Speeches 1979 - Tuesday, 23 January 1979
Wednesday, 24 January 1979
The meeting this morning, so joyful and cordial, gives me—as every Wednesday—such comfort and such consolation. To see this immense basilica brimming over with boys and girls and young people, so full of vitality and enthusiasm, is a sight that makes the Pope exclaim: "Here is the real, the authentic youth of modern society; the youth that is gay and serene because it has a great friend and brother: Christ Jesus, Man and God!"
1. I would like to greet you one by one; but embracing you all in my glance and my heart, I address a special thought to the most numerous groups: to the pilgrimage of Sisters, teachers and pupils, with the members of their families, of the Roman Institute "Sant'Orsola"; to the pilgrimage of teachers and pupils of the junior and senior secondary schools of Casalpalocco; to that of the Roman state secondary school "Giulio Salvadori"; to that of the Neapolitan Institutes of the Barnabite Fathers, "Bianchi" and "Denza".
2. Even if Christmas time is now over, I wish to present briefly to your consideration the attitude of the Magi. When, on the indication of the mysterious star, they found Mary with Jesus the child, "they fell down and worshipped him" and then " opening their treasures, offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh". Also modern man—the modern youth—meets God when he opens up to him with the interior gift of his human "ego", to accept and reciprocate the immense gifts which he bestowed, in the first place: the gift of existence, the gift of the Redemption, the gift of the Faith.
And that Child who accepted the gifts of the Magi is still always the One before whom men and whole peoples "open their treasures". The gifts of the human spirit, in the act of this opening before Godincarnate, take on particular value, become the treasures of the various cultures, the spiritual riches of the peoples, of the nations, the common heritage of the whole of mankind. He is the centre of this exchange: the same one who accepted the gifts of the Magi. He himself, who is the visible and incarnate Gift, causes the opening up of souls and that exchange of gifts, from which live not only individuals, but also peoples, nations, the whole of mankind.
3. These reflections, beloved young people, are connected with that which I am about to tell you now. Our meeting today has a special significance for me and for you. Tomorrow I shall undertake. with the grace of God, a journey to Mexico, to take part, at Puebla in the Meeting of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America. I will become acquainted with the great Mexican people, which has an ancient, glorious history, and which has made great progress in recent times. But, in the midst of political, technical, and civil progress, the Mexican soul has shown and clearly shows, that it wishes to be and to remain Christian: giving proof not only of good religious sentiments, but also of remarkable, in fact, sometimes heroic fortitude and firmness of faith, as many people will remember.
Going to that nation, I will follow in the footsteps of so many pilgrims who go from the whole of America to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God at Guadalupe. And in that sacred place I will pray for the whole of mankind, for the Church, for you, young people, that you may always be good, pure and joyful, and that you may prepare, with commitment and dedication, for the tasks you will have to tackle, before long, when you are adults.
And you, on your side, pray for the Pope during this week, that he may be in these days a messenger of Christ, that is, of faith, love, and peace.
I give you my fatherly blessing.
With all my heart I express to you my sincere thanks for your presence in this place, at the moment when, for some days, I am leaving my beloved diocese and Italy to go to Latin America.
This gesture of yours, so delicate and thoughtful, gives me comfort and is a serene augury for the success of the journey, which—as you know—wishes to be first and foremost a pilgrimage of faith. The Pope is going to kneel before the marvellous image of the Madonna of Guadalupe, in Mexico, to invoke her motherly assistance and her protection on his pontifical service; to say to her again, with a force increased by his immense new tasks: "Totus tuus sum Ego! ", and to put in her hands the future of evangelization in Latin America.
The Pope, furthermore, is going to other areas of the New World as a Messenger of the Gospel for the millions of brothers and sisters who believe in Christ. He wants to know them, embrace them and tell them all—children, young people men, women, workers, peasants, professionals—that God loves them, that the Church loves them, that the Pope loves them, and also he wants to receive from them encouragement and example of their goodness, their faith. Ideally, therefore, the Pope follows in the wake of the missionaries, the priests, all those who, from the discovery of the New World, spread the message of Jesus with sacrifice, abnegation and generosity in those immense lands, preaching love and peace among men.
