Monsieur le Président de l’Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion,
Monsieur le Président de la Commission technique,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
1. Le 3 avril 1981, peu avant Pâques, j’accueillais ici même la Commission des Programmes radiophoniques de votre Union. Aujourd’hui, trois ans après et en coïncidence avec la même célébration liturgique, la joie m’est donnée de rencontrer les membres de l’Union à son plus haut niveau, au terme des travaux de la Commission technique qui se sont déroulés, sur l’invitation de RadioVatican, à l’intérieur de cette Cité. Soyez les bienvenus, et permettez-moi de saluer en particulier Monsieur Albert Scharf et Monsieur Carlo Terzani. Je les remercie des paroles qu’ils m’ont adressées au nom de tous les participants. Paroles imprégnées de la vive conscience des responsabilités qui vous incombent. Précisément, l’Eglise “experte en humanité”, selon l’heureuse expression de mon prédécesseur Paul VI, et tout à fait persuadée de l’importance de vos activités, ne peut être à votre égard que respectueuse et exigeante. Et que Dieu, Père de tout bien, vous donne d’exercer votre pouvoir considérable avec une conscience qui vous porte sans cesse à chercher le service authentique de l’humanité! La qualification et la finalité de votre Union me sont bien connues. Je pense à votre souci d’étendre le champ de la radiodiffusion, d’échanger des programmes (sur ce point l’Eurovision est l’exemple le plus notoire), de coordonner les études relatives à ce grand moyen de communication, de soutenir également ceux qui sont chargés de mission dans tous ces domaines de la radiodiffusion.
Cette collaboration professionnelle fait partie de l’idéal qui mobilise vos énergies au service du public. Elle exige également beaucoup de créativité, d’engagement, d’humilité. Le véritable esprit de service oblige à regarder au-delà des frontières nationales et à chercher le bien général en se laissant entraîner par une inspiration plus large. Il existe une nécessité croissante d’information exacte, de véritable connaissance réciproque, de conscience des problèmes de l’ensemble de la planète, même si ce travail est souvent dicté par l’anxiété et les peurs. On ne peut séparer ce travail - il en est même l’expression - de l’exigence générale de paix qui gagne de plus en plus les individus et les peuples. Et la paix ne peut être établie sans communication et sans dialogue. Or le dialogue n’existe pas, s’il n’y a pas de place pour l’écoute d’autrui. Tout cela fonde l’importance capitale de votre tâche. En effet, l’époque contemporaine requiert que l’éthique de votre fonction publique devienne un service de l’humanité.
2. Au plan de la finalité de l’Union, une tâche spécifique de la Commission technique est d’étudier et de proposer les améliorations à apporter aux instruments et aux équipements dont se servent d’une part les présentateurs et d’autre part les usagers. La rapidité de l’évolution technique et son impact sur les mutations de la société rendent votre tâche à la fois exigeante et passionnante. Dans les secteurs où la Commission technique a récemment effectué des recherches et des efforts, je voudrais rappeler en premier lieu, et pour ce qui regarde les techniques de production, l’enregistrement magnétique du son et de l’image par procédé numérique et le choix d’une norme unique en collaboration avec l’industrie. Et en second lieu, au plan des techniques de diffusion, je voudrais mentionner: les études en vue de la radiodiffusion directe par satellites en référence particulière aux expériences qui prévoient, à côté d’un certain nombre de faisceaux nationaux, un faisceau dit “européen”, qui couvrira de nombreux pays dans le cadre de l’Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion; le développement de la télévision à haute définition, grâce aux programmes distribués à partir de satellites; la définition d’une norme unique pour la codification des images-vidéo à utiliser dans la transmission directe à partir des satellites; les études préparatoires aux deux conférences internationales de l’Union internationale des Télécommunications, l’une en vue de la planification des ondes métriques destinées à la radiodiffusion sonore en modulation de fréquence, l’autre en vue de la répartition, à l’échelle mondiale, des ondes courtes attribuées à la radiodiffusion. L’Etat de la Cité du Vatican, directement intéressé par ces Conférences, tout spécialement par celle qui traite de la répartition des ondes courtes, a pu constater une fois de plus - comme à l’occasion des autres conférences de l’UIT - l’efficacité de l’aide apportée par la Commission technique de l’Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion à ses membres, soit sous forme d’études et de propositions, soit en mettant à sa disposition les équipements requis pour le calcul.
