Speeches 2000 - Saturday, 11 November 2000


Saturday, 11 November 2000

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to be able to meet you on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Agricultural World, for this moment of celebration and reflection on the present state of this important sector of life and the economy, as well as on the ethical and social perspectives that concern it.

I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, for his kind words expressing the sentiments and expectations of all those present. I respectfully greet the dignitaries, including those of different religious backgrounds who are representing various organizations and are present this evening to offer us the contribution of their testimony.

2. The Jubilee of farmers coincides with the traditional "Thanksgiving Day" promoted in Italy by the praiseworthy Confederation of Farmers, to whom I extend my most cordial greetings. This "Day" makes a strong appeal to the perennial values cherished by the agricultural world, particularly to its marked religious sense. To give thanks is to glorify God who created the land and its produce, to God who saw that it was "good" (Gn 1,12) and entrusted it to man for wise and industrious safekeeping.

Dear men and women of the agricultural world, you are entrusted with the task of making the earth fruitful. A most important task, whose urgent need today is becoming ever more apparent. The area where you work is usually called the "primary sector" by economic science. On the world economic scene, your sector varies considerably, in comparison to others, according to continent and nation. But whatever the cost in economic terms, plain good sense is enough to highlight its real "primacy" with respect to vital human needs. When this sector is underappreciated or mistreated, the consequences for life, health and ecological balance are always serious and usually difficult to remedy, at least in the short term.

3. The Church has always had special regard for this area of work, which has also been expressed in important magisterial documents. How could we forget, in this respect, Bl. John XXIII's Mater et Magistra? At the time he put his "finger on the wound", so to speak, denouncing the problems that were unfortunately making agriculture a "depressed sector" in those years, regarding both "labour productivity" and "the standard of living of farm populations" (cf. ibid., nn. 123-124).
In the time between Mater et Magistra and our day, it certainly cannot be said that these problems have been solved. Rather it should be noted that there are others in addition, in the framework of new problems stemming from the globalization of the economy and the worsening of the "ecological question".

4. The Church obviously has no "technical" solutions to offer. Her contribution is at the level of Gospel witness and is expressed in proposing the spiritual values that give meaning to life and guidance for practical decisions, including at the level of work and the economy.

Without doubt, the most important value at stake when we look at the earth and at those who work is the principle that brings the earth back to her Creator: the earth belongs to God! It must therefore be treated according to his law. If, with regard to natural resources, especially under the pressure of industrialization, an irresponsible culture of "dominion" has been reinforced with devastating ecological consequences, this certainly does not correspond to God's plan. "Fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air" (Gn 1,28). These famous words of Genesis entrust the earth to man's use, not abuse. They do not make man the absolute arbiter of the earth's governance, but the Creator's "co-worker": a stupendous mission, but one which is also marked by precise boundaries that can never be transgressed with impunity.

This is a principle to be remembered in agricultural production itself, whenever there is a question of its advance through the application of biotechnologies, which cannot be evaluated solely on the basis of immediate economic interests. They must be submitted beforehand to rigorous scientific and ethical examination, to prevent them from becoming disastrous for human health and the future of the earth.

5. The fact that the earth belongs constitutively to God is also the basis of the principle, so dear to the Church's social teaching, of the universal destination of the earth's goods (cf. Centesimus annus CA 6). What God has given man, he has given with the heart of a father who cares for his children, no one excluded. God's earth is therefore also man's earth and that of all mankind! This certainly does not imply the illegitimacy of the right to property, but demands a conception of it and its consequent regulation which will safeguard and further its intrinsic "social function" (cf. Mater et Magistra MM 111 Populorum progressio, n. 23).

Every person, every people, has the right to live off the fruits of the earth. At the beginning of the new millennium, it is an intolerable scandal that so many people are still reduced to hunger and live in conditions unworthy of man. We can no longer limit ourselves to academic reflections: we must rid humanity of this disgrace through appropriate political and economic decisions with a global scope. As I wrote in my Message to the Director-General of the FAO on the occasion of World Food Day, it is necessary "to uproot the causes of hunger and malnutrition" (cf. L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 1 November 2000, p. 3). As is widely known, this situation has a variety of causes. Among the most absurd are the frequent conflicts within States, which are often true wars of the poor. And there remains the burdensome legacy of an often unjust distribution of wealth in individual nations and at the world level.

