Speeches 2005-13 585



Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. I receive you with great joy, Pastors of God’s pilgrim Church in Colombia who have come to Rome on your ad limina visit thereby to strengthen the bonds that link you to this Apostolic See. As Successor of Peter it is a precious opportunity to tell you again of my affection and appreciation. I am grateful for the friendly words addressed to me on behalf of all by Archbishop Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota, President of the Bishops’ Conference, presenting the situations that concern you as well as the challenges that the communities over which you preside in the faith are facing.

2. I am aware of the efforts you have made over the past few years, both in the Bishops’ Conference and in your particular Churches, to implement projects that encourage a renewed and fruitful wave of evangelization. Colombia is not in fact a stranger to the consequences of God’s being forgotten. Whereas years ago it was possible to recognize a unitive cultural fabric whose reference to the content of the faith and to what it inspired were broadly accepted, today, in many social milieus this no longer seems to be the case. This is because the crisis in spiritual and moral values has had a negative effect on many of your fellow-citizens. Therefore it is indispensable to rekindle in all the faithful their awareness of being disciples and missionaries of Christ, feeding the roots of their faith, strengthening their hope and invigorating their testimony of charity.

3. In this regard, you have expressed your yearning for evangelization in the Overall Plan of the Bishops’ Conference (2012-2020). This resulted from a conscientious discernment of the times in which the Church in Colombia is living. I would like to encourage you to follow its guidelines with tenacity and perseverance. Do so by strengthening the communion to which bishops are called in the exercise of their mission so that, with agreement on the pastoral guidelines and in unanimity of purpose, the ministry the Lord has entrusted to you will bear fruit in abundance. With this same goal make the most of the reflections of the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, as well as of the proposals of the Year of Faith which I have announced in order to enhance your magisterium and beneficially irrigate your apostolate.

4. The increase in religious pluralism is a factor that demands serious consideration. The ever more active presence of Pentecostal and Evangelical communities, not only in Colombia but also in many Latin American regions, cannot be ignored or underestimated. In this regard it is obvious that the People of God is called to purify itself and to revitalize its faith, letting itself be guided by the Holy Spirit, thereby giving impetus to his pastoral action, for “sincere people who leave our Church often do not do so for what ‘non-Catholic’ groups believe in but do so basically because of what they are living through; not for doctrinal but rather for existential reasons; not for strictly dogmatic but for pastoral reasons; not for the theological but for the methodological problems of our Church” (Final Document Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops’ Conferences, n. 225 [in Spanish]). It is thus a question of being better believers, more devout, reliable and welcoming in our parishes and communities, so that no one feels distant or left out.

Catechesis must be reinforced, paying special attention to young people and adults; homilies should be prepared carefully, and likewise the teaching of the Catholic doctrine in schools and universities should be promoted. And all this is essential if in the baptized the sense of belonging to the Church is to be recovered, and if their aspiration to share the joy of following Christ and of being members of his mystical body is to be reawakened. It is likewise important to appeal to the Church’s Tradition, to develop Marian spirituality and to foster a rich devotional diversity. Facilitating a serene and open exchange with other Christians without losing one’s own identity can also contribute to improving relations with them and to overcoming the unnecessary challenge and conflicts.

5. Motivated by apostolic zeal and aiming for the common good, do not hesitate to identify all that hinders upright progress in Colombia, seeking to meet the needs of those who are deprived of freedom because of iniquitous violence. Contemplation of the suffering face of Christ must also be an incentive to redouble the funds and programmes for lovingly accompanying and assisting all who are tried, and in particular those who are the victims of natural disasters, the poorest people, farmers, the sick and the afflicted, developing projects of solidarity and works of charity and mercy for them. Nor should you forget all the people who are obliged to emigrate from their homeland because they have lost their job or are making great efforts to find one; all those whose fundamental rights are trampled upon or who are forced to leave their home and abandon their family under the threat of the dark hand of terror and organized crime; or those who have fallen into the inauspicious net of trafficking in drugs or weapons. I would like to encourage you to continue on this path of generous and brotherly service. It is not the result of human calculation but, rather, is born from love of God and one’s neighbour, a source in which the Church finds the strength to complete her task, offering to others what she herself has learned from the sublime example of her divine Founder.

6. Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, if God’s grace does not precede and support human beings they soon falter in their resolutions to transform the world. For this reason, so that the light that comes from on high may continue to make fruitful the prophetic and charitable work of the Church in Colombia, may you persevere in encouraging in the faithful a personal encounter with Jesus Christ so that they may not fail to pray and meditate with perseverance on the word of God. Encourage them to take part in a more dignified and fervent manner in the sacraments, celebrated in accordance with the canonical norms and liturgical books. All this will be an appropriate course and a suitable itinerary of Christian initiation. It will invite everyone to conversion and to holiness and will encourage the most necessary ecclesial renewal.

7. At the end of this meeting, I ask the Almighty to glorify in you the name of Our Lord Jesus, and to glorify you in him (cf. 2Th 1,12). As I entrust you to the protection of Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá, heavenly Patroness of Colombia, I gladly impart to you the implored Apostolic Blessing, as a pledge of peace and joy in Jesus Christ, Redeemer of man.



San Marino di Carpi - Modena, Italy Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for your welcome!

Since the first days of the earthquake that hit you I have always been close to you with my prayers and concern. But when I saw that the trial had become harsher, I felt ever more strongly the need to come to you in person. And I thank the Lord who has granted me to do so!

With great affection I am with you who are gathered here, and embrace with my mind and with my heart all the villages, all the peoples who have been damaged by the earthquake, especially the families and communities who are mourning the dead: may the Lord welcome them in his peace! I would have liked to visit all the communities to make myself personally and physically present, but you know well how difficult that would have been. At this time, however, I want everyone, in every town, to feel how close the Pope’s heart is to your own hearts, so as to comfort you and above all to encourage and support you.

I greet you, Mr Minister, Representative of the Government, the Head of the Department of Civil Defence and Hon. Mr Vasco Errani, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, whom I wholeheartedly thank for his words on behalf of the institutions and of the civil community. I would then like to thank Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna, for his affectionate expressions addressed to me; they demonstrate the stoutness of your hearts which are not split but are profoundly united in faith and hope. I greet and thank my Brother Bishops and Priests, the representatives of the different religious and social institutions, the police force and volunteers: it is important to witness tangibly to solidarity and unity. In particular I thank the volunteers for this great witness.

As I was saying to you, I felt the need to come to you, if only for a brief moment. Even when I was in Milan for the World Meeting of Families at the beginning of this month, I would have liked to come and visit you and you were often in my thoughts. Indeed I knew that in addition to suffering the material consequences, your spirit was also put to the test by recurring and powerful aftershocks; and likewise because of the loss of several symbolic buildings of your towns including, in particular, a great many churches. Here in Rovereto di Novi Fr Ivan Martini lost his life when the church — which I have just seen — collapsed. In paying homage to his memory, I address a special greeting to you, dear priests, and to all your confreres who show your generous love for the People of God, as you did in other difficult periods in the history of these regions.

We priests, as you know — and also men and women religious and many lay people — pray every day using the “Breviary”, which contains the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church that punctuates the day. We pray with the Psalms, according to an order which is the same for the whole of the Catholic Church throughout the world. Why am I telling you this? Because in these days, in praying Psalm 46, I came across these words that touched me: “God is our refuge and strength, / an ever-present help in distress. / Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken / and mountains plunge into the sea” (Ps 46[45]:2-3).

How often have I read these words? Countless times! I have been a priest for 61 years! Yet in moments like these they make a strong impression for they touch the living, they give a voice to an experience you are now living through and in which everyone who is praying shares. Yet — you see — it is not because these words of the Psalm draw upon the image of the earthquake that they strike me but above all because of what they say about our interior attitude in the face of an upheaval of nature: an attitude of great assurance, based on the sound, unshakeable rock that is God. We “fear not, though the earth be shaken”, the psalmist says, “God is our refuge and our strength”, he is “an ever-present help in distress”.

Dear brothers and sisters, these words seem to clash with the fear that is inevitably felt after an experience such as the one you have been through — an immediate reaction, which can be even more deeply impressed if the phenomenon endures. Yet the Psalm does not in fact refer to this type of fear, that is natural, and the reassurance it affirms is not that of superhumans who are not touched by normal sentiments. The assurance of which it speaks is that of faith, which is why, yes, fear and anguish can exist — Jesus felt them too, as we know — but, in all fear and anguish, above all there is the certainty that God is with us; like the child who knows he can always count on his mother and father, because whatever happens he feels loved, he feels wanted. This is how we are in relation to God: small, frail, but safe in his hands, in other words entrusted to his Love which is as solid as rock. We see this Love in the crucified Christ, who is at the same time the sign of pain, of suffering and of love. It is the revelation of God Love, in solidarity with us even to the most extreme humiliation.

