and Our blessing, certain that they will redouble their apostolic activity in order to give adequate assistance to their flourishing Catholic communities.

An Apostle goes from one place to another with his gaze ever directed forward. You too, beloved sons and daughters, must have this disposition of mind. The Church continues to count on your ministry and on the generosity of your missionary enthusiasm. This is only a passing phase in your lives. It will also be a time for physical and spiritual repose, one in which you can “rest a while” as Our Lord invited His Apostles to do. Thus you will be able to restore your strength in the houses of your congregations and among your families.

Take with you to all your dear ones Our loving Benediction, which We bestow on you with paternal affection, as a pledge of divine favour and comfort.



Sunday, 22 February 1970

Dear Sons and Friends in Jesus Christ,

We have two brief considerations to present to you today. (For that matter, our presence among you wishes to convey a message as ample as a long discourse).

Of these two considerations, the first one is in your own language, as We rely on your indulgence for Our limited English; the second one is in Italian, which by now you have mastered. The first consideration is about your stay in the American College in Rome; the second one concerns the Gospel text which is assigned for this second Sunday in Lent.

Our first idea is suggested by the fact that you are all citizens of a great country, the United States of America, and now residing in this College in Rome. It is very appropriate to reflect on this fact today, the feast of Saint Peter’s Chair and the anniversary of the birth of George Washington (February 22, 1732).

Your being here in Rome is neither accidental nor unimportant. It is not pure coincidence. Already you must have meditated on it many times, with serious and profound reflection. It is something deliberately willed for your spiritual formation; for your preparation for a priestly ministry; for a service, yet to come, to the Church and to your fellow citizens. It is something very important from the pedagogical and ecclesial point of view.

What is the reason for this importance? We believe that it comes principally from the effects that your stay in Rome can have in your hearts. The factor of place is of great importance. To be in the center of a phenomenon which has a great sphere of influence in the world and in the life of men is always interesting (Take for example: a visit to a factory or to a school).

It is one thing to observe a phenomenon at its source and another thing to observe its peripheral effects. But if you realize what Rome means for a son of the Church and moreover for one of her ministers, then you will understand that your stay in Rome is a marvellous and enduring lesson. It is a lesson in history, in places, in art, in doctrine (and you are here precisely with the purpose to study).

Your stay in Rome is a lesson in that simple but complex organism, called the Roman Curia, which serves and directs the Church. It is that instrument needed by the Pope for the fulfilment of his mission. In all of this there is nothing new or secret for you; the heart physical and visible as it were, is surely very instructive and interesting.

But this is not all. Even a tourist, even a stranger can be interested in this particular aspect. But a member of the Church and especially a cleric sees something more on the Roman scene. He sees the evident traces, here in Rome, of those famous “marks” of the Catholic Church which reveal a wonderful design already showing forth the action of God. Here the unity and catholicity of the Church are seen more clearly than elsewhere; here the apostolic nature of the Church is evident in its marvellous and coherent tradition, and in the full exercise of those apostolic powers that come from Christ. Here the holiness of the Church shines forth in the number of her sons and daughters who witnessed by their life or by their death to the faith of Christ. Here there is seen the finality of her mission which is her reason for being: to save humanity by means of the word and the grace and the imitation of Christ.

We would like to say something more. Rome is not only a passive lesson, a silent book or a picture to be admired. Rome is a voice for him who knows how to listen. And for us it seems that the voice becomes a revelation and a “prophecy” on which our meditations will never be complete. This voice is the echo of the voice of Saint Paul which seems to acquire the supreme fullness of its meaning: “That you . . . may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Ep 3,18-19) in other words the infinite dimensions of the Kingdom of God. Here in Rome we have a special perspective to see better, through the visible signs of the historical and human reality of our Church, the interior reality of the new Covenant between God and humanity, effected in the charity of Christ the Savior.

You are sons of a great People, young and generous, and with the talent proper to your Nation, you are in an excellent position to perceive and discern this superior vision of God’s plan for the world, and thus to accept this Christian vocation to bring salvation and happiness to humanity.

