Speeches 1974

March 1974


Wednesday, 20 March 1974

Dear sons in Christ,

It is a pleasure for us to have this opportunity to extend a word of welcome to you, the Prior General and members of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate.

We are aware of the admirable pastoral work carried out by your Congregation in India: teaching at all levels, the care of the aged and the sick, the apostolate of the press, as well as running several mission dioceses. For all of this activity on behalf of the Church we thank you from our heart.

We are likewise pleased to note that there is no lack of vocations to the priesthood, and we would ask you to assure your students of our particular fatherly affection. We pray that they will be granted the grace of perseverance and joy in the life of special union with Christ which they have freely embraced.

To all of you indeed we give the assurance of a special place in our prayers. As we express once more our particular closeness to you in your work, we cordially impart to yourselves and to all the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate our Apostolic Blessing.


Saturday, 23 March 1974

Dear sons and daughters, dear friends,

We are always happy to greet students of the arts and we willingly extend to you today our cordial welcome.

We know the opportunities that have been yours over the past year: how you have been able to study and become personally acquainted with the masterpieces of Florentine art, and absorb the culture of those great surroundings. You have had time to reflect, and on countless occasions to lift your own minds and hearts to the great episodes and realities of revealed religion, which you have so often seen depicted.

And now at the end of an academic year you have wished to come to this City and pay a visit to the Bishop of Rome who, as Vicar of Christ, has likewise the chief pastoral responsibility and care of all his people.

It is by reason of this pastoral office of ours that have profound interest in everything that touches on the life of man, especially everything that can uplift him, promote his natural dignity and help him to attain his supernatural destiny. In the attainment of these ends the fine arts can play a role of significant importance.

We are convinced that you are in a position, by reason of your training, to promote the arts and consequently to render a great service to mankind. And we see this likewise as a great challenge for your youthful energies-a challenge which becomes all the greater when viewed in the context of the Christian faith.

We are convinced moreover-as we said last year-that “there still exists, there exists even in this arid and secularized world of ours, which is at times profaned by obscenities and blasphemies, a wonderful capacity (and this is the marvel that we are seeking!)- a wonderful capacity for expressing not only what is genuinely human but also what is religious, divine and Christian” (Cfr. L’Osservatore Romano, 24 June 1973).

We hope-we trust-that you will consider this a vocation, and that your activities-and your lives themselves-will be directed towards fulfilling these marvellous aims.

May your Christian outlook on all creation enable you to experience the deepest spiritual joys of life and render worthy service to a world so much in need of the redeeming and uplifting message of Christ, who is himself the full expression of the Father’s glory.

April 1974


Monday, 8 April 1974

Mr Ambassador,

It gives us great pleasure to receive your visit today and to accept from you the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See.

We are likewise pleased to reciprocate the cordial greetings which you have conveyed to us from His Excellency the President of your country.

We have noted with satisfaction the serious intent with which you assume your responsibilities. We assure you that your major concern, to strengthen and further develop the relations happily existing between Korea and the Holy See, will always meet with our fullest response and support.

Prompted by the words of your address, we are also happy to state that, from the standpoint of the Holy See, the maintaining of diplomatic relations has primarily a spiritual motivation and aim.

Through its diplomatic mission, the Holy See seeks only to promote the advancement of mankind, employing this form of representation as a means of contributing to the solution of fundamental problems concerning human life and dignity.

We can assure you therefore that the Church will always seek to serve the welfare of the Korean people in whatever way she can and within the limits of her resources. For while engaged for the most part in serving man’s specifically spiritual needs, the Church is at the same time called to concern herself with man’s integral well-being, both within and beyond her own community.

Because her message is a spiritual one of love, the Church strives to be present to help man whenever he is in need.

We appreciate very much your reference to the first Christian missionaries in your country and to the flourishing fruits of their work to be seen today. We would like you to know how much the Pope loves and esteems the Church in Korea for that strength and firmness in the faith which distinguishes her.

Finally, Mr Ambassador, while we invoke upon all the beloved people of your country the divine favours of harmony and prosperity, we extend to you personally our best wishes for the happy and profitable fulfilment of your mission.