3. Down through the centuries the Church has not been insensitive to the manifestation of culture and the arts. This is shown by the many works of art preserved within the walls of this tiny city for the benefit of mankind. The Church, then, could not remain indifferent to the opportunities opened up to her by technology. This was especially so when scientific discoveries appealed so directly to her basic instinct as it were, to her very reason for being, which is to proclaim the Good News to all men and women everywhere. My great predecessor Pius XI perceived the importance of radio. The first radio station built by Guglielmo Marconi became operative in Vatican City State two years after the State’s establishment. Pius XI inaugurated it with a message to the whole world on 12 February 1931.
But the project itself was much older. Already in 1925 Father Gianfranceschi, then President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and later the first Director of Vatican Radio, was planning a station that would not only offer the Pope the possibility of speaking to the world, but which would also be a means for spreading the results of scientific subject, and were broadcast in Latin, the language of the universal Church and at that time also the language of Science. The programme was called "Scientiarum nuntius radiophonicus". In the broadcast of 23 February 1933, entitled "De microundis in Colle Vaticano", it was announced that, thanks to Marconi and to the engineer Mathieu, the first microwave link had been installed and was operating between the Vatican and Castelgandolfo. Although the system was already known and had been tried, the announcer could claim with legitimate pride that Vatican Radio was the first and so far the only agency regularly using a microwave link system.
Today, in the age of mass electronics, that aristocratic concept of radio makes one smile. Today Vatican Radio must meet the challenge of putting the universal Pastor in contact with all the local Churches, even the most distant, and of bringing them into contact with the Pastor and with one another. Everyone knows that very often the most difficult distances to overcome are not geographical ones. In many areas of the world the Radio is the only means to make information and catechesis available and to enable the teachings and the actual voice of the Shepherd to reach those who would like to hear.
Vatican Radio continually experiences the disproportion between its limited resources and the demands of the service to which it feels called. In meeting this challenge, which is also a technological one, it is associated with you in precious collaboration.
On this happy occasion I cannot fail to express my gratitude for the understanding and assistance given to Vatican Radio, which is proud to be considered among the founding and active members of your Association. This collaboration has been particularly helpful during the various pastoral visits I have made to some of your countries as part of my apostolic mission. But my thanks go in general to all your broadcasting organizations, which, in full respect for the pluralism of cultures, religions and outlooks, have given attention and a positive echo to my world mission. My gratitude goes also to each one of you whose work contributes to overcoming distances and bringing people closer to each other, making them more aware of their common destiny.
Here our thoughts cause us to reflect seriously on the mystery of the greatness and the frailty of man himself. He is the craftsman of magnificent achievements in science and technology. And yet he does not always succeed in putting them at the service of his own genuine good.
In the field of social communications, how much confusion and contrast there is in their use! How unequal is the availability of resources and means! How much waste of valuable energy as a result of opposing interests, selfishness and the will to dominate! Sadly, in this as in other fields, the result is that all suffer harm.
The Church is not called to offer technical solutions to the great problems that afflict humanity. This is not her proper role. It is not her mission. Hers is to remind man continually of his dignity, of his authentic well-being. Hers is tirelessly to proclaim the Gospel of Peace and to bear witness to the truth in the service of the brethren. This is her task. In virtue of this mandate, I urge you, men and women of the means of social communications, to be always servants of the truth, defenders of freedom, builders of peace. Let this be my wish for you: that peace may abide in you, in your families, in the places where you work and spend such a significant part of your lives. May God bless you and those who are dear to you. May he bless the organisations that you represent, the countries to which you belong. May God bless your hopes, your projects, your resolves.
it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican as members of the British-Italian Parliamentary Group from the United Kingdom.
Almost two years have passed since my pastoral visit to Great Britain.Your presence here today brings back memories of those six glorious days in which not only the Catholics but all the people of your country made me welcome and enabled me to experience the genuine warmth of their hospitality. For me it was a time of intense dialogue with your religious and civic traditions.
As Members of Parliament you are bearers of a high and responsible mission of service to the common good. In a world that has become increasingly more complex, your task is certainly not an easy one. The leaders of nations and those in public life at times find it difficult even to identify what really constitutes that common good, in order to pursue it and safeguard it. For this reason it becomes imperative continually to rediscover the human and moral values that make a people truly great and genuinely happy.
In a world where people are more than ever conscious of their personal dignity and God-given rights, it is your task to chart the legislative path that will create conditions that best ensure the common good. The lives of people, their human dignity, their ability to fulfil their duties and responsibilities are intimately linked to the conditions of society that are created by legislation. The good of individuals and peoples has a direct influence on the international scene and hence affects the issue of world peace. I mention these things, dear friends, to emphasize the gravity of your responsibilities as legislators and the magnitude of the service that you are able to render to your country and to the world.
