Speeches 1981 - Manila


2 February 1981

Dear Friends,

I AM PLEASED to welcome here the members of the NATO Defence College and their families. I understand that for the past six months you have been involved in an educational programme, studying the cultural and moral objectives aimed at strengthening international solidarity. I appreciate the importance of this undertaking since its ultimate goal is the furthering of world peace.

As you know, I have spoken many times of my great concern for peace. I am convinced that, with God’s help, the attainment of peace for all people and between all nations is within our human capabilities. Yet a true peace often eludes our grasp precisely because we view it more as a framework to be imposed from without rather than a process to be cultivated from within. Peace expresses a dynamic reality that is grounded in a harmonious relationship of persons and, a such, it requires our continual efforts. To achieve lasting peace, we must first study its components and this will include an investigation of the dangers that threaten peace.

In my recent Encyclical I pointed out that foremost among the threats to peace was not only the stockpiling of atomic weapons, but a manipulation of the very notion of peace itself for the purposes of self-interested parties. In this regard I stated: "The technical means at the disposal of modern society conceal within themselves not only the possibility of self-destruction through military conflict, but also the possibility of a ‘peaceful’ subjugation of individuals, of environments, of entire societies and of nations, that for one reason or another might prove inconvenient for those who possess the necessary means and are ready to use them without scruple. An instance is the continued existence of torture, systematically used by authority as a means of domination and political oppression and practised by subordinates with impunity".

Thus there can be no peace where the dignity of human individuals is denied. For wherever we find the domination by one person over another in the latter’s choice of destiny or rightful access to the truth, there we will already discover the seeds of a bitter resentment or deepseated animosity. Yes, guaranteeing freedom is an essential part of working for peace. That is why I chose as the theme for the World Day of Peace: "To serve peace, respect freedom".

During these past months in Rome, you have studied the complexities of world peace and gained an increased awareness of the necessity of its attainment. Your investigation now places you among those men and women to whom others will look for leadership in this area.

I pray that your vision of human dignity will never fail you in the pursuit of peace. May you always acknowledge the incomparable worth of every human life, even from the very moment of conception. May you contribute to the building of peace by always appealing to what is most noble in the heart of every person.

And may that peace which reflects the very goodness of God himself fill your hearts and your homes, thereby encouraging you to be tireless workers in the cause of peace.

March 1981



7 March 1981

Mr Ambassador,

IT IS A PLEASURE for me to receive you today as Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and to accept the Letters of Credence from His Excellency Chun Doo Hwan. I would ask you to convey to him my good wishes for his person and for his recently inaugurated mission as President.

Korea is one of the countries that I was unable to visit in the course of my pastoral journey to Eastern Asia last month. The journey thus did not give me the opportunity to show my deep esteem and affection for the Korean people, but I am happy to have, so soon afterwards, this occasion to give expression to my warm sentiments in their regard.

In the past, your people showed strength of character in maintaining their identity and culture in the face of adverse circumstances. In spite of the consequent opposition on the part of many to accepting any ideas that came from outside, there were always Koreans who were able to recognize what was good in that field and to accept it. It was members of your own people who introduced Christianity to your country, knowing that the message of Jesus was not in opposition to your own noble traditions but would on the contrary exalt them and bring out what was best in them.

Today also, the Korean people are faced with serious difficulties in their task of being true to themselves and of building a better future. I am happy to hear Your Excellency’s authoritative testimony to the loyalty and constructiveness of the Catholics in Korea in working for a society distinguished by justice and progress. Precisely because of his adherence to the teaching of Christ, a Catholic has a deep awareness of his duty to make his own contribution to the welfare of the society to which he belongs, employing his talents for its betterment. This is the inspiration also for the educational and welfare work of Catholic institutions and of the religious Congregations whose members devote themselves to following as closely as they can in the footsteps of Jesus, of whom it was said that “he went about doing good”.

It is my fervent hope that the collaboration of all sectors of the Korean people will, with God’s help, lead to a happy future in freedom, justice, enlightenment and harmony. Your people are dear to me, and I pray that the Lord may guide them and their leaders to seek what is right and good and that he may assist them constantly in its pursuit. For yourself too I pray, that your mission may contribute to the welfare of your country and to international understanding.



Friday, 20 March 1981

Dear friends in Christ,

I wish to extend a very cordial welcome to each of you today. It is a joy for me to meet with Vicars for Religious from the United States, and with all who work with them in a very important area of the Church’s life and ministry.

1. In speaking of the role of Episcopal Vicars for Religious Institutes, the Holy See’s Document "Mutuae Relationes" shows that this task is a service of collaboration with the pastoral ministry of the Bishop. Indeed, the mandate given to the Episcopal Vicar consists in helping to accomplish a task which of its nature pertains exclusively to the Bishop, that is, a particular solicitude for religious life and the organic coordination of religious life within the pastoral activities of the diocese[1]. All of you, in one way or another, are endeavoring to assist your Bishops while offering support and encouragement to thousands of men and women who have generously given their lives to Jesus Christ, and who are striving to live out their ecclesial consecration with a persevering love that is worthy of their permanent commitment, and consistent with their sacred vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Yours indeed is a splendid apostolate that can help sustain individuals and entire religious Congregations in hope and fervor and in the very truth of their charisms.

2. All of you, whether you yourselves are Religious or not, are called to offer your collaboration humbly as brothers and sisters who share with Religious a common discipleship of Christ the Lord. You have with those whom you serve a common calling to holiness in the following of Jesus. At the same time the professional requirements of your apostolate entail a thorough understanding of religious life, especially in its essential ecclesial dimensions.

For this reason, you yourselves must repeatedly reflect on all the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that affects religious life, as well as on the papal postconciliar directives and those of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. The Document Mutuae Relationes, prepared jointly by the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, is particularly relevant to the service that you are endeavoring to render in the Church.

3. It is important for you in the discussions and dialogue that you participate in, in the counsels you give, and in the decisions you may be called upon to take, to make constant reference to the essence of religious life. This will mean emphasizing the value of consecration to the person of Jesus Christ – a consecration that is effected in his Church and by his Church, and in response to a personal vocation received from Christ through the working of his Spirit. Yours is the role of effectively drawing attention to the finality of the religious vows, showing how, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, they are directed to “a more vigorous flowering of the Church’s Holiness and the greater glory of the one and undivided Trinity, which in Christ and through Christ is the fountain and wellspring of all holiness”[2].

4. Your own esteem for religious life and your deep appreciation of the individual values that it embodies for the good of the Church can be a powerful support for your brothers and sisters both in the ordinary circumstances of their daily lives and in moment of crisis. Being aware of the vital importance of Religious in the Church, you will be in a position to help others to come to a serene realization that this ecclesial institution, like the rest of Christ’s Church, must undergo tribulation in the world[3]. Indeed, it is no wonder that the sanctity of religious life would be opposed and even attacked by the devil. Saint Peter’s call for calm vigilance is extremely relevant today: “Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him solid in your faith...”[4].

5. Because you yourselves have a special role of supporting and fostering religious life, you will be in a position to propose and re-propose to individual Religious and to whole communities the perennial values inherent in consecrated religious life. It is an expression of your charity and part of your mission. Each of you will have opportunities to do this in one way or another: as the representative of a Bishop in his pastoral concern for religious life in its relationship to the local and universal Church, or simply as a friend, as a counsellor or confidant, an understanding fellow Christian, a spiritual director or a confessor.

6. By your contacts with them, you can be of great service to Religious and to the Church as a whole by emphasizing the importance of prayer in any genuine program of renewal. Personal intimacy with Jesus Christ, sustained by prayer and the Eucharist, is an essential condition for the effective contribution of Religious to the life of the Church. Society needs the incessant proclamation of the Beatitudes; and it needs to see them practised in the lives of Religious.

Besides your personal contacts, many of you will undoubtedly be involved in one way or another in planning or coordinating meetings, classes or seminars at which Religious will be in attendance. In all of these the Church’s sublime teaching on religious life should be presupposed and appropriately manifested. The ontological condition of union with God, of being a new creature in Jesus Christ, consecrated to him by ecclesial vows, gives the Religious a source of profound fecundity in the works of the apostolate. The lived renunciation that is linked to the Cross of Christ furnishes Religious with a singular effectiveness in speaking to their brothers and sisters about the fullness of paschal life in the Risen Jesus. In embracing the poverty of Christ, Religious have a real possibility of rendering genuine service to the poor and of being effective instruments of evangelization in their regard. By a humble recognition of the limits of their personal insights, Religious will be able to go forth with a fresh reassurance of the validity of the message they are trying to communicate.

Through the generous renunciation of conjugal love, Religious will be able to convince many people of the absolute primacy of Christ’s love and of its profound power to fill the human heart with a joy that is contagious. Having surrendered their lives to Christ, Religious can be truly open to his Holy Spirit, embracing in its entirety the word of God as it is proclaimed by the Church, thus being equipped for a real dialogue of salvation, which leads to the uplifting of humanity and the glory of Christ’s name.

But, like every category in the Church, Religious need support, understanding and love. They will find this in an eminent way in Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, who as a model of holiness has a special relationship with all Religious. At the same time, in the temporal sphere, this task belongs to all of you who are called by your Bishops to foster religious life in the Church today. Your is indeed an important apostolate in the Body of Christ. And may you yourselves find fresh strength and encouragement in the words of the Apostle Paul: “Help carry one another’s burdens: in that way you will fulfill the law of Christ”[5]. May Mary help you all to do this for the glory of her Son, Jesus, who is the Savior of us all.

[1] Cfr. Mutuae Relationes, 54.

[2] Lumen Gentium, 47.

[3] Cfr. Io. 16, 33.

[4] 1 Petr. 5, 8 s.

[5] Gal. 6, 2.

                                                          April 1981



Friday, 3 April 1981

Dear brothers and sisters,

1. I AM HAPPY to have this opportunity to meet you, and I am pleased that the Second International Games for Disabled Persons, “Roma 81”, has brought you together. The games for which you have come show clearly and effectively that handicapped persons can be and are fully integrated into social life. They show that you live a full life and share in its joys.

Sport for you is not a matter of economic interest. You have not come to set up new absolute records in the various branches of athletics. However, your participation in sport sets up a record that from many points of view is far more important: a record of surpassing yourselves, a record of universal brotherhood through sport and of practising solidarity with all members of the human family.

2. I therefore congratulate all who were involved in organizing the games. They include the International Stoke Mandeville Games and the International Sport Organization for the Disabled, the Italian National Olympic Committee, the Federazione Italiana Sport Handicappati, and the authorities of the Region of Lazio and of the Province and City of Rome. My congratulations also go to the organizers and participants in the scientific congress being held in conjunction with the games and dealing with medical, juridical and technical problems of the disabled. I congratulate you all for offering assistance to the disabled, for opening up for them possibilities of improving their lives, and for giving them hope.

3. I am glad to note that greater sensitivity is now being shown with regard to the needs of the handicapped. What gives rise to this sensitivity and sustains it is greater awareness of the value and dignity of the human person, which do not depend on secondary qualities such as strength and physical appearance but on the fundamental fact that he or she is a person, a human being.

4. With this goes awareness of the duty of solidarity with all members of the human family, who have a right to be integrated into the different forms of the life of society. Accordingly, we must endeavour to put an end to discrimination, not only by one race against another, but also by the strong and healthy against the weak and sick. In a document issued earlier this month the Holy See has stressed the basic principles concerning the disabled, who are full human subjects, with the corresponding rights, and must be helped, in accordance with the principles of integration, normalization and personalization, to take their place in society in all aspects and at all levels, as far as is compatible with their capabilities.

5. It is important that the greater awareness and sensitivity now existing should be embodied in appropriate legislation and that those who are active in the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology and education should foster the full integration of the handicapped person into society. But it is no less important that there should be a change of heart, a conversion, on the part of every citizen and every group in society, so that they may willingly and fraternally accept the presence of handicapped persons at school, at work and in every activity, including sport.

6. Handicapped persons play an important part in creating a new civilization, the civilization of love, by removing social barriers and bringing in new values, the values not of force but of humanity.

7. In Jesus Christ there is an important message for all the disabled, and for those who serve the disabled, and for society as a whole in its relations with them. Jesus Christ brought us a message that has emphasized the absolute value of life and of the human person, who comes from God and is called to live in communion with God. The same message can be read in his own life of love for the sick and suffering, and of service to them. The message also comes from the words with which he identified himself with all those in need and indicated that his disciples should be known for their loving service of the poor and the weak: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”(Mt 25,40).

I pray that his message will be heard, and that fresh hope will be given to the disabled, and that new love will permeate all society.



Friday, 3 April 1981

Monsieur le Président,
Mesdames et Messieurs,

1. JE VEUX TOUT D’ABORD VOUS souhaiter la plus cordiale bienvenue dans cette maison, à vous qui avez entrepris il y a quelques jours, au sein même de la Cité du Vatican, les travaux de la trente-quatrième session ordinaire de la Commission des Programmes de Radio de l’Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion. Vous êtes les hôtes appréciés d’un minuscule Etat, la Cité du Vatican, minime expression territoriale d’une souveraineté dont le but principal est d’assurer la pleine autonomie à l’exercice d’une autorité spirituelle, le Saint-Siège, centre et coeur d’une communauté pacifique de croyants qui ne connaît pas de frontières mais qui les réunit tous dans une même foi. Le Siège Apostolique se place au-delà de toute diversité d’idéologie, mais en même temps il nourrit, comme il l’a toujours fait, un profond respect pour la grande variété des cultures dans lesquelles s’incarne le message évangélique chez les divers peuples, et il est ouvert à toute forme de collaboration fructueuse avec les chrétiens d’autres confessions, avec les croyants d’autres grandes religions et avec tous les hommes de bonne volonté.

Je ne puis relever sans satisfaction une certaine correspondance, sur un plan différent il est vrai, avec les buts de l’Union que vous représentez si dignement ici. Celle-ci, en effet, est une organisation internationale non gouvernementale, ouverte à tous les organismes de radiodiffusion de service public de l’Europe entière et même du bassin méditerranéen, comportant de nombreux membres associés d’autres zones géographiques et ayant des liens étroits avec les Unions régionales créées par la suite dans d’autres parties du monde. Votre association se propose d’assurer à ses membres, tout en respectant pleinement leur autonomie, le réseau le plus vaste possible de services dans le domaine de la technologie la plus avancée, des informations de tous genres et des échanges de programmes. Vous favorisez ainsi le développement des organismes nationaux de radiodiffusion qui trouvent, dans cette ambiance de collaboration internationale, une aide efficace pour leur tâche ardue: celle de répondre aux exigences et aux défis toujours nouveaux imposés à la radiodiffusion par les développements rapides qui se réalisent continuellement à notre époque.

2. L’Eglise catholique regarde avec un vif intérêt, avec respect et sympathie ceux qui travaillent dans le domaine des mass media, tout en se montrant exigeante et soucieuse en ce qu’elle attend d’eux. Le Concile Vatican II a voulu consacrer aux instruments de communication sociale le décret “ Inter Mirifica ”, dont le thème a été ensuite développé par l’Instruction pastorale “ Communio et Progressio ”, rédigée par la Commission pontificale pour les Communications Sociales. Son titre comporte déjà en lui-même une vision confiante de ce qu’on attend des instruments de communication sociale, sans qu’on oublie pour autant les obstacles nombreux et de poids qui s’opposent à la réalisation de ce noble but. Une section de cette Instruction est consacrée spécialement aux transmissions de la radio et de la télévision[1].

3. But there can be adduced no more expressive proof of the Holy See’s interest in your field of competence than the creation in this tiny State of a Radio Station, almost immediately after the stipulations of the Lateran Treaty, which sanctioned the State’s territorial sovereignty. This was the fruit of the farsightedness of Pius XI, and of the collaboration of Guglielmo Marconi himself, to whom that great Pope had entrusted the direction of the work of setting up Vatican Radio. It is not by mere chance that your meeting, which for the first time has given the Holy See the pleasant opportunity of welcoming to the Vatican a body of the European Broadcasting Union, is being held precisely in the year when Vatican Radio is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its inauguration, which took place on 12 February 1931. It is equally significant that, by the express wish of Pius XII, Vatican Radio has from the very beginning belonged to the European Broadcasting Union as a founder member.

Vatican Radio of course has a special character: its first and fundamental task is to spread the teaching and the very voice of the Pope, and to contribute to strengthening ecclesial communion. This it does especially through the broadcasting of wide-ranging, regular and timely information, which is specially valuable for local communities that live in precarious conditions of religious freedom and which lack other sources. Also with regard to the international services of other broadcasting bodies, which likewise come within the wide range of your interests though perhaps to a lesser degree, Vatican Radio differs not only by the absence of political or economic interests, however legitimate such may be, but also and above all because it cannot be the expression of a national culture to be spread beyond the boundaries of its own country: no nation and no culture is “foreign” as far as the Holy See is concerned, since it embraces them all in its essential “catholicity”.

4. You exercise functions of high responsibility in broadcasting bodies at the public service. The occasion of this special meeting induces me to tell you of something that deeply concerns me, namely the risk of an ever widening gap between the existence and needs of society and of the human beings that make it up, and the forms in which this reality is presented by the means of social communications. These means wield an enormous power in today’s world, a power that can be easily misused by giving in to the temptation to employ them in order to dominate public opinion and in order to manipulate people’s orientations, scale of values and conduct. May I be permitted to repeat to you what I recently said to the representatives of the mass media in Hiroshima: “This power belongs to the people. Like all created things, it is universal in its destination, and is meant for the good of all. You are, therefore, stewards of the people’s power and servants of their well-being. Yours is indeed a great calling, a splendid mission; but it requires an upright and frequently renewed dedication, and constant accountability to the people. And so I ask you to continue generously to devote efforts to the cause of the people, to the betterment of society, to the promotion of the unity of the entire human family”[2]. In carrying out your delicate responsibilities may you ever have in mind your children, and in this way it will be easier for you to contribute, as far as it depends on you, to the building of a society that is more just, more free and more united a society in which everyone’s children can live lives that are in harmony with the sublime dignity of man, full of meaning and open to hope.

At this time I wish to thank you warmly for the coverage given by your programmes to my apostolic journeys, and in particular for the ready collaboration offered, on the occasion of such journeys, by the broadcasting bodies of all the countries visited.

Finally, dear friends, I ask you to accept my most cordial good wishes for the success of the work of your Commission. I invoke the abundant blessings of God, who is merciful love, upon yourselves, your families, your colleagues, your broadcasting bodies and upon the countries that you represent.

[1] Cfr. Pontifici Consilii Instrumentis Communicationis Socialis Praepositi Communio et Progressio, 148-157.

[2] Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad operatores communicationis socialis in urbe «Hiroshima» habita, die 25 febr. 1981: vide supra, pp. 538-539.



Thursday, 30 April 1981

Dear friends,

I am happy for this opportunity to be with you, young musicians, who make up the European Community Youth Orchestra. I know that you are here in order to assist the disabled in Europe through a benefit performance this evening, as well as to help the victims of the earthquake in Southern Italy by other concerts in the near future. Because of the generosity that you have shown in this regard, it gives me special pleasure to welcome you today.

You arrive in Rome at a time when the Church is celebrating with fresh enthusiasm the Resurrection of Christ. He is the one who says of himself, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly”. Jesus Christ showed the depth of his love for all people by his suffering and death. By his Resurrection he offers a springtime of hope to all who would model their actions on his sacrificial love for others. The Second Vatican Council reminded the Church that she must be concerned that life in the world should conform more “to man’s surpassing dignity”, in all its aspects, so as to make that life ever more human.

In fulfilling this charge, the Church is involved with everything that intluences the human person. As I said in my Encyclical Redemptor Hominis: “man is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission: he is the primary and fundamental way for the Church, the way traced out by Christ himself”. With genuine interest, I have noted the aims and goals of your European Community Symphony Orchestra. I know that you too share with the Church a profound desire to make life ever more human. And you strive to do this in two ways.

First of all, the artistic expression of your music touches the deepest longings and feelings of the human spirit. More than technical skill, your performances enrich your life and that of your listeners by inspiring in the human soul a renewed appreciation of truth, beauty and goodness.

Yet beyond this, you seek to exercise the social and ethical aspect of your artistic expression by offering it with gladness of heart for the benefit of your neighbour. In this way you strive to build up solidarity among different peoples, to unite those who are separated by different cultures or national ties, to challenge your listeners to go beyond the externals that tend to create barriers between individuals, in order to stress the fundamental dignity of every human life from the very moment of conception.

Your Orchestra makes a contribution to a future of increased cooperation and understanding among the nations of Europe and, yes, perhaps ultimately, of the whole world. For these elements are building-blocks of world peace and international justice, and reflect what is most noble in the human spirit.

I congratulate you, my brothers and sisters, in this worthy venture. I know that you will find much personal satisfaction in working together, both from the joy you experience in the music you perform, as well as from the friendship that you make.

But even more that this, I pray that the ideals you cherish of fostering the dignity of all men and women will be effectively promoted in the hearts and attitudes of those who understand your message. I ask Almighty God to grant success to all your efforts to ensure that life will be ever more human. May God bless you all.

                                                                  May 1981




Thursday, 7 May 1981

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

In the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit I welcome all of you who have come to Rome to participate in the Fourth International Leaders’ Conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and I pray that “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!”[1].

1. Your choice of Rome as the site of this Conference is a special sign of your understanding of the importance of being rooted in that Catholic unity of faith and charity which finds its visible centre in the See of Peter. Your reputation goes before you, like that of his beloved Philippians which prompted the Apostle Paul to begin his Letter to them with a sentiment I am happy to echo: “I give thanks to my God every time I think of you... My prayer is that your love may more and more abound both in understanding and wealth of experience, so that with a clear conscience and blameless conduct you may learn to value the things that really matter, up to the very day of Christ”[2].

2. In 1975 my venerable predecessor Paul VI addressed the International Charismatic Congress which assembled here in Rome, and he emphasized the three principles which Saint Paul outlined to guide discernment, according to the injunction: “Test everything, hold fast to what is good”[3]. The first of these principles is fidelity to the authentic doctrine of the faith; whatever contradicts this doctrine does not come from the Spirit. The second principles is to value the higher gifts – the gifts which are given in service of the common good. And the third principle is the pursuit of charity, which alone brings the Christian to perfection: as the Apostle says, “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect”[4]. It is no less important at this time for me to underline these fundamental principles for you whom God has called to serve as leaders in the Renewal.

Pope Paul described the movement for renewal in the Spirit as “a chance for the Church and for the world”, and the six years since that Congress have borne out the hope that inspired his vision. The Church has seen the fruits of your devotion to prayer in a deepened commitment to holiness of life and love for the word of God. We have noted with particular joy the way in which leaders of the renewal have more and more developed a broadened ecclesial vision, and have made efforts to make this vision increasingly a reality for those who depend on them for guidance. And we have likewise seen the signs of your generosity in sharing God’s gifts with the unfortunate of this world in justice and charity, so that all people may experience the priceless dignity that is theirs in Christ.

May this work of love already begun in you be brought to successful completion[5]! In this regard, always remember these words which Paul VI addressed to your Congress during the Holy Year: “There are no limits to the challenge of love: the poor and needy and afflicted and suffering across the world and near at hand all cry out to you, as brothers and sisters of Christ, asking for the proof of your love, asking for the word of God, asking for bread, asking for life”.

3. Yes, I am very happy to have this opportunity to speak from my heart to you who have come from all over the world to participate in this Conference designed to assist you in fulfilling your role as leaders in the Charismatic Renewal. In a special way I wish to address the need for enriching and making practical that ecclesial vision which is so essential to the Renewal at this stage in its development.

The role of the leader is, in the first place, to give the example of prayer in his own life. With confident hope, with careful solicitude it falls to the leader to ensure that the multiform patrimony of the Church’s life of prayer is known and experienced by those who seek spiritual renewal: meditation on the word of God, since “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”, as Saint Jerome insisted; openness to the gifts of the Spirit, without exaggerated concentration upon the extraordinary gifts; imitating the example of Jesus himself in ensuring time for prayer alone with God; entering more deeply into the cycle of the Church’s liturgical seasons, especially through the Liturgy of the Hours: the appropriate celebration of the sacraments – with very special attention to the Sacrament of Penance – which effect the new dispensation of grace in accord with Christ’s own manifest will; and above all a love for and growing understanding of the Eucharist as the centre of all Christian prayer. For as the Second Vatican Council has impressed upon us, “the Eucharist is the source and the summit of all evangelization; catechumens are gradually led up to participation in the Eucharist, while the faithful who have already been consecrated in baptism and confirmation are fully incorporated into the Body of Christ – the Church –through their reception of the Eucharist”[6].

Secondly, you must be concerned to provide solid food for spiritual nourishment through the breaking of the bread ot true doctrine. The love for the revealed word of God, written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is a pledge of your desire to “stand firm in the Gospel” preached by the Apostles. It is this same Holy Spirit, the Dogmatic Constitution of Divine Revelation assures us, who “constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood”[7]. The Holy Spirit who distributes his gifts, now in greater, now in lesser measure, is the same one who inspired the Scriptures and who assists the living Magisterium of the Church, to whom Christ entrusted the authentic interpretation of these Scriptures[8], according to the promise of Christ to the Apostles: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete, to be with you always: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, since it neither sees him nor recognizes him, but you can recognize him because he remains with you and will be within you”[9].

God desires, therefore, that all Christians grow in understanding the mystery of salvation, which reveals to us ever more of man’s own intrinsic dignity. And he desires that you who are leaders in this Renewal should be ever more deeply formed in the teaching of the Church whose bimillenial task it has been to meditate on the word of God, in order to plumb its riches and to make them known to the world. Take care, then, that as leaders you seek a sound theological formation designed to ensure for you, and all who depend upon you for guidance, a mature and complete understanding of God’s word: “Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another”[10].

Thirdly, as leaders in the Renewal, you must take the initiative in building bonds of trust and cooperation with the Bishops, who have the pastoral responsibility in God’s providence for shepherding the entire Body of Christ, including the Charismatic Renewal. Even when they do not share with you the forms of prayer which you have found so enriching, they will take to heart your desire for spiritual renewal for yourselves and for the Church, and they will offer you the sure guidance which is the task allotted to them. The Lord God does not fail to be faithful to the promise of their ordination prayer, in which he was implored to “pour out upon these chosen ones that power which is from you, the governing Spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by him to the holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name”[11].

Many Bishops throughout the world, both individually and in statements of their Episcopal Conferences, have given encouragement and direction to the Charismatic Renewal – and at times even a helpful word of caution – and have assisted the Christian community at large to understand better its place in the Church. By this exercise of their pastoral responsibility, the Bishops have offered a great service to us all, in order to ensure for the Renewal a pattern of growth and development fully open to all the riches of the love of God in his Church.

4. At this time I would also like to call your attention to another point of special relevance to this Conference of leaders: it concerns the role of the priest in the Charismatic Renewal. Priests in the Church have received the gift of ordination as cooperators in the pastoral ministry of the Bishops, with whom they share one and the same priesthood and ministry of Jesus Christ, which requires their strict hierarchical communion with the order of Bishops[12].

As a result, the priest has a unique and indispensable role to play in and for the Charismatic Renewal as well as for the whole Christian community. His mission is not in opposition to or parallel to the legitimate role of the laity. Through the priest’s sacramental bond with the Bishop, whose ordination confers a pastoral responsibility for the whole Church, he helps to ensure for movements of spiritual renewal and lay apostolate their integration with the sacramental, liturgical life of the Church, especially through participation in the Eucharist; there we say “Grant that we, who are nourished by his body and blood, may be filled with his Holy Spirit, and become one body, one spirit in Christ”[13].

The priest shares in the Bishop’s own responsibility for preaching the Gospel, for which his theological formation should equip him in a special way. As a result, he has a unique and indispensable role in guaranteeing that integration with the life of the Church which avoids the tendency to form alternative and marginal structures, and which leads to a fuller sharing, especially in the parish, in her sacramental and apostolic life. The priest, for his part, cannot exercise his service on behalf of the Renewal unless and until he adopts a welcoming attitude towards it. based on the desire he shares with every Christian by baptism to grow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

You leaders of the Renewal, then, priests and laity, must witness to the common bond that is yours in Christ, and set the pattern for that effective collaboration which has for its charter the Apostle’s injunction: “Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call”[14].

5. Finally, by your experience of many gifts of the Holy Spirit which are shared also with our separated brothers and sisters, yours is the special joy of growing in a desire for the unity to which the Spirit guides us and in a commitment to the serious task of ecumenism.

How is this task to be carried out? The Second Vatican Council instructs us: “The Catholic’s primary duty is to make a careful and honest appraisal of whatever needs to be renewed and done in the Catholic household itself, in order that its life may bear witness more clearly and faithfully to the teachings and institutions which have been handed down from Christ through the Apostles”[15]. Genuine ecumenical effort does not seek to evade the difficult tasks, such as doctrinal convergence, by rushing to create a kind of autonomous “church of the spirit” apart from the visible Church of Christ. True ecumenism rather serves to increase our longing for the ecclesial unity of all Christians in one faith, so that “the world may be converted to the Gospel and so be saved, to the glory of God”[16]. Let us be confident that if we surrender ourselves to the work of genuine renewal in the Spirit, this same Holy Spirit will bring to light the strategy for ecumenism which will bring to reality our hope of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all”[17].

6. Dear brothers and sisters, the Letter to the Galatians tells us that “when the designated time had come, God sent forth his Son born of a woman, born under the law, to deliver from the law those who were subjected to it, so that we might receive our status as adopted sons. The proof that you are sons is the fact that God has sent forth into our hearts the spirit of his Son which cries out ‘Abba!’ (‘Father’)”[18]. And it is to this woman, Mary the Mother of God and our Mother, ever obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, that I confidently entrust your important work for renewal in and of the Church. In the love of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, I willingly impart to you my Apostolic Blessing.

[1] 2 Cor 13, 13.

[2] Phil. 1, 3. 9-10.

[3] 1 Thess. 5, 21.

[4] Col. 3, 14.

[5] Cfr. 2 Cor. 8, 6. 11.

[6] Presbyterorum Ordinis, 56.

[7] Dei Verbum, 5

[8] Cfr. Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIII (1975) 538.

[9] Io. 14, 16-17.

[10] Col. 3, 16-17.

[11] Ritus Ordinationis Episcopi.

[12] Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7.

[13] Prex Eucharistica III.

[14] Eph. 4, 3-5.

[15] Unitatis Redintegratio, 4.

[16] Ibid. 1.

[17] Eph. 4, 6.

[18] Gal.4, 4-6.

Speeches 1981 - Manila