Speeches 1970 - Saturday, 6 September 1970
It is, accordingly, a meeting for which We are grateful to you, since We see in you experts deeply versed in matters of such importance and difficulty. In fact, while preserving the due autonomy of his own discipline, a pharmacologist today ranges over the most diverse fields, from biology and physiology to chemical and chemico-physical investigations, keeping ever in mind the innumerable needs of medical science and the pressing problems posed by pathology.
In this vast framework of questions, investigations and problems a particularly important part of pharmacology finds its place, namely toxicology. Precisely because of the great conquests attained in the most diverse sectors of the biological sciences and because of the growing knowledge of pharmacodynamic action on organisms, it poses new questions today, questions which grow more numerous and difficult when they spring from the new branch which is called psychopharmacology.
Then the questions become gnawing problems not only for the scientist, who can never give up the dignity that is his as a man, since science must always be at the service of human society, but also for the doctor in the watchful solicitude which urges him to care for his patient, urging him all the more if the latter consents blindly to his sickness.
For Our part We cannot but encourage you to continue your studies and researches for the deeper understanding of truth and for the discovery of new pharmaceutical preparations capable of preventing or neutralizing the evil effects of toxic substances and providing doctors with new aids and new techniques of healing. In this context you could not avoid dealing with the grave problem of drugs, and have in fact done so to your praise. Allow Us, therefore, to encourage you to devote every energy to your scientific researches in this sector, which are aimed at discovering the biochemical mechanisms which injure the body and change and weaken the psyche, and at making ready new techniques capable at least of lessening their effects.
On the strength of the scientific knowledge you have acquired to date and to which your studies and experiments will yet bring you, you will moreover be able to make a valid denunciation of the often irreparable harm caused by the abuse of drugs, especially among the young; and for them the witness of science always has great value.
It is well known that recourse to drugs is the result of a series of very complex causes, which are of concern especially for parents and educators. But you too, gentlemen, have a task of primary importance. Let your voice be raised, loudly and authoritatively, to give an admonition springing from the knowledge and conscience of each one of you, as you work for the good of society against the harm which can threaten youth, exposed to the danger of degradation in body, spirit and morals. It will be a warning for all those who, by natural vocation or by a mission undertaken with responsibility, are under obligation for the education of youth, a task which above all else is an activity of love and intelligence for the gradual attainment of true self-mastery, that is to say, of the freedom of the children of God. Your scientific contribution and your moral authority will moreover, where necessary, uphold and further encourage the public powers to carry on ceaselessly and with the appropriate means the struggle against drugs-against what must justly be considered one of the most baneful scourges of our time. You will thus be contributing to the health of the young generations, and it is on them that the hopes for a better future for all society in every field of civil life are founded. You know, gentlemen, that we are united with you for this high purpose in our religious and moral function as a pastor, teacher and friend of men, especially of the young.
It is to give you a sign of that union with you that We have received you and that We now give you yourselves and your studies the encouragement of Our Apostolic Blessing.
On the occasion of this journey of yours to Europe you have wished to pay Us a further visit.
We have welcomed the opportunity thus afforded Us of having a renewed personal contact with you and of expressing to you once again, with even greater insistence, Our deeply felt paternal concern for the cause of peace: to you who are the leader of a nation upon which weighs such a heavy share of responsibility for the present and for the future of the world.
Recent happenings have shown what special need there is at this moment to work for peace.
The suffering which war inflicts not only on the combatants, but also on innocent persons, and on children who have no understanding even of the meaning of the word, has been brought vividly before the eyes of all of us, who, however distant we may be, feel almost that we are in the midst of it. Our heart has suffered with them, as it has always shared and continues to share in the sufferings of the victims of all the wars that disturb the life of mankind.
Our anxiety is now increased by the danger of such a conflict involving more and more countries and assuming the proportions of a vast and fearful conflagration.
This special need demands from all a special effort, without reservations by any party and without any other aim than a just and honourable peace. That same God-given intelligence which enables man to destroy is capable also of finding a way of combatting the dangers, and even of ensuring, in so far as is humanly possible, that they will not come to pass.
This duty belongs in a particular way to those who have greater power in the world. We are therefore happy to have been able to convey to you, Mister President, Our thoughts on the most suitable means of seeking to reestablish peace where it has been upset and to strengthen it where it exists, among other ways by favouring friendly and fruitful relations between peoples and the progress of the developing nations, as is demanded by justice and human solidarity.
We would like to encourage you, Mister President, in undertaking this task, which, though difficult, is truly worthy of being pursued with decisiveness and generosity.