La seconda parola sarà molto semplice, mentre dovrebbe essere molto lunga, profonda e mistica, perché riguarda la trasfigurazione di Gesu Cristo (the transfiguration of Jesus Christ); è la pagina del Vangelo che la Chiesa propone alla nostra meditazione nella liturgia di quest’oggi, seconda domenica di quaresima. Voi conoscete il racconto del fatto meraviglioso. Noi ci limitiamo ad un solo commento sulla conoscenza di Gesù. È una conoscenza che sembra facile, ed è invece misteriosa; una conoscenza che sembra immediata, ed è invece progressiva; una conoscenza che sembra offerta a tutti, ed è invece riservata, ad alcuni (Cfr. Marc. 9, 2; Mt 11,25 Mt 13,13); una conoscenza che sembra astrusa, ed invece diventa da se stessa luminosa, gaudiosa e amorosa (Cfr. Io Jn 14,21); una conoscenza che sembra una come tante altre, e che invece diventa necessaria per spiegare tutte le altre (Jn 8,12); una conoscenza che sembra indifferente per la nostra vita, ed invece è il principio della nostra vita vera ed eterna (Cfr. Io Jn 17,3).

Ed è circa questa conoscenza che si svolge il Vangelo; è la chiave, che ne apre il segreto (Cfr. Io Jn 1,10-11). Gesù è conosciuto dalla gente del suo ambiente come «il figlio del fabbro»: “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Mt 13,55).

Poi alcuni lo riconoscono come «figlio di David», “son of David” (Mt 15,22 Mt 21,9); altri come profeta, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee” (Mt 21,11); ed altri come il Precursore, Giovanni Battista redivivo, o come uno dei Profeti (Cfr. Marc.6, 16; Mt 16,14); altri finalmente come «il Cristo, il Figlio del Dio vivente», “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16,16); ed è a questo titolo, che Gesù è condannato a morte: “He deserves death” (Mt 26,66), ed in forza di questo titolo Gesù è risorto e vive per l’eternità (Cfr. Apoc Ap 5,12).

Intorno all’enigma: chi sia Gesù, si svolge tutto il Vangelo, nell’incanto della sua semplicità e della sua bellezza, nel fascino della sua sapienza, nella drammaticità della sua tragedia, nel mistero della sua gloria finale. Qui, nella scena della trasfigurazione questo enigma è per un istante svelato; una rivelazione di luce e di gioia nella notte: «Questo è il mio Figlio diletto, lui ascoltate», dice la voce, che esce dalla nube misteriosa e luminosa: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Marc. 9, 7).

Tutto è qui. Nella notte della storia la grande questione si pone continuamente; oggi più che mai: Chi è Gesù? La Chiesa, la Chiesa soltanto conosce e conserva la risposta vera e formidabile; Gesù, il figlio di Maria, è il Verbo incarnato, è il Figlio di Dio fatto uomo, è il Cristo, nostro fratello, nostro maestro, nostro Salvatore, nostro Signore.

E voi, carissimi Alunni di questo collegio, siete qui per ascoltare, per studiare, per meditare, per fare vostra oggi e per annunciare domani questa risposta della trasfigurazione, la risposta della verità, la risposta della fede, la risposta della luce e della salvezza del mondo. Non dimenticatelo mai!




Thursday, 26 February 1970

Mister Ambassador,

We accept with sincere pleasure the Letters of Credence which you present to Us on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, and We bid you a heartfelt welcome as your country’s Ambassador to the Holy See.

Your Excellency will represent a people whose energy and self-sacrifice have enabled them to make a wonderful recovery from the effects of war, and who, as you have reported, are inspired by the profound desire to contribute to harmony among nations by encouraging friendly cooperation and by promoting that development and prosperity without which there can be no secure peace.
The great World Exposition to be held this year in Osaka will provide a brilliant reflection both of the advance in your country’s economy and of its wish to join with others in furthering the welfare of all.

