Speeches 2001 - ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
To my Venerable Brother Cardinal James Francis Stafford
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
1. I learned with pleasure that on the initiative of the Focolari Movement a Theological Pastoral Convention will be held in Castelgandolfo from 26 to 29 June on the theme: "Ecclesial movements for the new evangelization". To you, who have the responsibility to accompany and guide the "ecclesial movements" in communion and according to the mission of the Church, I ask to convey my cordial greeting to Miss Chiara Lubich, to her collaborators and to the convention's speakers, and to all the priests, permanent deacons and seminarians studying theology who will be taking part.
In the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, I pointed out the path that the Church, living out of the abundant outpouring of grace she received during the recent Great Jubilee, is called to take at the dawn of the third millennium. The Church must "start afresh from Christ", with her gaze fixed on him and steeping herself in his mystery. She must strive to be a school of communion and active charity for everyone. Thus, sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit, despite human frailty, the Church will be able to bear witness to God's love in all the areas where human life and the renewal of society are at stake.
This mission involves the entire Christian community and ecclesial movements are a "providential gift" for this process, as I myself recalled at the memorable meeting of 30 May 1998 in St Peter's Square. For this very reason, in the Apostolic Letter on the follow up to the Jubilee, I insisted on the need for the "promotion of forms of association, whether of the more traditional kind or the newer ecclesial movements, which continue to give the Church a vitality that is God's gift and a true "springtime of the Spirit'" (n. 46).
2. Many priests, attracted by the charismatic, pedagogical, community and missionary drive which accompanies the new ecclesial realities participate in many ecclesial movements alongside the laity. These experiences can be very useful because they are "capable of enriching the life of individual priests as well as enlivening the presbyterate with precious spiritual gifts" (Pastores dabo vobis, PDV 31). It is very clear in the teaching of the Catholic Church that priests are primarily called to live the grace of the Sacrament to the full, which is why they are configured to Christ, Head and Shepherd, for the service of the whole Christian community, in cordial and filial reference to the Bishop and fraternally united in the diocesan presbyterate. They belong to the particular Church and collaborate in her mission. But it is also true that "the charisms of the Spirit always create affinities, destined to be for each one a support for his objective task in the Church" (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VIII/2, 1985, p. 660). This is precisely why movements can also be useful to priests.
The positive effectiveness of the movements is revealed when priests find in them "the light and warmth" which help them mature in a true Christian life, and in particular, in a genuine "sensus Ecclesiae", spurring them to greater fidelity to their legitimate Pastors, making them attentive to ecclesiastical discipline and helping them to carry out with missionary zeal the tasks inherent in their ministry. The ecclesial movements are also "a source of help and support in the journey of formation towards the priesthood", particularly for those who come from specific group situations, with respect for the norms of discipline prescribed by the Church for seminaries.
It is important to prevent priests, deacons and seminarians who belong to movements or ecclesial associations from becoming narrow or closed-minded. Rather, their participation should open their spirit to accept and respect the other ways in which the faithful can take part in the life of the Church, encouraging them to become ever more persons of communion, "pastors of the whole" (cf. Pastores dabo vobis, PDV 62).
3. With these premises, the priests who belong to ecclesial movements will find in them an opportunity for their spiritual and pastoral enrichment. Indeed, by belonging to them, priests can learn better how to live the Church in the rich experience of her sacramental, hierarchical and charismatic gifts, that correspond to the many forms of ministries, states of life and tasks by which she is built up. "Moved" and "attracted" by the same charism, sharing in the same history and belonging to the same group, priests and lay people share in an interesting experience of communion with the faithful who edify one another, but without ever losing their distinct identity.
However, it would be a serious loss if we were to drift towards a "clericalization" of the movements. It would also be harmful if the witness and ministry of priests were in some way to be blurred and gradually assimilated to the lay state. The priest must live within a movement as an outstanding presence of Christ, Head and Shepherd, minister of the Word of God and of the sacraments, educator in the faith, by means of his link with the bishop, over and above the functions and offices he is called to assume. Indeed, the growth of movements in that "ecclesial maturity" can depend on their contribution, as I recalled in the cited Pentecost meeting of 1998.