I would add one more point: as you face your responsibilities and fulfil your service, with respect for all the God-given rights of humanity, you are at the same time in a position to promote a sound legislative tradition to be handed on as a gift to those who will come after you. In a word, your activities offer possibilities for great personal fulfilment because they give excellent opportunities to make a lasting contribution to the well-being of mankind.
I pray to almighty God to grant you wisdom and fortitude in your personal and public lives. May he abundantly bless your families and all those whom you represent, with his gifts of truth and strength and peace.
Your Excellency Mrs. Marcos,
Dear friends from the Philippines,
I am pleased to welcome to the Vatican today all of you who have come to participate in the last days of the Holy Year of the Redemption. Your pilgrimage brings you to Rome for the great events of Holy Week, the special time when the Church celebrates the central mysteries of our Redemption, the Passion, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the bright of these Christian mysteries, I greet you most cordially.
In keeping with the theme of the Jubilee Year, you come in a spirit of peace and reconciliation, in fraternity and friendship. And as I receive you, I am reminded of the six memorable days of my pastoral visit to the Philippines several years ago. During those joyful days, which included the beatification of the first Filipino martyr, I witnessed the vitality of the Catholic faith in your country. I also marveled at the great diversity of your cultural values and traditions. But above all, I was struck by the warmth and hospitality of your people. I am pleased that today, in the Vatican, I am able in a small way to reciprocate your goodness and generosity.
As you return to the Philippines, I ask you to assure the beloved people of your land of my pastoral love and constant prayers. May the Lord bless you all with his deep and abiding peace.
My dear young people,
at the conclusion of the Holy Year,
I entrust to you the sign of this Jubilee Year:
the Cross of Christ!
Carry it throughout the world as a symbol
of Christ’s love for humanity,
and announce to everyone
that only in the death and resurrection of Christ
we can find salvation and redemption.
Thursday, 26 April 1984
Mr Executive Director,
I am happy to welcome you this morning to the Vatican, and with you, all those who are associated with the meeting of the Executive Council of UNICEF which is in session in these days in Rome.
Your organization has been entrusted with a very noble and urgent task: that of concern for all the children of the world. The Holy See follows your activities in this field with great attention. Indeed, the Church’s mission and duty of service to the human family makes her particularly sensitive to the needs of children, that precious treasure, deserving of utmost love and respect, given to each generation as a challenge to its wisdom and humanity.
I am pleased, therefore, to have this opportunity to share with you some reflections related to the task before you.
1. Just over four years ago, when I had the honour of addressing the Thirty-fourth General Assembly of the United Nations, I posed the question: "What better wish can I express for every nation and the whole of mankind, and for all the children of the world than a better future in which respect for human rights will become a complete reality throughout the third millennium which is drawing near" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Allocutio ad Nationum Unitarum Legatos habita, 21, die 2 Oct. 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, II, 2 81979) 539).
Concern for the child is concern for that better future about which I spoke to the General Assembly. What is at stake in childhood and in concern for the child is the fate and the destiny of the person, of human life and existence. The child is a sign of the mystery of life and a testing-ground of the authenticity of our respect for the mystery of life. Every child is in some way a sign of the hope of humanity. He or she is a sign of the hope posited and expressed by the love of parents; a sign of the hopes of a nation and a people.
The child represents a special sign for the Church. Concern for the child is linked, in fact, with the Church’s fundamental mission. As I recalled in my Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris Consortio" on the role of the Christian family in the modern world, the Church "is called upon to reveal and put forward anew in history the example and the commandment of Christ the Lord, who placed the child at the heart of the kingdom of God: ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’ (Lc 18,16) " (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Familiaris Consortio FC 26). Indeed Christ goes so far as to identity himself with children: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me" (Mt 18,5). Every single child in this world is a living sign of that mystery of life and hope that was revealed in Jesus Christ.
This is why the Church has always considered that every effort invested in the genuine development of the child is an invaluable investment in a better future for all of society.
2. While one may take comfort in an increasing awareness within public opinion of the need to devote greater resources, and with ever increasing urgency, to the well-being of children, the fact remains that the plight of so many children in today’s world is extremely critical. It is certainly one of the great scandals of our society, with the immense progress that it has been able to achieve in technology and science, that so many children are among those who suffer most intensely. And it is even sadder to note that such children, and especially the poorest of them, are often the first to be hit by economic depression and its consequences. The scandalous imbalances which exist within our society are reflected in a particular way amongst our children: while in one sector of our world children are suffering the lack of the most elementary human necessities, in other sectors children from the earliest age are being inserted into a society based on consumerism, possession, and even waste.