Saturday, 20 April 1974

To Our Venerable Brothers The Bishops of Asia

On the occasion of the First General Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences we gladly send you our fraternal greetings. You have chosen to discuss during this Assembly the question of Evangelization. You will examine how best you can proclaim Christ, “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14,6) to the peoples of Asia-to more than half of mankind.

The immensity of this Evangelization is both a challenge and a consolation. It constitutes a burden which in human terms may seem unbearable, but which you know can easily be borne, because it was given to you by Christ, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light (Cfr. Matth Mt 11,30).

At the same time the very vastness of your task gives you a special position and the results of your present deliberations can prove to be of great help to your brother bishops and to the whole Church during the forthcoming Synod.

You know of our personal affection for you and for all the peoples of Asia, both those who have already received the Message of Christ, and those to whom it has still to be proclaimed, not by force or by imposition, but in an open and friendly approach which demonstrates Christian love. We have given testimony to this affection in the visits which we were privileged to make to Asia.

Dear Brothers in Christ, because of this love which we have for the peoples of Asia, because of the importance of Evangelization in your countries, and because of the value which we attach to your discussions, we now take this opportunity to share with you some of our thoughts, and to reiterate some of the things we said when we stood in your midst on Asian soil in 1970.

You have the consolation and the inspiration of going forth to sow the seed of Christ’s Message in fertile ground. The persuasion of spiritual values, the high degree of ascetical discipline, the family-oriented sense of filial devotion and the thirst for spiritual culture shown by your nations through their different religions-all these things are indisputable pointers to the primacy among your peoples of the things of the spirit. The propagation of the Christian Message must in no way cancel out or lessen these cultural and spiritual values, which constitute a priceless heritage. The Church must make herself in her fullest expression native to your countries, your cultures, your races. Let the seed, which is the word of God, put down deep roots in the fertile soil of Asia. Let the Church draw nourishment from the genuine values of venerable Asian religions and cultures. Her own contribution to Asia will surely be welcomed by your peoples, who are accustomed by centuries of spiritual formation to recognize and acknowledge what is good in others. Let the Church be seen, therefore, as a community of brethren, distinguished by their love for one another and for all men, imitating their founder who went about doing good (Cfr. Act. 10. 39).

It is our earnest and constant prayer that the increasing pace of Evangelization may help to preserve your peoples from the danger of materialism. Let it do so, not by ignoring material needs, but by responding to the hunger for bread, for responsibility, for freedom and for justice. Let Evangelization respond to these needs by demonstrating that practical and all-embracing brotherly solidarity with one another under the common fatherhood of God which typifies our Christian Religion (Cfr. Message to the Peoples of Asia, 29 Novembre 1970: AAS 63, 1971, PP 35-40).

Finally, we hope and pray that the Evangelization of Asia will give great glory to God in heaven and bring peace on earth, peace of heart, peace within families, peace among nations. Blessed indeed are those who spread the Gospel of peace.

Beloved Brothers, in pledge of our enduring spiritual affection we gladly impart our Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 30 March 1974


May 1974


Saturday, 11 May 1974

We are happy to greet members of the Calix Society on the twenty-fifth anniversary of their foundation. As we welcome you on your pilgrimage to the See of Peter, we express our appreciation of your earnest commitment to working for the elimination of alcoholic abuse, including alcoholism itself.

In our apostolic ministry we are deeply aware of the gravity of this problem and how it is closely linked to the overall problem of drug abuse. We see the disastrous effects that these disorders have on so many people throughout the world: the effects on the individual, on families, on communities.

We know moreover the effects on society as a whole.

We see how widespread alcoholic abuse is and how it causes great human suffering, anguish and deterioration - even death. It produces marked disorientation of the whole person, especially when accompanied by grave lack of personal responsibility and by serious sin. To be properly confronted, alcoholic abuse and, in particular, alcoholism must be fully understood with all their various implications : physical, psychological, moral and religious. In this way, rehabilitation can be effectively undertaken. We know that this rehabilitation of those in need calls for fraternal interest and professional help on the part of others, together with strict personal discipline and repeated and sustained effort.

