Speeches 1995


                                                    January 1995




Tuesday, 10 January 1995

Dear People of the Philippines,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the words of Saint Paul: "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world" (Rm 1,8).

From Rome I send you this greeting as I look forward to my visit to your country. Two great events invite me to come once more to your beautiful Archipelago. The 400th anniversary of the first organization of the Church’s life in this region, with the establishment of the Archdiocese of Manila and the suffragan See of Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia. And the celebration of the Tenth World Youth Day, a joyful appointment with Filippino youth and with young people from all over the world to pray and mediate on the words of Christ: As the Father sent me, so am I sending you" (Jn 20,21).

In God’s loving Providence the two celebrations have coincided, and so I will come among you as a servant of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is my mission as Successor of Peter, a mission which I try to fulfil in Rome and in every other part of the world to which the Holy Spirit leads me.

The 400th anniversary of ecclesiastical organization in your country is an opportunity for you to look with gratitude on what your forbears have achieved and to commit yourselves anew to the great tasks which still remain before Christ’s disciples in your own country and in the vast continent of Asia. The World Youth Day encourages us all to look with hope to the future which belongs to your young people.

With my visit I wish to show my friendship and esteem for the whole nation, and to confirm my Catholic brothers and sisters in their faith. I pray constantly that God will bless your efforts to meet the great challenges facing you, as you seek to build your national life on the principles of respect for human dignity, justice in all things, harmony and solidarity among all sectors of the population.

May God be with you all, and may the Virgin Mother of Antipolo intercede for all your needs.

Until we meet, God bless the Philippines!

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long live the Philippines!)







Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila

Thursday, 12 January 1995

Dear President Ramos,

Dear People of the Philippines,

1. I thank you, Mister President, for your kind words of welcome, full of the warmth and hospitality with which Filipinos traditionally welcome their guests. I greatly appreciate all that you and your Government have done to make this visit possible.

For a long time I have looked forward to stepping on to Philippine soil once more. The Filipino people are never far from my mind and heart, and I reach out to embrace each one with esteem and affection. We are indeed old friends, ever since my visit in 1981 for the Beatification of Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz, now Saint Lorenzo Ruiz.

2. My Brother Bishops, Cardinal Sin and Cardinal Vidal, and all the Bishops – whom I gladly greet in the Lord – expressed many times their wish for the Successor of Peter to share the joy of Filipino Catholics on the Fourth Centenary of the Archdioceses of Manila, Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia. I am here to celebrate with the Catholic community of the Philippines four hundred years of the organized and hierarchical presence and action of the Church in these Islands. That first evangelization has produced enduring fruits of Christian life and holiness, of civilizing action, of the transmission – especially through a strong family life – of fundamental human and civic values. As the Third Christian Millennium approaches, we should all be convinced that those fruits can thrive even more in concerted action by all sectors of society, in the building of a nation resolutely set on the path of genuine and integral development, and fully committed to the wellbeing of all its citizens, with special concern for the weakest.

3. The thought of celebrating the Tenth World Youth Day in Manila, in the Philippines, in Asia, has gladdened me and given me encouragement. The Spirit of God has led thousands of young men and women here and they are now filling the streets of Manila with their youthful joy and Christian witness. A large group of them are right here. I greet each one of you: I warmly embrace every young person here, all the youth of the Philippines, and all those who have come from other countries and continents.

At Denver, during the last World Youth Day outside Rome, we meditated on the "new life" which comes from Jesus Christ: "I came – he said – that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10,10). Now, here in Manila, we gather to hear him say: "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you" (Ibid. 20, 21). During these days we shall reflect on and pray about what these words mean for each one of you, for the young people of the end of the Twentieth Century, the young people of the Third Christian Millennium.

4. To all Filipino young people, to all gathered for the World Youth Day, I make this invitation: See the world around you with the eyes of Jesus himself! The Gospel says that when he saw the crowds, "he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Mt 9,36). The Good News of God’s love and mercy – the word of truth, justice and peace which alone can inspire a life worthy of God’s sons and daughters – must be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. The Church and the world look to young people for new light, new love, a new commitment to meeting the great needs of humanity.

The young people gathered in Manila for the World Youth Day know this. The Church in the Philippines knows that it has a special vocation to bear witness to the Gospel in the heart of Asia. Guided by Divine Providence, your historic destiny is to build a "civilization of love", of brotherhood and solidarity, a civilization which will be perfectly at home among the ancient cultures and traditions of the whole Asian continent.

