Speeches 1989 - Independence Stadium, Lusaka
You have the energy and vitality to do this and I am aware of your struggles. I have come to support and encourage you. The Church in your country and throughout the world commits herself to unifying people of differing traditions in the name of Christ, to promoting peace and human rights. The bishops of Zambia are at your side in your search for a brighter future.
3. You have a spirit of generosity, enthusiasm and idealism which belongs to youth and which is evident here this evening. My dear young friends: allow Jesus and his message to challenge you. Jesus does not offer you a “quick deal” or flashy clothes. For that reason the fascination of the sampos and the dilus is illusory. Daga smoking is an escape. Jesus is beckoning you to go on a real journey with him – a journey in faith, which will demand all your generosity, enthusiasm and courage. It can be a wonderful adventure. But Jesus is depending on you; he depends on your help to free the world of sin and selfishness. He is a sure light in a world darkened by escapism and the confusion of values. But he is depending on you to reflect that light in your lives. Do not allow your potential to waste away. Christ needs all that you can give.
Christ needs you to share the gift of your youthfulness with those who have grown old and who feel the burden of the years. He needs you to give yourselves to the poor and to share your knowledge with the illiterate and those who cannot attend school. To Christ, what you have is not important, but who you are. Rejoice in being able to give generously.
4. Saint Paul once told the Colossians: “You are God’s chosen race, his saints”. Today, my young friends, I address these words to you. You are God’s chosen race. He has chosen you and “he loves you”. He wants you to use your enthusiasm, and all the gifts of youth. Why? Because he wants you to be his saints. This is your vocation. It is a call to all the baptized. It is a call to each one of you.
All of us can readily associate ourselves with the call to improve economic and social conditions; we all understand the need for greater justice, and we can easily get swept along by our emotions in the pursuit of these ideals. But Jesus is calling us to be saints. He wants you to be his saints in Zambia today. He is not only calling the bishops, the priests, the Sisters and the catechists to be holy – he is calling everyone, all of us together.
5. The theme of our meeting today is “Together in Christ”. Christ wants us to be seen together and to be together – as brothers and sisters in one faith, hope and Baptism. For this reason Saint Paul says: “Bear with one another, forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins” (Col 3,13).
How can we become saints if there are arguments in our families, disputes at work, disagreements in our relationships? How can we become holy if we do not take up the challenge to work and improve conditions by our own honest efforts? How can we become saints if we do not pray and experience the love of God made visible in Christ. He is not divided or separated in any way. Neither must our own: “May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body” (Ibid. 3, 15).
We are parts of the one Body of Christ. He is not divided or separated in any way. Neither must we be. Let us walk together – together in Christ – united in faith, hope and love. Do not be afraid to bring Christ to your own friends. Be evangelizers as the first missionaries were! To those who have left and taken another road, I say: do not be afraid to come back to the unity of the flock of Christ. The life of Christ can be lived fully only within the community of the Church, for the Church is the community of salvation. It was Christ himself who established the Church, and it is in the Church that we discover what it means to live together in Christ our hope. It is here that we learn of our vocation to holiness and our mission to others.
6. My dear young friends: you are aware of Christ’s call to each one of you to lead holy and upright lives. Zambia today needs people who will respond to that call and who will face modern problems with Christian courage. We must always be on our guard against selfishness which can easily erode the generosity of youth. What is needed now for the Zambia of tomorrow are true values: honesty, integrity and truthfulness. True values come from Christ our Teacher and they are always positive. To these values we must add a final ingredient. Saint Paul says: “to keep them together and complete them, put on love” (Col 3,14). Love is the key to peace and justice. It lays the foundation for a better life. It is also the way to holiness. Love is the outer garment and inner strength of the disciple. It is the antidote to selfishness.
I urge all of you to seek Christ and to follow him with all the love of young hearts. I ask you to reflect his love in your relationships, in your work and in your free time. The Christian life is a demanding one; it involves self-denial, a generous spirit, the taking up of the cross every day and following him who died for us. But always remember that you never walk alone! Christ is your constant companion.
