Speeches 2002 - Friday, 22 November 2002

4. Putting in place a strong democratic life and consolidating a state of law, are powerful antidotes to this despair, for they make all citizens responsible for their own development and foster the unity of the nation. The Haitian people's culture of brotherhood and solidarity, which is based on their human and cultural values, is an important resource for creating relations of solidarity among citizens, moving beyond internal divisions. It is important not to let this fertile soil be exploited by a development that is limited solely to the economic and financial elements. To work for the moral and overall growth of society, one must encourage a policy that will enrich rural areas by intensifying communications networks, by setting up structures for health care, education and rural development. Indeed, the encouragement of relations and attention to basic health care and education are so many elements that can only contribute to the advancement of rural society, linking it with the urban areas. Imbalances at the heart of a society are always harmful and, in addition, sources of discontent among the population.

The fight against injustice and arbitrary methods also presupposes guaranteeing a legal system that is increasingly independent and just and which respects the rights of the poorest. Finally, every society must pay special attention to its young people who are as precious as the pupil of the eye, for they constitute the primary treasure of the nation. The education and formation of young people should preserve the force of hope and give them an opportunity to take part in the transformation of the country at various institutional levels. Moral and spiritual values are treasures that are passed down from generation to generation and prepare a people's future. It is right to make young people conscious of the common good and of solidarity, of respect for life from its conception, of the greatness of creation, placed in man's hands so that he may rightly shepherd it.

In the face of the endemic and ever more shocking scandal of poverty that creates permanent instability in the country and tears apart the social fabric, Haitians have always been able to show courage and tenacity in trial. As I said during my visit to your country in 1983 (cf. Homily at Mass for the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress of Haiti, ORE, 18 April 1983, p. 7), it is important that those to whom the people have entrusted the noble mission of organizing and managing its res publica (government leaders) be ever more alert to the cry of the poor and not disappoint their hope. It is a sacred duty for all nations, and especially for those who govern them, to eliminate the root causes of poverty and despair, in order to restore to all human beings their fundamental dignity. In this perspective, it is particularly important that the political decisions taken by the authorities should have as their goal the good of the Haitian people and service to them, and that these decisions not be conditioned by personal or occult interests that wreak havoc on the smooth functioning of institutions and keep alive inequalities. I warmly hope that encouragement will be given to all initiatives and forms of expression that enable Haitians to build their country and advance on the paths of new hope.

5. As you have pointed out, Mr Ambassador, the Catholic Church in Haiti, in the context of her pastoral mission and in the course of the history of the nation, through her own structures, and through the education she offers, has never relaxed in her dedication to the common good of the entire people of Haiti. She intends to pursue this mission in a spirit of dialogue and in collaboration with the institutions concerned and with all people of good will, thus fully participating in national life respecting the autonomy of the institutions of the state, in accord with her specific mission. On this solemn occasion, through you, I would like to give a warm greeting to the members of the Catholic community of Haiti. I invite them to stay united with their Pastors, whom I had the joy to receive last year for their ad limina visit, so that they may be the leaven of brotherhood and reconciliation in a united, fraternal nation where each one feels fully accepted and respected!

6. At the time when you are beginning your mission to the Apostolic See, I offer you my warmest wishes for your success. You may be sure that you will always be welcomed by my collaborators with the attention and understanding you may need.

For Your Excellency, for your family and for the entire Haitian people and their leaders, I wholeheartedly pray for an abundance of divine blessings.


Friday, 22 November 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am happy to welcome you and offer my cordial greeting to each of you: to the members of the new and previous Presidency of the International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order, to the participants of the 10th General Chapter, and through you, to all Secular Franciscans and members of the youth movement "Franciscan Youth" present in the world.

At this General Chapter you finished updating your basic legislation. In your hands you now have the Rule which my predecessor of happy memory, Paul VI approved on 24 June 1978; the Ritual, approved on 9 March 1984, the General Constitutions, definitively approved on 8 December 2000, and the International Statute approved at this Chapter. You must now look to the future and put out into the deep: Duc in altum!