The Pope, finally, is carrying out this journey to take part, together with his brother bishops, in the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate which will take place in Puebla. The Conference will deal with important problems concerning the pastoral action of the People of God, which, in the light of the Second Vatican Council, must keep in mind the complex local socio-political situations in order to instil in them the fruitful ferments of the proclamation of the Gospel. The Pope will go to Puebla to help, to "strengthen" (cf. Lk Lc 22,32) his brother bishops.
As I am preparing to undertake the flight, after greeting the Cardinal Secretary of State and the other cardinals who are here with him, I express my grateful appreciation to the Prime Minister of the Italian Government and to the civil and military authorities; I greet the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See and the Ambassadors of Latin America, and all those who have come to wish me a good journey. I willingly bless you all.
Brothers in the Episcopate,
Brothers and Sisters,
I thank God for allowing me to arrive at this piece of American land, the beloved land of Columbus, in the first stage of my visit to a continent to which my thought has so often flown, full of esteem and trust, particularly in this initial period of my ministry as Supreme Pastor of the Church.
The aspiration of the past becomes reality with this meeting, in which so many sons of this dear Dominican land participate—and so many others will have desired to do so—with enthusiastic affection. On its behalf and on your own, Mr President, you have wished to bid me a cordial welcome with significant and noble words. I respond to them with sentiments of sincere appreciation and deep gratitude, a sign of the Pope's love for the sons of this hospitable nation.
But in the words I have listened to and in the joyful welcome that the Dominican people gives me today, I also hear the voice, distant but present, of so many other sons of all the countries of Latin America, who, from the lands of Mexico to the extreme south of the continent, feel united with the Pope by extraordinary ties which touch the depths of their being as men and as Christians. Let one and all of these countries and their sons, receive the most cordial greeting, the homage of respect and affection of the Pope, his admiration and appreciation for the stupendous values of history and of culture which they preserve, the desire for an individual, family, and community life of increasing human prosperity, in a social climate of morality, justice for all, and intense cultivation of spiritual goods.
An event of very great ecclesial importance brings me to these lands. I arrive in a continent in which the Church has left deep traces, which penetrate deep down in the history and character of each people. I come to this living portion of the Church, the most numerous one, a vital part for the future of the Catholic Church, which amid fine achievements but not without shadows, amid difficulties and sacrifices, bears witness to Christ. And today it desires to answer the challenge of the present moment, by proposing a light of hope for this life and for the next one, through its work of proclaiming the Good News which is summed up in Christ the Saviour, the Son of God and the elder Brother of men.
The Pope wishes to be close to this evangelizing Church in order to encourage its effort, to bring it new hope in its hope, to help it to discern its paths better, developing or changing what is necessary in order that it may be more and more faithful to its mission: that received from Jesus, that of Peter and his successors, that of the Apostles and of those who succeed them.
And since the Pope's visit wishes to be an enterprise of evangelization, I desired to arrive here by the route which, when the Continent was discovered, was followed by the first evangelizers: those religious who came to proclaim Christ the Saviour, to defend the dignity of the natives, to proclaim their inviolable rights, to promote their complete advancement, to teach brotherhood as men and as sons of the same Lord and Father, God.
This is a testimony of gratitude which I wish to render to the architects of that admirable action of evangelization, in this very land of the New World in which the first cross was planted, the first Mass was celebrated, the first Hail Mary was recited and from which, amid various vicissitudes, the faith spread to other nearby islands and from there to the mainland.
From this inspiring place in the Continent, a land of fervent love for the Blessed Virgin and of uninterrupted devotion to Peter's Successor, the Pope wishes to reserve his clearest memory and greeting for the poor, the peasants, the sick and the underprivileged, who feel close to the Church, who love her, who follow Christ even in the midst of obstacles, and who, with an admirable sense of humanity, put into practice that solidarity, hospitality, honest and hopeful gaiety, for which God is preparing his reward.
Thinking of the greater good of these kind and generous peoples, I trust that those in charge, the Catholics and men of good will of the Dominican Republic and of the whole of Latin America, will commit their best energies and expand the frontiers of their creativity to build up a more human and, at the same time, a more Christian world. This is the call that the Pope makes to you at this first meeting in your land.
Santo Domingo, The Dominican Republic,
Thursday, 25 January 1979
Brothers in the Episcopate,
It is but a few moments since I had the happiness to arrive in your country, and now I feel a new joy on meeting you in this cathedral, dedicated to the Annunciation, where so many of you have desired to come to see the Pope: the primatial cathedral, which stands beside what was the first archiepiscopal see in America.