I therefore encourage this Council to follow the progress of the ecclesial movements attentively, to foster an intense dialogue with them, to accompany them with pastoral wisdom and, when necessary, to make sure that they do not lack appropriate discernment, clarifications and guidelines.
I entrust this meeting to Mary, the faithful Virgin, and, as I gladly assure all those who will be taking part my remembrance in prayer, I send everyone a special Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 21 June.
Wednesday 27 June 2001
Mr President of the Republic of Ukraine,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. The moment of farewell has arrived. With affection I greet all of you here present and through you I greet the people of Ukraine whom I have come to know better during these days. I especially greet the people of the cities of Kyiv and Lviv who welcomed me, and those who came from other cities and regions to meet me.
Upon my arrival, I felt embraced by the affection of the city of Kyiv with its golden domes and tapestry of gardens. I then experienced the traditional hospitality of Lviv, a city of famous monuments, rich in Christian memories.
I am now sad to leave this land, which is a crossroads of peoples and cultures, where over a thousand years ago the Gospel began its course to spread and take root in the historical and cultural fabric of the peoples of Eastern Europe. To each and every one of you I say again: Thank you!
2. Thank you, Ukraine, who defended Europe in your untiring and heroic struggle against invaders.
Thank you, civil and military Authorities, and all of you who in different ways and with great generosity have cooperated in ensuring the successful outcome of my visit.
Thank you, dear Brothers and Sisters, who are part of this Christian community, "faithful unto death" (Ap 2,10). It has been my long-standing wish to express my admiration and appreciation for the heroic witness that you have borne during the long winter of persecution in the past century.
Thank you for your prayers and the long spiritual preparation you made for this meeting with the Successor of Peter, so that he would be able to confirm you in faith and help you to live in the fraternal love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1Co 13,7).
As I depart from Ukrainian soil I extend respectful and heartfelt greeting to the brothers and sisters and to the Pastors of the venerable Orthodox Church.
I bear you all in my prayer and I greet you all in Saint Paul’s words of blessing to the Christians of Thessalonika: "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways" (2Th 3,16).
3. May the Lord give you peace, People of Ukraine, who with tenacious and harmonious dedication have at last recovered your freedom, and have begun the work of rediscovering your truest roots. You are committed to an arduous path of reforms aimed at giving everyone the possibility of following and practising their own faith, culture and convictions in a framework of freedom and justice.
Even if you still feel the painful scars of the tremendous wounds inflicted over endless years of oppression, dictatorship and totalitarianism, during which the rights of the people were denied and trampled upon, look with confidence to the future. This is the opportune time! This is the time for hope and daring!
My hope is that Ukraine will be able fully to become a part of the Europe which will take in the entire continent from the Atlantic to the Urals. As I said at the end of that year 1989 which was of such great importance in the recent history of the continent, there cannot be "a peaceful Europe capable of spreading civilization without the interaction and sharing of the different though complementary values" which are characteristic of the peoples of East and West (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XXX/2, 1989, p. 1591).
4. In this important and significant transition, the Church, conscious of her mission, will not fail to exhort the faithful to cooperate actively with the State in the promotion of the common good. There is in fact a social charity, which is expressed in "service to culture, politics, the economy and the family, so that the fundamental principles upon which depend the destiny of human beings and the future of civilization will be everywhere respected" (Novo Millennio Ineunte NM 51).
Furthermore, Christians know that they are by right an integral part of the Ukrainian nation. They are so by virtue of a thousand-year history, which began with the baptism of Volodymyr and Kievan Rus’ in 988 in the waters of the Dnieper river; but they are especially so today, because of the baptism of blood which they received in the course of the tremendous persecutions of the 20th century: in those terrible years countless were the witnesses to the faith, not only Catholics but also Orthodox and Reformed Christians, who underwent deprivations of all kinds for love of Christ, in many cases even to the sacrifice of their lives.
5. Unity and harmony! This is the secret of peace and the condition for true and stable social progress. It is thanks to this combination of intentions and actions that Ukraine, homeland of faith and dialogue, will see its dignity recognized in the community of nations.