5. Mister President, members of the Government, and distinguished representatives of the Filipino people: the Church and the political community work on different levels and are mutually independent, but they serve the same human beings (cfr. Gaudium et Spes GS 76). In that service there is ample room for dialogue, co–operation and mutual support. You have a very valid and specifically Philippine model of co–operation for development in The Social Pact, formally signed in March 1993. I pray that the "new solidarity" which The Social Pact espouses will be a striking success for the good of the Filipino people, and for the pride and glory of the Nation as a beacon of peace and harmony in Asia.

6. Cardinal Sin, Cardinal Vidal, Brother Bishops, Filipino Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I look forward to celebrating with you in faith the great things done in the Church and by the Church in these Islands over the last four centuries. Together we shall pray that God may continue to protect and guide his pilgrim People in the Philippines!

God bless the Philippines!

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long live the Philippines!)







Parade Ground of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila

Friday, 13 January 1995

Dear Father Rector,

Dominican Fathers,
Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Santo Tomás,
Distinguished Faculty and Students of the "University Belt",

1. I am deeply grateful to all of you for your presence here, and to Father Rector for his kind words of welcome. As a Pontifical University, Santo Tomás has a special right to the Pope’s attention. In fact, this is the third visit of a Pope to the oldest university in Asia: Pope Paul VI came here in 1970; I came in 1981 and now God gives me the grace of being here again to meet the "university world" of the Philippines. As a former University student and Professor myself, I feel a special affinity with you. I wish to encourage you to live the University experience with dedication and commitment, in the pursuit of human and academic excellence, with a great sense of responsibility towards your families and society, towards your future and the future of your country.

2. A University, and especially a Catholic university, cannot but be sensitive to the widespread and growing demand in society for authentic values, for sure ethical guidelines and for a transcendent vision of life’s meaning. A University therefore should not only impart knowledge according to the proper principles and methods of each area of study and with due freedom of scientific investigation; it should also educate men and women who will be true leaders in the scientific, technical, economic, cultural and social fields. It should thus be a community with a mission to train leaders in the all important field of life itself; leaders who have made a personal synthesis between faith and culture, who are willing and able to assume tasks in the service of the community and of society in general, bearing witness to their faith both in private and in public. May my visit therefore serve to encourage the Filipino academic community to reflect on "the priority of the ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things, of the superiority of the spirit over matter" (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Lutetiae Parisiorum, allocutio ad eos qui conventui Consilii ab exsecutione internationalis organismi compendiariis litteris UNESCO nuncupati affuere, 22, die 2 iun. 1980: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, III, 1 (1980) 1654. ). The cause of the human person will only be served if knowledge is linked to conscience, if men and women of science preserve the sense of the transcendence of the human person over the world, and of God over the human person (Cfr. John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 18).

3. Most of you are still young, and youth constitutes a very special chapter in the book of life: there is enthusiasm, energy, hope and expectation. The "problems of life" have not yet come to stay. Instead, you are acquiring the skills and experience which will make you mature citizens of your nation and true sons and daughters of the Church – the Church which loves you and needs your co–operation.

What does the Church look for in Filipino youth? For help in saving your own generation from the futility, frustration and emptiness in which so many of your contemporaries find themselves. When I think of all the young men and women who should be the strength, the hope and even the conscience of society, but instead are caught in a web of uncertainty, or are desperately seeking happiness along paths that cannot lead to happiness – then I pray all the more that the young Catholics of the end of the twentieth century will come to an ever more profound knowledge of Jesus Christ and will be convinced of the marvelous challenge and adventure which he represents for every one of us.

4. In Christ and in his teaching you will find "the way, and the truth, and the life". In him you will discover the answer to all the fundamental questions. The world and the Church need young people who know that the beauty of living consists in giving oneself to others, in doing good to others. Let the light of Christ enlighten your consciences to true good, and to the evil of sin and everything that tarnishes true love.

Young people of the Philippines, the modern world needs a new kind of young person: it needs men and women who are capable of self–discipline, capable of committing themselves to the highest ideals, ready to change radically the false values which have enslaved so many young people and adults. All this is possible with trust in the Lord, and with the help of good teachers, in the University and in your parishes and groups.

