Speeches 2000 - SPEECH OF JOHN PAUL II
Our meeting today makes clear the commitment of the Catholic Church to work unceasingly for peace in the Middle East as a partner of all peoples. The Church understands the aspirations of the different peoples and insists that dialogue is the only way to make those aspirations a reality rather than a dream. I am thankful for the recognition you have given me here today. I know that you too are convinced that only patient and courageous dialogue will open the way to the future which your people rightly desire.
Entrusting this great challenge to Almighty God, I invoke upon you, upon your family and the Palestinian people the abundant blessings of heaven.
Thursday, 23 March 2000
Very Reverend Chief Rabbis,
It is with deep respect that I visit you here today and thank you for receiving me at Hechal Shlomo. Truly this is a uniquely significant meeting which - I hope and pray - will lead to increasing contacts between Christians and Jews, aimed at achieving an ever deeper understanding of the historical and theological relationship between our respective religious heritages.
Personally, I have always wanted to be counted among those who work, on both sides, to overcome old prejudices and to secure ever wider and fuller recognition of the spiritual patrimony shared by Jews and Christians. I repeat what I said on the occasion of my visit to the Jewish Community in Rome, that we Christians recognize that the Jewish religious heritage is intrinsic to our own faith: "you are our elder brothers" (cf. Address at the Synagogue of Rome, 13 April 1986, 4). We hope that the Jewish people will acknowledge that the Church utterly condemns anti-Semitism and every form of racism as being altogether opposed to the principles of Christianity. We must work together to build a future in which there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-Christian sentiment among Jews.
There is much that we have in common. There is so much that we can do together for peace, for justice, for a more human and fraternal world. May the Lord of heaven and earth lead us to a new and fruitful era of mutual respect and cooperation, for the benefit of all! Thank you.
Thursday, 23 March 2000
Members of the Knesset,
I am most grateful, Mr President, for the welcome you have given me to Israel. To this meeting we both bring long histories. You represent Jewish memory, reaching beyond the recent history of this land to your peoples unique journey through the centuries and millennia. I come as one whose Christian memory reaches back through the two thousand years since the birth of Jesus in this very Land.
History, as the ancients held, is the Magistra vitae, a teacher of how to live. This is why we must be determined to heal the wounds of the past, so that they may never be opened again. We must work for a new era of reconciliation and peace between Jews and Christians. My visit is a pledge that the Catholic Church will do everything possible to ensure that this is not just a dream but a reality.
We know that real peace in the Middle East will come only as a result of mutual understanding and respect between all the peoples of the region: Jews, Christians and Muslims. In this perspective, my pilgrimage is a journey of hope: the hope that the twenty-first century will lead to a new solidarity among the peoples of the world, in the conviction that development, justice and peace will not be attained unless they are attained for all.
Building a brighter future for the human family is a task which concerns us all. That is why I am pleased to greet you, Government Ministers, members of the Knesset and Diplomatic Representatives of many countries, who must make and implement decisions which affect the lives of people. It is my fervent hope that a genuine desire for peace will inspire your every decision. With that as my prayer, I invoke abundant divine blessings upon you, Mr President, upon your country, and upon all of you who have honoured me with your presence. Thank you.
Jerusalem – Yad Vashem
Thursday, 23 March 2000
The words of the ancient Psalm rise from our hearts:
“I have become like a broken vessel.
I hear the whispering of many – terror on every side! –
as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God'.” (Ps 31,13-15).
1. In this place of memories, the mind and heart and soul feel an extreme need for silence. Silence in which to remember. Silence in which to try to make some sense of the memories which come flooding back. Silence because there are no words strong enough to deplore the terrible tragedy of the Shoah. My own personal memories are of all that happened when the Nazis occupied Poland during the War. I remember my Jewish friends and neighbours, some of whom perished, while others survived.
I have come to Yad Vashem to pay homage to the millions of Jewish people who, stripped of everything, especially of their human dignity, were murdered in the Holocaust. More than half a century has passed, but the memories remain.
Here, as at Auschwitz and many other places in Europe, we are overcome by the echo of the heart-rending laments of so many. Men, women and children cry out to us from the depths of the horror that they knew. How can we fail to heed their cry? No one can forget or ignore what happened. No one can diminish its scale.
