Speeches 1969 - Saturday, 2 August 1969

Our parting salutation of respect ad esteem is addressed to the Heads of State of Africa, particularly to the Authorities of Uganda, and to the Diplomatic Representatives-all of whom have honoured Us with their presence, all of whom continue their. admirable efforts in favour of peace, development, and justice.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the People of God assembled here: to the Most Eminent Cardinals, the Most Reverend Bishops, the Priests, Sisters and Brothers, Catechists, Lay Apostles, and all of you, beloved Christians and non-Christians! Our intimate union in doing honour to the Uganda Martyrs must persevere, and become always stronger; even after Our departure, you must draw ever closer together in charity, in the Name of the Lord!

Until we meet again, God bless Uganda! God save Africa!

From a heart overflowing with sincere gratitude, We call down upon al1 of you the Blessings of Our Lord.



Sunday, 17 August 1969

Dear friends,

To riceive a visit from persons of such distinction is an honor which We appreciate, and We are grateful for this opportunity of meeting with you.

With the whole world We watched as two of your fellow countrymen made mankind’s first footsteps on soil outside this planet. We are constantly aware of the assistance your country is giving to other lands struggling to develop their resources. Indeed, few countries can have had similar weight in deciding the fortunes of the whole human race.

Because of this importance, We ask you to encourage your fellow citizens to use their nation’s power and influence wisely and generously, with a view to the true welfare of all men. We pray that they may be inspired by such noble idealism, and We invoke upon you, on your dear ones, and on your country, God’s richest blessings.

September 1969




Thursday, 18 September 1969

Mister Ambassador,

We accept with sincere pleasure the Letters accrediting Your Excellency as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Pakistan to the Holy See. In the performance of your important duties. We promise you Our understanding and Our collaboration.

We also assure Your Excellency, and all your fellow citizens of every faith, that We shall constantly persevere in Our efforts to establish the dignity of the human person, and to promote the continual spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical elevation of mankind. For the support offered towards these lofty aims, We are cordially grateful.

The Catholic Church, in fact, teaches that «Faith needs to prove its fruitfulness by penetrating the believer’s entire life, including its worldly dimensions, and by activating him towards justice and love, especially regarding the needy» (Gaudium et spes, N. 21). She also recognizes that “in the first place among” those who acknowledge the Creator “there are the Moslems, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, Who on the last day will judge mankind” (Lumen gentium, N. 16). Hence the Church strives, through this common belief, to foster concord and peace among individuals, families, nations, and races, by the observance of social and international justice for the fruit of justice is peace.

Through your good offices, We send Our deferential greetings to His Excellency the President of Pakistan, and Our good wishes to the people of your Nation. Upon all, in pledge of divine favours of prosperity and peace, We invoke the blessings of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

*AAS 61 (1969), p.664-665;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.628-629;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1969, p.409-410;

OR 19.9.1969, p.1;

ORa n.40 p.2.

October 1969



Thursday, 16 October 1969

Mister Armstrong,
Colonel Aldrin,
Lieutenant-Colonel Collins,

It is with the greatest joy in our heart, that We welcome you here to-day-you who have broken through the barrier of space to land on another world of God’s creation.

Man has a natural urge to explore the unknown-to know the unknown; yet man has also a fear of the unknown. Your bravery has transcended this fear, and through your intrepid adventure, man has taken another step towards knowing more of the universe; in your words, Mr. Armstrong, “one giant leap for mankind”.

We admire your courage, and We admire the spirit with which you fulfilled this mission: a spirit of service to humanity, and a spirit of peace. Our prayers, with the prayers of the Church throughout the world, were with you every moment of your voyage, and We, on behalf of the whole Church, offer Our sincerest congratulations to you, and also, through you, to the scientists, the technicians, the workers, and all who contributed knowledge, skill and labour to this supreme enterprise. We also congratulate and thank the President and people of your beloved nation for making possible this exploration, with typical generosity of spirit, for the good of man and the world.

We praise the genius, dedication and perseverance which has been shown throughout this magnificent undertaking. The standard of collaboration and co-operation, and the perfection which was reached in the organization and in the sciences and talent’s employed, are the admiration of the world and pay tribute to the capacity of modern man to reach beyond himself, to reach beyond human nature, to attain the perfection of achievement made possible by his God-given intelligence.

We give praise to God, Creator of the world, and because “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork” (Ps 18,2), We pray to Him that we may see more of the good Creation, and that from this we may see more clearly His power, His infinity and His perfection, that by this knowledge men may more and more be drawn together, as His children, in fraternal love, in peace and in prayer.