The solemn warning of your great poet Taras Shevchenko comes to mind: "Only in your own house will you find truth, strength and freedom". People of Ukraine, it is into the fertile soil of your own traditions that the roots of your future stretch! Together you can build that future; together you will be able to face the challenges of the present time, inspired by the common ideals that form the indelible heritage of your past and recent history. The mission is common to all; may the commitment taken on by the entire Ukrainian people also be common to all!
To you, land of Ukraine, I renew my wish for prosperity and peace. You have left unforgettable memories in my heart! Goodbye, friendly people, whom I embrace with sympathy and affection! Thank you for your heartfelt welcome and hospitality, which I shall never forget!
Goodbye, Ukraine! I make my own the words of your greatest poet and I invoke every blessing of the "strong and just God" upon the children of your land, "a hundred times stained with blood, once a glorious land". Dear Brothers and Sisters, with your poet and with you I say: May God protect you always, "o holy, holy, land of mine!".
I ask Almighty God to bless you, the people of Ukraine, and to heal all your wounds. May his great love fill your hearts and guide you in the Third Christian Millennium towards a new future . In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
Dear Brothers in Christ,
1. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading" (1P 1,3).
I wanted to greet you today with Peter's words to the Christians of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Beloved Brothers, members of the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomaios I and the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the occasion of your visit to the Church of Rome which gives me deep joy. "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ga 1,3). We are glad to welcome you, during these days when we are celebrating the feast of Sts Peter and Paul.
This exchange of delegations between the Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the patronal feasts, during which we honour the memory of the Apostles Peter, Paul and Andrew, is an initiative blessed by the Lord. We can even say that it has now become a natural practice of ecclesial brotherhood. I am deeply happy with this custom and warmly grateful to the Ecumenical Patriarch and to the Holy Synod for their sentiments, which enable us to celebrate the work accomplished by the Lord through the first Apostles. Moreover, it allows us to participate in prayer together and at the same time is an opportunity for regular and harmonious dialogue. By your presence here, dear Brothers, you are taking part in this celebration of the Church of Rome.
2. Among the first disciples, Jesus called two brothers, Simon and Andrew. They were fishermen. "He said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'. Immediately they left their nets and followed him" (Mt 4,19).
Since then, the Gospel message has been taken to the ends of the earth and we are called to continue in history the mission entrusted to the Apostles. Just as the Lord called Peter and Andrew "together", to be fishers of men for the kingdom of God, the successors of the Apostles are invited to proclaim the Good News of salvation together, so that through our words and our fraternal unity the world may believe.
Each year, the presence of a Catholic delegation at the Eucharistic celebration at the Phanar and your participation in the celebration held at St Peter's show that we are called by the Lord to this common mission. However the fact that we cannot take part together in Christ's one sacrifice causes distress and prompts us to seek ways that will enable us to resolve the divergences between Orthodox and Catholics that still endure.
3. To this end, fraternal relations between the particular Catholic and Orthodox Churches must be intensified. It is important to confront and clarify what remains of the theological dispute, relying on Holy Scripture and Tradition. The work of the Joint Commission must be completed in accordance with the programme it has chosen. I know that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Co-President of the Joint Commission are in close contact to decide together on the best way to resume the dialogue. The Catholic Church is also in touch with the autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox Churches. Furthermore, encouraging the dialogue of charity, which has made it possible to create the conditions necessary to begin the theological dialogue, is proving the most direct way for us to meet in truth and reciprocal affection in Christ.
4. The feast of Sts Peter and Paul has once again given us the opportunity to pray together to the Apostles who intercede for all Christ's disciples, so that "they may all be one" and together be "fishers of men" among the young generations of this new millennium, who are thirsting to know Christ and walk beside him. May we announce the Saviour together, to give these generations "a living hope" which never disappoints them.
5. Dear Brothers, I thank you for your visit and ask you to convey my fraternal greetings to His Holiness Bartholomew I and to all the members of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. May the Lord be with you always! May he guide us on the paths of his kingdom!