The Church expects from the unique Franciscan Secular Order a great service to the cause of the Kingdom of God in the world today. She wants your Order to be a model of organic, structural and charismatic union at all levels, so as to present yourself to the world as a "community of love" (SFO, Rule, art. 26). From you, Secular Franciscans, the Church awaits a courageous and consistent witness of Christian and Franciscan life that aims at building a more fraternal and evangelical world for the realization of the Kingdom of God.

2. The reflection made at this Chapter on "vital reciprocal communion in the Franciscan family" impels you to be more dedicated to promoting meeting and agreement, first of all within your Order, then among your Franciscan brothers and sisters and, last of all, as with the greatest attention, as St Francis wanted, in your relationship with the hierarchical authority of the Church.

Your renewed legislation gives you excellent instruments to realize and express fully the unity of your Order and your communion with the Franciscan Family, within precise coordinating principles.

In the first place you are required to provide a service of leadership and guidance to the fraternities, who are "coordinated and connected according to the norm of the Rule and the Constitutions". This service is indispensable for the communion among the fraternities, for orderly collaboration among them and for the unity of the SFO (cf. SFO, General Constitutions, art. 29.1) Important is "spiritual assistance as a fundamental element of communion", to take place collegially at the regional, national and international levels (SFO, General Constitutions, art. 90.3). Finally, the collegial service of the altius moderamen (highest level of government), "entrusted by the Church to the Franciscan First Order and the Third Order Regular", to which the Secular Fraternity has been linked for centuries (cf. SFO, General Constitutions, arts. 85.2; 87.1) is crucial.

I warmly hope that the new Presidency of the International Council of the Franciscan Secular Order (CIOFS), continue on the path pursued by the previous one that leads to the goal of the one true body, in fidelity to the charism received from St Francis and in conformity with the fundamental lines of the renewed legislation of your order.

3. In the meeting I had more than 20 years ago, on 27 September 1982, with the members of the General Assembly of your International Council, I urged you: "Study, love and live the Rule of the Franciscan Secular Order, approved for you by my predecessor Paul VI. You have in your hands a genuine treasure, that agrees with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, and responds to what the Church expects of you" (Insegnamenti, V/3, 1982, p. 613). I am pleased to be able to direct similar words to you today: study, love and live your General Constitutions ! They urge you to accept the help to accomplish the will of the Father which you are offered through the mediation of the Church by those who have been constituted in her in authority and by your confreres.

You are called to make your own contribution, inspired by the person and message of St Francis of Assisi, to hasten the coming of a civilization in which the dignity of the human person, co-responsibility and love may be living realties (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 31ff.). You must deepen the true foundations of universal fraternity, and everywhere create a spirit of hospitality and of brotherhood. Firmly oppose every kind of exploitation, discrimination and marginalization, and every attitude of indifference to others.

4. Secular Franciscans, you live by vocation your belonging to the Church and to society as inseparable realities. For this reason, you are asked first of all to bear a personal witness in the place where you live: "before all: in [your] family life; in [your] work; in [your] joys and sufferings; in [your] associations with all men and women, brothers and sisters of the same Father; in [your] presence and participation in the life of society; in [your] fraternal relationship with all creatures" (SFO, General Constitutions, art. 12.1). Perhaps, you will not be required to pour out your blood as a martyr, but you will certainly be asked to give a coherent and steadfast witness in fulfilling the promises made at your Baptism and Confirmation, which you renewed and confirmed with your profession in the Franciscan Secular Order. By virtue of this profession, the Rule and the General Constitutions must represent for each of you the point of reference for daily living, based on your explicit vocation and special identity (cf. Promulgation of the General Constitutions of the SFO). If you are truly driven by the Spirit to reach the perfection of charity in your secular state, "it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 31). You must be sincerely dedicated to that "high standard of ordinary Christian living" (ibid.), to which I invited all the faithful at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

5. I do not want to end this Message without recommending that you consider your family as the primary setting in which to live your Christian commitment and Franciscan vocation, finding time for prayer, for the Word of God and for Christian catechesis, and doing your utmost to make every life respected from its conception and in every situation until death. You must live in such a way that your families "show convincingly that it is possible to live marriage fully in keeping with God's plan and with the true good of the human person - of the spouses, and of the children who are more fragile" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 47).