We are greatly pleased, therefore, to express our sincere and lively commendation of the valued efforts that are being made by many through the application of the appropriate natural means. We are even more pleased when efforts, like your own, take into account supernatural reality and admit the impact that must come from Christian principles and from the exercise of the Catholic faith. In recognizing a dimension-beyond natural forces-needed for the cure of alcoholism and for the Christian reconciliation of persons afflicted thereby, you are in effect finding yet another application of the broad and time-proven principle enunciated by Saint Thomas- a principle expressing an immutable relationship between nature and grace: gratia perficit naturam (Cfr. S. TH. I, q. 1. a. 8 ad 2).

IVe rejoice to see how many people esteem recourse to a higher power in overcoming the problems related to alcoholic abuse. And worthy of special mention is the fact that you identify this higher power as the supernatural grace of Jesus Christ, the healing power of his word and of his sacraments. In this latter regard we are happy to encourage you to draw special attention to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the Eucharist. We are confident moreover that your efforts, motivated as they are by authentic Christian concern for your fellowmen in need, will be effective in helping them to undergo the genuine metanoia of true renewal and reconciliation.

We express our double insistence on the need of taking into account both nature and grace for the benefit of the unified whole which is the new man in Jesus Christ.

You have chosen to look upon Matt Talbot as an admirable exemplar of discipline and supernatural virtue. It is our hope that his success will encourage countless men and women throughout the world to realize the need for conversion, the possibility of real rehabilitation, the serenity of Christian reconciliation, and the peace and joy of helping others to overcome abuses, disorders and sin.

May your efforts and those of all men endeavouring to assist in such an important work be blessed by God, “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Cfr. Act. 17, 28), and without whose help we are incapable of supernatural conversion.

And with the expression of our hope goes our Apostolic Blessing.


Wednesday, 22 May 1974

Dear friends,

We have responded willingly to the request for an audience Committee of the United Nations on Apartheid. We are happy to have this occasion to restate the Church’s position on the great crucial themes of human dignity and the fundamental equality of all men, and, in particular, on the issue of discrimination.

This teaching reflects a whole Christian concept of man himself, who is created in God’s likeness and redeemed by Christ. It was he who left us both a heritage and a challenge when he said: “You are all brothers” (Mt 23,8).

Our predecessors in the See of Peter, the Vicars of Christ throughout the years, have repeatedly given expression to his teaching in the defence of man. It was Paul III who promoted the dignity of the native peoples of the Americas: their freedom, their right to property (Pastorale Officium, 29 May 1537: DS 1495 cfr. also GREGORY XVI, In Supremo Aportolatus Fastigio, 3 December 1839: DS 2745). In modern times our great predecessors Pius XII and John XXIII steadfastly reaffirmed the priceless Gospel heritage (Cfr. Radio Message, 24 December 1942: AAS 35, 1343, p. 19; Pacem in Terris PT 11 April 1963: AAS 55, 1963, PP 259-260).

Thus we unhesitatingly proclaim once again the dignity of the human person and the brotherhood of all men. True brotherhood takes into account the common origin, nature and destiny of all members of the human family and the equality of their fundamental rights. We find it as relevant today as seven years ago to state: “This equality demands an ever more explicit recognition in civil society of every human being’s essential rights . . . Consequently, the aspirations of all men desiring to enjoy those rights which flow from their dignity as human persons are wholly legitimate” (Message to Africa: AAS 59, 1967, p. 1082).

And yet as we note with pleasure that there is indeed a growing awareness of the exalted dignity proper to the human person, and that civilization marches towards the recognition of equality and the freedoms demanded by reason of this human dignity and equality, we must all admit that one of the great paradoxes of our time is that in fact these freedoms are all too frequently restricted, violated and denied.

Various forms of discrimination militate against the rights of individuals and communities and the harmony of society. Antagonisms and rivalries obscure the effective realization of the one united human family under the Fatherhood of God. Hatred existing in the hearts of men and manifested in strife still imperils the security, peace and prosperity of peoples.