Young people of Zambia: give your lives to Christ. Shape the culture and society around you with his love. Rejoice, because Christ loves you. Rejoice in your youth and never lose hope.
Remember: we are together in Christ!
Mlungu adalise anjamata ndi Adsikana. Akuzambia – Apapa akukondani (God bless the boys and the girls of Zambia – God loves you).
Wednesday, 3 May 1989
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am very happy to have this occasion to meet the distinguished Heads of Mission and Diplomatic Personnel accredited to the Government of Zambia. Through you I greet each of the nations and peoples you represent. I also extend greetings to the representatives of International Organizations.You are all working far the well-being and peaceful progress of peoples, conscious of the fact that true peace and development must be based on good will, justice and cooperation in international relations. Yours is a demanding task, and one which requires much dedication and sensitivity. I express my esteem and encouragement for you in your service in this part of Africa.
2. As you realize, my present visit is above all a visit of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter, to the Catholic communities of Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar and La Réunion. At the same time, my visits to different countries allow me to manifest the Holy See’s profound solidarity with the peoples of the world as they work for the realization of their destiny. With unfailing respect for the aspirations of all peoples to live their identity in freedom and security, with deep concern for the way in which human dignity and human rights are respected and promoted, the Holy See is present in the international community – not as a political, economic or military power – but as seeking especially to foster a moral and ethical reflection and dialogue on the great questions and problems affecting the lives of the men and women of our time.
The person – in the fullness of human dignity – is the object of the Church’s mission and responsibility. The Holy See is convinced that only a higher perspective of moral ideals and of the principles of goodness, truth and justice in human relations can solve the complicated questions affecting the world community. The integral development and wellbeing of individuals, and of all peoples, must more and more become the objective which public authorities, governments and international organizations pursue, if the world is to overcome the tensions and conflicts which continue to threaten peace. In the words of my predecessor Pope Paul VI: “ Development is the new name for peace” (Pauli VI Populorum Progressio PP 87).
3. The Holy See has consistently called for moral and ethical reflection on the grave problems affecting society, problems which require closer cooperation between developed and developing nations, between North and South, East and West. I wish to refer briefly to the subjects of two recent statements: one on racism and the other on the international debt question.
Racism and its expression in systems of social economic and political discrimination are considered by the Church as clearly contrary to Christian faith and love. Unfortunately, racism’s theoretical and practical manifestations continue to exist in the world on a vast scale, in many forms and degrees, even though the system of apartheid is a most obvious and dramatic instance. In combatting this moral problem, the Church advocates needed change, but a constructive change brought about by peaceful means. Discrimination must be overcome, not through fresh violence but through reconciliation.
It is my frequent and earnest prayer that Almighty God will inspire all concerned to understand that the basis of a genuine solution to racism in general and apartheid in particular is the conviction of the equal dignity of every human being as a member of the human family and a child of God.
4. The problem of international debt is a clear example of the interdependence which characterizes relations between countries and continents. It is a problem which cannot be solved without mutual understanding and agreement between debtor and creditor nations, without sensitivity to the real circumstances of indebted nations on the part of creditor agencies, and without a wise and committed policy of growth on the part of the developing nations themselves. It is merely a rhetorical question to ask how many infants and children die every day in Africa because resources are now being swallowed up in debt repayment? There is no time now to lament policies of the past or those elements in the international financial and economic picture which have led to the present situation. Now is the time for a new and courageous international solidarity, a solidarity not based on self-interest but inspired and guided by a true concern for human beings.