2. We wish to remember. But we wish to remember for a purpose, namely to ensure that never again will evil prevail, as it did for the millions of innocent victims of Nazism.
How could man have such utter contempt for man? Because he had reached the point of contempt for God. Only a Godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people.
The honour given to the “just gentiles” by the State of Israel at Yad Vashem for having acted heroically to save Jews, sometimes to the point of giving their own lives, is a recognition that not even in the darkest hour is every light extinguished. That is why the Psalms, and the entire Bible, though well aware of the human capacity for evil, also proclaim that evil will not have the last word. Out of the depths of pain and sorrow, the believer’s heart cries out: “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God'.” (Ps 31,14).
3. Jews and Christians share an immense spiritual patrimony, flowing from God’s self-revelation. Our religious teachings and our spiritual experience demand that we overcome evil with good. We remember, but not with any desire for vengeance or as an incentive to hatred. For us, to remember is to pray for peace and justice, and to commit ourselves to their cause. Only a world at peace, with justice for all, can avoid repeating the mistakes and terrible crimes of the past.
As Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter, I assure the Jewish people that the Catholic Church, motivated by the Gospel law of truth and love and by no political considerations, is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place. The Church rejects racism in any form as a denial of the image of the Creator inherent in every human being (cf. Gen Gn 1,26).
4. In this place of solemn remembrance, I fervently pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people suffered in the twentieth century will lead to a new relationship between Christians and Jews. Let us build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians or anti-Christian feeling among Jews, but rather the mutual respect required of those who adore the one Creator and Lord, and look to Abraham as our common father in faith (cf. We Remember, V).
The world must heed the warning that comes to us from the victims of the Holocaust and from the testimony of the survivors. Here at Yad Vashem the memory lives on, and burns itself onto our souls. It makes us cry out:
“I hear the whispering of many – terror on every side! – But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God'.” (Ps 31,13-15).
Thursday, 23 March 2000
Distinguished Jewish, Christian and Muslim Representatives,
1. In this year of the Two Thousandth Anniversary of the Birth of Jesus Christ, I am truly happy to be able to fulfil my long-cherished wish to make a journey through the geography of salvation history. I am deeply moved as I follow in the footsteps of the countless pilgrims who before me have prayed in the Holy Places connected with God’s interventions. I am fully conscious that this Land is Holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Therefore my visit would have been incomplete without this meeting with you, distinguished religious leaders. Thank you for the support which your presence here this evening gives to the hope and conviction of so many people that we are indeed entering a new era of interreligious dialogue. We are conscious that closer ties among all believers are a necessary and urgent condition for securing a more just and peaceful world.
For all of us Jerusalem, as its name indicates, is the “City of Peace”. Perhaps no other place in the world communicates the sense of transcendence and divine election that we perceive in her stones and monuments, and in the witness of the three religions living side by side within her walls. Not everything has been or will be easy in this co-existence. But we must find in our respective religious traditions the wisdom and the superior motivation to ensure the triumph of mutual understanding and cordial respect.
2. We all agree that religion must be genuinely centred on God, and that our first religious duty is adoration, praise and thanksgiving. The opening sura of the Qur'ân makes this clear: “Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe” (Qur'an, 1:1). In the inspired songs of the Bible we hear this universal call: “Let everything that breathes give praise to the Lord! Alleluia!" (Ps 150,6). And in the Gospel we read that when Jesus was born the angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest heaven” (Lc 2,14). In our times, when many are tempted to run their affairs without any reference to God, the call to acknowledge the Creator of the universe and the Lord of history is essential in ensuring the well-being of individuals and the proper development of society.
3. If it is authentic, devotion to God necessarily involves attention to our fellow human beings. As members of the one human family and as God’s beloved children, we have duties towards one another which, as believers, we cannot ignore. One of the first disciples of Jesus wrote: “If any one says, 'I love God', and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1Jn 4,20). Love of our brothers and sisters involves an attitude of respect and compassion, gestures of solidarity, cooperation in service to the common good. Thus, concern for justice and peace does not lie outside the field of religion but is actually one of its essential elements.