Such a situation is a challenge to the conscience of every man and woman in our world, of every nation and particularly of all those who hold responsibility within the international community. The demands of conscience will not be answered by vague promises, much less by the political exploitation of human suffering. The critical situation of the suffering of the weakest of our brothers and sisters calls for rapid and concerted efforts to assure for all our children the better future which is their right.
3. The Church’s concern for children emerges also from the fact that the Church is on the side of life. The Church considers it a priority aspect of her mission in today’s world to proclaim the value of each and every human person, especially those who are least able to defend themselves. For this reason the Church will never cease to raise her prophetic voice proclaiming that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception.
Is it not possible to notice in the changing demographic trends of many developed countries a changing attitude to the child and to life itself? Is it perhaps possible that some people in their desire that their children should have as much as possible, deprive their children of some of the basic, positive elements of what it is to be a genuine human person? Can one not detect a certain fear of the child, a fear of the demands of love and human generosity which the procreation and education of a child require? Do not love, generosity and self-giving belong to the noblest elements of life itself? The anti-life mentality which has emerged in today’s society is very often a sign of the fact that people have lost faith in life, have lost sight of the most fundamental elements of human destiny.
There is a real danger in resorting to solutions which appear to offer short-term results but which, because these solutions are not based on an integral vision of the person, not only will not lead to the desired solution but will lead to an ulterior estrangement of man from himself.
4. One example of a false response to the critical plight of children would undoubtedly be to adopt policies that result in a weakening of the institution of the family, especially in those developing countries where the traditional family system is truly impregnated with human wisdom and nourished by profound moral values.
The Church is convinced that one of the most vital answers to the situation of the child in today’s world will come through reinforcing and strengthening the family as an institution and through policies which will permit families to carry out the irreplaceable role that properly belongs to them.
Recently the Holy See offered the international community a Charter of the Rights of the Family, a document which had been requested by many bishops from all over the world during the 1980 Synod of Bishops held here in the Vatican. This document clearly indicates areas where the rights of families are ignored and undermined. But it is, in the first place, a document which demonstrates the confidence which the Church has in the family, which is the natural community of life and love uniquely entrusted with the task of the transmission of life and the loving care and development of the human person, especially in the earliest years.
Healthy family life will contribute greatly to the stability of society. It will ensure that children receive a well-rounded personal development in which their needs will be taken into consideration in an integrated manner. You are well aware, I know, of the vital contribution that families can play in health care, in health education of disease in developing countries. The love and stability which strong and genuine family life can offer, on the physical, cultural and moral levels, must also be seen as an important factor in responding to the new forms of malaise which increasingly affect the children of the developed countries.
In referring to the family, I cannot overlook the important aspect of the role of motherhood and the necessity that mothers be afforded all the necessary social protection and assistance during pregnancy and for a reasonable period of time afterwards. An essential element of any policy in favour of the child is that of providing for an effective presence of the mother alongside her young children and of ensuring that mothers are trained to carry out effectively their role in the areas of nutrition and health education. The Holy See has repeatedly advocated appropriate personal and social advancement for women in order to assure the dignity of women and the improvement of the quality of life for the coming generations. Policies aimed at assisting mothers to carry out their task effectively and with satisfaction are based on the principle of giving adequate recognition to the work of mothers in the home because of its value for the family and society.
5. Precisely because the Church realises what a great value the family is, she feels particularly close to all those children who have not had the joy or growing up in a healthy and complete family. As I said in "Familiaris Consortio": "There exist in the world countless people who unfortunately cannot in any sense claim membership of what can be called in the proper sense a family. Large sections of humanity live in conditions of extreme poverty, in which promiscuity, lack of housing, the irregular nature and instability of relationships and the extreme lack of education make it impossible in practice to speak of a true family. There exist others who, for various reasons, have been left alone in the world" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Familiaris Consortio FC 85).
Alongside all the efforts which we must make to see that families are helped to carry out their role more effectively, it is important to dedicate urgent and immediate attention to those children who are deprived of family life. In particular I make an appeal to other families to respond to their vocation to hospitality and to open their doors to children who need temporary or permanent care. At the same time I renew my appeals to authorities to provide legislation which permits suitable families to adopt children or take care of them for a period. Such legislation should, at the same time, respect the natural rights of parents, also in the religious sphere. It is also important to see that all abuses in this field, both on a national and international level, which exploit children and their needs are eliminated.
Mr Executive Director, I wish you to know without any doubt that all those who work sincerely for a better future for all the children of the world will find a staunch ally in the Church and in this Apostolic See. I ask God’s blessing on your work and on the work of all those agencies and individuals who in so many and varied ways seek to ensure that the gift of God’s life in which each child shares is allowed to develop in the fullest manner for the good of all humanity.
Friday, 27 April 1984
1. It is an honour and a pleasure for me to welcome to the Vatican those taking part in the International Symposium sponsored by the National Foundation for Cancer Research. As I greet you today, I wish to express my deep appreciation of the important contribution you are making to the health and happiness of the human family. Through your generosity and self-sacrifice in the disciplined and often tedious task of research, you have greatly increased our understanding of the causes and nature of cancer and of the best methods for treating it effectively. This Symposium is one more example of your untiring efforts in this regard and of your dedicated concern for those throughout the world who suffer from this dreaded disease.
2. Several months ago, I issued an Apostolic Letter on the Christian meaning of human suffering. In that document I sought to bring the light of Christ to that experience which is an essential part of every person’s life. In addition to my desire to help people find meaning in the mysterious face of suffering, I also wished to draw attention in gratitude to those, like yourselves, who are particularly sensitive to the sufferings of others, and who strive to offer not only sympathy and compassion but concrete efforts to alleviate those sufferings. In this regard, I stated: "How much there is of ‘the Good Samaritan’ in the profession of the doctor, or the nurse, or others similar! Considering its ‘evangelical’ content, we are inclined to think here of a vocation rather than simply a profession. And the institutions which from generation to generation have performed ‘Good Samaritan’ service have developed and specialized even further in our times. This undoubtedly proves that people today pay ever greater and closer attention to the sufferings of their neighbour, seek to understand those sufferings and deal with them with ever greater skill. They also have an ever greater capacity and specialization in this area. In view of all this, we can say that the parable of the Samaritan of the Gospel has become one of the essential elements of moral culture and universally human civilization. And thinking of all those who by their knowledge and ability provide many kinds of service to their suffering neighbour, we cannot but offer them words of thanks and gratitude" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Salvifici Doloris, 29).
3. For years, medical research has required the adoption of methods of advanced specialization in order to pursue new discoveries. More recently, an interdisciplinary approach has been increasingly needed, one which encompasses the insights provided by various fields of knowledge, such as medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and so forth. All of this points to a need for greater dialogue and collaboration among the men and women of the different sciences. Together with this, more and more scientists and researchers feel the importance of placing the results of their research within a wider social and cultural context and of giving due consideration to the moral principles and spiritual values which are associated with new discoveries. Your desire to meet the Pope on the occasion of this International Symposium shows your own sensitivity to these dimensions.
Medical research, and indeed all scientific study, needs the support and guidance of spiritual and moral values. For such research is ultimately intended for the good of the whole person, even if the immediate aim is the treatment of certain tissues or organs of the body. A deep unity exists between the body and the spirit, a unity which is so substantial that the most spiritual activity is affected by the bodily condition, and the body itself achieves its proper and final purpose only when directed by the spirit. I would therefore like to offer encouragement to all those who are promoting an interdisciplinary approach to cancer research and other medical problems, and I would urge that there be included in this approach the wisdom which is found in the spiritual heritage of the human family. I assure you, in this regard, of the great interest of the Catholic Church in your research, and of a readiness to dialogue and to share with you the spiritual and ethical traditions of the Christian faith.
4. The interdisciplinary nature of science today has also involved an internationalization among those carrying out research. This is clearly seen in your present Symposium. And it is a hopeful sign of an increasing spirit of brotherhood and fruitful cooperation among men and women of good will from all nations. I pray that your successes and achievements will, in a similar way, bring hope and assistance not only to a fortunate few but to people throughout the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, yours is indeed a noble and vitally important task. May God grant you joy and strength in your work, and may he bless you and your families with his rich and abiding peace.
My dear Friends from Sri Lanka,
I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican today. Your brief visit to Rome brings you to the very centre of the Catholic Church, where the tombs of the great Saints Peter and Paul speak to us of our divine Lord’s will to establish his Church on the foundation of the Apostles, with a universal mission to make known the Good News of Redemption to all peoples. The memory of these martyrs, and of so many others commemorated in this city, reminds us of our own duty to profess our faith with joy and confidence, and to engage in the works of faith by which we love God and our neighbour.
I hope and pray that your visit will inspire you with a true love of the Church, and that you will return to your beloved country renewed in mind and heart for the challenges which you face in your personal lives, and in the task which you share with all your fellow-citizens of building up your country in peace and harmony.
I pray especially that you will always respect each other’s religious beliefs, and that the unique dignity of every human being will be a value very close to your hearts and the rule that governs your actions.
May Almighty God bless each one of you, and your families. And may God abundantly bless Sri Lanka.