Dear Metropolitan Archbishops,
1. After yesterday evening's solemn celebration during which I conferred the sacred pallium upon you, I have the joy of meeting you again this morning, to renew my fraternal embrace.
I am delighted to welcome with you your relatives, friends and the faithful of the respective communities who have wanted to gather round you at this moment of special ecclesial importance.
First of all I greet you, venerable Brothers who belong to the beloved Church which is in Italy: Archbishop Pietro Brollo of Udine, Archbishop Carmelo Ferraro of Agrigento, Archbishop Agostino Superbo of Potenza Muro Lucano-Marsico Nuovo, Archbishop Antonio Cantisani of Catanzaro-Squillace, Archbishop Giuseppe Agostino of Cosenza-Bisignao, Archbishop Ennio Antonelli of Firenze, and Archbishop Antonio Buoncristiani of Siena-Colle di Val d''lsa-Montalcino. May the Lord generously bestow his graces upon each one of you and upon the pastoral ministry he has entrusted to you. On your part, dear friends, serve him with all your heart and all your strength, after the example of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
2. I cordially greet the new Metropolitan Archbishops who have come to receive the pallium, Archbishop Arthé Guimond of Grouard-McLennan, Canada, Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Chambéry, France, Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carré of Albi, France, Archbishop Anselme Titianma Sanon of Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, Archbishop Séraphim Rouamba of Koupéla, Burkina Faso, Archbishop François Garnier of Cambrai, France, Archbishop Anatole Milandou of Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, and Archbishop Charles Kambale Mbogha of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. May the liturgy of the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul sustain you in your episcopal ministry! I extend my greetings to your families, your friends and the priests and faithful who have accompanied you. The pallium is an appeal to everyone to take an ever more active part in the Church's mission in communion with their Bishops. With my Apostolic Blessing.
3. I am pleased to greet the English-speaking Metropolitans who yesterday received the pallium: Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick of Washington (United States of America), Archbishop Roger Lawrence Schweitz of Anchorage, United States of America, Archbishop Vincent Michaael Concessao of Delhi, India, Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra, India, Archbishop George Pell of Sydney, Australia, Archbishop Denis James Hart of Melbourne, Australia, Archbishop Brendan Michael O'Brien of Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada, and Archbishop Edward Joseph Gilbert of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. I welcome their family members and friends, and the faithful of their Archdioceses who have accompanied them to Rome.
The pallium is a symbol of the special bond of communion uniting you with the See of Peter and an expression of the universality of the one Church of Christ, founded on the "rock" of the Apostolic faith. May your witness to this faith be steadfast and untiring, so that you may effectively guide your communities in the ways of truth, life and love. When you return to your local Churches, I ask you to take to your people my affectionate greeting in the Lord, who is "the same yesterday and today and for ever" (He 13,8).
4. I am pleased to receive Archbishops Ubaldo Ramon Santana of Maracaibo, Venezuela, Cristian Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt, Chile, Felipe Aguirre Franco of Acapulco, Mexico, Luis Abilo Sebastiani of Ayacucho, Peru and Rodolfo Quezada of Guatemala, accompanied by your relatives, priests and faithful, as well as by the authorities who were present yesterday at the conferral of the pallium. This ancient ecclesiastical symbol expresses a close bond that links the Metropolitan Archbishop with the Apostolic See, and a special responsibility to maintain and to foster communion with the suffragen dioceses.
I entrust this new ecclesial commitment to the motherly intercession of the Virgin Mary, so devoutly invoked among the Latin American peoples. I am sure that in your pastoral ministry you will not lack the prayers, closeness and generous collaboration of all your faithful. I ask you to take back to your respective ecclesiastical Provinces the cordial greeting of the Pope who wholeheartedly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to you.
5. I greet you with affection, the new Pastor of Luanda, Angola, Archbishop Damião António Franklin and you, Archbishop Tomé Makhweliha of Nampula, Mozambique; I also greet the new Archbishops of Brazil: Archbishop Celso José Pinto da Silva of Porto Alegre, and Archbishop Geraldo Majela de Castro of Montes Claros. With my congratulations for this day, I hope that on your return to your Archdiocese, wearing the pallium, the sign of a special bond of communion with the See of Peter, you will dedicate yourselves with renewed zeal to fostering this community and to the unity of the Church to whose cause you must feel committed.