In the Christian view it is not for religious leaders to propose technical formulas for the solution of social, economic and political problems. Theirs is, above all, the task of teaching the truths of faith and right conduct, the task of helping people – including those with responsibility in public life – to be aware of their duties and to fulfil them. As religious leaders, we help people to live integrated lives, to harmonize the vertical dimension of their relationship with God with the horizontal dimension of service to their neighbour.
4. Each of our religions knows, in some form or another, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Precious as this rule is as a guide, true love of neighbour goes much further. It is based on the conviction that when we love our neighbour we are showing love for God, and when we hurt our neighbour we offend God. This means that religion is the enemy of exclusion and discrimination, of hatred and rivalry, of violence and conflict. Religion is not, and must not become, an excuse for violence, particularly when religious identity coincides with cultural and ethnic identity. Religion and peace go together! Religious belief and practice cannot be separated from the defence of the image of God in every human being.
Drawing upon the riches of our respective religious traditions, we must spread awareness that today's problems will not be solved if we remain ignorant of one another and isolated from one another. We are all aware of past misunderstandings and conflicts, and these still weigh heavily upon relationships between Jews, Christians and Muslims. We must do all we can to turn awareness of past offences and sins into a firm resolve to build a new future in which there will be nothing but respectful and fruitful cooperation between us.
The Catholic Church wishes to pursue a sincere and fruitful interreligious dialogue with the members of the Jewish faith and the followers of Islam. Such a dialogue is not an attempt to impose our views upon others. What it demands of all of us is that, holding to what we believe, we listen respectfully to one another, seek to discern all that is good and holy in each other’s teachings, and cooperate in supporting everything that favours mutual understanding and peace.
5. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim children and young people present here are a sign of hope and an incentive for us. Each new generation is a divine gift to the world. If we pass on to them all that is noble and good in our traditions, they will make it blossom in more intense brotherhood and cooperation.
If the various religious communities in the Holy City and in the Holy Land succeed in living and working together in friendship and harmony, this will be of enormous benefit not only to themselves but to the whole cause of peace in this region. Jerusalem will truly be a City of Peace for all peoples. Then we will all repeat the words of the Prophet: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. . . that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths” (Is 2,3).
To re-commit ourselves to such a task, and to do so in the Holy City of Jerusalem, is to ask God to look kindly on our efforts and bring them to a happy outcome. May the Almighty abundantly bless our common endeavours!
Esteemed Consuls General,
I am happy to have this opportunity to meet you and to encourage you in the mission that you carry out in this unique City and Land. You come from different countries and represent different peoples and political systems, but without exception you are pledged to serving the same great cause: the promotion of peace and understanding among peoples and nations.
In this important sphere, no accomplishment or gain - no matter how small it may seem - will fail to have a positive effect on the entire family of man. I encourage you to bring to your work all the energy of a deeply-felt ideal: that of building a world firmly based on solid foundations of peace, justice and respect for human rights and dignity. May God who is the source of our peace abundantly bless every effort aimed at securing an era of sincere understanding and cooperation among the nations of the earth.
God bless you and your families!
Saturday, 25 March 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. With profound gratitude to the Most Holy Trinity I make this visit to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and I greet all of you in the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I thank Your Beatitude Patriarch Diodoros for your fraternal hospitality and for the kind words you have addressed to us. I greet Your Beatitude Patriarch Torkom, and all the Archbishops and Bishops of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities present. It is a source of great joy to know that the Heads of Christian communities in the Holy City of Jerusalem meet frequently to deal with matters of common interest to the faithful. The fraternal spirit which prevails among you is a sign and a gift to the Christians of the Holy Land as they face the challenges before them.
Need I say that I am greatly encouraged by this evening’s meeting? It confirms that we have set out on the path to knowing one another better, with the desire to overcome the mistrust and rivalry inherited from the past. Here in Jerusalem, in the City where our Lord Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, his words ring out with special resonance, particularly the words he spoke on the night before he died: “that they may all be one; . . . so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17,21). It is in response to that prayer of the Lord that we are together here, all followers of the one Lord despite our sad divisions, and all conscious that his will obliges us, and the Churches and Ecclesial Communities we represent, to walk the path of reconciliation and peace.
This meeting reminds me of the historic meeting here in Jerusalem between my predecessor Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, an event which laid the foundations of a new era of contacts between our Churches. In the intervening years we have learned that the road to unity is a difficult one. This should not discourage us. We must be patient and persevering, and continue to move ahead without wavering. The warm embrace of Pope Paul and Patriarch Athenagoras stands out as a prophetic sign and source of inspiration, urging us on to new efforts to respond to the Lord’s will.