On this rock, with this firm hope, it is possible to build and rebuild. Italy was rebuilt on the rubble — and not only material rubble — of the postwar period, certainly also thanks to the aid it received, but above all thanks to the faith of so many people motivated by a spirit of true solidarity, by the wish to give families a future, a future of freedom and peace. You are people esteemed by all Italians for your humanity and sociability, for your hard work combined with cheerfulness. All this has been sorely tried by this situation but must not and cannot corrode what you are as people, your history and your culture. Stay faithful to your vocation as brotherly, supportive people and you will face everything with patience and determination, rejecting the temptations that are unfortunately connected with these moments of weakness and need.

The situation you are living in has shed light on one aspect that I would like to be very present in your hearts: you are not and you will not be alone! In these days, amidst all this destruction and much sorrow, you have seen and heard that so many people have taken steps to express closeness, solidarity and affection to you; and they have done so through numerous signs and of aid. My presence among you is intended as one of these signs of love and hope. Looking at your lands I felt deeply moved before so many injuries, but I have also seen a great many hands that want to heal them together with you; I have seen that life begins again, it wants to start again with strength and courage and this is the most beautiful and luminous sign.

I would like to launch a strong appeal from this place to the institutions, to every citizen, to be, even in the difficulties of the moment, like the Good Samaritan of the Gospel who does not pass by indifferent to those who are in need but bends over them lovingly, brings help, stays beside them, taking upon themselves all the needs of the other person (cf. Lc 10,29-37). The Church is close and will be close to you with her prayers and the practical help of her organizations and especially Caritas, which will also be dedicated to repairing the community fabric of the parishes.
Dear friends, I bless you, each and every one, and carry you in my heart with great affection.


Glorify the Lord with me, let us together exalt his name” (
Ps 34,4 [33]:4)

Dear Brothers in Christ,

In this joyful circumstance of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, patrons of the city and of the Church of Rome, I am particularly glad to welcome you with the words of the Psalm that will be sung during the solemn Eucharistic liturgy in honour of these two great Apostles and Martyrs. In addressing a warm welcome to you, I ask you to convey to His Holiness Bartholomaios I and to the Holy Synod, my sentiments of fraternal affection and deep gratitude for having deigned to send, this year too, worthy representatives to take part in our celebration, and to pass on a cordial greeting to the clergy, monks and all the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Your presence here in Rome on the occasion of the liturgical Feast of Sts Peter and Paul affords us a special opportunity to raise our hymn of praise to God for the wonders that divine grace — from which all good comes — brought about in the life of the two Apostles, making them worthy to enter heavenly glory triumphant, having passed through the regeneration of martyrdom. In addition, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul gives us the possibility of thanking the Lord together for the extraordinary feats he has accomplished and continues to accomplish through the Apostles in the life of the Church. It is their preaching, sealed by the witness of their martyrdom, which forms the solid, everlasting basis on which the Church is built. Moreover it is in fidelity to the deposit of the faith transmitted by them that we find the roots of the communion between us which we are already experiencing.

Venerable Brothers, in our meeting today, as we entrust to the intercession of the glorious Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul our entreaty that the Lord, rich in mercy, will grant us to arrive soon at the blessed day when we will be able to share in the Eucharistic banquet, we raise our voices in the hymn to God for the journey of peace and reconciliation that he has granted us to make together.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council which will be solemnly celebrated next 11 October. And it is in conjunction with this Council — at which, as you know well, certain representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate were present as Fraternal Delegates — that a new and important phase in relations between our Churches began.

Let us praise the Lord first of all for the rediscovery of the deep brotherhood that binds us and also for the ground covered in the past few years by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (as a whole), in the hope that progress may also be made in the current phase.