Recent moves on the part of the developed and creditor countries to lessen the burdens of repayment on the economies of debtor nations are obviously a step in the right direction. Such moves deserve to be encouraged. But much more remains to be done. It is to the ethical and moral values involved that the Church primarily directs her attention. Her appeal is to the conscience and the heart of those who can bring about a just solution to the problem, in respect for the equal dignity of all people. It is her task, in obedience to the Gospel, always and everywhere, to emphasize justice, reconciliation and love. It has become more and more evident that measures of solidarity are imperative so that hope may be restored to many sorely tried peoples.
I pray that those in a position to influence events will truly express that solidarity in a new and generous approach to the problems of the international debt.
5. In this distinguished gathering, I cannot but make reference to the tragic situation being experienced in Africa and elsewhere by millions of human beings forced to flee their homes and native lands because of famine, war and terrorism. We must heed the sufferings of these brothers and sisters. There are so many men and women offended in their inalienable human dignity, injured in body and mind, condemned to a miserable existence through no fault of their own.
As I have so often stated, the plight of millions of refugees in different continents is a festering wound which typifies and reveals the imbalances and conflicts of the modern world (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 24).
I wish to take this opportunity to express appreciation to the Governments of the two countries of continental Africa that I am visiting for what they are doing to offer hospitality to and meet the needs of the many refugees residing in their territories. Zambia is giving an example of openness and solidarity which honours its leaders and its people. Malawi is deeply affected by a large influx of refugees from neighbouring Mozambique, and is to be commended for its heroic efforts in caring for them, even to the point of diminishing its own essential resources. I would appeal to you as diplomats to see this tragedy not in political terms alone but as a deeply human drama to which you draw the attention and seek the assistance of your own peoples and of the organizations you represent. The care of refugees includes not only meeting their immediate needs, but also helping them preserve their social, cultural and religious identity. For it is precisely this identity which sustains them in their plight and offers them hope for a new and better future.
6. In recent months there have been signs of progress towards peace and reconciliation in Southern Africa. Lusaka itself has been a centre for both official and unofficial meetings of the parties involved in conflicts. Specifically, the world looks with expectation and hope to the steps being taken to implement the New York Accords leading to the independence of Namibia and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Angola. It is important that these processes should be promoted and further strengthened through the support of the international community.
Here again we see proof of the interdependence of the world’s nations. To all those who hear my voice I make an appeal that Namibia, the latest country in Africa to become independent, be fully accepted into the family of nations, that it be sustained in its independence and given every assistance on the road to economic, social and political autonomy.
International solidarity calls for the abandonment of policies which are selfish or inspired by interests that are too partisan. True statesmanship implies a realistic and worldwide view of the paths that the human family is taking in its search for a better and more dignified existence.
Essential to humanity’s progress is the conviction that differences and tensions should be resolved not by force or the threat of force, but through sincere and peaceful methods. In this the diplomatic community has a most immediate role to play.
7. Dear friends: for those who believe in divine Providence and God’s loving plan for the human family, the hope of peace and progress becomes an ardent prayer, rising from the depths of our hearts, where we feel ourselves bound to every other human being in brotherhood and solidarity.
“The Lord bless you and keep you:
The Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you:
The Lord set his gaze upon you, and give you peace (Nu. 6, 24-26).
May God bless each one of you and your families. May he pour out his gifts upon the countries and peoples you represent. May he love and protect the people of Zambia, our gracious hosts and friends.
Wednesday, 3 May 1989
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I greet all of you today with affection in our Lord Jesus Christ: Moni Nonse!
I am very happy to have this opportunity to meet with you, the Catholic lay leaders of Zambia: men and women who give “a willing, noble and enthusiastic response to the voice of Christ... who invites all to join in his mission as Saviour” (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 33).
The history of the Church in Zambia is not a long one compared to that of ancient Christian lands, but it is a history rich in God’s grace. We see the fruits of that grace first of all in the work of missionaries, whose love for every person for Christ’s sake led them to preach the Gospel to your grandparents and parents. We see it too in the rich harvest of faith among you, the laity of Zambia, in the years since the missionaries first arrived.