As we warn of the dangers concomitant with abuses against human dignity, equality and liberty, we reiterate the Church’s often-repeated appeal to banish all discrimination, in law or in fact, which is based on “race, origin, colour, culture, sex or religion” (Octogesima Adveniens, 16: AAS 63 , 1971, p. 413).

Discrimination takes on many forms. It is present when individuals and entire populations are not granted the right of religious freedom, the “free and normal expression of that most jealously guarded right of the human spirit” (Message for the Day of Peace 1972: AAS 63, 1971, p. 867). It is likewise present, for example, when the equal dignity of women is not respected. It is present when the migrant worker is looked down upon, when the poor are held down to inhuman conditions of life.

As we rightly recognize the importance of each of these categories, we willingly state that “racial discrimination possesses at the moment a character of very great relevance by reason of the tension which it stirs up both within certain countries and on the international level. Men rightly consider unjustifiable and reject as inadmissible the tendency to maintain or introduce legislation or behaviour systematically inspired by racialist prejudice” (Octogesima Adveniens, 16: AAS 63, 1971, p. 413). What we are repeating now we had said even before, as we stood on African soil: “We deplore the fact that, in certain parts of the world, there persist social situations based upon racial discrimination and often willed and sustained by systems of thought; such situations constitute a manifest and inadmissible affront to the fundamental rights of the human person . . . . .” (Address to the Parliament of Uganda: AAS 61, 1969, p. 585).

Conditions in the world today prompt us once again to repeat with the same measure of conviction what we said before: “Within a country which belongs to each one, all should be equal before the law, find equal admittance to economic, cultural, civic and social life and benefit from a fair sharing of the nation’s riches” (Octogesima Adveniens, 16: AAS 63, 1971, p. 413). All men must participate in the life of the nation. Power, responsibility and decision-making cannot be the monopoly of one group or race or segment of the people. The message which we offer-and it is at the same time advice, counsel and injunction for Christian consciences- to every group or state or nation is what we have learned from him whom we represent: “You are all brothers”.

In advocating the recognition of the dignity of all men and the protection of their fundamental rights, the Christian message calls for integral human development, which-we have insisted-is “the new name of peace” (Populorum Progressio PP 87, AAS 59, 1967, p. 299) and “the indisputable exigency of justice” (Address to the Parliament of Uganda: AAS 61, 1969, p. 582).

The Church realizes that the development of peoples involves, besides the equality of races, “the right to aspire to their own legitimate autonomy” (Ibid. p. 584). Our thought on this complex issue is no secret to you. We expressed it when we explained that freedom means “civil independence, political self-determination, emancipation from the domination of other powers . . . (Ibid. p. 582).

In the quest for the attainment of this full measure of human dignity, men must indeed proceed in certain circumstances and historical situations with particular prudence and wisdom. The degree of the gradualness with which they proceed must be in proportion to the urgency; there must be a precise plan with a definite time-table. But the cause is urgent and the hour is late. “Yes,” as we said last year, “as long as the rights of all the peoples, among them the right to self-determination and independence, are not duly recognized and honoured, there cannot be true and lasting peace, even though the abusive power of arms may for a time prevail over the reactions of those opposed. For as long as, within the individual national communities, those in power do not nobly respect the rights and legitimate freedoms of the citizens, tranquillity and order (even though they can be maintained by force) remain nothing but a deceptive and insecure sham, no longer worthy of a society of civilized beings (Address the College of Cardinals, 21 December to 1973: AAS 66, 1973, p. 21).

Therefore, from our vantage point we earnestly call upon all men of good will to recognize this and to give heed to the just yearnings of individuals and peoples.

In the solution of these pressing problems, the only possible means are the means indicated by the Christian message, which claims without reservation the need to give witness to promote and effect justice, as brotherhood, love and the inventive capacity of man suggest, but with violence excluded.

On another occasion we noted: “In the face of deplorable delays, or even of continuous disregard of the problems, the temptation to violent means . . . may become very strong. But violence as a solution is illusory. Moreover, it is difficult to reconcile violence with the righteousness that it is intent upon proclaiming or defending” (Letter Cardinal Conway, 6 March 1972: AAS to 64, 1972, PP 312-313). No, we repeat, violence is not an acceptable solution. It must give way to reason, mutual trust, sincere negotiations and fraternal love.