We thank and give glory to God for the successful achievement of your mission, for the things you have discovered, and for your safe return to earth, and We invoke upon you, your wives and your children richest blessings and favours from the Lord of the heavens.


Thursday, 16 October 1969

Mister President,

We are indeed happy to welcome Your Excellency once more here in Our home, and to extend to you Our respectful and heartfelt greetings.

It gives Us pleasure to recall not only your last visit to Us in the Vatican, but also Our memorable meetings at Kampala. There We came into contact with the realities of Africa: its deeply felt aspirations, its immense potentialities and its present needs.

We set much store by the integral progress of the peoples of the great African continent, the worthy object of well founded hopes. We would see it blessed with peace and security, that its speedy development may be guaranteed. And it is Our heartfelt desire that the dignity of the human person may flourish there, that dignity which must needs look to material and moral advancement for its strength and its protection.

The-Church’s own mission is a religious one: that of spreading the message of redemption by Christ. She also willingly offers her moral, and, where possible, her practical support to the programmes which the civil power undertakes for the good of all, especially in the fields of learning, healing, and raising up of the under-privileged.

We know that the Catholics of Tanzania are second to none in their love of country, in the staunch loyalty they show in their activity, and in their spirit of cooperation with other religious denominations that all may live together in order and harmony. The teachings of their faith, and the virtues of justice and charity which it inculcates, impel them to make a wholehearted and generous contribution to their country’s welfare.

We express Our hope and wish that Tanzania will always adhere closely to the principles of freedom and of a concern for society that draws its inspiration from the higher values of the spirit, By so doing it will be faithful to Africa’s traditions, and will ever fulfil the legitimate expectations of its people.

We would make special mention of the family. The Church holds this institution most dear, and endeavours to further its fundamental attributes of unity and indissolubility. And within the family, woman holds a position of particular importance. «Today the African woman is summoned to become ever more aware of her personal dignity, of her role as mother, and of her right to take part in the social life and progress of modern Africa» (Message «Africae Terrarum», art. 36).

To Your Excellency, entrusted with the honour and responsibility of presiding over that great country in years so fraught with significance for its future, We once again express Our deep respect, Our warm friendship, and Our prayer that God may ever be your guide and your helper. We gladly impart Our Apostolic Blessing to you and to your family, and We invoke upon all the people of Tanzania the Lord’s choicest favours of true prosperity and happiness.

*AAS 61 (1969), p.721-722;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.707-708;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1969, p.466-467;

OR 18.10.1969, p.1;

ORa n. 44 p.1, 12.



Saturday, 18 October 1969

Mister Minister,

We are indeed honoured to receive a visit from a member of the Government of Malawi. We know of the great scenic beauty of this country, which looks radiantly down from west and south upon its immense lake. But for its people We have even greater admiration: they are endeavouring to develop their own resources, maintain good relations with other countries, and uphold the dignity of the human person in their own land and in the world.

The Church has the religious mission of bringing all men to the knowledge of Christ, and she has no temporal aims to pursue in the performance of this mission. Since the Gospel teaches that the human soul is superior in worth to all earthly things, she willingly lends her aid whenever there is question of raising men to a level more in accord with their true value. “Sharing the noblest aspirations of men, and suffering when she sees them not satisfied, she wishes to help them attain their full flowering, and that is why she offers men what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race” (Populorum progressio, art. 13).

It is Our hope and trust that Malawi will bring to flower all that is best in its own traditions and in the traditions of Africa as a whole, and, respecting the values of the human person, the importance of the family, and the dignity of woman, will win for itself a development that will be truly integral: that is, one that promotes the good of every man and of the whole man (cf. Populorum progressio, art. 14).

Praying that God may inspire the people of Malawi with that firm determination, and assist them in its performance, We gladly invoke upon them the richest of heaven’s blessings, and requesting you to convey Our respectful greeting; to His Excellency the President of your country, We ask the Lord to bestow upon you and your colleagues His choicest graces and favours.


Tuesday, 28 October 1969

Vénérables Frères!