At this time, I urge you to take again into your hands the Rosary, which, by ancient tradition, "has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God" (Rosarium Virginis Mariae RVM 41). Do so keeping your gaze on the Virgin Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord, ready for his Word and for all his calls, whom Francis enveloped in inexpressible love and who was made Protectress and Advocate of the Franciscan family. Witness to her your burning love, by imitating her unconditional readiness and pouring out a stream of confident and conscious prayer (cf. SFO, Rule, art. 9).

With these wishes, I cordially impart to you, Secular Franciscans and to the members of "Franciscan Youth", a special Apostolic Blessing.



Saturday, 21 November 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (II Cor 13,13). I address the Apostle Paul's greeting to the Corinthians to you who have gathered for the 20th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

First, I greet the President, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the Secretary, the Undersecretary and all the personnel of the Office. I greet you, dear members and consultors of this Pontifical Council, who come from different countries and continents.

I think of you, brothers and sisters, who represent the variety of experiences of the lay members of Christ's faithful and serve the Successor of Peter in the sector of responsibility of this Council. As I offer each of you a most cordial welcome, I desire to express my deep gratitude for the generous availability with which you offer your faithful and qualified collaboration.

2. The work of the Plenary Assembly is taking place as we observe the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The greatest ecclesial event of our time has made the promotion of lay people flow like a strong tide into the river of the Church's renewed consiousness of being a mystery of missionary communion. On the occasion of the Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity in the year 2000, I invited all the baptized to turn again to the Second Vatican Council, to take the documents into their hands in order to rediscover the richness of the doctrinal and pastoral incentives.

As I did two years ago, today I repeat this invitation to the laity. To them "the Council opened extraordinary perspectives of commitment and involvement in the Church's mission", reminding them of their special participation in Christ's priestly, prophetic and kingly function (Mass for the Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, 26 November 2000, n. 3; ORE, 29 November 2000, p. 1). For this reason, returning to the Council means collaborating in the continuation of its practical application in accord with the orientations drawn up in the Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici and in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte. Today we need lay faithful, who are aware of their evangelical vocation and their responsibility as disciples of Christ, to witness to charity and solidarity in all the situations of modern society.

3. The theme you have chosen for your assembly: "The need to continue on our path setting out anew from Christ, that is, from the Eucharist" is a theme that completes the itinerary of the sacraments of Christian initiation which began with your reflection on Baptism and Confirmation during the last two plenary meetings. The reflection on the sacraments of Christian initiation naturally draws attention to the parish, the community in which these great mysteries are celebrated. The parish community is the heart of liturgical life; it is the place of catechesis and of education in the faith (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 2226). In the parish the process of initiation and formation takes place for all Christians. How important it is to rediscover the value and importance of the parish as the place where the content of Catholic tradition is passed on!

Many baptized people, due to the impact of the strong currents of de-Christianization, seem to have lost contact with this religious heritage. Faith is often confined to episodes and fragments of life. A certain relativism tends to feed discriminating attitudes toward the content of Catholic doctrine and morals, accepted or rejected on the basis of subjective and arbitrary preference. So the faith received ceases to be lived as a divine gift, as an extraordinary opportunity for human and Christian growth, as a meaningful event leading, as conversion of life. Only a faith that sinks its roots in the Church's sacramental life, whose thirst is quenched at the sources of God's Word and Tradition, that becomes new life and a renewed understanding of reality, can make the baptized effectively capable of withstanding the impact of the prevailing secularized culture.

4. The Eucharist completes and crowns Christian initiation, "the source and summit of the Christian life" (Lumen gentium LG 11). It increases our union with Christ, separates and preserves us from sin, strengthens the bonds of charity, sustains our strength during the pilgrimage of life, and gives us a foretaste of the glory to which we are destined. The lay faithful, sharing in the priestly office of Christ, in the celebration of the Eucharist present their lives - affections and suffering, family and married life, work and the commitments they assume in society - as a spiritual offering pleasing to the Father, consecrating the world to God (Lumen gentium LG 34).

