Speeches 1969 - Friday, 28 March 1969

April 1969


Tuesday, 8 April 1969

Dear Sisters of the Little Company of Mary,

As you know, We have today wished to come and visit Our dear friend and brother in the episcopate, the Most Reverend Joseph McGeough, whose devotion to the Church and whose self-sacrifice in the service of the Holy See We have long known and appreciated.

His readiness to face difficulties and hardship in order to assist in the universal mission of charity which is the divinely given duty of this See of Rome is for all a model and an aspiration.

We are very glad that the circumstance has given Us this opportunity of meeting you, Sisters, gathered here for a General Chapter from the far-flung fields where you too are devoting yourselves to self-forgetting works inspired by that supernatural love without which, as St Paul told the Corinthians, prophecies, tongues and knowledge of mysteries are nothing (cf. 1Co 13).

May the Holy Spirit lend you His wise aid in the task which you are undertaking in response to the call of the Successors of the Apostles assembled in the recent Vatican Council. You have the duty of renewing appropriately the rules that govern your life of prayer and service, your bringing of yourselves and others to sanctity.

Consider what your great foundress would wish the Little Company, now spread throughout the world, to do in today’s circumstances. Traditions that have proved their value by withstanding the test of time must be retained. And, in considering the new, remember that it is an interior renewal, not mere external changes, that must be sought. The Council Fathers stated that «even the most desirable changes made on behalf of contemporary needs will fail of their purpose unless a renewal of spirit gives life to them» (Decree Perfectae caritatis PC 2).

We pray that your deliberations will result in such a renewal of spirit. We invoke divine grace and guidance on you as you prepare to open the way for such a renewal. And, as an encouragement to you, and a pledge of that assistance from on high, We bless you and all the members of the Little Company of Mary with Our special, paternal Apostolic Benediction.




Friday, 11 April 1969

Venerable Brothers,
beloved sons and daughters,

We salute with pleasure the new step being taken, towards the realization of a most important project for the Church in South East Asia, by the blessing and inauguration of «Radio Veritas».

This very name indicates the role of the new transmitter, that of giving to the truth a new and powerful voice, in a continental area of increasing significance in world affairs. Radio, one of those “astonishing inventions” that “human genius has produced from natural materials” (Inter mirifica, art. l), makes it possible to fulfil t today, in an unexpected manner, the divine command to “proclaim upon the house-tops” the good news of Redemption; and in rebuttal of false materialistic doctrines, which are widely and skilfully propagandized, to help men “hear and understand the grace of God in truth” (Col 1,6).

The General Meeting of the Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center, which will precede the inauguration of “Radio Veritas”, emphasizes international and inter-racial collaboration, in a truly Catholic spirit, between the Bishops of Asia and Australia; and it recalls the contributions made to this notable achievement by the Congregation of “Propaganda Fide” and by the Catholics of other nations, specially Germany, as well as by Our Venerable Brothers in the Hierarchy and their flocks in the Philippines.

This collaboration will succeed if prepared for by intelligent and far-sighted planning, and accompanied by understanding, dialogue, and patience, in order to reconcile and harmonize different needs and varying cultural traditions. We are confident that, with God’s help, the Bishops of South East Asia will bring this immensely significant enterprise to full achievement, aided by the unselfish contributions of their clergy and people, which We earnestly solicit.

On Our part, We have instructed the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications to follow closely the development of “Radio Veritas”, and to ensure it every possible support.

Invoking divine guidance and assistance, therefore, We lovingly impart to Our Beloved Son Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila, to Our Venerable Brothers, the Bishops of South East Asia, to the governors, staff and personnel of “Radio Veritas” and all those who hear its voice, Our paternal Apostolic Blessing.



Saturday, 19 April 1969

We are honoured by your visit, Gentlemen, on the occasion of your meeting in Rome, as the Directing Committee of the European Federation of National Association of Engineers. Under your chairman, Sir Frederick Warner, you represent nineteen countries of Europe at the highest levels of engineering skills, and your Federation groups more than seven hundred thousand members of your honoured profession.

Today “men find that remarkable developments in technology and in scientific investigation . . . offer them readier opportunities for attaining their inheritance of intellectual and spiritual culture, and for fulfilling themselves, and one another, by forging stronger bonds between various groups and even whole peoples” (Gravissimum educationis, Introd.). Your activities can contribute greatly to strengthening such ties and to building new bridges between nations and races.