6. This is an aspect which the celebration of the Jubilee brings precisely to our special attention. For the original institution of the Jubilee, as it is formulated in the Bible, was aimed at re-establishing equality among the children of Israel also by restoring property, so that the poorest people could pick themselves up again and everyone could experience, including at the level of a dignified life, the joy of belonging to the one people of God.

Our Jubilee, 2,000 years after Christ's birth, must also bear this sign of universal brotherhood. It represents a message that is addressed not only to believers, but to all people of good will, so that they will be resolved, in their economic decisions, to abandon the logic of sheer advantage and combine legitimate "profit" with the value and practice of solidarity. As I have said on other occasions, we need a globalization of solidarity, which in turn presupposes a "culture of solidarity" that must flourish in every heart.

7. Thus, while we never cease to urge the public authorities, the great economic powers and the most influential institutions to move in this direction, we must be convinced that there is a "conversion" that involves us all personally. We must start with ourselves. For this reason, in the Encyclical Centesimus annus, along with the discussions of the ecological question, I pointed to the urgent need for a "human ecology".This concept is meant to recall that "not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God's gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed" (Centesimus annus CA 38). If man loses his sense of life and the security of moral standards, wandering aimlessly in the fog of indifferentism, no policy will be effective for safeguarding both the concerns of nature and those of society. Indeed, it is man who can build or destroy, respect or despise, share or reject. The great problems posed by the agricultural sector, in which you are directly involved, should be faced not only as "technical" or "political" problems, but at their root as "moral problems".

8. It is therefore the inescapable responsibility of those who work with the name of Christians to give a credible witness in this area. Unfortunately, in the countries of the so-called "developed" world an irrational consumerism is spreading, a sort of "culture of waste", which is becoming a widespread lifestyle. This tendency must be opposed. To teach a use of goods which never forgets either the limits of available resources or the poverty of so many human beings, and which consequently tempers one's lifestyle with the duty of fraternal sharing, is a true pedagogical challenge and a very far-sighted decision. In this task, the world of those who work the land with its tradition of moderation and heritage of wisdom accumulated amid much suffering, can make an incomparable contribution.

9. I am therefore very grateful for this "Jubilee" witness, which holds up the great values of the agricultural world to the attention of the whole Christian community and all society. Follow in the footsteps of your best tradition, opening yourselves to all the developments of the technological era, but jealously safeguarding the perennial values that characterize you. This is also the way to give a hope-filled future to the world of agriculture. A hope that is based on God's work, of which the Psalmist sings: "You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it (Ps 65,10).

As I implore this visit from God, source of prosperity and peace for the countless families who work in the rural world, I would like to impart an Apostolic Blessing to everyone at the end of this meeting.

Before leaving the Pope said to those present:

I would like to thank you for this lovely evening, for the invitation and for the beautiful link between the rural, agricultural world and modern music. Thanks to everyone for the participation of representatives from all the countries; this is the way that the whole universal Church lives and celebrates the Jubilee.

I wish you a good rest. Tomorrow another great celebration awaits you. Let us hope for good weather.



Monday, 13 November 2000

Mr Ambassador,

Welcome to the Vatican for this presentation of the Letters of Credence appointing you Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Portugal to the Holy See. The sentiments and intentions that you have just expressed are a sign of the seriousness with which you regard and accept this new diplomatic post; here you will find - I can assure you - the necessary support for successfully accomplishing the lofty mission for which you have been accredited, as did your predecessors. In you I see the noble Portuguese nation, limited today to its narrow European dimensions, but great in its universalist soul, which, under the shadow of the glorious Cross, revealed the brotherhood of individuals and peoples, which it has heralded and fostered. The Holy See is pleased with this and congratulates you.

Your Excellency has been sent by the Head of State, who entrusted you with the kind expression of his compliments and best wishes for my person, for which I am very appreciative and grateful. With the assurance of my prayers for the prosperity of his country, I ask you to convey my cordial greetings to the President of the Republic, to the Government and to the Portuguese people. The last image I have of them is of the countless multitude of pilgrims at the Shrine of Fátima, where their devout and happy eyes were reflected in the gracious figures of their compatriots, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, raised to the honours of the altar. I thought to myself: this is Portugal!