The Church and the Eucharist permeate each other in the mystery of communio, a miracle of unity among human beings in a world where human relations are often darkened by antagonisms if not actually destroyed by enmity.

I encourage you to keep this centrality of the Eucharist present in your formation and in your participation in the life of the parochial and diocesan communities. It is important always to start afresh from Christ, that is, from the Eucharist, in the full depth of his mystery.

5. A prayer that helps to penetrate Christ's mystery with the vision of the Virgin Mary is the Rosary, which has become a familiar contemplative experience for me and for countless members of the faithful. Dear brothers and sisters, entrust yourselves to Mary with this prayer. In her immaculate womb the human body of Jesus of Nazareth was formed, who died and rose, and who comes to meet us in the Eucharist.

Dear members and consultors of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, to whom I feel particularly bound since as Archbishop of Krakow I was one of your consultors, the Eucharist will make you capable of carrying out your important mission at the service of a "mature and fruitful epiphany of the Catholic laity" (General Audience, 25 November 1998, n. 6; ORE, 2 December 1998, p. 19).

With these sentiments, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you and to your loved ones.




Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. Formed in an adult faith, the disciples of the Lord are called to proclaim and promote in the world, prey to growing uncertainties and fears, the transcendent realities of new life in Christ. At the same time, they must feel actively committed to contributing to the integral advancement of humanity, to the fostering of dialogue and understanding among individuals and peoples, for the development of justice and peace. As the Epistle to Diognetus says, Christians are the soul of the world (6,1). May every member of the faithful understand with a renewed consciousness his task to be the soul of the world!

This must be your priority concern, dear Brothers, Pastors of the beloved Church of the South Regions III and IV. Insist upon it in your pastoral programmes, seeing it as an exacting missionary challenge that must seriously challenge the entire community. In expressing my esteem for your generous apostolic work, I offer each one of you my fraternal and grateful greeting. In particular, I thank Archbishop Dadeus Grings of Porto Alegre and President of South III Region for the cordial sentiments he has expressed in your name; I also address my heartfelt gratitude to the Bishops who have retired from active pastoral ministry. May the Lord of the harvest who called you to work in his vineyard unite you all in his goodness!

2. In a situation in which freedom of speech is frequently used as a weapon to spread messages contrary to the teachings of Christian morality, may the honest public presence of Catholic thought not be absent. Faithful to Christ's mandate, the Church insists that the true and perennial "newness of things" comes from the infinite power of God: it is God who makes all things new (cf. Apoc Ap 21,5). The men and women redeemed by Christ share in this newness and are his dynamic collaborators. A socially insignificant faith would no longer be the faith exalted by the Acts of the Apostles and by the writings of Paul and John.

The Church does not claim to usurp the tasks and prerogatives of the political power; but she knows she must offer to politics her specific contribution of inspiration and direction on the great moral values. The necessary distinction between the Church and the public authorities must not make us forget that both are concerned with the human being; and the Church, "expert in humanity", cannot give up her mission of inspiring political activities to direct them toward the common good of society. This exacting mission requires daring, patience and confidence; it is no easy undertaking, especially in our day, since, as you yourselves observe, contemporary society is disoriented by an ideal and spiritual confusion.

3. In paragraph n. 12 of the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I wanted to recall the tradition of the jubilee years of Israel, a time which was dedicated above all to God and during which, slaves were freed, property redistributed and debts written off. It was a question of applying a social justice that was the reflection of the joy of knowing it was a people chosen and loved by God. "The social doctrine of the Church ... is thus rooted in the tradition of the jubilee year" (ibid., n. 13), together with the collection of principles and criteria which, as the fruit of Revelation and historical experience, were reflected on and gathered to promote the formation of the Christian conscience and the working out of justice in human society.