May God guide you and all who have responsibility for peace among nations, that goodwill may overcome enmity.
In the meantime We give expression to Our personal good wishes, and We invoke upon you, your family and all the people of the United States of America the favour and the blessing of the Almighty.
*AAS 62 (1970), p.625-626.
Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VIII, p.962-963.
L’Attività della Santa Sede 1970 p.426-427.
L’Osservatore Romano, 30.9.1970, p.1.
ORa n. 41 p.3.
Dear sons and daughters from England and Wales,
Once again We are pleased to tell you how happy We are to have you with Us. We know that your joy is great in these days and that you are proud of your newly-canonised Martyrs. They have indeed brought honour to your people as well as to the Church.
Our thoughts are still dwelling on the splendid event of yesterday. We are grateful in a special way to the choir for the part it played in the ceremony with dignity and competence. We are particularly happy also to have had such a fine representation of the religious orders from which some of the new saints came and to have seen so many of our beloved priest sons from Great Britain.
It is Our prayer that the canonisation will be for you all a source of grace: that you will take the occasion to renew your faith and again dedicate your lives in the love of Christ and of his Church. We pray also that the inspiration of those holy Martyrs will encourage you to hold fast to the authentic values for which they died.
Through you We send Our greeting to your beloved land: into your homes and churches, into your seminaries and religious communities, into your schools, hospitals and other institutions, to all those “who love us in the faith” (Tt 3,15).
To all of you goes Our special Apostolic Blessing.
Friday, 27 November 1970
I have come to you as a friend among friends, as a brother among brothers. I have come to tell you how much I share your grief on this occasion, how deeply I sympathize with the bereaved families, and how much I would like to comfort you with my fraternal friendship.
I come to you as head of the Catholic religion, whose Founder made brotherly love the sign by which his disciples were to be known. I would like to tell you in my weak words how the Catholic people are filled with deep compassion and have the desire to be one with you. I do not come with the prestige of riches or with the power of technological assistance. I do, of course, esteem and encourage those governments and peoples throughout the world who have nobly risen up to help you. My own participation comes no less from the heart; for I believe profoundly that we are children of the one human family. The sorrow that now engulfs your people must not turn to despair.
May the concrete testimony of people’s solidarity in coming to your aid be a light for you in the dark period through which you are going; may it be a comfort and restore your courage and hope in a better tomorrow.
To my brother Catholics here I renew the appeal which I launched when news came of the calamity which put this region in mourning, that they should take their place side by side with other men of goodwill who are coming to help you. If the words I am speaking to you find an echo beyond yourselves, I again exhort Catholics throughout the world to share generously what they have with those who have lost all.
I have also asked the organization Caritas Internationalis and all the Catholic relief institutions to place their undertakings and resources at the service of the victims of the disaster. May these be a testimony, even if only a modest one, of my great desire and that of the Catholic faithful to relieve the suffering and assist the most urgent needs. May they show the wish we all have to join in the stream of international aid, not in any spirit of competition but out of brotherly love, and fidelity to the command of Jesus Christ: «Treat others as you would like them to treat you».
I present my respectful greetings to the public authorities who, in spite of their present heavy burden of duties, were good enough to come to meet me. Let them be assured of my sympathy in this grief which touches the whole nation, and of my encouragement that they may find speedily and effectively the solutions to the innumerable problems facing them at this moment.
I pray God to bless all men of goodwill who were moved by your appeal.
I assure all who mourn or suffer, whatever be their religion, of my earnest prayers to God, the Lord of everything and the Father of all, that he may bestow on them the comfort of his protection and the sweetness of his merciful love.
Friday, 27 November 1970
Here we are in the Philippines, in this great land so dear to Our heart. We greet it with great joy, in the name of the Lord, who sends us just as he sent Peter and the Apostles across the world. May the peace of Christ come down and dwell in it.
We offer Our respectful greeting to you, Mister President, who have had the great courtesy to come and welcome us. We thank you in the name of the Lord. For us it is an honor and a pleasure to spend a few hours in the midst of the Filipino people, whose admirable hospitality is being shown to us from this very moment in such a cordial fashion.
We greet you, venerable brothers in the episcopate, and in particular you who are the Cardinal of Manila, whose great diocese, so rich in history and virtues, offers a welcome at this first contact of a Pope with the Far East. We have come to bring you the assurance of Our fraternal affection and to manifest Our desire of communion with you in your pastoral responsibilities.