On that occasion, as I visited your country for the third time, I was able to see again how the Christian religion moulds Portugal's soul and marks its life particularly through the influence of worthy and prestigious social and cultural institutions, visible signs of the "Catholic Church's incalculable role in the course of the country's collective life". Your words, Mr Ambassador, express the sentiment of the Portuguese Government, which wants to achieve a better "adjustment to contemporary reality" of Portugal's relations with the Holy See. You can communicate to your Government the latter's willingness, since it is sensitive to the signs of the times and quite happy to pursue our respectful relations governed by a shared concern to work together for the advancement of the human person.

The specific mission of the Church, and naturally of the Holy See which is her centre, is spiritual in nature, since the formation of consciences is one of her fundamental concerns. In their respective field in each country, the local Churches work to this end in communion with the Successor of Peter; they would fail in their duty, if they did not try to clarify consciences, to point out the evils that threaten both Christian life and the integrity of the person, and to encourage what is in keeping with truth and human welfare. It is true that the Church has no direct power over the laws and institutions of the State democratically chosen by the citizens in complete freedom; but she does claim, in fulfilling the mission received from her divine Founder, the right to make statements about these laws and institutions and to distinguish between what is permitted by the civil law and what is moral, in conformity with a well-formed conscience. And the Portuguese Church has never tired of doing so in the most diverse cases, such as the unjust law on abortion and the granting of the same legal status as the family based on marriage to emerging models of cohabitation that are radically different and irreducible to it.

In addition, there are other complex moral problems. It is easy to see the deep disorientation of many young people, who frequently seek escape in drugs or in degrading behaviour. Knowing that the future is born today - as Your Excellency recalled - and at the sight of these scourges which debilitate many gullible and frail victims, it is right to ask the various areas where the men and women of the future are formed to assume their responsibility. It is necessary to denounce, for violating the original plan received, all who fail to teach authentic freedom, the quest for truth, respect for love and family values. For her part, the Church wishes to work for this cause with all her forces, within the realm of her own competence and with respect for the freedom of consciences; she has no doubt that in this area she will encounter the assent of political leaders for the common good. It is they who are in the best position to see that there is a challenge to be considered with regard to the country's future and its true human and spiritual progress, in conformity with the Christian heritage which marks it so strongly and continues to be a source of life for those who accept it.

I would like to mention one point that honours your country: the great sensitivity of your people and your Government to those who are suffering, which in a certain way is in the Portuguese blood.

From time immemorial your homeland has been the finis terrae and last haven for the strongest of the fugitives from the consecutive Indo-European invasions: harassed by the new lords of the battlefield, they ended up there, driven to the ocean, until the day when it relented, giving them access to new worlds and new peoples. This long and almost forced coexistence of various peoples forged the great, I would almost say universal, soul of Portugal, which is capable of a special and fruitful synergy with peoples and races from the different parts of the earth and takes the form of a large family.

A concrete result of this is the community of Portuguese-speaking countries, not only with its sociopolitical, cultural and economic aspects but also with its ecclesial expression, which consists of mutual help and the fraternal sharing of resources. There was a great wave of solidarity throughout Portugal with the bloody tragedy that struck East Timor when the people chose their future. At the time when Macau was returned to China, its farewell was lived under the banner of the consolidation of the moorings with which Portugal knew how to make it fast to the pier of the great Chinese family. Your nation is living through the tragedy of Angola with the same sentiments: since the appeals for peace went unheard, they were directed to God in a permanent back-up of prayer that heaven would raise up those new hearts which the prophecies (cf. Ez Ez 36,26-28 Jr 31,31-33) proclaim for the new times.

Your Excellency well knows the interest that the Holy See pays to all these efforts, which can make the human community more fraternal and supportive, thanks to the preparation and application of adequate political, juridical and economic means. A deeper knowledge of the unity of the entire human family and of the radical interdependence of all peoples should gradually foster a greater conviction that it is only true solidarity, understood as a moral quality that determines human relations, which can effectively safeguard the dignity and rights of individuals and, consequently, build peace within societies and among nations.