The subject of our consideration today has vast ramifications and it is not possible to speak of all of them. The theme we have touched upon calls to mind also the need to terminate class struggle and hatred at every level and in every form. The rights of minorities call out for protection as do the rights of the poor, the handicapped, the incurably ill and all those who live at the margin of society and are without voice. Above all the precious right to life-that most fundamental of all human rights-must be affirmed anew, together with the condemnation of that massive aberration which is the destruction of innocent human life, at whatever stage it may be, through the heinous crimes of abortion or euthanasia.

Yes, it is our mission to call upon all men to give recognition to God’s dominion-to whom be glory for ever and ever (Ga 1,5)-and to banish all discrimination in recognition of the dignity of every man. To all men of good will we repeat again, and yet again: “You are all brothers”.

*AAS 66 (1974), p.342-346;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XII, p.457-461;

OR 23.5.1974, p.1, 2;

ORa n.23 p.2.

June 1974


Saturday, 1 June 1974

To Our Venerable Brother Cardinal William Conway
Achbishop of Armagh

On this solemnity of Pentecost, on which last year there was celebrated a World Day of Prayer for Peace in Ireland, we wish to send this affectionate message to you and through you to the Hierarchy and to all the beloved Irish ecclesial community, which we see so worthily represented by you in your capacity as Primate of All Ireland and President of the Episcopal Conference.

We continue to follow with growing anxiety and concern the protraction of an intolerable situation, which, far from improving through a general effort to bring about reconciliation, has in fact been aggravated by a tragic increase of blind and unspeakable acts of violence, acts which have claimed so many victims and thrown so many families into mourning.

Public order and safety have thus been undermined and it would seem in the present sad circumstances as though human life itself has come to be regarded as of little value and as if the violence of passions has led people to forget that basic truth, so vitally important for civilized coexistence, namely, that human life is sacred, that it comes from God, the Creator and Author of all good things, and that he alone therefore has any right over it.

We earnestly beg that all violence should cease, from whatever side it may come, for it is contrary to the law of God and to a Christian and civilized way of life; that, in response to the common Christian conscience and the voice of reason, a climate of mutual trust and dialogue be reestablished in justice and charity; that the real and deep-seated causes of social unrest-which are not to be reduced to differences of a religious nature-be identified and eliminated.

With affection as great as the esteem we have towards the whole of Ireland, which is most dear to us, we wish once again to make a strong appeal for a return to peace, so that the bond of a common Christian faith may finally enable love and harmony to prevail. We know that this is also the wish and desire of the vast majority of the industrious and faithful people.

May each one respond with a generous effort and reform of life to the commandment left to us by the Divine Master: “Love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples” (Jn 13,35). May the Holy Spirit, with the fullness of his gifts, enlighten the minds of all and strengthen their determination to work with sincerity for peace and justice.

With all our heart we ask this of Almighty God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we invoke upon you and the beloved Irish people an abundance of divine grace, in pledge of which we affectionately impart our Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 28 May 1974



Thursday, 27 June 1974

Mr Ambassador,

It is a great pleasure and satisfaction that we have received from Your Excellency the Letters of Credence by which His Majesty the King of Thailand accredits you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See. We are especially appreciative of the kind words which you have pronounced and of the good wishes which you have brought to us from His Majesty.

We would ask you please to convey to the King, to Queen Sirikit and to the whole Royal Family our warm, sincere and prayerful greetings.

The freedom enjoyed by the Catholic Church in Thailand is a motive of great consolation to us, and we are confident that this historic tradition of tolerance will continue to contribute greatly towards a fruitful development of the dialogue between different religions in your country. We pray that such dialogue will ever deepen true peace in the hearts of the Thai people, and that through a common trust in Divine Providence and a mutual love of one another they may lead meritorious lives.