5. This University was founded in 1611 under the title of "Santo Tomás de Nuestra Señora del Rosario". The Blessed Mother is a special teacher for all of us. She teaches us the most important lesson of all: love of God and love of neighbor for God’s sake. May our Lady continue to love and protect all of you! May she be close to your families! May God bless you all, bless the youth of the Filipino people and all the Filipino country. I see that it was my great privilege to be here and to discover anew this phenomenon I knew before. By today I knew better. This great phenomenon of the world and of the Church and to the world and to the Church and this phenomenon is called Filipino people... to discover anew the Philippines that is this phenomenon that I admire and I should. And I congratulate all the missionaries who came to you, who brought you Santo Tomás University. I congratulate also for this special experience, for this dear Catholic university in the Philippines of Santo Tomás. I congratulate this great doctor as his disciple. And at the end I congratulate Cardinal Sin, and Cardinal Vidal, and the Bishops of your Church, this wonderful, wonderful Church of the Philippines. Thank you very much. Thank God for all of you.

John Paul II, he loves you and tries to bring you a blessing.

After the Holy Father's blessing:

Amen! Amen! Amen! Mabuhay!

I am very grateful for your gifts. All the gifts are expressing one gift. It is the gift of your hearts, of the hearts of the Filipino youth, young people, men and women. Very grateful.







Friday ,13 January 1995

"Unless I go the Spirit will not come to you" (Jn 16,7).

Dear young people,

1. These words of Jesus at the Last Supper speak to us of his return to the Father. As you follow the Way of the Cross in Luneta Park and through the streets of Manila, you will meditate on what this "going back to the Father" means.

Each one of us is personally involved. The mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ affects the whole of human history, and reaches down to every human being, with the power to bring the newness of life which we all desire when we yearn for fulfilment and happiness.

2. In the inscrutable mystery of God’s design, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1,14). He took a body like ours, was born of the Virgin Mary... and through his death on the Cross he takes us – wayward and sinful humanity – back to the Father, so that we may live in the certain hope of the Resurrection. The manner of his going also was a part of the Father’s plan. We read in the Gospel: "The soldiers... threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head... And kneeling before him, they mocked him... and when they had mocked him... they led him off to be crucified" (Mt 27,27-31).

3. The executioners stand for everyone who does evil in the sight of God. At times it even seems that evil is taking over, and that people are helpless to stop it. Young people ask what can be done in the face of so much suffering, so much injustice, so much violence and death?

We begin to see the answer when we look at the other people in this drama.

The Gospels speak of a man named Simon whom "they pressed into service to carry his cross" (Mt 27,32) . And the weeping women who followed him all the way to the place of crucifixion (cf. Mt. Mt 27,55 et al.). Tradition refers to a woman named Veronica who wiped the face of Jesus with a towel. The Gospel of Saint John tells us that "standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala", as well as "the disciple whom he loved" (Jn 19,25-26).

The faithful ones did not abandon the Son of God hidden in the suffering Son of Man.

For us too, Jesus on the Cross becomes the ultimate test of our faith and the judgement of God on our behavior.

4. The Tenth World Youth Day is holding a day of solidarity with the suffering people of Rwanda. Overcome by the terrible evil that has borne down on them, our Rwandan brothers and sisters need your material aid, but they also need encouragement in restoring the sense of their dignity as sons and daughters of the living God. May they be heartened to know that you are making sacrifices for them, sacrifices which signify your real concern for brothers and sisters who are far away, but not forgotten.

Each one of you is being challenged to listen to the words of the Lord: "whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day and follow in my steps" (Lc 9,23): the cross of rejecting the ways of thinking which contradict the teachings of Jesus; the cross of rejecting desires and behavior which are not worthy of the followers of Christ. You are being invited to allow the transforming grace which flows from the Cross of Christ to enter your lives – especially through the reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. There are many priests with you who will act as instruments of the Lord’s loving forgiveness in this Sacrament.

5. Lord Jesus Christ: At the Last Supper you said: "Unless I go the Spirit will not come to you" (Jn 16 Jn 7). Send the Holy Spirit upon these young people, so that he may teach them to love your Cross and the cross which belongs to each one of them personally.

Help them to follow closely in your footsteps along the Way that leads to Calvary, the Way that leads to the Resurrection, and beyond that to where you are "seated at the right hand of the Father".

From there, O Lord, send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the young people gathered in Manila for the Tenth World Youth Day! May he help them to respond generously and fearlessly to your call: "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you" (Jn 20,21). Do this, for the glory of God the Father. Amen.