In remembering the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, it seems to me fitting to commemorate the figure and activity of the unforgettable Ecumenical Patriarch Athenogras, the 40th anniversary of whose death is in a few days’ time. Patriarch Athenagoras, together with Blessed Pope John XXIII and the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, inspired by this passion for the unity of the Church which springs from faith in Christ the Lord, made themselves promoters of courageous initiatives that paved the way to renewed relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Catholic Church. It is a cause of special joy to me to note that His Holiness Bartholomew I is following with renewed fidelity and fruitful creativity the way marked out by his predecessors, Patriarch Athenagoras and Patriarch Dmitrios, and is distinguishing himself at the international level for his openness to inter-Christian dialogue and for his commitment to the service of Gospel proclamation in today’s world.

Your Eminence, dear Members of the Delegation, as I thank you once again for your presence among us, I assure you of my prayers that the Lord will grant holiness and strength to His Holiness Bartholomew I and prosperity and peace to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. May Almighty God grant us the gift of ever fuller communion, so that “of one heart and soul” (Ac 4,32), we may always exalt his name.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am glad to address my cordial welcome to all of you who have accompanied to the Tombs of the Apostles in Rome the Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom I had the joy of conferring the Pallium yesterday at a solemn celebration in the Vatican Basilica at which we commemorated the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul. At our meeting let us, as it were, prolong the atmosphere of profound ecclesial communion which we experienced yesterday. Indeed, the presence of the Metropolitan Archbishops who come from different parts of the world visibly demonstrates the universality of the Church, called to make Christ known and to proclaim the Gospel on all the continents and in the various languages.

I greet each one of you with affection, venerable and esteemed Brother Metropolitans, and together with you I greet your relatives, your friends and the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care who have gathered round you during these most important days. I also extend a cordial greeting to the dioceses you come from.

I address my thoughts first of all to you, dear Pastors of the Church in Italy! I greet you, Archbishop Francesco Moraglia, Patriarch of Venice; I greet you, Archbishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto — as can be seen you have a large family of friends — and you, Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari. I assure you of my constant prayers that you may carry out your episcopal ministry joyfully and faithfully, to build your diocesan communities in charity, sustaining them in the witness of faith and helping them to make more and more evident their renewed enthusiasm in the encounter with the Person of Christ.

I am happy to greet the French-speaking pilgrims who have come with the new Metropolitan Archbishops on whom I have had the joy of conferring the Pallium. I most cordially greet Archbishop Luc Cyr of Sherbrooke, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau, Archbishop Pascal Wintzer of Poitiers and Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal. The Pallium is the symbol of the unity that binds the Pastors of the particular Churches to the Successor of Peter, Bishop of Rome.

I also remind the Pastors of their responsibility to be exemplary and zealous, full of love for everyone, in order to guide the People of God entrusted to their pastoral care. I warmly impart the Apostolic Blessing to all the priests and faithful of your archdiocese, as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord!

I extend warm greetings to the English-speaking Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom I conferred the Pallium yesterday. From the United States of America: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop William Skurla of Pittsburgh, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver. From Papua New Guinea: Archbishop Francesco Panfilo of Rabaul. From the Philippines: Archbishop Luis Tagle of Manila, Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, Archbishop John Du of Palo. From Bangladesh: Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka. From the Antilles: Archbishop Joseph Harris of Port of Spain. From Zambia: Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama. From India: Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta. From Pakistan: Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi. From Australia: Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth and Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane. From Korea: Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo Jung of Seoul. From Nigeria: Archbishop Alfred Martins of Lagos. I also welcome their family members, their relatives, friends and the faithful of their respective Archdioceses who have come to Rome to pray with them and to share their joy.

I joyfully greet the delegation and guests from Berlin, as well as all the pilgrims from Germany who have accompanied Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki to Rome in order for him to receive the Pallium. Welcome to you all! The Pallium makes visible in a special way the strong union of the metropolitan bishops and their Ecclesiastical Provinces with the Pope and with the See of Peter. At the same time it recalls the mission to follow the lost sheep — like Christ — to carry it on one’s shoulders, to bring it back to the fold and to care for it. In this sense the Pallium is a sign of the caring and responsibility of Pastors for their flock. Precisely because of this common responsibility we are bound to develop and to preserve unity. May you too make your contribution through your prayers in order to encourage and reinforce union in the Church. I cordially impart my blessing to you all.