6. I cordially greet you, dear Metropolitan Archbishop Ivan Devcic of Rijeka in Croatia, with words of welcome to the large group that has come with you to reinforce the bonds of charity that unite the Church of Rijeka with the Apostolic See.
I greet you, dear Metropolitan Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar of Belgrade in Yugoslavia, your priests and faithful, particularly those who have accompanied you on this occasion of the conferral of the sacred pallium, a sign of unity and an attestation of communion with the Successor of Peter.
I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.
7. I cordially greet Archbishop Wojciech Ziemba of Bia³ystok, his relatives and the pilgrims from the Archdiocese, who have come to Rome and have taken part in the solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and in the conferral of the pallium upon the Archbishop. May this pallium be a sign of the union of the Archdiocese of Bia³ystok with the People of God throughout the world.
I entrust Archbishop Wojciech and all of you who are present here to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Maria of Ostra Brama, Patroness of the Archdiocese, and I warmly bless you.
8. Venerable Brothers, in returning to your particular Churches, you will be taking with you the pallium which you received from my hands yesterday. May you be able to express in consistent pastoral choices the meaning of this traditional liturgical symbol, that is, faithful and effective communion with the Apostolic See. May the Apostolic Letter Novo Millenio ineunte, which you are studying with the various members of your communities, help you in this process.
Our unity must always be first of all enlivened and nourished by prayer. If, together, we keep our gaze on Christ, we will cooperate effectively in order to guide the People of God on the paths of the Lord. May we be sustained in this commitment by the intercession of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and by the maternal and tender intercession of Blessed Mary, Mother of the Church.
I wholeheartedly renew my Apostolic Blessing to each of you, venerable Brothers, to your loved ones and to all the faithful who are entrusted to your care.
To Bishop François Blondel of Viviers
1. On the occasion of the colloquium organized in Viviers to celebrate the centenary of Fr Charles de Foucauld's ordination to the priesthood, I gladly join its organizers and all the participants through prayer. I give thanks for the witness of contemplative and apostolic life of the humble, poor hermit of Hoggar, who was set on following Jesus of Nazareth. Today Bro. Charles invites all the faithful to draw from the contemplation of Christ and a deep relationship with him, new strength to nourish their spiritual life and to proclaim the Gospel to the people of our time; thus they will become the servants of the meeting between God and humanity, called to salvation.
2. "Fr de Foucauld ... belongs to us through the most memorable act of his existence and the best part of his life.... He became a priest" (Bishop Bonnet, Lettre du 28 mai 1917). On 9 June 1901 at the age of 43, after a period of formation with the Trappists of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, Bro. Charles was ordained a priest by your predecessor, Bishop Joseph Bonnet, in the chapel of the major seminary of Viviers. This ordination, which conformed him to Christ, Head and Shepherd, and made him his minister, designated a further turning point in his "hidden life" with the Lord. From that day in October 1886, when he rediscovered recourse to the Eucharist through the grace of the sacrament of reconciliation and the ministry of Fr Huvelin, until his assassination in December 1916 throughout his life he was to express only one desire: to remain the seed buried in the earth and to die, offering his life in silent imitation of Jesus Christ who loved all men "to the end" (Jn 13,1), to be close to them.
3. In the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, I recalled that contemplation of Christ is the source of the Church's missionary dynamism. This contemplation was the basis of Bro. Charles' spiritual life and apostolic fruitfulness, and it gave his life a distinctly Eucharistic tone. The pastoral charity of Jesus Christ, his beloved Brother and Lord, received in daily life through meditation upon his word and through the Sacrament of his Real Presence, prompted him to share the life of the Holy Family in Nazareth, so as to be closer to his Master. It was at the Trappist monastery of Akbès and later in Nazareth that he had a profound experience of the mystery of the Incarnation which he described in the words of Scripture: ""Emmanuel, God-with-us', these are, as it were, the first words of the Gospel.... "I am with you until the end of time', these are the last" (La bonté de Dieu, méditations sur les saints Evangiles, 147th meditation).