Your words, Mister Ambassador, show forth your deep appreciation of the capital importance of working for peace, in view of the destructive forces which man has learned to unleash, to the extent that modern war threatens the very survival of mankind, and in view of the immense blessings that peace can produce.

In accordance with the obligation laid on Us by Him who gave men the commandment to love one another, We have made it one of the main aims of Our Pontificate to labour in that worthy cause. In that work We count especially on the collaboration of dedicated persons such as Your Excellency, who, because of their calling as diplomats, have the special concern to create human and rational relations among nations.

Your Excellency will find Us ready at all times to assist you in the performance of your duties, in all that can promote the spiritual and moral values of your country, and in furthering mutual understanding and assistance between peoples.

It is therefore with a full heart that We invoke upon Your Excellency and upon your activity the richest blessings of heaven.

*AAS 62 (1970), p.174.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VIII, p.154-155.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1970, p. 85-86.

L'Osservatore Romano, 27.2.1970, p.2.

ORa n.11 p.2.

Mach 1970



Saturday, 14 Mach 1970

Dear Sons and Daughters in Jesus Christ,

It is a joy have you with us. It is the Church of Christ that sent you out as missionaries to a great people; it is the Vicar of Christ who receives you back today.

In His name We thank you for what you have done to spread His Gospel. We thank you for your dedication and self-sacrifice. We thank you for all that you have suffered in the name of Jesus, and for His people.

In you, We greet your brother and sister missionaries throughout the world, those who, as we said on last Mission Sunday, “have had the supreme courage to give everything, to give themselves”, who “know how to wait without seeing results”, who “die with their work unfinished, tired, alone, sacrificing their remaining nostalgic feelings in the unique invincible love of Christ, alive in His Church”.

We thank you for your faith and bid you place your unending hope in the resurrected Christ.
Wherever you may go in His name, Our Apostolic Blessing is upon you.

April 1970



Saturday, 4 April 1970

We are most touched by the affectionate and confident words which Rev. P. Dhanis speaks to Us in your name, and We thank the Lord for this meeting, which He allows us to have with specialists highly-qualified in exegesis, theology and philosophy, who have come (to Rome) to share fraternally their researches upon the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ.

Yes, We rejoice very much in this symposium, which has been facilitated by the warm hospitality of the Institut Saint-Dominique on Via Cassia. We congratulate the organizers and all the members, whom We here receive most heartily, happy to express to them Our high esteem, Our particular good-will and Our most lively encouragement.

In response to your expectations, We wish to share with you, in all simplicity, some thoughts that are suggested to Us by the central theme of the Resurrection of Jesus, which you have so happily chosen as the object of your work.

1) Is it necessary to begin by showing you the radical importance which, like all Our Christian sons and brothers, We attach to this study? And, We dare to say, the importance is still greater for Us, in the light of the position which the Lord has given Us in His Church - as privileged witness and guardian of the faith. Of this you are probably all well aware!

Is not all the Gospel-history centred on the Resurrection? Without this, what would the Gospels themselves be, those Gospels which announce "the Good News of the Lord Jesus"? Do we not find there the source of all Christian preaching? (cf. Acts Ac 2,32).

Does it not always remain the fulcrum of the whole epistemology of the faith, which without it would lose its consistence - as the Apostle Paul himself says: "If Christ be not risen... our faith is void" (cf. 1Co 15,1-4).

Is it not this same Resurrection - which alone gives meaning - to all the Liturgy, to our "Eucharists", assuring us of the presence of the Risen Christ, Whom we celebrate amid thanksgiving: "We proclaim your death, O Lord Jesus; we celebrate your Resurrection; we look forward to your return in glory" (Anamnesis).

Yes, all Christian hope is based on the Resurrection of Christ, upon which is "anchored" our own resurrection along with Him. Indeed, even now we are risen with Him (cf. Col. Col 3,1) - the whole fabric of our Christian Life is woven through with this unfailing certainty and this hidden reality, along with the joy and dynamism which they produce.