By visiting your country and meeting you today I wish to show my love and esteem for each of you and for all the people of this land. I also wish to confirm you in your Catholic faith, and to encourage you with the words of Christ that we have just heard in the Gospel: “You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world... your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5,13-16).
2. The images of “salt” and “light” have particular significance for the laity, who are actively engaged in the world. These images should remind you that involvement and participation in the day-to-day activities of life must reflect the call you have received from God. As we read in the First Letter of Saint Peter: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Petr.2, 9).
The source of the Christian calling to which Saint Peter refers is to be found in the Sacrament of Baptism. Through water and the Holy Spirit you have been washed clean of sin and enabled to live a new life, the life of grace. As I stated in the Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles Laici”. “It is no exaggeration to say that the entire existence of the lay faithful has as its purpose to lead a person to a knowledge of the radical newness of the Christian life that comes from Baptism, the sacrament of faith, so that this knowledge can help that person live the responsibilities which arise from that vocation received from God” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Christifideles Laici CL 10). In Baptism, you received a calling and were anointed, as Christ was, in the service of God’s plan of salvation. This anointing is intensified in the Sacrament of Confirmation and is sustained by your participation in the Holy Eucharist.
The Second Vatican Council speaks of the lay vocation which you received at Baptism as a share in Christ’s own threefold mission as Priest, Prophet and King. As worshippers whose every deed is to be holy, you are a priestly people consecrating the world to God. As courageous witnesses to the faith and to the Gospel message amid the contradictions of the world, you are a prophetic people. As members of Christ and part of God’s reign, you are a kingly people seeking to transform the world from within (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 34-36). This, dear brothers and sisters, is the great dignity and responsibility which comes to you through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
3. I know that you as lay leaders in Zambia are seeking to deepen your understanding of the calling you have received. I know that you wish to put the life of grace into practice, so as to become “salt” and “light” for the world. Because of this, I am pleased to see the many associations, movements and groups represented here today, as well as the individual catechists and lay leaders, whose work is so important for the vitality of the lay faithful in Zambia.
I also see represented the many parishes and rural outstations which are essential for providing sacramental ministry and Christian formation to the Catholic people. There are the Small Christian Communities whose members come together to hear God’s word and apply it to daily life in an atmosphere of Christian hospitality and personal sharing. Experience confirms that small communities of this kind benefit the entire People of God when they are firmly attached to the Gospel, to their pastors, to the universal Church and to all their brothers and sisters in the local diocese, and when they have a true missionary spirit (Cfr. Pauli VI Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 58).
Whatever organization or apostolate you have embraced as lay leaders, I would encourage you to continue your dedicated efforts to strengthen all the baptized in their priestly, prophetic and kingly mission in Zambia. Your efforts will be all the more effective to the degree that you work together in loyal cooperation with your bishops and with one another.
Without the personal commitment and dedication of people like yourselves, a full participation of the laity in the Church’s mission would not be possible. For this reason, I wish to thank you in the name of the whole Church for all the good things that you and your pastors are doing here in order to build up the Body of Christ and to proclaim God’s Kingdom in fidelity to your baptismal calling.
I also wish to commend the bishops, priests, and men and women religious who have devoted themselves so wholeheartedly to your formation. I join you in thanking them for the training and encouragement they have given to you, so that you can share fully in the Church’s life and mission. I am confident of their commitment to help all the lay faithful of Zambia to grow in the spiritual life, in love for the Scriptures and Christian doctrine, as well as in the human virtues required of those who seek to bring God’s word to others. Formation of this kind is of the utmost importance for the future of evangelization in your country.
4. The lay vocation is a calling from God to serve the Church from within the world. Yours is therefore a distinct vocation. The world offers you the means to fulfil your Christian calling because all of creation is destined to glorify God the Father in Christ. As sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly mission, you prepare the coming of God’s Kingdom “by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God” (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Christifideles Laici CL 15 adn. 40).