My thanks go in the first place to you, Lord Cardinal, for your kind words; they have filled my spirit with satisfaction, admiration and hope.
I wish to tell you that the Pope, too, desires to be with you, in order to know you and love you even more. My only regret is not to be able to meet and speak with each one of you.
But although that is not possible, rest assured that no one is excluded from the affection, from the memory, of the common father who, even though far away, thinks of you and prays for your intentions.
In order that this meeting may be more intimate, let us pray for a moment and ask the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of High Grace, whose image is present here, to grant that you may always be good children of the Church, that you may grow in the faith, and that yours may be a life worthy of Christians.
I very willingly impart my Blessing to you, to your fellow countrymen and members of your families, and, above all, to the sick and to those who are suffering.
And you, too, pray for the Pope.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would not like this short visit of mine to this country to pass without this meeting with you, who, for many varied reasons, are due a token of special attention on the part of the Pope.
You have wished to come to render your homage of respect and support as representatives of your respective countries, as wielders of authority at different levels in the Dominican nation, as persons bound to the Holy See by special ties, or as exponents of the cultural world
I express my sincere gratitude to you all for your benevolent presence; as well as my deep appreciation of your respective functions. I wish you all success in your tasks, which can, and must, have a clear orientation of service for the common good, for the cause of human society, for the welfare of civil society and, for many, also of the Church. Many thanks.
Beloved Sons and Daughters of the "Los Minas" district,
From the first moment of the preparation of my journey to your country, I gave priority to a visit to this district of yours, in order to be able to meet you.
And I wanted to come here just because it is a poor area, in order that you might have the opportunity—I would say to which you have the best claim—of being with the Pope. He sees in you a more living presence of the Lord, who suffers in our neediest brothers, who continues to proclaim blessed the poor in spirit, those who suffer for justice and are pure in heart, who work for peace, have compassion, and keep their hope in Christ the Saviour.
But on calling you to cultivate these spiritual and evangelical values, I wish to make you think of your dignity as men and children of God. I wish to encourage you to be rich in humanity, in love for the family, in solidarity with others. At the same time I exhort you to develop more and more the possibilities you have of obtaining a situation of greater human and Christian dignity.
But what I have to say does not end here. The sight of the reality in which you live must make so many people think of what can be done effectively to remedy your condition.
On behalf of these brothers of ours, I ask all those who can do so to help them to overcome their present situation, in order that, particularly with a better education, they may improve their minds and their hearts, and be architects of their own elevation and of a more advantageous integration in society.
With this urgent appeal to consciences, the Pope encourages your desires for advancement, and with great affection blesses you, your children and relatives, and all the inhabitants of the district
Friday, 26 January 1979
With deep feeling on my part, the moment has come to have to leave this beloved land of the Dominican Republic, where the shortness of my stay has been compensated by a great abundance of intense religious and human experiences.
I have been able to admire some of the beauties of the country and its historico-religious monuments, and, above all, I have been able to see, to my deep satisfaction, the religious and human sentiment of its inhabitants.
These are unforgettable memories that accompany me and will continue to call up before me the beautiful days lived in this cradle of Catholicism in the New World.
Thank you, Mr President, for the innumerable attentions that have been bestowed on me and for your presence at this moment. Thanks to all the beloved Dominican people for their enthusiastic welcome, for their constant proofs of love for the Pope, and for their faithfulness to the Christian faith.
Friday, 26 January 1979
After receiving the welcoming greeting of Cardinal José Salazar and Archbishop Ernesto Corripio of this city, I have just finished the celebration of my first Mass on Mexican land, offered in this Metropolitan Cathedral.
I am very pleased to meet you here, and I greet one and all, priests, men and women religious, seminarians, adult persons, parents. But let my particularly cordial greeting go to the young, to the children, to the old and the sick.
Be assured that the Pope prayed at the Mass for all your intentions, asking the Lord to lead you by the path of moral rectitude and love of Christ and of the Church, to give you his consolation if you have any reason for sadness or sorrow, and to grant that you may live your Christian life authentically.
Above all, during these days when we will be close, you, too, pray for the Pope and for the Church. And we beseech the Virgin of Guadalupe fervently to help us on our way and to be our guide to her Son and our Brother, Jesus.