These are the sentiments that motivate me as I welcome you, Mr Ambassador, at the begining of your diplomatic mission to the Holy See. I express before God my best wishes for you and your family, for the Portuguese people and for its leaders, as I invoke upon everyone, through the intercession of your heavenly Patroness and Queen, the blessings of the Most High who gives happiness, strength and light to people of good will.


Monday, 13 November 2000

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome this distinguished assembly of Nobel Peace Prize laureates at the conclusion of your Second International Forum. I greet in particular His Excellency Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies, and Mr Francesco Rutelli, Mayor of Rome.

Over the past few days you have been reflecting on the world situation at the dawn of a new millennium. Men and women everywhere look to the future in the hope of real and lasting peace, founded on a civilization which respects the rights of all and safeguards the authentic common good. Yet there are very great difficulties to be faced, as we continue to see, in many parts of the world, armed conflicts and terrible human tragedies.

At this significant moment in history, a concerted effort must be made to ensure that new generations reject the ways of discrimination, exclusion and conflict, and set out resolutely on the path to peace in a spirit of openness to the values and traditions of others. In close cooperation with the United Nations Organization, you have taken a lead in this regard by seeking to promote a culture of non-violence and peace among the children of the world during the coming decade. You have also recognized that a civilization of peace cannot be built without tackling the problem of external debt, and without a greater sense of responsibility among those who work in the area of social communications.

I encourage your efforts to build a better future for the peoples of the world, to ensure that all can live in peace and harmony, making use of their talents and gifts for their personal growth and for the good of society. I pray that God will bless you and your families, and guide you as you continue to dedicate yourselves to the cause of peace, reconciliation and harmony among all peoples.


Monday, 13 November 2000

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. With joy I extend to you my cordial greetings on the occasion of the plenary session of your Academy, which, given the Jubilee context in which it is taking place, takes on special significance and value. I would like, first of all, to thank your President, Prof. Nicola Cabibbo, for the kind words that he addressed to me on behalf of you all. I extend my keenly felt expression of thanks to you all for this meeting and for the expert and valued contribution which you offer to the progress of scientific knowledge for the good of humanity.

Continuing, and almost completing, your deliberations of last year, you have dwelt over the last few days on the stimulating subject of "science and the future of mankind". I am happy to observe that in recent years your study-weeks and plenary assemblies have been dedicated in an increasingly explicit way to investigating that dimension of science which we could define as anthropological or humanistic. This important aspect of scientific research was also addressed on the occasion of the Jubilee of Scientists, celebrated in May, and, more recently, on the occasion of the Jubilee of University Teachers. I hope and wish that reflection on the anthropological contents of knowledge and the necessary rigour of scientific research can be developed in a meaningful way, thereby offering illuminating indications for the overall progress of man and society.

2. When one speaks about the humanistic dimension of science, thought is directed for the most part to the ethical responsibility of scientific research because of its consequences for man. The problem is real and has given rise to constant concern on the part of the Magisterium of the Church, especially during the second part of the 20th century. But it is clear that it would be reductive to limit reflection on the humanistic dimension of science to a mere reference to this concern. This could even lead some people to fear that a kind of "humanistic control of science" is being envisaged, almost as though, on the assumption that there is a dialectical tension between these two spheres of knowledge, it was the task of the humanistic disciplines to guide and orientate in an external way the aspirations and the results of the natural sciences, directed as they are towards the planning of ever new research and extending its practical application.

From another point of view, analysis of the anthropological dimension of science raises above all else a precise set of epistemological questions and issues. That is to say, one wants to emphasize that the observer is always involved in the object that is observed. This is true not only in research into the extremely small, where the limits to knowledge due to this close involvement have been evident and have been discussed philosophically for a long time, but also in the most recent research into the extremely large, where the particular philosophical approach adopted by the scientist can influence in a significant way the description of the cosmos, when questions spring forth about everything, about the origins and the meaning of the universe itself.

At a more general level, as the history of science demonstrates to us rather well, both the formulation of a theory and the instinctive perception which has guided many discoveries often reveal themselves to be conditioned by philosophical, aesthetic and at times even religious and existential prior understandings which were already present in the subject. But in relation to these questions as well, the analysis of the anthropological dimension or the humanistic value of science bears upon only a specific aspect, within the more general epistemological question of the relationship between the subject and the object.