For this reason, dear brothers and sisters, you bear witness to the calling you received in Baptism and Confirmation when, inspired by the Gospel, you work for a more just society, for peace, for the dignity and rights of every human person, for a solution to social problems and for the defence of life. You do not do this alone, but within the community of the Church and in ecumenical cooperation with other Christians, and as far as possible with non-Christians and all people of good will.
There are two groups in particular who need to hear the Good News of Christ in Zambia today: families and youth. Social change is having a profound effect on family life in your country, and I understand that the number of broken families, unmarried mothers and one-parent families in Zambia today is increasing. You can truly be “salt” and “light” in these situations, first of all by your own good example as Christian married people and parents, and secondly by your sharing in the Church’s family life catechesis. The whole community needs to support efforts to prepare young couples for marriage and to help them in their life together.
Through you, the Good News of Christ must also reach the young people of your country. Youthful ideals are sometimes sorely tested by personal setbacks and problems, especially as a result of unemployment. Formal education does not always prepare young people for life in the villages where most of them will settle. Some are disenchanted with society, and rebel against their parents and even their Christian faith. I urge you, the lay leaders in Zambia, to seek out these young men and women and help them to find their place in society and in the Church. Sometimes you alone can reach them or be close to them. With your help, young people will be able to hear the Good News as it applies to every aspect of their lives.
5. We have stressed the importance and distinctiveness of your Christian vocation as lay men and women, but we must also acknowledge that the lay vocation can never exist in isolation from the vocation to the ministerial priesthood. Although there is an increasing number of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life in Zambia, there are still too few priests to meet all the needs of God’s people.
In union with the bishop, the ordained priest is the pastor who gathers Christ’s flock into one and cares for it through the ministry of Word and Sacrament. In this way God’s people are healed, strengthened and nourished. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us: although differing in essence and not only in degree, the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of all the faithful are interrelated: each in its own way shares in the one priesthood of Christ (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 10).
I urge you to go on working and praying so that many more of your children will hear and heed God’s call to the priesthood or religious life. In order to flourish, these special vocations also need to be supported by a strong family life. It is the good example and encouragement you give to your children which will bring an increase of labourers for the Lord’s harvest.
6. There is one last thought I wish to leave with you, and it is crucial to the success of your mission as lay members of the Church. I know that you wish to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. I know that you desire that your apostolate as lay people be fruitful. But this can happen only through a living union with Jesus Christ. As members of his Body, you must find the source of your life and the goal of all your activity in him. It is Christ whom you serve, Christ whom you proclaim, Christ whom you are called to bring to all people. Dear brothers and sisters: may you grow in holiness through the power of Christ’s Spirit at work within you. Apart from Christ you can do nothing (Cfr. Io Jn 15,5). With him, God’s power “is able to do far more than all that we ask or think” (Ep 3,20).
To you and your families, and to all the laity who work for the spread of the Gospel in Zambia, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
Thursday, 4 May 1989
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ga 1,3).
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I am most grateful for the warm welcome you have given me and for the kind words of your spokesman, Bishop Mumba. It is a deep the representatives of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities of Zambia.
The Lord Jesus Christ himself has brought us together in the love of God and in the hope which we share because of the Holy Spirit who has been poured forth into our hearts at the moment of our Baptism (Cfr. Rm 5,5). We must not lose sight of the great importance of the ecclesial elements which unite us in spite of the real divisions which still keep us apart.
2. In his priestly prayer, as we have just heard from the Gospel of Saint John, Jesus intensely prayed to his Father: “May they be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me” (Jn 17,21). Our prayer together this morning is not only our plea in response to Christ’s prayer, but it is also a realization of the amazing truth which Jesus expressed when he said: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Mt 18,20). Conscious therefore of his presence among us, our hearts joyfully proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! To him be “blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!” (Ap 5,13).