With great affection, the Pope gives his blessing to you all.
Your Excellencies, illustrious members of the Diplomatic Corps,
I am really happy that in the midst of the programme, so full, of my visit to Mexico, there is this meeting of greeting to such a distinguished group of persons as is the Diplomatic Corps accredited in Mexico City.
On many occasions the Holy See has shown its high esteem and appreciation for the function of diplomatic representatives. I, too, did so at the beginning of my pontificate. And I gladly repeat before you today my positive evaluation of this noble task, when it is put in the service of the great cause of peace, understanding among nations, and a reciprocally advantageous exchange in so many fields of interdependence in the international community
You and I, Gentlemen, have also a common concern: the good of humanity and the future of peoples and of all men. If your mission is in the first place the defence and advancement of the legitimate interests of your respective nations, the inescapable interdependency which binds the peoples of the world together more and more every day, I call upon all diplomats to become, with an ever new and original spirit, architects of the understanding among peoples, of international security, and of peace among nations.
You are well aware that all human societies, national and international, will be judged in this field of peace by the contribution they have made to man's development and to respect of his fundamental rights. If society must guarantee in the first place the exercise of a real right to existence, it is not possible to separate from this right another equally fundamental exigency, which we might call the right to peace and security
Every human being, in fact, aspires to conditions of peace which will permit a harmonious development of future generations, protected from the terrible calamity that war will always be, protected from recourse to force or to any other form of violence.
To guarantee peace for all the inhabitants of our planet means seeking—with all the generosity and dedication, with all the dynamism and perseverance, of which men of good will are capable—all the concrete means calculated to promote peaceful and brotherly relations, not only on the international plane, but also on the plane of the different continents and regions; in which it will sometimes be easier to obtain results which, though limited, are none the less important. Peace achievements on the regional plane will constitute, in fact, an example and an invitation for the whole international community.
I would like to exhort each of you and, through you, all the leaders of the nations which you represent, to eliminate fear and mistrust and replace them with mutual trust, welcome vigilance, and brotherly collaboration. This new atmosphere in relations among the nations will make it possible to discover areas of agreement that are often unsuspected.
Allow the Pope, this humble pilgrim of peace that I am, to call your attention again to the appeal I made, in my message for the Day of Peace, to all those responsible for the fate of nations: do not hesitate to commit yourselves personally for peace with acts of peace, each in your own sphere and in your own sphere of responsibility. Create new and bold acts that are manifestations of respect, brotherhood, confidence and welcome. By means of these acts you will use all your personal and professional capacities in the service of the great cause of peace. And I promise you that, along the way to peace, you will always find God accompanying you.
In the context of this appeal, I would like to communicate to you a particular wish. I am referring to the growing number of refugees all over the world and to the tragic situation of the refugees in South East Asia. Exposed not only to the risks of a dangerous journey, the latter also meet with the refusal of their request for asylum, or have to wait for a long time before they get the possibility of beginning a new life in a country ready to welcome them. The solution of this tragic problem is the responsibility of all nations, and I desire that the competent international organizations may be able to rely on the comprehension and help of countries in all continents—especially a continent such as Latin America, which has always honoured its centuries-long tradition of hospitality—in order to deal openly with this humanitarian problem.
Allow me therefore to encourage you in this task, aware as you are of the deep sense of professional ethics that must accompany this service of sacrifice, sometimes not understood, to society.
In order that God may bless your efforts, your persons and families, I invoke the protection of the Almighty
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In the first place I would like to tell you that the Pope is always Catholic in addition to being, this time, Polish: and I am very pleased at the fact that this Catholic Pope is Polish.
I do not need to explain to you in detail why I am pleased.
At the same time, this fact that the Catholic Pope comes from Poland, or, as you say, is a "Polish Pope", lays special duties in the first place on me, and then on you, all Poles all over the world. It is not just a source of our joy, that in this way we can find a place in the heart of the Church, but also it brings with it tasks, which face the Church in Poland and the Poles scattered all over the world. For the Poles, wherever they may be in the world, maintain ties with their native country through the Church, through the memory of the Mother of God of Jasna Gora, through our patron saints, through the ties maintained thanks to the religious traditions with which the people have lived for a thousand years and still live. Therefore, this place of ours in the Church—numerous peoples and nations have their place in the Church—this place of ours, the place of Poland in the Church, is a particularly important one today. But by this very fact it has laid upon us new commitments of being even more "the Church", of being more with the Church: I would say, of considering the Church even more as our spiritual homeland.