Au terme de ce Synode, pui Nous a permis de prendre un contact si apprécié avec nos Frères dans l’épiscopat venus de tous les pays, Nous sommes heureux de saluer d’une façon particulière votre groupe de pasteurs africains. Vous savez comment Nous estimons le zèle que vous déployez pour développer toutes les possibilités spirituelles de vos populations, dans la foi et la charité propres au christianisme, avec un grand souci d’attachement filial à ce Saint-Siège, fondement et principe de l’unité. Nous sommes heureux que vous ayez pu faire partager à vos autres confrères de l’univers catholique vos joies, vos soucis ou vos difficultés, cependant qu’ils vous faisaient part, eux aussi, des leurs. Quant à Nous, Nous sommes encore sous l’émotion de cette rencontre que Dieu nous a donné d’avoir avec votre continent, qui porte en lui tant d’espérance pour le Royaume de Dieu. De tout coeur, Nous vous renouvelons, frères très chers dans le Christ, pour vous, pour vos prêtres, pour tous les missionnaires qui vous apportent une nécessaire coopération pour tout le peuple chrétien de vos pays, notre affectueuse Bénédiction Apostolique.

Venerable Brothers,

It is with the greatest of pleasure that We receive you Our Brothers from Africa. The Synod of Bishops is the main reason for your presence here; but We like to think of your coming as in some way a return visit after Our own journey this summer, which brought Us, for all too short a time, to your continent. There We saw, as We see again in you, Venerable Brothers, the unreserved faith in Christ, and the wholehearted love of God and of God’s children, which give such promise of Africa’s contribution to the life and activity of the Church.

The Synod has enabled Bishops from different countries, races and cultures to bring together the treasures of their own experience and wisdom, thereby enriching others and being in turn enriched. You have traded with the talents entrusted to you and gained other talents. Future generations in Africa will benefit from the good use to which you put those treasures. May God assist you in your important pastoral tasks. With a grateful and affectionate heart, We cordially bestow on you, Venerable Brothers, on the Bishops whom you represent, on the priests and religious who assist you, and on all your beloved people, Our Apostolic Blessing.

November 1969



Saturday, 15 November 1969

With pleasure and gratitude do We meet you, Honourable Members of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, on your return from a Congress of the International Inter-Parliamentary Union. We are happy to observe your interest, not only in the legislative activities of your own nation, but also in the progress in peace, under law, of the entire world.

Canada, your vast and beautiful land, which We have had the pleasure of visiting in part, has been called the nation of the future; it is so extensive that its natural resources are still mostly unknown and remain, in great measure, to be developed. Your energetic and industrious people will duly fulfil their mission in this regard. Already they are contributing men and techniques and products towards the development of other lands, thus acquiting for Canada an honoured name and high standing in the comity of nations, and a reputation for making and preserving peace, for which the new name is development.

The presence among you of representatives of two languages and two cultures is a reminder of the important lesson Canadians can give to a divided and warring world: the example of friendly collaboration, of brotherly love and mutual assistance, among all your citizens, including those recently arrived from yet other lands, for all can contribute to the rich mixture of human values which give your Nations its unique character.
* * *

Nous voulons saluer aussi dans leur langue ceux d’entre vous, Messieurs, qui sont d’expression française, et leur dire combien Nous sommes heureux et honoré de les accueillir ici ce matin. Nous avons eu déjà bien des occasions de manifester à quel point le Canada Nous est cher, quelle estime Nous avons pour ses magnifiques traditions familiales, culturelles et religieuses, et de quel coeur Nous prions pour son heureux avenir dans ce monde en rapide transformation.

Mais aujourd’hui Nous avons un motif de plus, e tout spécial, de Nous réjouir et de féliciter ceux qui, comme vous, sont des représentants qualifiés de ce beau et grand Pays: c’est la décision qu’il vient de prendre d’entrer en relations diplomatiques avec le Saint-Siège. Par ce geste, qui honore grandement votre Gouvernement, des liens plus intimes encore que par le passé vont s’établir entre Nous et tous les Fils de la grande Patrie canadienne. Ces relations, Nous en sommes sûr, seront bienfaisantes pour eux, et Nous voulons espérer aussi qu’elles pourront apporter une heureuse contribution à la grande cause de la paix du monde, qui est, vous le savez, l’objet constant de Nos voeux e de Nos prières.

C’est donc dans des sentiments de vive reconnaissance et de joyeuse espérance, Messieurs, que Nous accueillons votre visite de ce jour et que Nous invoquons sur vous, sur vos familles et sur votre Patrie, les plus abondantes bénédictions.



Sunday, 16 November 1969

Mister President,
Mister Director General,
Your Excellencies, Gentlemen,

What can we, the Catholic Church, do with regard to the immense efforts of the Food and Agriculture Organization? Such is the question posed by you and by us today.