On the occasion of the conferral of the Pallium I cordially greet Cardinal Francsico Robles Ortega, Archbishop of Guadalajara; Archbishop Alfredo Horacio Zecca of Tucumán; Archbishop Mario Alberto Molina Palma, of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán; Archbishop Salvador Pińeiro García-Calderón of Ayacucho o Huamanga; Archbishop Ulises Antonio Gutiérrez Reyes of Ciudad Bolívar, Archbishop Jesús Carlos Cabrero Romero of San Luis Potosí, as well as all those who support them with their prayers and affection on this important occasion. I entrust everyone to the faithful custody of St Peter and St Paul, so that the spiritual closeness and bonds of communion of your particular Churches with the Apostolic See may increase among you and so that Gospel proclamation may be intensified. God bless you!

I greet with joy the Brazilian Archbishops: Archbishop Wilson Jönck of Florianópolis; Archbishop José Francisco Dias of Niterói; Archbishop Esmeraldo de Farias of Porto Velho; Archbishop Jaime Rocha, of Natal; Archbishop Airton dos Santos of Campinas; Archbishop Jacinto de Brito Sobrinho of Teresina; Archbishop Paulo Peixoto of Uberaba; and Archbishop Benedito Roberto of Malanje, Angola, who received the Pallium yesterday as a sign of special communion with the Successor of Peter. Dear Archbishops, may you be for your people a sign of Christ the Good Shepherd who guides his flock. I also welcome the priests, the religious and the faithful who have accompanied you and ask them to pray for their Archbishops so that they will not lack strength in fulfilling their mission. In addition, as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you who are present here and to your archdiocesan communities.

I cordially greet the Metropolitan Archbishops of Poland who received the Pallium yesterday: Archbishop Stanislaw Budzik of Lublin, Archbishop Wiktor Skworc of Katowice and Archbishop Waclaw Depo of Czestochowa.

With them I greet the faithful who share in their joy, especially the representatives of their metropolitan sees, all their loved ones and all those who support them with prayers. The Pallium is a sign of special unity with Christ and of communion with the Successor of Peter. May this communion also permeate the hearts of the faithful of every metropolis. I entrust this hope to God in my prayers and I wholeheartedly bless you all. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Dear brothers and sisters, take back to your communities the experience of intense spirituality and of authentic Gospel unity of these days, so that it may move believers’ hearts and reverberate throughout society, leaving traces of goodness. May the intercession of the heavenly Mother of God and of the Apostles Peter and Paul obtain for the Christian people the ability to make the word of truth which the Lord Jesus bequeathed to us as a gift shine out in the world through the tenacious and clear witness of individuals. With these sentiments I warmly impart to you the Apostolic Blessing.



I am truly grateful for the possibility to see this house in Nemi once again after 47 years. I have a very beautiful memory of it, perhaps the most beautiful of the entire Council. I lived in the centre of Rome, at the College of Santa Maria dell’Anima, with all that noise: it was also beautiful! But being here in a green space, having this breath of nature and fresh air as well, was just beautiful in itself. And then there was the company of so many great theologians, with the fine and important task of drafting a Decree on Mission. I remember first of all the Superior General at that time, Fr Schütte, who had suffered in China, and had been condemned, then expelled. He was full of missionary dynamism, of the need to give the missionary spirit a new impetus. And he had me invited, a very young theologian of no importance, I don’t know why. But it was a great gift for me.

Then there was Fulton Sheen, who kept us enthralled in the evening with his tails, Fr Congar and the great missiologists of Louvain. For me it was a spiritual enrichment, a great gift. The Decree met with no great opposition. Yet there was a controversy, which I never really understood properly, between the school of Louvain and that of Münster: is the principal purpose of the mission the implantatio Ecclesiae or Gospel [Evangelii] proclamation? But everything was converging into a single dynamism: the need to bring the light of the Word of God, the light of God’s love, to the world and through this proclamation give new joy.

Thus in those days a beautiful and good Decree was drawn up, accepted almost unanimously by the Council Fathers. And I felt it was also a very good complement to Lumen Gentium, because we can find in it a Trinitarian ecclesiology which begins above all with the classic idea of bonum diffusivum sui, goodness that has an inherent need to be communicated, to be given. It cannot remain in itself; what is good, goodness itself, is essentially communicatio. And this is already apparent in the Trinitarian mystery, in God, and is disseminated in the history of salvation and in our need to give to others the good that we ourselves have received.