2) So it is not surprising that such a mystery, so fundamental for our faith, so prodigious for our intelligence, has always aroused during the march of history not only the passionate interest of exegetes, but also a multiform contestation. This phenomenon was already evident even during the lifetime of the evangelist, S. John, who thought it necessary to point out that the unbelieving Thomas was actually invited to touch with his hands the mark "of the nails and the blessed side of the risen “Word of. Life” (cf. Jn. Jn 20,24-29).

Is not the same thing suggested later, in the efforts of a gnosis everrecurring under many forms, to penetrate this mystery by means of all the resources of the human spirit, and thus to reduce the mystery to the dimensions of merely human categories? These efforts are indeed understandable, and even inevitable, but they have a fearful penchant quietly to empty of all richness and significance that which is above all a fact: the resurrection of the Saviour.

Even today - and you have certainly no need to be reminded of this - we see this tendency reveal its ultimate dramatic consequences, going so far as to deny, even among people who profess themselves Christians, the historical value of the inspired witness, or (more recently) to interpret the physical resurrection of Jesus in a way that is purely mythical, spiritual or moral. Of course We are profoundly aware of the disintegrating effect that such harmful discussions have upon many of the faithful. But - and We say this with emphasis - We regard all this without fear, since, today just as in the past, the witness of “the eleven and their companions” is capable, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, of arousing the true faith: “It is indeed true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Peter" (Lc 24,34-35).

3) It is in these sentiments that We regard with great respect the hermeneutic and exegetical work being done upon this fundamental theme, by qualified men of science like yourselves. Your attitude is conformed to the principles and norms which the Catholic Church has established for biblical studies. Let it suffice for Us to recall here the well-known encyclicals of Our predecessors. “Providentissimus Deus” of Leo XIII (1893) and "Divino Afflante Spiritu" of Pius XII (1943), as well as the recent Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum of Vatican II. Not only a healthy liberty of research is recognized, but also one finds recommended that effort which is needed in order to adapt the study of Sacred Scripture to the needs of today, and to “truly discover that which the sacred author willed to affirm” (Dei Verbum DV 12).

Such a perspective retains the attention of the world of culture, and is a source of new enrichments for biblical studies. We are happy that it should be so. As always, the Church appears as the jealous guardian of the written Revelation, and she shows herself animated today by a realist preoccupation: to use with discernment all knowledge and thought, in the critical interpretation of the biblical text. Thus the Church, while providing the means to know the thoughts of others, seeks to verify its own thinking and to provide occasions for meetings that are loyal and comforting for so many upright minds seeking the truth. Further, the Church herself meets with the difficulties inherent in the exegesis of difficult or doubtful texts, and she approves the utility of having diverse opinions. St. Augustine has noted: “It is useful that many opinions be found concerning the obscurities of the divine Scriptures, by which God has willed to exercise us; it is useful that some should think differently from others, so long as all are in harmony with sound faith and doctrine” ( Paulinum, 149, n. 34, P.L. 33, 644).

And the Church, still under the guidance of St. Augustine, exhorts her sons to seek for the solutions, by study joined with prayer: “Non solum admonendi sunt studiosi venerabilium Litterarum, ut in Scripturis sanctis genera locutionum sciant..., verum etiam, quod est praecipuum et maxime necessarium, orent ut intelligant” (De Doctrina Christiana, III, 56: P.L. 34, 89).