Lastly, reference is made to "humanism in science" or "scientific humanism" in order to emphasize the importance of an integrated and complete culture capable of overcoming the separation of the humanistic disciplines and the experimental-scientific disciplines. If this separation is certainly advantageous at the analytical and methodological stage of any given research, it is rather less justified and not without dangers at the stage of synthesis, when the subject asks himself about the deepest motivations of his "doing research" and about the "human" consequences of the newly acquired knowledge, both at a personal level and at a collective and social level.

3. But beyond these questions and issues, to speak about the humanistic dimension of science involves bringing to the fore an "inner" or "existential" aspect, so to speak, which profoundly involves the researcher and deserves special attention. When I spoke some years ago at UNESCO, I had the opportunity to recall that culture, and thus also scientific culture, possesses in the first instance a value which is "contained within the subject itself" (cf. Insegnamenti, III/1 [1980] 1639-1640). Every scientist, through personal study and research, completes himself and his own humanity. You are authoritative witnesses to this. Each one of you, indeed, thinking of his own life and his own experience, could say that research has constructed and in a certain way has marked his personality. Scientific research constitutes for you, as it does for many, the way for the personal encounter with truth, and perhaps the privileged place for the encounter itself with God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Seen from this point of view, science shines forth in all its value as a good capable of motivating an existence, as a great experience of freedom for truth, as a fundamental work of service. Through it, each researcher feels that he is able himself to grow, and to help others to grow, in humanity.

Truth, freedom and responsibility are connected in the experience of the scientist. In setting out on his path of research, he understands that he must tread not only with the impartiality required by the objectivity of his method but also with the intellectual honesty, the responsibility, and I would say with a kind of "reverence", which befit the human spirit in its drawing near to truth. For the scientist, to understand in an ever better way the particular reality of man in relation to the biological-physical processes of nature, to discover always new aspects of the cosmos, to know more about the location and the distribution of resources, the social and environmental dynamics, and the logic of progress and development, becomes translated into a duty to serve more fully the whole of mankind, to which he belongs. For this reason, the ethical and moral responsibilities connected to scientific research can be perceived as a requirement within science, because it is a fully human activity, but not as control, or worse, as an imposition which comes from outside. The man of science knows perfectly, from the point of view of his knowledge, that truth cannot be subject to negotiation, cannot be obscured or abandoned to free conventions or agreements between groups of power, societies, or States. Therefore, because of the ideal of service to truth, he feels a special responsibility in relation to the advancement of mankind, not understood in generic or ideal terms, but as the advancement of the whole man and of everything that is authentically human.

4. Science conceived in this way can encounter the Church without difficulty and engage in a fruitful dialogue with her, because it is precisely man who is "the primary and fundamental way for the Church" (Redemptor hominis RH 14). Science can then look with interest to biblical Revelation which unveils the ultimate meaning of the dignity of man, who is created in the image of God. It can above all meet Christ, the Son of God, the Word made flesh, the perfect Man. Man, when following him, also becomes more human (cf. Gaudium et spes GS 41).

Is it not perhaps this centrality of Christ that the Church is celebrating in the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000? In upholding the uniqueness and centrality of God made Man, the Church feels that she is given a great responsibility - that of proposing divine Revelation, which, without in any way rejecting "what is true and holy" in the various religions of mankind (cf. Nostra aetate NAE 2), indicates Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn 14,6), as the mystery in which everything finds fullness and completion.

In Christ, the centre and culmination of history (cf. Tertio millennio adveniente TMA 9-10), is also contained the norm for the future of mankind. In him, the Church recognizes the ultimate conditions allowing scientific progress to be also real human progress. They are the conditions of charity and service, those which ensure that all men have an authentically human life, capable of rising up to the Absolute, opening up not only to the wonders of nature but also to the mystery of God.

5. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen! In presenting you with these reflections on the anthropological contents and the humanistic dimension of scientific activity, it is my heartfelt desire that the discussions and investigations of these days will produce much fruit for your academic and scientific endeavour. My hope and wish is that you can contribute, with wisdom and love, to the cultural and spiritual growth of peoples.