These principles and criteria take the most varied forms. For example, preferential love for the poor, so that they may attain a more dignified standard of living; the observance of obligations assumed in contracts and agreements; the protection of the fundamental rights that are essential to human dignity; the correct use of one's possessions for one's own benefit and at the same time for that of the community, in conformity with the social goal of ownership; the payment of taxes; the satisfactory and honest execution of assignments and responsibilities, in a spirit of service; integrity, both in the word given and in legal trials and judgements; the accomplishment of work with competence and dedication; respect for freedom of conscience; the accessibility of education and culture to all; attention to the sick and the unemployed. From a negative point of view, we can point out among the violations of justice: salaries that are insufficent for a worker to pay his family's keep; the unjust acquisition of the property of others; discrimination in work and affronts to the dignity of women; administrative or entrepreneurial corruption; excessive greed for money and wealth; urban planning which, in practice, leads to birth control due to financial pressure; campaigns that violate intimacy, honour or the right to information; technologies that damage the environment and so forth.

In the exercise of their threefold munus of sanctifying, teaching and governing, Bishops should help the faithful be genuine witnesses of the risen Jesus. It is not always easy to direct them in their search for adequate responses that are in accord with the teaching of Jesus Christ to the challenges of the economic and social order.

4. It is nothing new to observe that your country is living with a historical deficit of social development, whose worst aspect is the immense number of Brazilians who live in a situation of poverty and unequal distribution of income that is reaching very high levels. In spite of this however, the overall volume of the Brazilian economy places it among the first ten of the world, and the average per capita income is far superior to that of the poorest countries. Brazil offers the paradoxical spectacle of having a level of industrial, scientific and tecnological development that compares favourably with that of the industrialized world; yet it must live with a chronic economic marginalization of large segments of society, such as the mass of farmers without land, the small-scale land owners impoverished and crippled by debt, and the vast number of marginalized city workers, the result of internal migration and rapid changes in the structure of employment.

5. Poverty and social injustice in Brazil began in the colonial period and in the first years of its Independence. Development programmes applied during the 20th century have ensured the combination of the country's material growth, the development of a diversified urban-industrial economy and a responsible middle class, full of creativity and initiative. This progress has not been able to eliminate poverty and calamity nor to reduce the inequality of wealth and income, which recently has become even more pronounced.

Perhaps the economic history of Brazil is a valid proof of the inability of economic systems to resolve by themselves the problems of human development without being accompanied and corrected by a strong ethical foundation and the constant will to serve the human person.

Several years ago, at the time of the collapse of the Berlin wall and the failure of Marxism, I recalled that "it is not possible to understand man on the basis of economics alone, nor to define him simply on the basis of class membership" (Centesimus annus CA 24). Likewise, man cannot be judged as a mere component of the market economy since "even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to man because he is man, by reason of his lofty dignity. Inseparable from that required "something' is the possibility to survive and at the same time, to make an active contribution to the common good of humanity" (ibid., n. 34).

The economic experiences recorded in Brazil from the 1940s - substitution of imports, protected industrialization, entrepreneurial action by the State, assisted expansion in the agricultural sector, etc., sought to combine the elements of the great economic systems then in force, undoubtedly encouraging global growth. They did not achieve the primary goal of a significant reduction of poverty. The recent plans to stabilize the currency, to introduce modern technology and commercial openings, despite their effectiveness, have only led to the partial achievement of this objective.

In fact, besides insufficient measures for social protection and the redistribution of income, what has really been lacking is an ethical conception of social life. The mere implementation of long-term plans and measures to correct the existing imbalances can never do without the commitment of institutional and personal solidarity on the part of all Brazilians. To this end, Catholics, who account for the majority of the Brazilian population, can make a fundamental contribution.

6. The new international scene, the result of globalization, obliges States to make important decisions about their capacity to intervene in economic life even in the endeavour to correct imbalances and social injustice.

Already in 1967, my venerable predecessor Paul VI, drew attention to the growing interdependence of peoples and pointed out that countries can no longer live in isolation; it was emphasized at the time that the process of their interdependence could be counterbalanced by a globalization of solidarity, in which the stronger nations might guarantee certain financial and commercial benefits to the weaker ones, to help, as far as possible, to level the international imbalances; otherwise, on the contrary, it might serve to accentuate deviations (cf. Populorum progressio PP 54-55). Unfortunately, still today globalization often works to benefit the strongest, ensuring that the current advantages of technological development be connected with the prevalent international structure.