4) But let Us return to the theme which is the object of your symposium. It appears to Us, for Our part, that your various analyses and reflections tend to confirm, with the help of new researches, the doctrine which the Church holds and professes as regards the Resurrection. As Romano Guardini, of happy memory, once noted in a penetrating meditation of faith, the gospel accounts underline “often and forcefully, that the Risen Christ is very different from what He was before Easter, and from the rest of men. His nature, according to the accounts, has some strange character. His approach confuses, fills with fear. Whereas previously He ‘came’ and ‘went’, now it is said that He ‘appears’, ‘suddenly’ alongside the pilgrims, that He ‘disappears’ (cf. Mk. Mc 16,9-14 Lc 24,31-36). No longer do corporeal barriers exist for Him. He is no longer bound by the frontiers of space and time; He moves with a new liberty, unknown upon the earth... But at the same time, it is strongly asserted that it is the same Jesus of Nazareth, in flesh and bone, just as He had lived formerly among his own, and not a mere phantom...” Yes, “the Lord is transformed. He lives differently than before. His present existence is incomprehensible to us. And yet, it is corporeal; it contains Jesus whole and entire, and even - by means of His wounds - all the life He has lived, the destiny He underwent, His Passion and His Death”. Thus, there is not simply a glorious survival of His "self". We are in the presence of a profound and complex reality, of a new but fully human life: “The penetration and transformation of the whole life, including the body, by the presence of the Holy Spirit… We realize that change of perspective which is called faith, and which, instead of thinking of Christ in terms of the world, thinks of the world and of all things in terms of Christ... The Resurrection brings to flower a seed which He had always borne within Him”. Yes, we say again with Romano Guardini, “we need the Resurrection and the Transfiguration, in order to understand truly what the human body is... In reality, only Christianity has dared to place the body among the most hidden secrets of God” (R. Guardini, Le Seigneur, trad. R. P. Lorson, t. 2, Paris, Alsatia, 1945, p. 119-126).

In front of this mystery, we remain penetrated with admiration and full of wonderment, just as we feel before the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth (cf. Gregory the Great, Hom. 26 in Ev., Breviary reading on Low Sunday). Let us then enter, with the Apostles, into that faith in the Risen Christ which alone can bring us salvation (cf. Acts Ac 4,12).

We are also full of confidence in the security of the tradition which the Church guarantees through her Magisterium - she who encourages scientific work at the same time as she proclaims the faith of the Apostles.

My dear Sirs, these few very simple words at the end of your scholarly labours, only wish to encourage you to persevere in the same faith, never losing sight of the service of the People of God, which is entirely “regenerated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, towards a living hope” (1P 1,3). And We, in the name, of Him: “Who was dead, and has returned to life”, of that “faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead” (Ap 1,5 Ap 2,8), We grant you, from a full heart and in pledge of abundant graces for the fruitfulness of your researches, Our Apostolic Blessing.


Thursday, 23 April 1970

Mister Ambassador,

It is with warmth and pleasure that We welcome Your Excellency this morning. It is with a special joy that We greet you as the first Ambassador of Canada to the Holy See, and thus see operative the diplomatic relations recently established.
We appreciate the kind words which you have spoken about the role exercised by the Holy See on the international stage. For Our part, We know the contribution made by your great Country in this regard over the years. We are now confident that this new bond that unites us will enable both of us to work more effectively towards those goals of our common interest mentioned by Your Excellency. It is indeed on behalf of all the peoples of the world that our coordinated efforts must be made.

To Your Excellency We extend Our very best wishes for the fulfilment of your mission. We assure you that you will find Us always ready to be of assistance, especially in what concerns world peace. We pray that you will truly render great service to your Country, for which We renew Our best wishes for prosperity and harmonious development.
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in whose name you have presented your Letters of Credence go our respectful greetings; we ask Your Excellency to reiterate to the Right Honourable Prime Minister the expression of Our deferential esteem. Upon yourself, your family and the beloved Canadian People We invoke in abundance the blessings of God.

*AAS 62 (1970), p.293.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol.VIII, p.347.

L'Osservatore Romano, 24.4.1970, p.1.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1970, p.174-175.

ORa n. 18 p.11.

May 1970


Friday, 8 May 1970

Dear Friends,

We welcomed with great pleasure your request to have this audience today; We are happy to have this occasion to address most cordially the members of the Young Presidents’ Organization, and their wives.

The occasion of your gathering is an important one: it is your First International Congress outside the United States, or as you also like to call it: “First International University for Presidents”. We are happy that this reason has brought you to Rome; We are happy to welcome you to the Vatican.

We wish at this time to tell you how deeply interested We are in your persons: who you are and what you do. We are further interested in the important theme you have chosen for your Congress. Both of these aspects attract our attention and seem to invite our comments.