We therefore wish you well in all of the important undertakings of your profession, so that men, through improved housing, roads and communications, and scientific advancement, may draw closer to each other as brothers, as sons of the same Father and Creator, for the good of all mankind. In that hope, We invoke upon you and your families, and upon all the engineers you so honourably represent, abundant divine graces of illumination and guidance.



Tuesday, 22 April 1969

Mister Ambassador,

It is with cordial appreciation that We receive the Credential Letters with which you come to Us as Ambassador of the Republic of China.

We thank Your Excellency for your kind words in recalling the warm and friendly relationship, founded on mutual esteem, and on respect for the higher values of moral and spiritual integrity, which has for centuries prevailed between this Apostolic See and the beloved Chinese people. Confident that your mission will help greatly in strengthening and enriching such relations, We gladly assure Your Excellency of Our constant desire to provide every possible assistance and favour to your efforts.

The Republic you so nobly represent has given an admirable example of enlightened progress, the results of which are evident in the most varied fields, while at the same time sustaining, defending, and ever increasing the ancient treasure of Chinese civilization and culture. We cannot but mention the beautiful unity of family life, respect for parents and elders, and the high consideration in which education, learning, wisdom and freedom are held. To the preservation of these values, so greatly esteemed also by the Church, Chinese Catholics will ever give their support and their generous contribution. Indeed, the Catholic Church is, and intends to remain, the defender not only of religious principles, but also of all those moral, spiritual and cultural values which are the common heritage of all mankind, and which cannot be attacked without undermining all human civilization.

Requesting that Your Excellency kindly convey to His Excellency the President Our cordial greetings and heartfelt wishes, We invoke upon him, upon the Republic of China, upon you and your new mission, the richest blessings and favours of Heaven.

*AAS 61 (1969), p.322.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.233-234.

L'Osservatore Romano 23.4.1969, p.1.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1969, p.177-178.

ORa n.18 p.5.

May 1969



Monday, 19 May 1969

Mister Ambassador,

It is an honour for Us to accept the Letters of Credence, by which General Suharto, President of the Republic of Indonesia, sends Your Excellency to this Holy See as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. We bid you a sincere welcome, and formulate cordial good wishes for the success of your mission.

We have heard with interest the intentions and programmes of the Government of Indonesia, and We cherish the hope that they may be brought to completion and fruition, for the benefit of the people and for peaceful development in the world.

The Catholic Church has an important contribution to make towards the constant progress of the Indonesian people, through numerous works and institutions of education, medical care, protection of orphans and the young. The mission of the Church is spiritual, assisting men to a more abundant life of the soul and mind; but she also ministers to physical needs, because love of God and His service are best demonstrated by the service of man through all the works of charity, both spiritual and temporal. It is always her solicitude to ensure that the Catholics of Indonesia should be the finest citizens of the Republic, actively cooperating in every project for the betterment of the people.

We ask Your Excellency kindly to convey to the President of Indonesia the assurances of Our high esteem and regard, and of Our prayerful good wishes for the Government and people, upon all of whom We gladly invoke God’s choicest blessings and graces. To Your Excellency We offer Our whole-hearted collaboration in the fulfilment of your new duties; and We call down divine favours upon you and your associates.

*AAS 61 (1969), p.453.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.304-305.

L'Osservatore Romano n. 26 p.7. 19-20.5.1969, p.2.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1969, p.232.

ORa n.22 p.2.

June 1969


Saturday, 21 June 1969


It is an honour for Us to receive such a distinguished group, representing the Directors of the World Wildlife Fund, the principal objective of which is the conservation of nature in all its forms: landscapes, waters, air, soil, flora and fauna, on a world-wide scale.

In principle, this objective may be accepted and approved. Man, the culmination of creation, always occupies the first place. To him was its said: “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gn 1,28). Man was to dominate nature by his toil: “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden, to till it and keep it” (Gn 2,15). Through his labour, man perfects and transforms all of creation. He extracts for his own use its resources and its forces. By cultivating the earth, he renders it useful and habitable.

Nevertheless, though he is the master of creation, man must not destroy it. He must admire it, he must explore and know it (cf. Gen Gn 2,20). He cultivates the soil and raises animals. How often Sacred Scripture refers to the human occupations of farming, fishing, herding flocks of sheep and cattle;

All of nature, created by a loving God, reflects the Creator. “The heavens are telling the glory of God” (Ps 19,1) and the earth and all that is in it proclaims His handiwork. Saint Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, was considered during the middle ages to be a great master of natural science. In his Hexameron, a study of the six days of creation, and in many other works, he has beautiful pages on animal life, and the ways in which it manifests the wisdom and providence of the Creator.