Like other states, your country is also conditioned by the international situation, but it has a sufficiently strong economy that has so far enabled it to face the recurrent global financial crises.

The people, moreover, have confidence in their own currency and in the functioning of their institutions. You must therefore thank God because, above and beyond external conditioning, in society as a whole the basic elements exist to solve the social problems. It is possible to work in Brazil for a more just society and involvement in this work is a requisite that stems from the spread of the Gospel message.

7. It is up to you, venerable Brothers, as the hierarchy of the people of God, to promote the quest for new solutions that embody a Christian spirit. A vision of the economy and social problems in the perspective of the Church's social teaching, never fails to lead us to consider things from the standpoint of human dignity, which transcends the play of purely economic factors. Moreover, it helps people understand that to obtain social justice, more is required than the simple application of ideological schemes originating in the class struggle, such as the occupation of land, which I already criticized during my Pastoral Visit of 1991, and of public or private buildings, or, to quote one example, the adoption of extreme technical measures which could have far more serious consequences than the injustice they are intended to overcome, such as in the case of a unilateral failure to fulfil international obligations.

What is most important and most effective, according to the mission Jesus Christ has entrusted to the bishops is to stimulate the full potential and talents of the People of God, especially of the laity, so that authentic justice and solidarity may reign in Brazil, as the fruit of an integral Christian life.
In a true democracy there must always be legal room so that, without recourse to violence, groups can create ways of exerting just pressure to speed up the achievement of equity and justice for all.

8. You must therefore work tirelessly for the formation of politicians, of all Brazilians who have the power to make decisons, however great or small they may be, and in general, of all the members of society, so that they may fully assume their responsibilities and be able to give a human and solidary face to the economy.

It is necessary to instil a genuine spirit of truthfulness and honesty into the political and entrepreneurial leaders. Those who play a leading role in society must seek to foresee the direct and indirect, short- and long-term social consequences of their decisions, acting to maximize the common good, rather than seeking their own personal gain. Christians must be ready to relinquish an economic or social advantage if it has not been obtained by absolutely honest means, not only in accord with civil law but also with the supreme moral model indicated by the very name of Christian, followers in the footsteps of Christ on earth.

9. Living consistently as Christians means transforming one's life into a constant and generous service to one's neighbour.

In my Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2002, speaking of the sacrament of Penance, I sought to foster in in my brother priests Jesus' friendship with Zacchaeus: from a man who lived by exploiting his brothers, he became a man who decides to give a generous portion of his possessions to the poor, and to remedy the injustices he had committed. The episode of Zacchaeus, recounted by the Evangelist Luke, points to the way of exercising the preferential option for the poor. It is not a classist option, but serves all Christians and all people, rich and poor alike, whatever their political party or opinion, as the foundation for drawing near to Christ's spirit, to awaken in them the miracle of mercy. By so doing, venerable Brothers, you will succeed in ensuring that in their lives, all Brazilians, like Zacchaeus, opt for their brothers and sisters, and you will reveal to Christians and to all people of goodwill in Brazil the infinite potential of God's love.

In political and economic thought and action, many initiatives will flourish to protect the common good - economy of communion and participation, initiatives of educational and social assistance, innovative forms of assistance for the needy population, etc. - which will express the variety of the people of God and the immeasurable human and spiritual riches of the people of this great nation.

10. Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, never let the challenges of your work weaken your enthusiasm; be apostles of optimism and hope, instilling confidence in your closest collaborators and in the whole of society, in your episcopal Regions.

May the Saints and Blesseds of the Land of the Holy Cross help you in the exalted mission of building the Kingdom of God. May Our Lady, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, venerated with a specially intense devotion by your people protect you. I entrust to her vigilant and motherly protection your apostolic plans and the material and spiritual needs of the Dioceses of which you are Pastors. Receive my Apostolic Blessing which I willingly extend to all those entrusted to your care.

Speeches 2002 - Friday, 22 November 2002