To this end, I invoke upon you the light and the strength of the Lord Jesus, real God and real Man, in whom are united the rigour of truth and the reasons of life. I am pleased to assure you of my prayers for you and your work, and I impart upon each of you my Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to all those you hold dear.





To the Most Reverend Father Juan Edmundo Vecchi, S.D.B.
Superior General of the Salesian Society of St John Bosco

1. In 1875 the first Salesians left for Argentina. This was the beginning of a promising missionary season for your religious family, which in time would become more and more flourishing. Recalling this year the 125th anniversary of that event, I extend my cordial wishes to you and to your entire institute, and express my grateful appreciation to all your confrères for the apostolate carried out according to the characteristic spirit of St John Bosco.

Who is not familiar with your founder's outstanding missionary soul? Many confrères, numerous Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and a great many lay people have followed in his footsteps, fulfilling their own missionary vocation in the Salesian charism. Throughout these 125 years, more than 10,000 religious have gone to mission lands. Before leaving, many of them received their Crucifix in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.

Most Reverend Father, I know that in recalling the missionary beginnings of the institute, you made a new missionary appeal to the congregation and that 124 religious and laity responded. These generous apostles will receive from you their mandate and the Crucifix that will accompany them in their apostolic ministry. They come from all the continents, another proof of how the Salesians' work has spread to every part of the world, and they are sent, in the name of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, to carry out in all regions of the earth an intense activity of evangelization and of educating young people. At the centres opened for the new generations, the professional and training institutes, the schools and parishes, among ordinary people and and street children, they are called to form and to prepare for social and religious life all those whom Providence entrusts to them, so that they in turn will become messengers and witnesses to the Gospel.

And how could we not recall that many Salesians are in the front lines of evangelization and offer their service among less fortunate and needy peoples? Carry on, dear brothers and sisters, with this very useful apostolic activity, which my revered Predecessors have always encouraged and blessed. Carry on with the same missionary ardour shown by those who preceded you.

2. The first group of Salesians sent to Latin America in 1875 is remembered for its vibrant missionary spirit and today is still held up as an example for all in the Salesian Congregation who ask to go to mission lands. Their witness is viewed in a way as the paradigm of every apostolic project that involves the whole Salesian family, which grew out of the Turin oratory.

It is the style of St John Bosco, who asked his missionaries passionately to make their own the same Gospel preached by the Saviour and his Apostles. "This Gospel", he said, "you must jealously love, profess and preach exclusively" (Memorie Biografiche, XI, 387).

The presentation of the mandate and the Crucifix, which is done in memory of that first missionary expedition, fits into the broad context of the Great Jubilee and is meant to instil new zeal not only in the congregation's missions, but in the spiritual life of the Salesian family itself. Today men and women religious of the great Salesian community are committed to working together by pooling their efforts. They are joined by the significant and important presence of lay people. The discernment and formation of local vocations, in fact, is a necessary, though sensitive, part of the missionary ministry of those newly sent, continuing all that Don Bosco began.

The presence of 23 lay people among the new missionaries who are being sent out on this occasion highlights how much the sons and daughters of Don Bosco are doing to make the most of the laity in the Church. These are young people who heard the missionary call while they were involved in the congregation's youth ministry. They now want to dedicate a period of their lives to their brothers and sisters who live in distant lands, going as witnesses of Christ to do the Father's will (cf. Heb He 10,7).

3. I deeply thank God for the missionary efforts which the members of this religious family carry out in the vast field of the Church. At the same time, I hope that this happy event, enhanced by the significant act of presenting the missionary mandate and Crucifix to the new workers in the harvest, will be for the communities and for every individual Salesian an opportunity for renewed commitment to Gospel witness and missionary activity.

To this end, I invoke the motherly assistance of Mary Help of Christians and the intercession of St John Bosco and all the Salesian saints and blesseds. May the divine protection always accompany your spiritual family, especially the missionaries, their parents and relatives.

With these sentiments I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, Most Reverend Superior General, to your confrères, to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and to the lay people who cooperate in every area of your Salesian activity, and I gladly extend it to all who will take part in the solemn Jubilee celebrations.

From the Vatican, 9 November 2000.

Speeches 2000 - Saturday, 11 November 2000