Thus, with such memories I have often thought of those days in Nemi, which as I said, were an essential part of my Council experience. And I am glad to see that your Society is flourishing— Father General has spoken of 6,000 members in many countries and of many nationalities. Missionary dynamism is clearly alive and it is only alive if there is the joy of the Gospel, if we experience the goodness that comes from God that must and wants to be communicated. Thank you for your dynamism. I express my hope that this Chapter will receive every blessing from the Lord, and much inspiration: may the same inspiring power of the Holy Spirit which has almost visibly accompanied us in those days once once more be among you and help you to find the way for your Society, and likewise for the Gospel mission ad gentes, in the coming years. Thank you all, may the Lord bless you. Pray for me, as I pray for you. Many thanks!



Your Eminences,
Dear Confrčres,
Dear Friends,

At the end of this Bavarian evening I can only wish you with all my heart a “Vergelt’s Gott” [“May God reward you”]. It was lovely to be here, in Castel Gandolfo at the heart of Lazio and at the same time in Bavaria. I am truly “dahoam” [at home], and I must compliment Cardinal Marx, because he already pronounces this word so well!

We have been able to see that the Bavarian culture is a joyful culture: “not a rowdy culture but one full of fun”. We are not boorish people, it is not merely a question of amusement; rather it is a cheerful culture, imbued with joy. It is born from an inner acceptance of the world, from an inner “yes” to life, which is a “yes” to joy. The joyfulness of the Bavarian culture is based on the fact that we are in tune with Creation, in tune with the Creator himself, and for this reason we know it is good to be a person. It is true, we have to say, that in Bavaria God has facilitated our task: he has given us such a beautiful world, such a beautiful land that it becomes easy to recognize that God is good and to be happy there. Yet, at the same time, he also made it in such a way that the people who live in this land have been able to give it its full beauty by starting, precisely, with their “yes”. Through the culture of the people, through their faith, their joy, their songs, their music and art it has become beautiful, because the Creator did not want to make it beautiful by himself, but also with the help of men and women.

Now, someone might ask: is it legitimate to be so happy when the world is so full of suffering, when so much darkness and such great evil exist? Is it legitimate to be so arrogant and joyful? The answer cannot but be “yes”! Because in saying “no” to joy we render no service to anyone, we would only make the world darker. And anyone who does not love himself is unable to give anything to his neighbour, he cannot help him, he cannot be a messenger of peace. We know this from faith and we see it every day: the world is beautiful and God is good. And because he became man and came to dwell among us, because he suffered and lived with us, we know once and for all, and every day: yes, God is good and it is good to be a person. We live from this joy and starting from this joy we also try to bring joy to others, to repel evil and to be servants of peace and reconciliation.

Now, of course, I ought to thank everyone, one by one, but the memory of an old man is not reliable. I therefore prefer to refrain from doing so. However, I would like to thank dear Cardinal Marx for planning this evening, for having brought Bavaria to Rome and thereby making the inner unity of the Christian culture tangible. I would like to thank him for having brought together the Bavarians of our Archdiocese, from Lower Bavaria as far as the Oberland, from the Rupertigau Region to the Werdenfelser Land. I would like to thank the announcer, who made us the gift of speaking Bavarian so beautifully. I do not think I could speak Bavarian and at the same be so “uplifting”, but she has been able to. I thank all the groups, the wind-instruments... but no, I do not even want to begin. You know it. Everything has deeply moved me and I am grateful and happy for it all. Of course, the Gebirgsschützen, whom I was only able to hear in the distance, deserve special thanks, because I am an honorary “Schütze”, even though I was once a mediocre Schütze. I am then particularly grateful to you, dear Cardinal Wetter, for having come: you are my direct successor in the See of St Corbinian. For a quarter of a century you have governed the archdiocese as a good Pastor. Thank you for coming!

(in Italian)

Cardinal Bertello, thank you for being here. I hope you also felt that Bavaria is beautiful and that the Bavarian culture is beautiful.

(in German)

Now, as my ‘thank you’ I can only impart my blessing to you, but let us first sing the Angelus together, and if we can the “Andachtsjodler” [a hymn in the form of a yodel]. A heartfelt “Vergelt’s Gott”!

Speeches 2005-13 585