4. "My final retreats for the diaconate and the priesthood have shown me that that I was to live the life of Nazareth, my vocation, not in my beloved Holy Land, but among the souls who are the sickest, the most forsaken sheep. This divine banquet, whose minister I am, must not be set before my brethren, relatives or rich neighbours, but before those who are the lamest, the blindest, the most neglected souls, who have no priests" (Lettre du 8 avril 1905 à L'Abbé Caron). This special charismatic intuition reveals the pastoral, ecclesial and missionary sense of the person known as the "Universal Brother!". During the last 15 years of his life, in Béni-Abbès and in Tamanrasset, remaining for hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in the silence of the desert, Fr Charles de Foucauld presented God to the world and humbly helped to spread the Good News of salvation, thus faithfully fulfilling his priestly mission.
5. As I give thanks for the witness of Fr de Foucauld, I encourage all who are inspired by his charism today to continue their apostolate in an ever greater unity of the different institutes, and to follow his message and example with generosity and daring. At the beginning of the new millennium, "now is the time for a new "creativity in charity'" (Novo Millennio ineunte, NM 50) which is asked of the members of the Foucauld family, especially in countries where cultural and religious tensions exist between communities, in countries where people are subject to difficult living conditions, and alongside the many poor people of modern society. Faithful to the Eucharist, they will be close to every man and woman, and able to love as Jesus loved. Faithful to their commitment to the poor, they will bear witness to God's love, filling "history with the seeds of the kingdom of God which Jesus himself sowed during his earthly life whenever he responded to those who came to him with their spiritual and material needs" (ibid., n. 49).
Is not Bro. Charles, who learned the language of the Tuaregs to translate the Gospels and compiled a dictionary and a grammar for them, calling those inspired by his charism to enter into dialogue with contemporary cultures and take the route that leads to meeting other religious traditions, especially Islam? Thus the different religious communities will truly be "as communities in respectful dialogue, never more as communities in conflict" (Address at the Umayyad Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria, 6 May 2001). I hope that the spiritual insights of Fr Charles de Foucauld will continue to enrich the Church's life, thereby witnessing that love is stronger than all forms of tension and division.
6. Dear Brother in the Episcopate, I entrust the Diocese of Viviers and the whole of the large Foucauld family to the intercession of Venerable Charles de Foucauld, whose heroic virtues have recently been recognized by the Church. I cordially impart an affectionate Apostolic Blessing to you, to the members of your dioceses, to the Trappist community of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, to the family of Charles de Foucauld and the institutes that live his charism, and to the organizers and participants in the colloquium.
From the Vatican, 26 May 2001
1. A cordial welcome to you all! Your presence in Rome and in the Vatican joins the celebrations of the 180th anniversary of Cyprian Kamil Norwid, one of Christian Europe's greatest poets and thinkers. We are all deeply indebted to this poet the fourth bard and would like to make the most of this occasion to repay him, at least in part. I have always maintained that Cyprian Norwid should have lain in the crypt of the great poets in Wawel Cathedral. This was not to be, since it proved impossible to find and identify the poet's remains. I therefore sought other ways of making amends for what had not been done for Norwid and what we feel to be our common duty. It is right that at least the urn with earth from the common grave in which the poet was buried should now stand in Wawel, in the place in our country that Norwid deserves, because our country, he wrote, "is the place where we can find rest and death" (C.K. Norwid, Co to jest ojczyzna, in "Pisma wszystkie", VII, PIW 1971-76, 50).
2. Gentlemen, I am happy to have this meeting and I attach great importance to it. To prepare for it, I reread Norwid's writings and spoke to those who appreciate him as I do. What I would like to tell you is largely the result of my exchange of thoughts with them. I honestly wanted to offer my personal debt of gratitude to the poet, with whose work I have been bound by a deep spiritual kinship since my secondary school years. During the Nazi occupation, Norwid's thoughts reinforced our hope in God, and in the period of the unjust and contemptuous dealings of the Communist system, he helped us persevere along with the truth, given to us as a duty to be lived with dignity. Cyprian Norwid left an opus from which shines the light that lets us more deeply penetrate the truth of our being as human persons, Christians, Europeans and Poles.