Please be assured that the Holy See is closely associated with the Kingdom of Thailand in concern for the peace and prosperity, the welfare and the dignity of the people of Thailand, of Asia, and indeed of the whole world. We ourself shall always be happy to cooperate with you in your new task, and we gladly invoke guiding Divine help upon your mission, upon your nation and upon its beloved people.

August 1974


Saturday, 10 August 1974

The Honorable Gerald Ford President of the United States of America

As you accede to the Presidency of the United States of America, We assure you of Our prayerful good wishes and We gladly invoke upon you and all the beloved American people an abundance of guiding and strengthening blessings.



Saturday, 24 August 1974

Mr Ambassador,

We are happy to receive from Your Excellency the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India. We welcome you and cordially thank you for the kind words which you have addressed to us in your own name as well as on behalf of the President and Government of your Country.

We would ask you to convey to His Excellency the President and to the Government Authorities our greetings and our deep appreciation of their good wishes. Please assure them of our continuing prayerful interest in the country and in all its people.

Religious and cultural differences in India, as you have said, are honoured and respected. This fact serves to unite people in charitable and understanding affection for one another, as brothers under the common fatherhood of God. We are pleased to see that this mutual honour and esteem is practised both in humble surroundings and in the highest institutions of the land.

Our unforgettable visit to India in 1964 allowed us to realize ever more deeply both the enormous problems and the tremendous potential of the country. It lent a new dimension to our solicitude and concern, and it convinced us even more of the importance of the Church’s contribution, to which you have kindly alluded, in the educational and humanitarian fields, as well as in her more direct spiritual mission. We are especially happy to receive from you confirmation of the appreciation felt in India for this help.

The harmonious coordination of physical planning and effort is steadily furthering India’s development, and it is our earnest hope that it may continue, and be matched by a parallel harmony in the minds and hearts of her citizens. In this way material and scientific progress will contribute not to war but to peace, to that peace which, as we have said before and say again, is the new name for development (Cfr. Populorum Progressio PP 87, AAS 59, 1967, p. 299).

During your stay here, which we trust will be a fruitful one, you may be assured of our constant interest and cooperation in the accomplishment of your task. For yourself and for the noble nation which you represent we beg abundant favours from Almighty God.

God bless India.

*AAS 66 (1974), p.491-492.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XII, p.758-759.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1974, p. 244-245.

L'Osservatore Romano 25.8.1974, p.1.

ORa n. 37 p.2.

September 1974


Monday, 2 September 1974

We are happy to address a message of greeting, of blessing, and of encouragement, to all those who are taking part in the General Assembly of UNDA, the International Catholic Association for Radio and Television.

We take the occasion, also, to greet with warmth and affection all the beloved people of Ireland, and to assure them that they are always in our thoughts and prayers.

The present UNDA Congress, the largest so far assembled, with national delegations from over sixty countries, will study how Radio and Television can best be made to serve mankind. It will consider the related themes of Mass Media, Evangelization and Development.

The early preachers of the Good News of Salvation used the means which were available in their time to communicate the Gospel to as many men as possible. They had so little, yet they accomplished so much! We can draw powerful inspiration from their example, especially in Ireland where concern for the diffusion of Christ’s Message is no less active today than it was when Columban, Gall, Fergal and Killian blazed the Christian trail. Extraordinary technical advances have today placed wonderful aids to communication in our hands. Surely we must make the best possible use of the means which our age provides.

This is, of course, what UNDA is endeavouring to do in close collaboration with our Pontifical Commission for Social Communications.

We commend the endeavours of this International Association, and we thank the members of UNDA for their valued service to the Faith of Jesus Christ and to the Church. We wish to give all possible encouragement to the objectives of their Plenary Assembly in Dublin, which are very much in harmony with the subject which the Synod of Bishops will shortly study in its fourth General Assembly.

One final word. In the hands of men dedicated to peace and love among men, how powerful these two great media, Radio and Television, can be in promoting the objectives of the Holy Year, Reconciliation and Renewal. We have the fullest confidence that the UNDA Congress, the many peoples represented by its participants, and the Irish people who are its generous hosts, will keep these great aims close to their hearts, and continuously in their prayers.

To all of you, with great affection, we impart our special Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 1974