Christ’s prayer to the Father at the Last Supper is an invitation to pray together for unity. It is in prayer that Jesus’ prayer for unity “I pray that they may be one in us” (Jn 17,21) – takes on a deeper significance for us as the Spirit leads us into all truth. It is in prayer that we are drawn together in such a way that our Christian identity, our conformity with Christ, can become stronger than all the divisions which history has left to us and which still keep us apart.
3. When we meditate on Christ’s priestly prayer we realize that we do indeed share a common task: to proclaim Christ to the world so that the world may believe. But we realize at the same time that the credibility of the Gospel message and of Christ himself is linked to the question of Christian unity (Cfr. Unitatis Redintegratio UR 1). If we cannot at this point agree on all matters, we can and must avoid all forms of competition and rivalry. This is especially true here in Africa, where community and unity have been foremost traditional values. Africa fervently yearns to hear the proclamation of God’s love and the hope which is ours in Jesus Christ. Zambia longs to hear the Good News of redemption. Your presence here this morning is a manifest sign of your earnest desire to offer the common witness of God’s love to the people of your country, a people who genuinely hungers and thirsts for God. Sincere and generous ecumenical collaboration is necessary in order to respond to their spiritual longing.
4. It is encouraging to note the many important ways in which the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communions in Zambia are collaborating in the fields of health care, education and development. A great combined effort has continued in translating the Bible into local languages. These undertakings themselves are an education in Christian unity. They help to highlight the points of union and foster the desire to overcome the areas of disagreement. As stated by the Second Vatican Council, “cooperation among all Christians vividly expresses that bond which already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant” (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 12). Yes, ecumenical collaboration springs from an interior grace, given by the Father in answer to the prayer of Jesus (Cfr. Io Jn 17,21) and the pleading of the Holy Spirit in us (Cfr. Rom Rm 8,26-27). True ecumenism flourishes where there is a genuine spirit of fraternal service after the example of our Lord and Saviour, who came not to be served but to serve ( Cfr. Matth Mt 20,28).
Joint ecumenical action must find a place in the field of each community. It entails historical and theological study and discussion, but also mutual support in daily living (Cfr. Unitatis Redintegratio UR 5). On many occasions I have repeated that the Catholic Church is fully committed to ecumenical collaboration. The Catholic Church in Zambia has my prayerful support and encouragement in seeking increasingly good relations with all those who are genuinely concerned about unity. At the same time we are all painfully aware that the absence of full communion between Churches and Ecclesial Communities and the differences that exist in teaching regarding both faith and morals set limits on what Christians are able to do together.
And even as you try to bear common witness to the Christian message, present divisions are sometimes made even more complicated by the current phenomenon of the multiplication of independent communities. This, together with new religious movements, can be a source of confusion for many, especially among the young. In this area, too, ecumenical collaboration can have good results.
5. In a moment we shall recite together the very prayer which Jesus taught his disciples. We shall pray that the will of our common Father in heaven be done on earth as it is in heaven. We shall pray for the coming of God’s kingdom, a kingdom of peace, justice and love, of which “Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, the ruler... who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom” (Ap 1,5-6). We shall pray for our daily bread, for the needs of al our brothers and sisters, for the needs of the people of Zambia. We shall pray for the forgiveness of our sins and for the strenght to be able to forgive all those who have in any way hurt us – to forgive and be forgiven for the sin of division among Christians.Finally, we shall pray not to be tested beyond our strength, and to be freed from the evil which works against the grace of God in our hearts.
6. Dear friends: with full trust in the hour of God’s favour, we must be confident that the ecumenical collaboration which has characterized your relationship with each other so far will bear abundant fruit. In the words of Saint Paul: “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Ph 1,6).
That “day” calls upon us here and now to renew the intention and commitment of our Churches and Ecclesial Communities to work together for the cause of Christian unity. May the sign of peace which we give one another in this Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka be a symbol of our determination to treat each other “with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ep 4,2-3).
May the God of Peace be with you all. Amen.
Speeches 1989 - Independence Stadium, Lusaka