“Manifested at the beginning of time, the divine plan is that man should subdue the earth, bring creation to perfection, and develop himself” (Gaudium et spes GS 57). The perfecting of creation supposes its conservation, and his is he aim proposed by your meritorious association. The image of the Creator must shine forth ever more clearly, not only in His creature Man, but in all of His creation in nature.

We therefore wish you well in your admirable efforts, and We invoke upon you and your colleagues, upon the various national associations which represent you, and upon all who contribute to the great cause of preservation of natural riches and beauty, abundant heavenly graces and blessings.

*Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.980-981.

L'Osservatore Romano 22.6.1969 p.1.

ORa n°27 p.4.


Saturday, 28 June 1969

Dear friends,

We offer our heartfelt thanks to your spokesman for his kind words and for the gift which he has presented to Us in your name.

The joy We feel at this all too rare opportunity of meeting so distinguished a group of professors and students from Norway is increased by the eloquence with which voice has been given to your conviction of the important place this city of Rome holds, not only in past history, but also in present-day life.

The influence of Rome, the civil capital of a mighty empire, is still immense. But, as your spokesman has said, Christians look to this city also as to their religious capital, in spite of their sad disagreements and misunderstandings.

We take pleasure in noting that your visit to Us is on the eve of the celebration of the two great apostles who laid the foundations of the Church of Christ at Rome. In your studies you will see how their heritage has left a deep imprint on the Eternal City, penetrating its history, inspiring its art, and shaping its culture.

May your stay in Rome enrich your minds and your spirits. And, while repeating how moved We are at this visit which you have paid Us, We invoke on you, on your families, your studies, your university and your’ country, God’s blessings in rich abundance.

July 1969



Monday, 7 July 1969

Mister Ambassador,

Thank you very much indeed for the kind greetings you bring Us from the President and the Government and people of the Republic of Zambia. We extend to Your Excellency a sincere personal welcome as third Ambassador of your country to this Holy See.

We have listened to your message with great interest, and We very deeply appreciate the sentiments you have expressed.

We too feel great sorrow at the conflicts which are taking place in the world to-day, and We grieve at the unnecessary sufferings of so many human beings-many of them innocent of any participation in the wars around them.

Your Excellency knows of Our profound and sincere desire for peace, and of the untiring ceaseless efforts We are making to that end.

Our humanism also confirms the human dignity of man, and gives Christian values to life. This gives Us great opportunity for collaboration with your country. The presence, of the Church in Zambia can be a really effective force for the attainment of human values. We only ask for trust and goodwill, and the facilities for collaboration with your country in free and honest work for the good of your great people.

We recall with great satisfaction the meetings with your very esteemed President, His Excellency Doctor Kaunda, here and at Geneva. We ask Your Excellency to convey to your President Our greetings and sincere good wishes; and for him, his Government and his beloved people, We offer Our prayers for the richest heavenly graces and favours.

We wish Your Excellency every success in your important work, and We assure you of Our firm desire for the closest collaboration.

*AAS 61 (1969), p.560;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.477-478;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1969, p.315;

OR 7-8.7.1969, p.1;

ORa n.29 p.5



Thursday, 10 July 1969

Mister Ambassador,

It is with great pleasure that We greet Your Excellency today. We are honoured to receive you and to accept the Letters of Credence by which the President of the Republic of Iraq, His Excellency Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, has appointed you to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See.

In expressing Our very deep gratitude at the kind and friendly words you have addressed to Us to-day, We wish to assure you of Our every desire for the closest and friendliest collaboration.

We greatly appreciate your statement about the importance of the spiritual nature of Man, and the sentiments you have expressed are of valuable encouragement for all who are striving to teach the higher ideals of human nature. We are also pleased at what you have said concerning Our efforts for peace-a work that is part of Our spiritual mission and that We carry on unceasingly for the good of humanity.

We hold out the hand of friendship to your beloved country. The Church only wishes to work in liberty and peace to teach spiritual values and to cooperate, through works of education and charity, for the welfare of the beloved people of Iraq. With this spirit of service, the Holy See hopes it may be possible to overcome any differences that may exist, especially in the field of education.

We particularly ask Your Excellency to convey to your President Our sincere assurances of esteem and regard, and We pray that the people of Iraq may have an abundance of heavenly blessings.