I wish you all this heartily, my dear fellow countrymen, on the occasion of our meeting on Mexican land. Yesterday, in the Cathedral, I referred to the sentence which already possesses the right of citizenship in the history of the Church and of Poland: "Polonia semper fidelis"; I also said: "Mexico 'semper fidelis'." I consider it a providential event that my first steps outside Italy, outside Rome, during my pontificate, have brought me just here: to this land, where the inhabitants. Christian and Catholic citizens, have suffered so much for Christ. This unites us with them. They, too, feel this and express it in some way. Certainly, most of them do not know the history of Poland, just as we do not know the history of Mexico, which is shorter—you are an exception in this connection—but they feel that there is some spiritual bond between us, some similarity of our spiritual destiny; and the Mother of God of the Sanctuary of Guadalupe reminds us vividly of our Mother of God of Jasna Gora. And for this reason today, while waiting for the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God of Guadalupe, I experience the same sentiments, as when I used to go—and I hope that I will be able to go again in the not distant future—to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa.
I will say even more, if I have had the boldness to undertake this journey to Mexico, already in the first months of my pontificate, in order to take part in this very difficult task, such as is the Conference of the Latin-American Bishops at Puebla, I have done so guided by confidence in the Mother of God, in her aid. As she helped me in Poland, at Krakow, so she will help me here, too, in Mexico, even though this is a different world, the New World, and people are different, but so close. I must confess that I am deeply moved by the welcome which the whole Mexican society and nation has given me, especially in this large city with twelve million inhabitants. I am confident that the Blessed Virgin will help me in the task which lies before us, before me. I believe that the experience I acquired during twenty years as bishop in Poland, will help me to see so many problems, still seething, fresh, unclarified, in the mentality of the people and perhaps even in the mentality of the priests of this continent, and will help me to find the simple, clear answer, expected by all. For this is the Pope's task: to speak simply and clearly, and thus strengthen his brothers.
I think I have finished. I think that you, who are my fellow countrymen, united with the Pope in a special way, will keep watch with your prayers, with your thoughts, with your dedication, in order that here, in the Latin-American continent, in the centre of America, here in Mexico, this—as you say—Polish Pope of yours may pass the test as a really Catholic Pope.
This is all, I will say no more. Rather I would have liked to hear all that you would tell me about yourselves. It is true, that Poles can be found in all continents and probably in all countries. This is, it can be said, our fate, it could be said our mission, to be present among different peoples of the earth. I could certainly find out from you how you arrived here. I suppose that, in most cases, you were brought here by the events of the second World War. In any case, I am grateful to you for this meeting. You must excuse me for coming late; but the Pope is never late. He is never late, because he has always so much to do, and, in addition, because his secretary always watches over him; so even if he is delayed, he is not late.
I wish then to embrace you in my heart once more, and to bless you on this our Polish and Catholic way.
Beloved priests, diocesan and religious,
One of the meetings I was most looking forward to during my visit to Mexico is that I have with you, here in the Sanctuary of our venerated and beloved Mother of Guadalupe.
See in it a proof of the Pope's affection and solicitude. He, as the Bishop of the whole Church, is aware of your irreplaceable role. He feels very close to those who are keystones in the ecclesial task, as the main collaborators of the Bishops, participants in Christ's saving powers, witnesses, proclaimers of his Gospel, encouraging the faith and apostolic vocation of the People of God. And here I do not wish to forget so many other consecrated souls, precious collaborators, though without the priestly character, in many important sectors of the Church apostolate.
Not only do you have a special presence in the Church apostolate, but also your love for man through God is conspicuous among students at different levels, among the sick and those in need of assistance, among men of culture, among the poor who demand understanding and support, among so many persons who have recourse to you in search of advice and encouragement.
For your self-sacrificing dedication to the Lord and to the Church, for your closeness to man, receive my thanks in Christ's name.
Servants of a sublime cause, the fate of the Church largely depends on you in the sectors entrusted to your pastoral care. That makes it necessary for you to be deeply aware of the greatness of the mission you have received and of the necessity of better and better adapting yourselves to it.