3. Norwid's poetry was born from the travail of his difficult life. It was formed in the light of a deep aesthetic of faith in God and of our humanity in God. Faith in the Love which is revealed in the Beauty that gives the "enthusiasm" to work, opens Norwid's words to the mystery of the covenant God makes with the human person, so that he may live, just as God lives. Promethidion, the canticle on the beauty of the Love and work, portrays the very act of creation in which God reveals to men the bond that binds labour with love (cf. Gn Gn 1,28); it is in hard labour that man is born and reborn. The reader has to be mature for a word that takes him so far. The poet knew this very well when he said "the son will not know, but you, the grandson will remember" (Klaskaniem majac obrzek³e prawice, II, 17).
4. The power of authority which Norwid represents for the "grandchildren" comes from the Cross. How eloquently his scientia crucis is revealed in the words: "Do not follow yourself with the Cross of the Saviour, but follow the Saviour with your cross.... This is finally the secret of the just way" (cf. Motto of Promethidion Bogumi³, III, 431). Norwid's scientia crucis enabled him to evaluate men according to whether they knew how to suffer with the Saviour who "is and was and will be the root of all truth" (Letter to M. Trebicka, May 1884, VIII, 213). The words with which our poet spoke of the greatness of Blessed Pius IX, are among the finest testimonies that a man can give another: "He is a great man of the 19th century. He knows how to suffer" (Letter to Jan Skrzynecki, May 1884, VIII, 63). It is significant that for Norwid crucifixes should be without the Christ figure, for in this way they could more clearly show the place where a Christian must be. Only those in whose intimate life the event of Golgotha is lived each day can say: "for us" the Cross "has become the door" (Dziece i drzyz, II, 170).
5. Norwid did not envy anyone anything, nor the honours they received. His poverty in God shines out in the finale of one of his poems: "The crown of laurels and hope are for someone else: for me, the only honour is to be a man" (Ofpowiedz Jadwidze uszczewskiej, I, 323).
The honour of being a human being, almost inconceivable "on earth", is "more comprehensible in heaven" (Dumani, I., I, 18), and the way to it leads precisely through the door of the Cross. In passing through it, man perceives that the truth about his being a human person infinitely exceeds him. From this stems his freedom. "Everything takes life from the Ideal (Absolute)" (Wpracowni Guyskiego, II, 194). Man journeys on as a pilgrim towards the ideal, but he receives it as a gift.
"Truth is awaited and attained at the same time" (Idee i prawda, II, 194), because "humanity comes from God" (Letter to Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, May 1863, IX, 99). Hence the immensity of the task that confronts the human person who, created "in the image and likeness" of God, is called to become like God, which is not easy, for "the effort required is immense precisely because it must be made daily" (Kleopatra i Cezar, V, 54). Only persons who are sober in "ordinary things" are capable of this effort, and then only when they are made "enthusiastic" by what is "eternal" (Piec zarysów. III, Ruini, III, 492-493). They alone will not prostrate themselves before Circumstances, nor command Truth "to hide behind the door" (LXIX. Poczatek broszury politycznej..., II, 99). It is they who shape history, toiling for the truth as one toils to earn one's bread. They burn the earth with their conscience (Socjalizm, II, 19) and it is "Truth herself, the Veronica of consciences" (Cz³owiek, I, 274) who wipes the sweat from their "pallid brows".
6. Norwid insistently reminds us that without heroism humanity, "humiliated in its brow, hunched over itself" ceases to be itself. "Humanity deprived of divinity betrays itself" (Rzecz o wolnosci s³owa, I, III, 564). Society as a whole would be unable to oppose the non-heroic philosophy of our day which is ruining it, were not some people in it living out Norwid's question:
"In order to be national to be supra-national! And in order to be human, and therefore supra-human ... to be one and a half times as much why?". (Rzecz o wolnosci s³owa, II, III, 569).