To you, the people of the Philippines, who have gathered here in such great numbers to bring us the first homage of your generous hearts, We express Our affectionate greeting, Our great joy at having been given the grace to come to you and Our deep desire to proclaim Our attachment for your people who, in the course of history, have given proof in such a wonderful way of the depth of their faith.
We come here in obedience to Our spiritual mission: We have come to take part in the deliberations of the Conference of the bishops of the whole of Eastern Asia. We wish to seek together, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, how best to proclaim the Gospel to the men of this time and of this continent. We are seeking to make an eternal and universal message an answer to the questions asked by the man of today. The Gospel is, for all men, the message of salvation.
We invoke upon you the abundance of divine grace. May God bless you and your good intentions, may he grant prosperity to the great nation of the Philippines.
Friday, 27 November 1970
We are happy to present Our respectful greeting to Your Excellency as head and highest representative of the great nation of the Philippines. We wish likewise to thank you for the remarkable welcome which We received on arriving on your soil. Your offer to give us hospitality in your residence was deeply appreciated, but Our practice obliges us to stay at the Apostolic Nunciature. We feel, nevertheless, that We are fully the guest of the Filipino people, and so your guest. Thank you again.
We have been informed of the lofty and upright intentions which have inspired and still inspire the policies of your Government. We are certain that this cordial meeting between the humble successor of Peter and the holder of the highest office among the dear Filipino people - the only people in the Far East that is Christian in the greater part-will likewise be an effective spur for a new and more vigorous effort in favor of men. We are thinking of an effort to be made through a more equitable distribution of the riches of this country which has been blessed by God, a real and integral development of individuals and communities, a human advancement - especially of the most needy classes-a deeper awareness at all levels, not only of one’s rights, but still more and above all of one’s duties towards other men, other fellow human beings, and towards the whole community.
The object of Our visit to Manila is of the spiritual order; it has an apostolic character. Great would be Our joy if by Our visit the Catholic people were made firm in their faith and in the sincere and coherent expression of it. Great would it be if they were spurred on to seek a happy blending of their religious heritage with the new needs of the modern world. We would like to see strengthened their readiness to live in good understanding with all, to promote social development in the name of the charity of Christ whose witnesses they are, to prize the civic qualities of integrity, disinterestedness and equal service of all. These qualities are the basis of the prosperity of great, free and united peoples.
To your illustrious collaborators We likewise present Our respectful greeting and the assurance of Our esteem for the greatness of their functions. The Church holds in great esteem the servants of the public good who ensure its tasks for the service of all. By according recognition and respect to the rights of persons, families and groups, and by their care for fairness and for economic and social progress, they do honor to Christianity, from which these virtues derive (Cfr. Rom Rm 13,7). May God bless yourselves and your families. May he reward your devotedness and your admirable hospitality with his abundant graces.
*AAS 63 (1970), p.17-18.
Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. VIII, p.1197-1198.
L’Osservatore Romano 28.11.1970, p.2.
ORa n.49 p.4.
Friday, 27 November 1970
Dear Friends, dear Sons and Daughters,
As we come to greet your delegation, We cannot conceal Our A admiration for the spontaneous gesture which has brought you from so far away to meet the humble leader of the Catholic Church.
You have wished that your group should faithfully reflect the population of Formosa, since representatives of its great religious bodies are included in your delegation. We greet you with great joy and We express to you Our good wishes that your country may know concord and prosperity, under the protection of Almighty God. We have come to Eastern Asia as the bearer of an essentially spiritual message; Our desire is that God may be better known and better loved, for in this lies the source of the happiness of mankind.
To Our Catholic sons and daughters who - we know - have come to Manila and are grouped about Our dear brother Cardinal Yti Pin and Our brothers, the bishops of your dioceses, We wish to take the occasion to offer Our encouragement to lead a life worthy of the vocation to which they have been called (Cfr. Eph Ep 4,1), in all things bearing witness to their faith, their hope and their love.
With all Our heart We bestow Our Apostolic Blessing on you and on all those whom you represent.
Saturday, 28 November 1970
In you we greet the university world of the Philippines. We wish to express first of all Our great esteem for the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas which has welcomed Us today. It is a university which is one of the most renowned for the richness of its history, one of the most important in number of students and one of the most well-known for the care it devotes to education of high quality.