2. Our aspiration to fuller communion between Christians takes on a special meaning in the Land of the Saviour’s birth and in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Here, in the presence of the different Churches and Communities, I wish to re-affirm that the ecclesial note of universality fully respects legitimate diversity. The variety and beauty of your liturgical rites, and of your spiritual, theological and canonical traditions and institutions, testifies to the richness of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church, as it has developed down the centuries in the East and in the West. There exists a legitimate diversity which in no way is opposed to the unity of the Body of Christ, but rather enhances the splendour of the Church and contributes greatly to the fulfilment of her mission (cf. Ut Unum Sint UUS 50). None of this wealth must be lost in the fuller unity to which we aspire.
3. During the recent Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in this Year of the Great Jubilee, many of you joined in prayer for greater understanding and cooperation among all Christ’s followers. You did so in the awareness that all the Lord’s disciples together have a common mission to serve the Gospel in the Holy Land. The more united we become in prayer around Christ, the more courageous we shall become in confronting the painful human reality of our divisions. The pilgrim path of the Church through this new century and the new millennium is the path traced out for her by her inherent vocation to unity. Let us ask the Lord to inspire a new spirit of harmony and solidarity among the Churches in facing the practical difficulties which beset the Christian community in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
4. Fraternal cooperation among the Christians of this Holy City is no mere option; it has a significance all its own in communicating the love which the Father has for the world in sending his only Son (cf. Jn Jn 3,16). Only in a spirit of mutual respect and support can the Christian presence flourish here in a community alive with its traditions and confident in facing the social, cultural and political challenges of an evolving situation. Only by being reconciled among themselves can Christians play their full part in making Jerusalem the City of Peace for all peoples. In the Holy Land, where Christians live side by side with the followers of Judaism and Islam, where there are almost daily tensions and conflicts, it is essential to overcome the scandalous impression given by our disagreements and arguments. In this City it should be eminently possible for Christians, Jews and Muslims to live together in brotherhood and freedom, in dignity, justice and peace.
5. Dear Brothers in Christ, it has been my intention to give a clearly ecumenical dimension to the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Jubilee Year 2000. The opening of the Holy Door at the Basilica of Saint Paul- outside-the-Walls, at which so many Churches and Ecclesial Communities were represented, symbolized our passing together through the “door” which is Christ: “I am the door, if any one enters by me, he will be saved” (Jn 10,9). Our ecumenical journey is precisely this: a journey in Christ and through Christ the Saviour to the faithful fulfilment of the Father’s plan. With God’s grace the Two Thousandth Anniversary of the Incarnation of the Word will be a “favourable time”, a year of grace for the ecumenical movement. In the spirit of the Old Testament Jubilees, this is a providential time for us to turn to the Lord in order to ask forgiveness for the wounds which the members of our Churches have inflicted upon one another down the years. This is the time to ask the Spirit of Truth to help our Churches and Communities to engage in an ever more fruitful theological dialogue, which will enable us to grow in the knowledge of the truth and come to the fullness of communion in Christ’s Body. From the exchange of ideas our dialogue will then become an exchange of gifts: a more authentic sharing of the love which the Spirit unceasingly pours into our hearts.
Your Beatitude reminded us of Christ’s prayer on the eve of his Passion and Death. This prayer is his last will and testament, and it challenges us all. What will be our response? Dear Brothers in Christ, with hope-filled hearts and unfailing trust, let us make the Third Christian Millennium the Millennium of our new-found joy in the unity and peace of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Distinguished Muslim authorities,
I wish to express my gratitude to you, in your capacity as Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Committee, for receiving me within the Haram al-Sharif which is connected with the memory of Abraham, who for all believers is a model of faith and submission to Almighty God.
This visit of mine, as you are aware, is essentially a religious and spiritual pilgrimage. Pilgrimage to holy places is a feature common to many religious traditions, especially to the three Abrahamic religions. I thank God revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Jerusalem is the Holy City par excellence. It forms part of the common patrimony of our religions and of the whole of humanity.