First of all, our interest is in your persons: in you who make up the Young Presidents’ Organization. Because you are presidents, you exert great influence. You are leaders in the world and leaders you must be. You are young and the influence of your dynamism must be felt for the good of others.

We cannot help but admire deeply the goals that you have set up for yourselves. You are dedicated to improving your professional capacity, and to perfecting yourselves in view of your public responsibility. You seek to enlarge your vision of general problems affecting the economic and social life of our times.

These are indeed high and worthy aspirations. Through them you testify to your dedication to serve humanity and thus you elicit Our esteem.

In the context of this your sense of commitment to the common good, We see why you have also chosen such a noble theme: “One Planet, One People, One Purpose”. The world is indeed small and, despite setbacks, the movement toward fraternal unity is on. Our common purpose can be none other than to promote unity and the peace that both causes unity and results from it. We therefore look upon you, dear friends, as artisans of unity and peace. We think that you are especially placed in order to build bridges of unity, and span divisions that impair peace.

A long tradition gives us the name of Pontiff; our special work is to bridge over divisions and to promote unity “in the bond of peace” (Ep 4,3). You can see another reason why We are so interested in the work you do.

But the thought that We would leave with you today-and We have repeated it so very often - is this: the “new name for peace is development” (Populorum progressio PP 87). Under this heading, We would like to see your special contribution. You can be great artisans of peace because you have the ability to promote development - vast and unselfish - that will aid the people of the world effectively to reach its goal. Peace will prevail only if human dignity is recognized and if work is always at the service of man.

The development We speak about is “the good of every man and of the whole man” (Ibid., 14). This involves the efforts of all men of good will (Ibid., 83).

As you pursue your goals, we trust that you will continue to turn your minds toward God from whom alone can come the perfect orientation of your thoughts and actions, in accord with their highest Principle. It is from God that you will obtain the light and strength and protection needed in your lives: “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . .” (Iac. 1. 17).

We hope that the deliberations on your relevant theme may spur you on to do the maximum in the service of mankind. Your responsibility-as you so well know-is heavy and the needs are many. Your contribution may well be more lasting than bronze.

With this as our hope and prayer, and thanking you for your gracious visit, we invoke upon all of you abundant blessings from God.


Saturday, 9 May 1970

Dear Friends from Australia and New Zealand,

We are grateful for the kind words just addressed to us by your spokesman, the Ambassador. We can assure you that it is indeed a great pleasure to be associated with you in the joy of your celebration.

The bicentenary anniversary of Captain Cook’s coming to your countries and his extensive navigations and discoveries is understandably significant to all of you. Significant also is the two hundred year period of history that has subsequently elapsed, and presently leaves with you the challenges, problems and hopes of tomorrow.

It is fitting at this juncture of your history that you pause to raise your minds to the Creator of the world and Lord of history who “gives to all men life and health and everything” (Act. 17: 25). Your anniversary suggests indeed sentiments of thanksgiving to God for so many gifts received and for such lavish blessings. At the same time, it suggests humble prayer for the strength needed in the lives of your people.

On Our part, We wish to assure you on this occasion of Our oneness with you all. Australia and New Zealand may seem far away from Rome, but We want you to know that your beloved countries remain very close to Us. You are close in Our thoughts and in Our prayers. It will always be that way. In the Archives of the Vatican, there is an unsigned note that seems to date from between the years seventeen hundred and eighty and seventeen hundred and ninety. It speaks of the exploits of Captain Cook which you are now commemorating. Without making extensive observations, We should at least like to look upon the presence of this document in the Vatican as an early indication of the Church’s interest in your history. And We wish to assure you also that this interest is constant. It is manifested today and often in Our prayers.

We pray for your peace and prosperity. We pray that every man and woman who lives within your boundaries may experience ever more his human dignity and the greatness of his calling as a child of God. We pray that your countries, illumined by the Southern Cross, may continue to make their special contributions to mankind.

And finally, We invoke upon each and every one of you, and upon your dear ones, all choicest blessings from God.


Monday, 18 May 1970

Speeches 1970