Dominigo Salazar Hall

Curia of the Archdiocese of Manila

Saturday, 14 January 1995

Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,

1. My wish to celebrate the Tenth World Youth Day in Manila at the same time that the Filipino Catholic community commemorates the Fourth Centenary of the Archdioceses of Manila, Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia, could not fail to include a desire to have this special meeting with you – the Pastors of the Church of God in the Philippines. Gathered together in his name (cf. Mt 18,20), we are a living icon of the communion which gives life to the Church. Every meeting of the Bishop of Rome with members of the College of Bishops recalls the joy and evangelical enthusiasm of Pentecost when "Peter, standing with the Eleven" (Ac 2,14), fearlessly proclaimed the Good News of salvation through the Death and Resurrection of the Lord. Today in Manila, in this Hall dedicated to Domingo Salazar – the first Bishop of the Philippines – we experience anew the same bond of charity and affection which united the Apostles in Jerusalem.

2. Down the centuries, the Christian message has become deeply rooted in the Filipino soul and remains the animating force of your society. More than four and a half centuries after the Catholic faith was first preached here, the Spirit who led the peoples of this Archipelago to embrace the Gospel without forsaking the many positive elements of their cultural heritage is now calling the Church to bear a renewed witness to the power of the Gospel to transform human life and culture (cf. Gaudium et Spes GS 58).

In order to further the "great springtime for Christianity" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio RMi 86) which God is preparing as the Third Millennium draws near, your particular Churches have wholeheartedly committed their spiritual and pastoral energies to the new evangelization. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP–II), celebrated in accordance with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, is a decisive landmark in your journey to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. I urge everyone – Pastors, priests, Religious and laity: make the implementation of the Acts and Decrees of the Plenary Council and the National Pastoral Plan the fulcrum of your lives and apostolate.

3. As you acknowledged in your Conciliar Document, attention to catechesis is "the first element of a renewed evangelization" (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 156). The catechesis of the new evangelization is meant to call people, as a first step, to a more profound conversion of heart.This metànoia, the path of conversion leading to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, involves a "commitment to walk the hard way of the Cross" (Ibid., n. 669). Pastors must be vigilant to ensure that preaching and catechesis will present the Good News fully and systematically, without distortion (cf. John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae CTR 30), especially as regards the Sacraments, by which your people’s faith is sustained and nourished. You are wisely developing a thorough and sustained catechesis in this regard, aimed at leading the faithful to a more prayerful celebration of these "masterworks of God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 1116). In this way, the specifically supernatural nature of the Church’s mission will be safeguarded and abundant spiritual energies will be activated in the lives of the faithful.

4. The Church’s pilgrimage to the Kingdom passes through the world which she strives to serve. In order to be God’s instrument of redemptive love amidst the social crises of our day, the Church must be a convincing sign of her Lord, who "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Ph 2,7). She is called to exercise "a truly prophetic role, condemning the evils of man in their infected source, showing the root of divisions and bringing hope in the possibility of overcoming tensions and conflicts and reaching brotherhood, concord and peace at all levels and in all sections of human society" (John Paul II, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia RP 4). You know well the enormous challenges presented to you as Bishops: the loss of noble ideals, confusion of the moral conscience regarding good and evil, growing materialism and religious indifference, the injustices inherent in certain economic and political policies, the increasing gap between rich and poor. By addressing these and other questions with the liberating power of the Gospel your pastoral mission goes to the heart of Filipino society. Integral evangelization must aim at generating and nourishing a faith which brings about a genuine transformation of individuals and of society.

A situation where economic wealth and political power are concentrated in the hands of a few is, as you have written, "an affront to human dignity and solidarity" (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 296). Too many families remain without land to till or a home to live in, and too many people are without employment and basic services. Your task must be to help create a new attitude, a conviction shaped by the principle of the social purpose of power and wealth, which can lead to appropriate changes in the prevailing order. The riches of creation are a common good of all humanity, and those who possess the various forms of "wealth" in a given society are meant to regard themselves as "stewards, ministers charged with working in the name of God" (cf. John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente TMA 13).

5. Fulfilling your role as Pastors, you have committed the Church in the Philippines to be a "Church of the Poor". You have called on Catholics to embrace "the evangelical spirit of poverty, which combines detachment from possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the source of salvation" (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 125). This is the way of the Lord Jesus, with his special love for the suffering, the marginalized, the little ones and sinners. You have not remained silent before injustices committed against the poor but have energetically defended their rights. In the Philippines the poor are called to be the vigorous agents of evangelization and not merely its objects.