May the Almighty grant peace to the whole of this beloved region, so that all the people living in it may enjoy their rights, live in harmony and cooperation, and bear witness to the One God in acts of goodness and human solidarity. Thank you, all!
God of our fathers,
you chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring your Name to the Nations:
we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those
who in the course of history
have caused these children of yours to suffer,
and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves
to genuine brotherhood
with the people of the Covenant.
Sunday, 26 March 2000
It gives me great pleasure to visit you in your own residence, after having had the joy of meeting you in Rome on the occasion of the memorable visit of His Holiness Karekin the First in December nineteen-ninety-six. I cordially repeat the words I spoke at that time to the Catholicos Patriarch of All Armenians: "May the grace and cordiality of our meeting become like ‘a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts’ (cf. 2P 1,19)".
Our meeting today is yet another step forward which the Lord has granted us for the strengthening of ties between the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church. In this Jubilee Year when we pray more intensely that the Lord will grant us the gift of unity, may our friendship be like a prayer rising up to the Father like incense, like the fragrance of the evening sacrifice offered on the Cross by his beloved Son.
Your Beatitude, in visiting your home I feel like a brother in the midst of brothers who together are striving to build up the Church of Christ. I thank you for your gracious welcome, and I ask the Risen Lord to grant to you and to all the clergy and faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Holy Land his gifts of prosperity, joy and peace.
1. I extend my cordial greetings to each of you, distinguished teachers of odontology, who have come on pilgrimage to Rome from all over Italy to celebrate your Jubilee. Thank you for your visit! In particular I thank Prof. Giovanni Dolci, President of your National Congress, and I extend my sentiments of esteem and appreciation to the representatives of the associations and industries in this sector.
I fervently hope that the Holy Year will be an extraordinary occasion of grace for each of you and your families. This is what the Jubilee is meant to be: a pressing invitation to respond to the gift of salvation with deep renewal of heart, expressed in a process of interior conversion. The Holy Door, through which you have had an opportunity to pass with faith and devotion, is an eloquent symbol of the new life which Christ himself brought us by his Death and Resurrection.
2. You have most appropriately desired to celebrate your Jubilee during the national meeting of odontologists. You have thus emphasized that your work is not limited to the technical dimension: it is also a mission which calls you to put your professional competence at the service of your neighbour, in whom, as believers, you see a reflection of Christ's face (cf. Mt Mt 25,40). The worthy institution to which you belong has as its goal scientific progress in odontology and in the university teaching of various specialization courses: it thus acquires a broader perspective, all to the advantage of the human person.
This is why your profession needs constant updating at both the technical and human levels, with particular attention to the ethical and moral questions arising in your daily work.
In this regard, during your three-day congress of study and discussion you have sought to identify the most appropriate methods and techniques to prevent infection but, at the same time, you have asked yourselves how to practise suitable forms of solidarity and international cooperation for the sake of those in need. You have closely examined the new opportunities afforded by the medical and health sciences, and, at the same time, you have studied how to meet the needs of disabled and elderly patients. In expressing my appreciation of these prospective efforts, I would like to invite you to persevere in your generous intentions, so that each of you will always regard the service that you offer individuals and society as a service to neighbour and especially to the suffering.
3. The image which naturally applies to you who are called to help the suffering is that of the Good Samaritan, who was moved by compassion for the man attacked by robbers and left by the road. The Good Samaritan par excellence is Jesus. May he be your model. May he, who went about doing good and healing all who turned to him (cf. Acts Ac 10,38), help you to dedicate yourselves with generous care to all who come to you.
Making use of all your possibilities, be promotors of solidarity in Italy and in other countries by training and updating new generations of professionals who are well-prepared and responsible. Study the best ways to offer countries with no access to the latest odontological care the scientific and technical help they need. With the inventiveness that springs from love, may you find answers that are attentive to the needs of your poor neighbour and respectful of the dignity belonging to every human being.
4. Dear brothers and sisters, the Jubilee Year reminds us that Christ also came to bring contemporary man a superabundance of the heavenly Father's grace. Accept his gift with a willing heart, with the awareness that God wants all his children to be saved. In the mysterious presence of suffering, which touches the lives of many brothers and sisters, be instruments and witnesses of his divine goodness. In the faces of the sorely tried, the enlightened eye of faith can recognize the features of Christ's face: the "man of suffering" who redeemed the world by his Cross.