Man is priest as yet still "unconscious and immature" (Sfinks II, II, 33), whose task in life from the outset is to build bridges (ponti-fex) that unite man with man, and all men with God. The societies where the human person's priestly character disappears are narrow-minded. This is a thought I have always cherished. I can say that to a certain extent it forms the social dimension of my pontificate.
With great sorrow Norwid told the Poles that they would never be good patriots if they did not first work hard at being men. Indeed, to expedite "that Augean task of being Polish" (Juliusz S³owacki, Notatki in "Dziennik z lat 1847-1848", in "Dzie³a", XI, Ossolineum 1959), it is necessary not to be "a citizen of contemporary Poland ... but of a slightly old-fashioned Poland, yet a Poland that is very much of the future" (List do Konstancji Górskiej, July 1862, IX, 43). The country, according to Norwid, is to be found in a boundless Future, so that it may be found anywhere, even "at the borders of being" (Fortepian Szopena, II, 144-145). Those who forget this, make their country into a sect, and in the end enter the ranks of those who are "great"! in private matters; and in public matters behave like private people" (Rozmowa umartych. Byron, Rafael-Sanzio, I, 282). This is the principal of chaos in any society.
The order of the nation comes from outside it; in short, it comes from God, and so, for those who love their own nation in so farsighted a way, because it is priestly, there is no danger of nationalism. "The nation is not only made up of what distinguishes it from others, but also of what unites it to them" (Znicestwienie narodu, VII, 86). We know by heart, but do we know through experience, in our conscience, the painful content of the words: "Today the Pole is a giant, but man in the Pole is a dwarf.... The sun rises on the Pole, but shuts its eyes on man?" (List do Michaliny z Dziekonskich Zaleskiej, 14 November 1962, IX, 63-64). How many Polish matters could have turned out differently, if Poles had found in their conscience the truth proclaimed by Norwid that "the country is a collective commitment", which "by its nature consists of two: of what binds the country to man and of what binds man to his country" (Memoria³ m³odej emigracji, VII, 86).
Here in Rome, in the heart of the Church of which Norwid wrote that she is the oldest "citizen of the world" (cf. G³os niedawno do wychodztwa polskiego przyby³ego artysty, VII, 7), I repeat with emotion the words from Moja Ojczyzna: "No people has redeemed or created me; before the age I remember eternity; the key of David has forced my mouth, has called the Roman world man" Moja ojczyzna, I, 336.
7. Cyprian Norwid was the man of hope. Thanks to this he could live on this earth as befitted him, independently of the difficult conditions in which he existed. In prayer, he drew his hope from God to whom he turned with powerful words, such as those which the Saviour himself taught us: "Thy will be done, not as on earth (not in the most convenient way ... but in the way that is most worthy)" (/Badz wola Twoja.../, I, 150).
Prayer "shaped" the vision of the poet so that he fancied the "things of God beneath the shell of earthly things" (/O modlitwie/, VI, 618 e s.). Praying, he won over Love, in his profound faith that the voice of man, rising to heaven with that of Christ, is always heard (cf. Monolog. I, 79).
8. Gentlemen, please accept a few of Norwid's thoughts that "are not new" (Si³a ich, I, 172), as the expression of my debt of gratitude to the Poet for his work and also of my gratitude to you for your efforts to inform Poles of his work. May each one of them "by whom the road to Copernicus is paved" put "his own original accent" into what he does" (Do Spartakusa [o pracy], VI, 641.) I wish all Poles and particularly those who appreciate Cyprian Norwid's writings, that the last words of Fortepian Szopena may be fulfilled through their work: "the deaf cobblestones groan: the spiritual has touched what is paved" (Fortepian Szopena, III, 239).
I bless you cordially, as I ask Our Lady, whom we call Mater admirabilis and whose praises Norwid sang so beautifully in the Legenda and in Litania to accompany you in this work that serves the Church, Europe and Poland.
Speeches 2001 - ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER