Speeches 1984 - Friday, 8 June 1984
Ladies and Gentlemen,
it gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to the Vatican and to have this opportunity to meet you during the Fourth World Congress for Bronchology.
Your visit to the Pope in the context of your Congress manifests on your part an acute awareness of the spiritual and religious dimension of the human person who is the beneficiary of your scientific knowledge. For me it is an opportunity to reaffirm something I wrote in my recent Apostolic Letter on human suffering, that "everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person, whatever form it may take, is a Good Samaritan" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Salvifici Doloris, 28). Herein lies the reason for the Churchís deep gratitude for all that you are doing in the fight to alleviate and cure illness.
Today I have the opportunity to encourage you in your specific research in the area of Bronchology. Your present Congress is the fourth in a series that began in Tokyo in 1978 under the leadership of your Honorary President, Professor Ikeda. After a second Congress in DŁsseldorf and a third in San Diego, you are now gathered here in Rome to discuss the most recent developments in your field. This you will do with the highest technical competence and skill.
Allow me also to highlight another and more general aspect of your professional activity which gives you at times a privileged insight into the world of human suffering. How often, when you come close to suffering, are you not struck by the presence of a deeper, pervasive dimension that is not merely "psychological" but a truly "spiritual" response to pain, a reflection of the unique transcendent nature of every human being.
It is the Churchís hope, and the object of her endeavours in various fields, that the progress of scientific and technological knowledge will always be accompanied by a parallel advance in respect for the inestimable dignity and spiritual dimension of every individual. Each one of us, in his or her own heart and activity, is called to be a "Good Samaritan". We are called to be like that figure described by Jesus who provided for the needs of his neighbour. We are called in other words to make a personal and active commitment to the alleviation of the needs of our brothers and sisters.
May Godís gifts be with each one of you in your dutiful service to the health and well-being of the human family. In my prayers I gladly commend to God the success of your Congress and I invoke upon you and your families his blessings of joy and peace.
Godís love, which "has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Rm 5,5), enables us to meet together as brothers during your visit to the Church of Rome and gives me the great joy of receiving you. It is in this love of the Lord that with all my heart I bid you welcome.
As an Observer at the Second Vatican Council you met my predecessor John XXIII. You accompanied Mar Ignatius Jacoub III when he came to visit Paul VI, nor do I forget our own first meeting. But your presence here now has a new and particular importance. First of all, I welcome in your person the head of the very ancient Syrian Church which has its roots in the apostolic community of Antioch. Since after the pattern of the Good Shepherd the Bishop is intimately linked with his flock, in greeting you I greet all your faithful. To you, to His Beatitude The Catholicos, to those worthy representatives of your Church who are with you, to your clergy and all your people I give a heartfelt and brotherly greeting, full of esteem for your Church, whose history is so glorious, though marked by suffering, for its venerable traditions of theology, liturgy, spirituality and discipline and for the courageous witness it bears today to the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is another reason which increases our joy and gives particular importance to this moment. Your visit has its place in the series begun by your venerated predecessor Patriarch Mar Jacoub III, which aimed at forging again the links between our Churches, which have been strained to the point of separation and ignorance of each other. I now meet you in Rome as Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church. You come to contribute to hastening the progress towards full communion between us. You know how much that wish is one with my own and with the solemn commitment which the Catholic Church made at the Second Vatican Council to enter fully and actively into the ecumenical movement. To give practical expression to this desire with which the Holy Spirit has filled us, we are able on this occasion to make together a joint declaration of our common faith in Christ, the Son of God who through the Holy Spirit was made man by taking flesh of the Virgin Mary. We thus mark real progress on the path to unity, and we hope that, having confessed together Jesus Christ true God and true man as our one Lord, he will give us the grace to overcome the divergences which remain and which hinder full canonical and Eucharistic communion between us. We bless God for what we have regained in brotherhood already and for the advances we have made together.
Because our Lord Jesus Christ prayed for the unity of his own, "that the world might believe" (Jn 17,21), and gave himself that all men might be reconciled with each other and with the Father, we must ever be his ready instruments for the restoration of visible unity between Christians and for peace between all people.
"Concern for restoring unity touches the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike. It extends to everyone according to the ability of each, whether it be exercised in daily Christian living or in theological and historical studies" (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 5). The faithful of our Churches should meet still more, learn to know each other better and together bear better witness to the Gospel of Christ. The full possibilities of common witness in prayer, in solidarity, in mutual aid and the service of those in need have not yet been sufficiently exploited. Here the clergy of our Churches can have a decisive influence. Already in many places there is pastoral collaboration in response to the needs of the faithful. I would like this to develop everywhere with courage, confidence and respect. As for theological and historical researches, these have already produced appreciable results, particularly within the framework of meetings of the "Pro Oriente Foundation", between representatives of the Catholic Church and the ancient Oriental Churches. We should continue them so that they mark fresh progress for the glory of God.
If I speak thus of the urgent need to affirm together our common vocation to unity, it is not because our Churches are concerned only with their own problems. Christ is the light of the nations and it is to testify to his light that Christians ought always to look to do his will. The world needs the message of peace and the reality of salvation brought by Christ. Some of the faithful of our Churches live in lands ravaged by war and violence. In grave circumstances they are called to live the Gospel Beatitudes and to be agents of reconciliation. My thoughts and my prayers reach out to them at this moment. May God move the governments of nations in conflict so that hatred may be banished and firm concord be established between peoples.
In spite of the strength of brotherly love that unites us, we often feel weak and defenceless in the face of so many needs and so much suffering; but we do not lose courage. We fix our eyes on the "pioneer of our faith", and we know that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebr. 12, 1-2) who are our fathers in faith, the saints and martyrs interceding for us. They have prayed and fought for the faith, for the unity of the Church and for love among Christians. Living now in Christ, they sustain us and draw us after them.
Your Holiness, I thank you most sincerely for your visit. I know that your stay in this city is also a pilgrimage to the place of martyrdom of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, whose memory is very dear to the Church of Antioch, as it is to that of Rome. Through their intercession may God bless us, our clergy and all the faithful of our Churches.
1. I am very pleased to be able to welcome you this morning at the end of your International Conference on the scientific, social and moral aspects of alcoholism. The deep interest and expertise that you bring to the discussions on alcoholism render honour to your persons and stimulate hope in all those who are following developments in this field.
The conviction is becoming ever more widespread that alcoholism is one of the worst plagues of modern society. This understanding is in itself most salutary, but ever greater collaboration is urgently needed in order to cope with the issue. Competence in medical science, psychology, sociology and religion is required in order to render effective assistance to those who suffer from this misfortune. Hence it is evident that cooperation on the part of various experts is essential in regard both to treatment and prevention.
2. Whether we examine the problem of alcoholism from the viewpoint of its complex roots, or the physical condition that it produces, or the moral responsibility that may precede or accompany it, or the effects that it has on the families of those who suffer from it, from every viewpoint we see that the problem deeply touches the human person. The life of individuals, families, communities and society as a whole is affected, and untold suffering and anguish are involved. Physical deterioration, at times even to the point of death, psychological disorientation and spiritual problems are concrete consequences of alcoholism. Certain aspects of this phenomenon are also common to the drug abuse that ravages society. In both areas the words of Paul VI are truly applicable: "At stake is the very question of human dignity. The problem is one of multiple human dimensions, in which the person is profoundly affected in the exercise of intellect and will, in the fulfillment of his or her true role as a human being, and finally in the attainment of a high spiritual destiny" (Pauli VI, Allocutio ad Foederatarum Americae Septentrionalis Civitatum Comitatum de ęDrug Abuse and ControlĽ vulgo appellatum habita, die 20 nov. 1976: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XVI (1976) 962).
3. For this reason I offer you this morning the full measure of my encouragement as you confront this problem. Your contributions constitute a splendid service to humanity. This is so by reason of your individual competencies which, when placed side by side, effectively assist your fellow men and women in need. But your united efforts are also capable of provoking a chain reaction throughout the world: a deeper sensitivity to the problem and a greater human solidarity in the face of the anonymity and indifference of society which in turn contribute to loneliness, discouragement and unhappiness - all of which are fertile conditions for fostering alcoholic abuse. Through your initiatives and through those of other concerned people many victims of alcoholism will know new hope, marriages will be saved, families will be reconciled and reunited. Prevention through education and rehabilitation are goals worthy of the greatest personal commitment.
4. In confronting the evil of alcoholism a large strata of society rightly recognizes the need for recourse to God through prayer. The Creator of humanity is indeed the provident and personal God who directs the lives of his children and comes to their assistance. Moreover, the Catholic Church on her part identifies the added divine help needed in this human situation as the grace of Jesus Christ, the healing power of his word and of his sacraments.
For all the members of the human family, no matter what religion they profess, there stands out the lofty challenge of assisting humanity to face the serious and widespread problem of alcoholism with courage, confidence and hope.
May God bless you and your families, and may he sustain you in your noble work.
1. His Holiness John Paul II, Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church, and His Holiness Moran Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, kneel down with full humility in front of the exalted and extolled Heavenly Throne of our Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks for this glorious opportunity which has been granted them to meet together in His love in order to strengthen further the relationship between their two sister Churches, the Church of Rome and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch - the relationship already excellent through the joint initiative of Their Holinesses of blessed memory Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Moran Mar Ignatius Jacoub III.
2. Their Holinesses Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Zakka I wish solemnly to widen the horizon of their brotherhood and affirm herewith the terms of the deep spiritual communion which already unites them and the prelates, clergy and faithful of both their Churches, to consolidate these ties of Faith, Hope and Love, and to advance in finding a wholly common ecclesial life.
3. First of all, Their Holinesses confess the faith of their two Churches, formulated by the Nicene Council of 325 A. D. and generally known as "the Nicene Creed". The confusions and schisms that occurred between their Churches in the later centuries, they realize today, in no way affect or touch the substance of their faith, since these arose only because of differences in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by different theological schools to express the same matter. Accordingly, we find today no real basis for the sad divisions and schisms that subsequently arose between us concerning the doctrine of Incarnation. In words and life we confess the true doctrine concerning Christ our Lord, notwithstanding the differences in interpretation of such a doctrine which arose at the time of the Council of Chalcedon.
4. Hence we wish to reaffirm solemnly our profession of common faith in the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, as Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Moran Mar Ignatius Jacoub III did in 1971. They denied that there was any difference in the faith they confessed in the mystery of the Word of God made flesh and become truly man. In our turn we confess that He became incarnate for us, taking to himself a real body with a rational soul. He shared our humanity in all things except sin. We confess that our Lord and our God, our Saviour and the King of all, Jesus Christ, is perfect God as to His divinity and perfect man as to His humanity. In Him His divinity is united to His humanity. This union is real, perfect, without blending or mingling, without confusion, without alteration, without division, without the least separation. He who is God eternal and indivisible, became visible in the flesh and took the form of servant. In him are united, in a real, perfect indivisible and inseparable way, divinity and humanity, and in Him all their properties are present and active.
5. Having the same conception of Christ, we confess also the same conception of His mystery. Incarnate, dead and risen again, our Lord, God and Saviour, has conquered sin and death. Through him during the time between Pentecost and the Second Coming, the period which is also the last phase of time, it is given to man to experience the new creation, the kingdom of God, the transforming ferment (Mt 13,33)already present in our midst. For this God has chosen a new people, His holy Church which is the body of Christ. Through the Word and through the Sacraments the Holy Spirit acts in the Church to call everybody and make them members of this Body of Christ. Those who believe are baptized in the Holy Spirit in the name of the Holy Trinity to form one body and through the Holy Sacrament of the anointing of Confirmation their faith is perfected and strengthened by the same Spirit.
6. Sacramental life finds in the Holy Eucharist its fulfilment and its summit, in such a way that it is through the Eucharist that the Church most profoundly realizes and reveals its nature. Through the Holy Eucharist the event of Christís Pasch expands throughout the Church. Through Holy Baptism and Confirmation, indeed, the members of Christ are anointed by the Holy Spirit, grafted on to Christ; and through the Holy Eucharist the Church becomes what she is destined to be through Baptism and Confirmation. By communion with the body and blood of Christ the faithful grow in that mysterious divinization which by the Holy Spirit makes them dwell in the Son as children of the Father.
7. The other Sacraments, which the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch hold together in one and the same succession of Apostolic ministry, i. e. Holy Orders, Matrimony, Reconciliation of penitents and Anointing of the Sick, are ordered to that celebration of the Holy Eucharist which is the centre of sacramental life and the chief visible expression of ecclesial communion. This communion of Christians with each other and of local Churches united around their lawful Bishops is realized in the gathered community which confesses the same faith, which reaches forward in hope of the world to come and in expectation of the Saviourís return and is anointed by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in it with charity that never fails.
8. Since it is the chief expression of Christian unity between the faithful and between Bishops and priests, the Holy Eucharist cannot yet be concelebrated by us. Such celebration supposes a complete identity of faith such as does not yet exist between us. Certain questions, in fact, still need to be resolved touching the Lordís will for His Church, as also the doctrinal implications and canonical details of the traditions proper to our communities which have been too long separated.
9. Our identity in faith, though not yet complete, entitles us to envisage collaboration between our Churches in pastoral care, in situations which nowadays are frequent both because of the dispersion of our faithful throughout the world and because of the precarious conditions of these difficult times. It is not rare, in fact, for our faithful to find access to a priest of their own Church materially or morally impossible. Anxious to meet their needs and with their spiritual benefit in mind, we authorize them in such cases to ask for the Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick from lawful priests of either of our two sister Churches, when they need them. It would be a logical corollary of collaboration in pastoral care to cooperate in priestly formation and theological education. Bishops are encouraged to promote sharing of facilities for theological education where they judge it to be advisable. While doing this we do not forget that we must still do all in our power to achieve the full visible communion between the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and ceaselessly implore our Lord to grant us that unity which alone will enable us to give to the world a fully unanimous Gospel witness.
10. Thanking the Lord who has allowed us to meet and enjoy the consolation of the faith we hold in common (Rm 1,12) and to proclaim before the world the mystery of the Person of the World incarnate and of His saving work, the unshakeable foundation of that common faith, we pledge ourselves solemnly to do all that in us lies to remove the last obstacles still hindering full communion between the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, so that with one heart and voice we may preach the word: "The True Light that enlightens every man" and "that all who believe in His name may become the children of God" (Jn 1,9-12).
Rome, 23 June 1984.
1. To yourself and to those who are with you I say: you are most welcome. Receiving you with brotherly affection and great joy, I wish of course to do honour to those who have sent you: His Holiness Patriarch Dimitrios I and the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople. But I am particularly happy to receive you personally, since I know of your work as pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, and also that you share with Cardinal Willebrands the presidency of the Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Your coming amongst us for the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul is a reason for great rejoicing: I am profoundly convinced that personal acquaintance between the pastors of our Churches is a decisive factor for progress in our joint search for full unity. Still more decisive is joint prayer by those pastors for the People of God. Welcome then, in the name of the Lord. May he always bless your steps, and prosper your work.
2. Once again the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul is an occasion for us to meet and celebrate together their memory, just as each year at the Ecumenical Patriarchate there is a common celebration of the memory of Saint Andrew, brother of Peter. Today the words of the Gospel come to our minds: "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, (Jesus) saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen" (Mt 4,19). These two brothers from the beginning live in daily communion, do the same work, collaborate for the same family community, have the same place of work: the lake, now quiet, now stormy (Ibid., 8, 24), now yielding no fish, now an abundant catch (Lc 5,4-7); they experience the same pains and the same joys.
To this common origin succeeds a common vocation: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Mt 4,19).
To this common vocation they give an identical answer: "Immediately they left their nets and followed him" (Ibid., 4, 20).
They followed him all their lives, to the final point of martyrdom. They listened carefully to the Lordís teaching and put it into practice. They heard and carried out the mandate of the risen Lord: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28,19-20).
Their preaching has reached us, the Christians of the West and of the East, uniting us in a common vocation to a single mission: to make all peoples into one family established in the acceptance of the teaching which Jesus Christ entrusted to his disciples.
It is by way of uninterrupted apostolic succession that the truth of Christ has come down to us.
The celebration of the Apostles beckons us again in our time to this vocation. Humanity today is like a stormy sea, swept by whirling currents: of unrest, of anxiety, of fear for its uncertain future. But it also feels gentle and calm breezes which induce hope and trust, which call for faith that the Lord is with us "always, even to the close of the age" (Ibid., 28, 19), and which call too for a harmonious witness of faith, of mutual love and joint action.
3. It is for this reason that, in obedience to the Lordís will, our joint attention is concentrated on prayer, on theological dialogue and deeper study. This unity that the community of the baptized needs today should be untarnished; it should be full and perfect. Hence we need to clear up all the questions which hinder full communion in faith. It seems therefore that the Joint Commission for Dialogue chose aptly when it took as a starting point the study of the sacramentality of the Church and her sacraments. The shared conception of the sacramentality of the Church will give positive support to the whole dialogue. Certainly, the search for unity will in no way mean a search for uniformity. The life of the Church is many-sided. It has aimed - in the course of centuries - to answer as fully as possible to different cultural and spiritual needs, giving full value to the patrimony of the various peoples.
This variety has permeated even liturgical life. When such diversity expresses the same faith, not only is it no obstacle to unity, but it is a valuable complementary manifestation of the inexhaustible Christian mystery.
All this enriches dialogue, emphasizing everything that is compatible with unity, the better to face and resolve any doctrinal difficulty.
Such an aim calls for the participation of everybody, especially in prayer which should be fervent and unceasing. Many times we have called for the prayers of all Catholics for this dialogue. I am sure that the same call has been made to the Orthodox faithful.
4. A sound and really fruitful continuation of the theological dialogue will need to be supported by that wider dialogue which we call the dialogue of charity. Fraternal relations between our Churches are being intensified, and so also should be encounters between our respective faithful, as well as practical collaboration and, in certain circumstances, mutual pastoral care, disinterested and open-hearted. Mutual love, candid dialogue to bring out the whole truth, and steadily closer contacts, will bring Catholics and Orthodox to full communion of faith within a variety of liturgical, disciplinary, spiritual and theological traditions.
Those holy Apostles, the brothers Peter and Andrew, sustain us by their intercession. They have given us a decisive example: "Immediately they left their nets and followed him". To listen to the Word of God is the decisive factor in our journey together towards full unity.
This joint prayer for the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul and this fraternal encounter are signs of our shared will to follow the Lord in the present and the future. "To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen" (2 Petr. 3, 18).
Mr President, Mr Director-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to speak today to those taking part in the World Conference on Fisheries Management and Development, called by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
As you are aware, our meeting is being held at the time of the religious celebrations marking the origin of the community of Christ's disciples, which was founded upon Peter, a simple fisherman who was called to preside over and direct a worldwide spiritual and moral mission. Thus the Catholic Church from the very beginning was in close contact with the world of fishermen. We may think that what particularly attracted Christ to fishermen and caused him to choose them for a very different kind of work was their courage, their spirit of initiative, and their readiness to face the risks of wind and wave.
The Church is well aware of the difficulties and problems of the lives of those connected with the fishing industry, problems that are shared today by those throughout the world who earn their living from the sea.
It is natural that the main concern of the present Conference is the rapidly, increasing need for food resources to satisfy the hunger of millions of people suffering malnutrition in the poorest countries of the world. lt is common knowledge that there has been a profound modification of thinking regarding economic and social development in general. Indeed, one notes a comforting return to the primacy of agriculture and the efficient use of agricultural products, following a period of excessive attention to the industrial sector. In this regard it is useful to recall that the Statutes of FAO place under the heading of agriculture the products not only of the earth and the forests but also of the waters.
It is particularly opportune that emphasis today is being placed on the fisheries sector among the food products demanded by the growing population of the world. This is especially important for responding to the pressing needs of those countries where there is an acute imbalance between demand and actual food resources. In fact fish resources can still be better and more widely used.
Fishing thus has enormous importance in the struggle to alleviate undernutrition. Particularly in the smaller centres it is a prime resource for immediate food requirements.
Your Conference rightly pays particular attention to small-scale fishing, and you insist that the problems connected with it have real priority. Small-scale fishing communities and their needs are to be taken into consideration and integrated into national economies.
Similarly, the development of the various forms of aqua culture is obviously very opportune. The good results already gained show that this activity not only helps to increase food resources but also creates new employment opportunities, especially in the developing countries. It is also a powerful instrument for protecting and restoring the environment.
3. You rightly consider fishing as a whole series of human activities, and you rightly emphasize the social objectives connected with it.
In order to meet the needs of today's society, it is necessary to apply to the fisheries sector forms required by modern and efficient management.
Clearly, your Conference has to proceed on the level of the practical solutions made possible by modern technology. Hence the need to take into consideration the actual economic conditions of each individual country, so as to be able to outline realistic targets and specify the financing needed.
But what you keep constantly in mind and what you use as a constant point of reference are the basic human aspects, especially those experienced by the people whose livelihood is fishing and its connected industry. It is therefore the task of your Conference to re-examine the criteria already laid down with regard to agriculture in order to ensure not only technical and economic development but also the human development of individuals and communities.
Countries are obviously dependent on one another, and it is this fact that makes it necessary to coordinate internal policies with a view to worldwide development. This is why in my Encyclical Laborem Exercens I stressed the principle of the priority of human work in the whole economic process (cf. Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Laborem Exercens LE 4 LE 25). Consequently, the public authorities should favour forms of co-responsibility of those working in small.-scale and large-scale fisheries, and the different forms of their solidarity in free associations. The active participation of all fishery workers in the decision-making that affects their lives and work should be encouraged.
4. One of your important tasks is to encourage appropriate use of available resource and to develop new ones. Here too I would like to urge scientists to use all their talents and expertise. There must also be agreement on the criteria and methods to be applied to fishing in the context of world development.
A greater availability of financial resources and an improvement in loan and credit facilities are an obvious prerequisite for efficiency of production, and there must also be adequate provision for the replacement of equipment.
Steps should be taken to facilitate access for fish products to the market, also for small-scale communities, with encouragement for improved treatment and presentation of these products by the fishing communities.
It is therefore to be hoped that this Conference will be able to reach an agreement on the major aspects of the management and development of fishing.
It is also to be hoped that all States and volunteer organizations with all their resources and energies will work effectively together in order to achieve efficient joint action.
It is to be hoped that your work will confirm the increase in forms of solidarity and mutual aid, not only between the highly industrialized and the developing countries, but also between the countries with limited resources.
5. The Church once more repeats that she is ready to assist, in the forms proper to her, all efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the world, and efforts to raise the living standards of those who are really poor and unable to work for their own economic and social development.
In particular, it seems opportune to emphasize the Church's readiness to encourage her institutions to collaborate in any appropriate field. In particular, the Church is prepared to intensify her own educational work, at both elementary and professional levels, and thus to contribute to the training which is essential for coping with changes in production and selling methods.
It is with this solicitude for all those working for economic and social development in the fisheries sphere, and likewise for the betterment of those engaged in fishery activities throughout the world, that I express my admiration for your important efforts. Upon all of you I invoke God's blessings in your present and future work for the good of humanity.
Speeches 1984 - Friday, 8 June 1984