May the Blessed Virgin, refuge and health of the sick, always accompany you in your work, which should be inspired by these ideals.
With these sentiments, I invoke divine assistance upon you, as I cordially impart to you my Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to your families and your loved ones.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I extend a cordial greeting to each of you, Pastors, and to you gathered here, faithful of the beloved Churches of Vrhbosna, Mostar-Duvno, Trebinje-Mrkan and Banja Luka. I welcome all of you with great joy. You have come to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and of the other Roman martyrs to celebrate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and to reaffirm your communion with the Church of Rome and the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles. As I welcome you affectionately, I thank dear Cardinal Vinko Puljic for the sentiments he has expressed to me on behalf of you all.
I have vivid memories of the Pastoral Visit which, after several necessary postponements, I was able to make on 12 and 13 April 1997. I was able to realize personally the great tragedy that in the last 10 years has befallen you and the other inhabitants of the region. The Holy See was constantly close to you throughout this period and will be in the future. The Pope's heart beats for you and he shares not only your sorrows and concerns, but also your joys and hopes.
2. Yes, dear brothers and sisters! Despite the numerous difficulties you encounter each day because of the political and economic situation, and despite the clouds that still gather on the horizon of your homeland, this is a time of hope! Just as in these days there are many signs announcing nature's reawakening, so too there are indications of a promising recovery in your society. It is the task of Christians to strengthen this positive process by contributing the Gospel leaven of new life. The Christian message contains an extraordinary potential for hope. It is the responsibility of every member of the faithful to enable the brothers and sisters he meets to share in it.
Your message of hope, dear friends, will be convincing if it is accompanied by the Gospel witness of deep ecclesial communion and of a charity that knows no boundaries. May your very life be eloquent proof to everyone of your Christianity! Be the first to offer and accept forgiveness, freeing your memory from hatred, resentment and the desire for revenge, and recognizing even those who have done you wrong as brothers and sisters. Do not let yourselves be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (cf. Rom Rm 12,21). "As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive" (Col 3,13).
I fervently trust that with God's help the flame of faith, kindled so many centuries ago in your lands, may continue to burn in the third millennium. The Church in your homeland will continue to be full of life if she remains open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and united around her Bishops, the successors of the Apostles. It is they, the Pastors, who guarantee the Catholic unity of each of your parish and diocesan communities.
The fervent observance of this Great Jubilee offers all Christians a favourable opportunity to intensify the work of salvation that is carried out in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ and universal sacrament of salvation. May the celebration of the Jubilee bear abundant fruits of conversion and holiness in the Catholic communities of your regions! May the Cross of Christ once again reveal its saving power among you!
3. Dear Catholics of the Ecclesiastical Province of Vrhbosna, may you remain united with one another in order to overcome the difficulties of the current moment. Together with your fellow citizens, you will thus be able to build in your land a hope-filled future of peace. You will succeed in this undertaking, which is certainly not easy, if you continue to show solidarity to one another, and if you can develop the spirit of sharing and co-responsibility, helping in particular the weakest, the poor and the war victims in your midst!
Bosnia and Hercegovina need honest dialogue and the active cooperation of all its peoples, as well as respect for the rights and identity of each person and each individual group. Indeed, if one wants to build a future of peace and social stability, no one can be favoured to the prejudice of others, and equality must be guaranteed for all.
During the past five and a half centuries your homeland has been governed by systems whose legacy greatly hinders the current democratic development. To overcome this situation and to relaunch true democracy, the commitment and collaboration of all is required. Authentic democracy is the result of appreciating the cultural, social and religious aspects of the various members of the country, with respect for fairness, justice and truth. It can be neither imported nor imposed. Its good functioning depends in particular on the extent to which the dignity of the person and the sacredness of human life are respected.
4. I also cordially greet the pilgrims from the parishes of Dol, Postira and Splitska. During the recent war their island of Brac gave hospitality to the major seminary of Vrhbosna in Sarajevo and to many other refugees. May God abundantly reward all the inhabitants of that beautiful island!
Upon all of you here and on your diocesan communities, I invoke the motherly protection of the Most Holy Mother of God, as I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to each of you.
Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Speeches 2000 - SPEECH OF JOHN PAUL II