It is a question, in fact, beloved brothers and sons, of the Church of Christ—what respect and love this must inspire in us!—which you have to serve joyfully in holiness of life (cf. Eph Ep 4,13).
This high and exacting service cannot be carried out without a clear and deep-rooted conviction of your identity as priests of Christ, depositaries and administrators of God's mysteries, instruments of salvation for men, witnesses of a kingdom which begins in this world but is completed in the next. In the light of these certainties of faith, why doubt about your own identity? Why hesitate about the value of your own life? Why waver on the path which you have chosen?
To preserve or strengthen this firm and persevering conviction, look at the model, Christ; renew the supernatural values in your existence, ask for strength from above, in the assiduous and trusting conversation of prayer. It is indispensable for you, today as yesterday. And also be faithful to frequent practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to daily meditation, to devotion to the Virgin by means of the recitation of the Rosary. In a word, cultivate union with God by means of a deep inner life. Let this be your first commitment. Do not be afraid that the time dedicated to the Lord will take anything away from your apostolate. On the contrary, it will be the source of fruitfulness in the ministry.
You are persons who have made the Gospel a profession of life. You must draw from the Gospel the essential principles of faith—not mere psychological or sociological principles—which will produce a harmonious synthesis between spirituality and ministry; without permitting a "professionalization" of the latter, without diminishing the esteem that your celibacy or consecrated chastity, accepted for love of the Kingdom in an unlimited spiritual fatherhood (1Co 4,15), must win for you. "To them (priests) we owe our blessed regeneration"—St John Chrysostom affirms—"and knowledge of true freedom" (On the Priesthood, 4-6).
You are participants in Christ's ministerial priesthood for the service of the unity of the community. A service which is realized by virtue of the authority received to direct the People of God, to forgive sins and to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 10 Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 2)! A specific priestly service, which cannot be replaced in the Christian community by the common priesthood of the faithful, which is essentially different from the former (Lumen Gentium LG 10)!
You are members of a particular Church, whose centre of unity is the Bishop (Christus Dominus CD 28), towards whom every priest must observe an attitude of communion and obedience. Religious, on their side, with regard to pastoral activities, cannot deny to the local hierarchy their loyal collaboration and obedience, on the pretext of exclusive dependence on the universal Church (cf. Christus Dominus CD 34 Joint Document of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and of the Sacred Congregation for the Bishops CD 14 May CD 1978). Far less would it be admissible for priests or religious to practice a parallel to that of the Bishops—the only authentic teachers in the faith—or of the Episcopal Conferences.
You are servants of the People of God, servants of faith, administrators and witnesses of Christ's love for men; a love that is not partisan, that excludes no one, although it is addressed preferably to the poorest. In this connection, I wish to remind you of what I said not long ago to the Superiors General of the Religious in Rome: "The soul that lives in habitual contact with God and moves within the ardent ray of his love, is able to defend itself easily against the temptation of particularisms and contrasts that create the risk of painful divisions; it is able to interpret in the correct light of the Gospel the options for the poorest and for each of the victims of human selfishness, without giving way to socio-political radicalisms which are seen in the long run to be inopportune and self-defeating" (Address to the Superiors General of Men's Religious Orders, 24 November 1978).
You are spiritual guides who endeavour to direct and improve the hearts of the faithful in order that, converted, they may live love for God and their neighbour and commit themselves to the betterment of man and to increasing his dignity.
You are priests and religious; you are not social or political leaders or officials of a temporal power. For this reason I repeat to you "Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel if we `dilute' our charism through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems." (Address to the Clergy of Rome, 9 November 1978). Let us not forget that temporal leadership can easily be a source of division, while the priest must be a sign and agent of unity and brotherhood. Secular functions are the specific field of action of laymen, who have to improve temporal matters with the Christian spirit (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 4).
Beloved priests and religious: I would say many other things to you but I do not wish to make this meeting too long. I will say some things on another occasion, and refer you to them.
I conclude repeating to you my great confidence in you. I have great hopes in your love for Christ and for men. There is a great deal to be done. Let us set out with renewed enthusiasm; united with Christ, under the motherly gaze of the Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe the sweet mother of priests and religious. With the affectionate blessing of the Pope, for you and for all the priests and religious of Mexico.
Speeches 1979 - Tuesday, 23 January 1979