We extend to you, Mister Ambassador, Our good wishes for the successful accomplishment of your high mission, and We reiterate Our deep desire for the happiest and friendliest relations between your country and the Holy See.




Monday, 28 July 1969

Mister Ambassador,

Sincerely touched by the kind sentiments you have expressed, in presenting Us with your Credential Letters as first Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to this Holy See, We thank you for your address, and bid you a cordial welcome and every success in your new duties.

In a few days, We shall have the great honour of setting foot on African soil in your beloved country, thus commencing the first visit of a Roman Pontiff to your great Continent. Our pilgrimage is to the brave young Martyrs whom Uganda has given to the Church and to the whole world, and whose sacrifice has brought such honour to Africa. Our prayer will be that God may inspire men to labour unselfishly and unceasingly for that progress of peoples, that development which is the new name of peace, in favour of every Nation and every family of the African Continent.

Assuring Your Excellency of Our constant desire to foster happy and friendly relations between your Nation and the Apostolic See, We ask you kindly to express Our respectful salutation to the President and Government of the Republic, and We invoke upon Uganda and its beloved people the richest graces and blessings of Almighty God.

*AAS 61 (1969), p.568;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.518;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1969, p.337;

OR 28-29.7.1969, p.1;

ORa n.32 p.10.



Kampala - Friday, 1 August 1969


It may be well to begin by introducing each other.

Who are We? You are not, perhaps, led astray by the opinion held of Us by certain contemporaries; We are a weak and little man like other men, perhaps more so than other men. Have understanding for Our personal littleness. But We make so bold as to present Ourself to you under a twofold title: one title is Our own - it is the great love We have for Africa, for you, and for the Peoples you govern and represent; the other title is not Our own - it was conferred upon Us, and it makes Us humble and bold as We come among you: you know it well, it is the title of Pope, which means Father; and We inherited it from Saint Peter, whose unworthy but authentic successor We are. It was Saint Peter whom Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, constituted as the foundation of His Church, which during nearly twenty centuries has spread throughout the world and also in Uganda. It is as Pastor of the Catholic Church that We are here. We present Ourself to you, and speak, to you also, His simple and solemn words: Peace be to you!

In saying “to you”, We recognize who you are: Africans, invested with authority and responsibility, and representing in your office the image, or rather the reality, of the new Africa. In your persons. We salute your Africa, all of Africa, even those regions which are not physically represented here today. We do not conceal from you the emotion which this meeting stirs up in Our mind. Willingly do We recognize the singular importance and deep significance of this moment. Africa, personified by its highest, most qualified and most cultured exponents, is greeted by the entire Catholic Church, through the authorized voice of its humble head. It seems to Us that this is a unique recognition of the new Africa, emancipated from its past, and ripe for a new era; and We pray to God that this recognition may be historically and prophetically valuable for Africa’s improved future destiny. Permit Us to express this wish, rising from Our very heart, and formed by Our lips, in its fullest and truest meaning: Long live Africa!


We avail Ourself of this opportunity also to declare to you what the Catholic Church does, and what she does not do, on this Continent - and, indeed, wherever she carries on her mission. The Church thanks you for your recognition of her freedom: freedom to exist, and to fulfil her mission. She appreciates this freedom, which means independence in her proper domain, the religious domain; which also means her autonomy in religious matters, together with respect for the political authority. She has no temporal interests of her own; she does not engage in politics in the proper sense of the term; she renders to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (cf. Mt Mt 22,21); nor does she intend, while performing her mission, to impose the particular traits of so called Western culture, at the expense of the good, human characteristics of African culture. Have no fear of the Church; she honours you, she educates honest and loyal citizens for you, she does not foment rivalries and divisions, she seeks to promote healthy liberty, social justice, and peace. If she has any preference at all, it is for the poor, for the education of little ones and of the people, for the care of the suffering and abandoned (cf. Enc. Mater et Magistra, Introd.; Gaudium et Spes, No. 42, 76, 88, etc.). The Church does not make her faithful sons strangers to civil life and national interests; on the contrary, she trains and engages them in the service of the public good (cf. Gaudium et Spes, No. 75, etc.).