1. First of all, We have noted with satisfaction how much you are aware of the immense needs of the greater part of mankind, which is underdeveloped. Hunger in the world-this phenomenon is known, is statistically measured, located in its demographic framework, and abundantly provided with estimates for the future. To take an attentive look at this need is in itself a highly valuable humanitarian act, for it follows the example of Christ Who said: “I have compassion on the multitude” (Mt 15,32). Hence Our first reaction is one of praise for your admirable efforts.

2. We desire, however, to make Our appeal to the world also in favour of the hungry, collaborating in your action by Our exhortation. To all, then, to all peoples, to the rich, the producers, to politicians and economists, to youth-We address Our appeal in favour of “suffering humanity” (Discourse to the International Labour Office, June 10, 1969; No. 18).

Woe to those who dissipate their goods and their revenues in scandalous spending, whether for luxuries or for war! Woe to those who selfishly enjoy their wealth without having the slightest care for the poor-for the poor are not only individuals but families, social classes and whole peoples! We must ever repeat without tiring the appeal of Our Encyclical Letter “Populorum progressio”: “When so many peoples are hungry . . . all public or private waste, all ostentatious spending, national or personal, all exhausting armament races, become an intolerable scandal. It is Our duty to denounce it. May those responsible hearken to Our voice before it is too late” (No. 53). This We asked at Bombay, this We requested again in Our Encyclical (No. 51), this is the appeal We renew today: That there be set up “a great World Fund derived from a part of the monies used for military expenditures, in order to help the most unfortunate”. As for Ourself, despite the meagreness of Our means, We wished the creation of a “Populorum progressio” Fund, to show the great importance We attach to this matter, and the urgency attending its realization.

With all Our heart, then, do We greet all those courageous offerings conspiring towards this end, all positive initiatives, all generous undertakings-and We hope that they will become ever more active and attract much imitation.

3. So far, then, praise and exhortation. But We can also give you something else, something more specially Our own, namely a word of hope. We know that this period immediately following on the first Development Decade is marked by some disillusionment. This shows you how much hope is reposed in you, how heavy a responsibility is yours. But be sure of this: You will succeed if only you persevere. For you are, in fact, promoting a design already prepared in the sector of human destiny-the design of Divine Providence, the beneficent intention of God, Who is always ready to respond to our requests if they are intelligent and courageous. We tell you boldly: Be daring, in wisdom and fearlessness, for thus will you call forth the action of Our Father in Heaven. For your action cannot remain a merely profane thing; it is also, in its own way, a prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Mt 6,11).

4. Finally, after praise, exhortation and hope, there remains for Us to say to you a powerful and mysterious word. All may not, perhaps, be able to understand it in itself, because for this one needs that mysterious knowledge called faith. But all can appreciate it in its consequences; for it is a power-idea, a word which shakes man up, and makes him see and serve Christ in the poor and hungry man: “I was hungry . . .” (Mt 25,42). This word of love is ours; it is a new and transcendental motive over and above those which civilization proposes to us. This word pushes us to take upon ourselves the burdens of others, and turns our sacrifices into joy. A man works devotedly for another man, because that man is his brother, called like himself “to share, as a son, in the life of the living God, the Father of all men” (“Populorum progression”, No. 21).

5. This is the message We humbly guard, and which as in duty bound We repeat to you this morning in this Basilica of Saint Peter’s. May Christ, Whose first Vicar he was, Whose present representative We are as Peter’s Successor, help each and every one of you in your task; may He light in your hearts His own burning love for each of us; may His charity animate your actions. For today charity must be truly international.

The work you must accomplish, lucidly and generously, is immense. It is up to you to take up the challenge given you, courageously and fearlessly. Such is Our wish and hope as We bestow upon you, with all Our heart, upon all those who are dear to you, as a pledge of abundant divine graces for the deliberations of F.A.O. General Conference’s Fifteenth Session and for the fruitfulness of its results, Our paternal Apostolic Blessing.

*Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VII, p.737-739;

OR 17.11. 1969 p.1;

ORa n.48 p.6,

Paths to Peace p.312-313.



Monday, 17 November 1969

We are truly honoured to receive the visit of this distinguished group of Governors of several States of the American Union. Be assured of Our heartfelt welcome, and of Our gratitude for your thoughtful kindness.