You have strongly defended the truth about man in your teaching on the value of human life and the sanctity of procreation. Last year in my "Letter to Families" I wrote that "we are facing an immense threat to life; not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself" (John Paul II, Letter to Families LF 21) When powerful interests promote policies which are against the moral law inscribed on the human heart (cf. Rom. Rm 2,15), they offend the dignity of man who is made in the image and likeness of God, and in doing so they undermine the foundations of society itself. Because the Church treasures the divine gifts of human life and its inalienable dignity, she cannot but strenuously oppose all measures which are in any way directed at promoting abortion, sterilization and also contraception. Your firm stand against the pessimism and selfishness of those who plot against the splendor of human sexuality and human life (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 585) is an essential demand of your pastoral ministry and of your service to the Filipino people.

6. Since "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good", the "varieties of gifts" and the "varieties of service" present in the Christian community must all be channelled to build up the one body of Christ (cf. 1Co 12,4-7). As your "helpers, sons and friends" (Lumen Gentium LG 28), priests have the first claim to your guidance, encouragement and inspiration so that they can carry out their ministry faithfully and fruitfully. Your efforts to give a fresh impulse to evangelization will depend greatly on your careful attention to the spiritual development of priests and seminarians. I am pleased to note that your Conference is preparing an updated Philippine Program for Priestly Formation which will be based on the "Ratio Fundamentalis" and "Pastores Dabo Vobis", emphasizing sound formation in the spiritual life and the theology of the ministerial priesthood (cf. National Pastoral Plan, 75, 77.1). The entire community should feel the need to promote priestly vocations, and it falls to you to ensure that "the vocational dimension is always present in the whole range of ordinary pastoral work, and that it is fully integrated and practically identified with it" (John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis PDV 41).

It goes without saying that men and women religious have a major role to play in the new evangelization of the Philippines, just as they have had since the beginning of the Church’s presence here. Each Institute is called to examine its particular charism in the light of the signs of the times, placing its communal gifts at the service of the Church (cf. Perfectae Caritatis PC 20). The regular consultation through open channels of communication between Bishops and Major Superiors which you recommend in the National Pastoral Plan (cf. National Pastoral Plan, 89.1) cannot but make more effective that "work" in the vineyard from which the Lord will reap his harvest.

The Second Vatican Council – which must be regarded as the "great gift of the Spirit to the Church at the end of the second millennium" (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente TMA 36)– opened the doors for the laity to develop a spirituality proper to their state in life. It urged them to participate more broadly in the areas of the Church’s life which rightly belong to them. Filipino lay Catholics must be encouraged to assume their full responsibility for the Church’s mission in the world. Since their specific vocation is to order temporal affairs "according to the plan of God" (Lumen Gentium LG 31), the challenge before them is to be "holy in all conduct" (cf. 1P 1,15), drawing others to Christ by the convincing witness of their lives in the daily forum of human activities. For this they expect from you the resources for a spiritual and doctrinal formation capable of meeting the demands of an increasingly complex world.

7. A particular challenge facing your ministry is that of defending the family and strengthening family life. Filipino society still has a strong tradition in this regard, but increasingly – as you are well aware – families need help to offset the negative social and cultural effects accompanying the rapid and profound economic transformations taking place throughout Asia. I wish to thank you for all that your Conference, and in particular your Commission on Family Life, has done to focus attention on the family’s needs during the past Year of the Family.

Likewise, the special gifts and needs of young people deserve careful pastoral attention. Young people are the source of hope for the future, as we have seen during the Tenth "World Youth Day" right here in Manila. With their enthusiasm and energy, they must be encouraged and trained to become "leading characters in evangelization and participants in the renewal of society" (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici CL 46). They are evangelizers who bring the Gospel to their peers, especially those alienated from the Church who often cannot be reached by normal pastoral activities. While the ordinary means of youth work in parishes should continue and be developed, in order to ensure that the young are not isolated from the broader community, equally helpful are associations, movements, special centers and groups which meet their particular needs (cf. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio RMi 37). The Church, which is ever young, constantly follows the paths of the world to meet the members of a younger generation, drawing inspiration from their sincere idealism, their searching minds and generous hearts.

8. Dear Brother Bishops: these are some of the thoughts which I wished to share with you who shepherd God’s flock in the one nation of Asia in which the majority of the people are members of the Church. In the Lord’s name I encourage you to respond to the special grace of your vocation to carry the Gospel beyond the shores of this beautiful Archipelago to the other peoples of this vast continent. A great harvest is awaiting those who will lead these ancient and noble civilizations to the discovery of Christ, who alone is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14,3). Asia needs your help if it is to hear the Good News of Christ crucified and risen.

You are Pastors of a people in love with Mary. May the Mother of the Redeemer guide your episcopal ministry so that, gathered in Christ, the people of this beloved Nation "may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ep 3,19). With my Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 1995