There is, however, a programme of the temporal order which the Church fosters today, not her programme, but your own; and to it she intends to give her moral support and also, as far as possible, her practical support: that is, the programme of the development of peoples. As you know, We have written an Encyclical Letter - that is, a message to the Church and to the entire world - entitled Populorum progressio on this very theme; and We reiterated its purposes in the message which We addressed directly to Africa, on October the twenty-ninth, nineteen hundred and sixty-seven, entitled Africae Terrarum (A.A.S. 1967, PP 1073 seqq.). By these documents, We wished to underline the fundamental aspiration of the Peoples of the Third World to that justice to which they have full right, as much as every other Nation; for development is truly an indisputable exigency of justice. Neither colonialism nor neo-colonialism is its theme, but aid and impulse to the African people, that they may be able to express, in their proper genius and by their own strength, those political, social, economic and cultural structures which are proportionate to their needs, and coordinated with international society and modern civilization. Have no fear of the Church! She takes nothing away from you; rather, she brings you, together with her moral and practical support, what we believe to be the only, the true, the highest interpretation of human life in time, and beyond time - the Christian interpretation.

It is by the light of that interpretation that the Church observes your great problems. In Our opinion, these problems can be considered from a twofold point of view: one being the freedom of national territories, the other being the equality of races. What We mean now by that word of many meanings, “freedom”, is civil independence, political self-determination, emancipation from the domination of other powers extraneous to the African population. This is an event which dominates world history, and which Our predecessor Pope John the Twenty-Third defined as a sign of the times (cf. Enc. Pacem in Terris, Nos. 40-41; A.A.S. 1963, p. 268). In other words, it is a fact arising from the greater awareness which men have acquired of their own dignity, both as individuals, and as a community of people; it is a fact which reveals the irreversible current of history, corresponding, no doubt, to a providential plan pointing out the right direction to all those invested with responsibility, above all in the political field.

No one, as that venerated Predecessor of Ours observed, likes to feel himself subjected to political powers wielded from outside his own national or ethnic community. Therefore the Peoples of Africa have themselves assumed the responsibility for their own destiny. The Church greets this event with satisfaction, for there is no doubt that it marks a decisive step forward on the path of human civilization; and she greets it with pleasure, because she is convinced that she has, in the sphere of her proper action, made her contribution, namely, in the sphere of human conscience made more aware by the Gospel message; for by the light of that message the dignity of a people are seen more clearly, and the demands arising from that dignity are recognized. Those demands have their reflection in every aspect of human life, which is elevated to the fulness of personal responsibility, and inserted into a collectivity governed by justice and love.

We are happy to state this, here in Uganda, the land of the martyrs who shed their blood in celebration of that lofty value of freedom, of strength, of dignity, deriving from their religious faith; thus they affirmed that it is not possible, today less than ever, to have a well ordered, dignified and fruitful life in common among human beings, unless it is founded upon the recognition, the protection, and the promotion of their fundamental rights, precisely in as much as they are men, and sons of God; and of their consequent duties, precisely in so far as they are members of a society ordained to function for the good of its citizens.

These are the fundamental criteria, of the moral order, which shed light upon the path to be followed, but do not remove the obstacles which encumber it, especially where these criteria have not yet found their normal application, Herein, the judgement to be made upon concrete situations devolves directly upon the responsible authorities and, in cases of particular gravity, also upon the conscience of the citizens. We should here quote long and beautiful passages from the Pastoral Constitution of the recent Ecumenical Council (Gaudium et Spes, Nos. 73, 74, 75).

Today, unfortunately, situations have arisen in the world, and also in Africa, of such unease and such aversion to peaceful life in common, that renewed and unhappy currency has. been given to the baneful words which signify war, as if they expressed an inescapable necessity. The Church, by her very nature, by her evangelical principle of “non-violence” cannot adopt this inhuman language; rather, she suffers inwardly because of the causes such language supposes, and the effects it engenders.

We cannot but remember, among the other victims of these mournful events, the refugees and their sufferings.

We shall be faithful, unto its uttermost consequences, to one programme only - that of “justice and peace” - which is the programme of Christ. No longer should violence be the means of resolving disagreements among men, but reason and love. No longer man against man, but man for man, and with man, in brotherhood.

We shall go farther, although speaking as a simple man. We believe that, today, conflicts between peoples can be resolved by a better and more efficacious way than the way of violence. Human relationship must not be regulated by the confrontation of forces unleashed for slaughter and destruction, but by reasonable negotiations, upheld by the international institutions, to which we must give authority, efficiency, and confidence. We express again, on this occasion also, Our hope for an ever more active efficiency of those institutions.