In your persons, We once again salute the United States of America, “a country so free, so strong, so industrious, so full of wonders . . . where a populous nation founds its very modern civilization upon the brotherhood of its citizens” (4 Oct. 1965). You and your people have been most generous in assisting less fortunate nations, “All of you, each in his own way, are the builders of a new world. We entreat Almighty God to enlighten your minds and strengthen your determination to alert public opinion, to involve the peoples of the world . . . to promote mutual assistance among peoples . . . to form a more effective world solidarity . . . to bring about the development of peoples and to save the peace . . . in order to achieve a responsible development of mankind, in which all men will have an opportunity to find their fulfilment” (Populorum progressio, Nos. 83-84).

We trust that the American people will never become discouraged in their efforts to aid the developing nations, and that they will resist the temptation to furnish such countries with armaments which menace human life and security. “Men cannot love one another with offensive arms in their hands” (U. N., 4 Oct. 1965). To supply needy peoples with armaments instead of food and medicine would indeed be to give them, instead of bread, a stone; instead of fish, a serpent (cf. Mt Mt 7,9-10).

We are well aware of the many problems which confront you in the government of your own States, and We assure you of Our prayers that God may guide you and your legislators in finding solutions which envisage “the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole of human society, and which respect and promote true human values” (Humanae vitae, No. 23).

Expressing Our best wishes for yourselves and your families, and for the peoples of your States and your Nation. We gladly invoke upon you and them divine guidance and strength, and abundant blessings of prosperity and peace.

It is with much interest that We observe the events taking place in your country during these days. We have pondered upon the wide-spread manifestation which requests an end of the war in Vietnam, which has now been going on for years, without any prospective solution on the military level, and is costing so much in expenditure of means, and above all of human lives. We feel We can say that no one desires more than We do, that that war, and every other war, should cease; and it is Our fervent wish that it may cease soon.

We note with satisfaction that this is also the resolve, newly affirmed recently, of your illustrious President, and We cannot but encourage him in this. Nonetheless, We also understand that the right mode of ending the conflict demands, in the present circumstances, a well-meditated and responsible procedure; not only to avoid neglecting international obligations, which honour, and the necessity of not betraying the confidence of one’s allies, require should be fulfilled; but also in order that the cause and the ideal proposed to your fellow-citizens, for which so many have made the sacrifice of their very lives, that is: helping a people which is weak and deserving of assistance, to defend their right to self-determination and to the free promotion of their peaceful development- that this cause and this ideal should not be denied.

We are confidently hopeful that all those who have a part in the Vietnam war may help make the negotiations now being held easier and speedier for each other.

December 1969



Saturday, 20 December 1969

Fresh from receiving a new effusion of the Holy Spirit, setting you apart for the unreserved service of the People of God, you have wished, beloved sons, to come with your parents to greet the Successor of Peter and to receive His blessing and encouragement. It is with much pleasure that We grant your request and receive you in these days of joyful preparation for the Feast of Christ’s Birth.

It was precisely in His Incarnation that Christ’s priesthood took its origin. In taking human nature, He became the unique mediator between the Father and mankind. Through your ministry He will visibly continue this mediation. When you administer the sacraments, preach the word and lead in prayer, it is He who, through you, is sanctifying and guiding His followers, and worshipping the Father on their behalf.

We who are the chosen instruments in this work of Christ must apply to ourselves the words of Saint Paul: «People must think of us as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one should be found worthy of his trust» (1Co 4,1-2).

Each one of you has indeed received a great trust. We are sure that you are firmly resolved to be worthy of it in every way, withdrawing no part of the offering of self which you have freely made in placing yourselves completely at the disposal of Christ and His Church. May your faithfulness to that resolution enable you to say with Saint Paul at the end of your earthly lives: «I have kept the faith (2Tm 4,7); I have been faithful to God, to Christ, to the Church, faithful to my vocation, to the ministry which has been entrusted to me».

To you and to your parents, whose part in preparing you for your high calling must undoubtedly have been of the greatest, We wholeheartedly impart Our Apostolic Blessing, as an encouragement in your resolve and as a pledge of divine aid in its performance.

We are happy to greet so large a group of workers in the food industry, some of whom come from distant lands to give Us the pleasure of their visit. May your activity and relationships be always guided by the spirit of dedication to the good of mankind and of full respect for the rights and dignity of the individual, so eloquently evoked in your leader’s words. Knowing that work has an inherent dignity and close connection with the perfection of the person, since it is an indispensable means for the attainment of that mastery over the earth which God willed man to have, keep your eyes fixed on Him whose Nativity we are about to celebrate, who is our model in every way, and who chose to pass the greater part of His life as a humble workman in Galilee.

In His name We bless you, your families and your dear ones.

Speeches 1969 - Saturday, 2 August 1969