Moreover, in the question of colonialism and neo-colonialism still a burning question in Africa - and both of which can be reproved for having too often let economic interests prevail unilaterally over human considerations, it is clear that the interested peoples have the right to aspire to their own legitimate autonomy; nevertheless, in certain concrete situations, the best method of attaining it will be the method - perhaps a little slower, but surer - of first preparing men and institutions capable of true sturdy self-government ; and We wish to believe that such preparation will not only not be impeded, but will be favoured, with due order and in collaboration, by the responsible authorities, during a period of symbiosis between the native populations and those of foreign origin, in such a way that cultural, civil, and economic structures may be formed, capable of making preparation, at every level of society, for responsibility, and for the sense of the common good, in view of accession to a true sovereignty, so as not to fall, on the other side, into the snares of other insidious enslavements.

As far as We are concerned, the Church - although under very different conditions - already follows this method, by preparing Bishops, clergy, religious and laity, native to the territory in which she carries on her mission of faith and charity; and We are confident that a beginning can soon be made in instituting a local Hierarchy in those other African countries where, up to now, this has not been possible.

Another great problem is that of the diversity of races. Even at the cost of seeming naive, We shall continue to assert that it can be solved in a very simple way, that is, by stripping it of its character of antagonism, rivalry, unequal rights, ethnic hatred, physical dislike. In a word this is a problem which is solved by reducing it to its lowest denominator. We do not wish to conceal the serious practical difficulties this presents. There may be free and reasonable measures of respect due to the customs, character, and culture of the various ethnic families; but we, as Christians, can never forget that the Church condemns “any discrimination against men, or harassment of them, because of their race, colour, condition of life, or religion” (Council Declaration Nostra Aetate, No. 5); and the Vatican Council also said: “Since all men possess a rational soul, and are created in God’s likeness, since they have the same nature and origin, have been redeemed by Christ, and enjoy the same divine calling and destiny, the basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 29). Even as men, we must always remember that the path of civilization proceeds towards the recognition of the equality of men, since, as men, they possess the same fundamental dignity, and its consequent rights. For this reason, We deplore ‘the fact that, in certain parts of the world, there persist social situations based upon racial discrimination, and often willed and sustained by systems of thought; such situations constitute a manifest and inadmissible affront to the fundamental rights of the human person, and to the laws of civilized living. The negative problem of exclusivist racism is resolved by pluralism, if properly understood.

You Africans have a deep sense of community; it is one of your most attractive and human characteristics. But the feeling of a particular community is no longer sufficient; this sense must be widened out to the feeling of the civil, the national, and even the international community. Your experience, will have taught you that independence does not imply either opposition, or isolation, between African peoples and non-African peoples; on the contrary, the new African States will be truly independent to the extent that they are capable of collaborating freely with other States, and with the entire, orderly, international family of the world. The great Christian commandment to love our neighbour thus finds an ever wider application; it tends towards a universal love - and in this respect the Catholic Church can be a good teacher to all.

It is a magnificent commandment, but it is difficult, because it requires that we overcome particular egoisms; yet, it is the precept which bears within itself the great gift of Peace.

We wish to conclude Our discourse with this word: Peace!

It is a painful word, because today - in a region of Africa dear to Us, since, years ago, We were able to visit and admire it - there still rages, as you know, an agonizing conflict. We have not only sought to secure good and medical assistance, impartially and by every means available to Us, but have also tried to apply the remedy of a certain initial reconciliation. Up to now, We have not succeeded, and this gives Us heartfelt pain; but We are resolved to continue Our modest, but affectionate and fair efforts of persuasion, to help heal this fatal dissension.

Peace! It is a word both human and Christian, and worthy to be understood and lived by young Africa which, in peace, can find its definitive, modern political and social adjustment, and its economic and cultural prosperity, giving to this world of ours, which seems to be tempted anew by the demon of discord, armaments, and rivalries, the example of a new and truer conception of civilization, that founded upon effective brotherhood among peoples, between classes, between parties, between rates, between religions, between families.

Peace! It is the kindest and best word We have in Our heart. We say it to you, Mister President, as a sign of gratitude for the welcome given Us; We say it to all the personages here present; and We send it forth as a hopeful blessing over this whole Continent - Peace to all of Africa!

*AAS 61 (1969), p.580-586.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.547-554.

L'Osservatore Romano 2.8.1969, p.1.

ORa n.32 p.1, 12.

August 1969

Speeches 1969 - Friday, 28 March 1969