To you, the Professors, We express Our greetings and the respect which is due to men of learning and to educators. Are you not involved in that search for truth which is so important for man? We are well aware that it takes a great deal of wisdom to distinguish the different ways whereby one pursues the search for total truth. There is the way - to put it in a word - of human reasoning; it is the way of science, which enjoys the freedom and autonomy of natural thought. There is likewise the way of faith; it is the gift of the Spirit’s illumination and our soul’s response to God’s revealing Word. The distinction and the synthesis demand a sensitive operation, but one that is also possible, magnificent and vital. And then it calls for a certain courage to state and defend the whole truth. May Christ be your model, he who gave his life in witness to the truth (Jn 18,37). All progress towards truth redounds to the glory of God. Does it not also lead to the encounter with him who above all others is the Teacher and whose word frees from error and lies? (Cfr. Matth Mt 23,8 Jn 8,32) In pursuing your task you respond to the expectations of your brothers.
What a great responsibility is yours, and what a valuable contribution you make to the march of mankind which, through its laborious quest of an earthly city ruled by justice and freedom, goes in search of him who called himself «the way, the truth and the life» (Jn 14,6).
Dear students, We greet you with the deepest loving interest and with all Our paternal affection.
Today is your hour. You are the advancing vanguard of your country. Your responsibility as intellectuals is supreme for the future of your nation. We understand your aspiration to involve yourselves more actively in the life of your people. We know that your dynamism, hand in hand with your special sensitivity, has helped your elders to gain a better grasp of the problems that must be solved.
The youth of the Philippines, like that of all Asia, is on the march. Allow Us in this regard to ask some questions: Do you know in which direction to go? Have you a clear picture of the goals you are aiming at? Are you dedicated to the search for true values? Does your wish to serve your brothers manifest itself in practical choices that prepare you to promote effectively the progress of the many? Are you convinced that one can only be truly free to the extent that one is responsible?
Your age is an age of criticism-and criticism can be very useful to society, which always falls short of perfection. Your age is also an age of generous self-giving, and this the Filipino people expect of you. What is asked of you is a balanced harmony of these two attitudes. Your considerable numbers in the universities speak for your intelligence and your thirst for culture; they also at the same time create obligations of a seriousness rarely to be found in history. The Church wishes to help you to reply to these vital questions, for your own sake and for that of your brothers. She has received the mission to spread throughout the world the Gospel of salvation. This message, which comes to us from God, is the supreme answer to man’s aspirations for total self-realization. But who will believe this Gospel, unless it is brought by convinced witnesses? Who will accept its liberating power if its heralds are not themselves liberated from self-interest, lies, from the spirit of division, from sin in all its forms?
Dear students, this Gospel is yours; will you be its bearers along with your religious leaders, your teachers, with all committed Christians, so that you may build on this earth the society of brotherhood for which the world justly yearns?
This is Our message: God is light (1 Io. 1: 5), Jesus Christ is the «light of the world»; he who follows him will not walk in darkness (Cfr. Io Jn 8,12).
May God bless you, may he enlighten your minds and enable you to discover truth; may he inflame your hearts for the practice of love.
Saturday, 28 November 1970
Venerable brothers: Bishops of the Philippines, Bishops of Asia.
Greetings to you all in Christ our Lord. Greetings to you, Cardinal Rufino Santos, Archbishops of this Church of Manila, host to this extraordinary assembly. To each of you, brothers, Our greeting of faith and love. For your Churches, your countries, Our good wishes full of respect, friendship and peace.
Here we are together at last. This meeting makes Us very happy. It is something new, but it corresponds to the profound nature of the Church. The Church has always been the same; it is the family of those who believe in Christ, «composed of every nation under heaven» (Act. 2: 5). The scene at Pentecost comes to mind and from our hearts there arises and finds expression on our lips the invocation to the Holy Spirit: «Veni Sancte Spiritus». To savor this moment with you, a moment that seems to Us historic and full of mystery, We have made the long journey from Rome to Manila. We have come to meet you, dear brothers, to know you better, to pay honor to this assembly of yours, to encourage your work, to sustain your resolves. You are the reason for Our presence here today and at this moment the subject of Our words. On this Our visit to your vast continent, you are, moreover, the prime object of Our love.
Even more worthy of Our immediate attention than the novelty and singularity of this meeting are, it seems to Us, the theological meaning that it manifests and the mystery that it makes present: Christ is here.
He is here through the reality, ever repeated: a gathering in his name (Mt 18,20). He is here through the faith that makes him live in each one of us (Ep 3,17). He is here also through the coming of Our humble person, to whom, as a lowly successor of Peter, is applied in a very special way the title of Vicar of Christ. And Christ our Lord is here through the apostolic ministry entrusted to each of us (Cfr. Lumen gentium LG 21), and through the collegial relationship that joins us together (Ibid., 22). We, the successors of the Apostles and the pastors of the Church of God, are invested with the power not only of representing Christ, but also of making present on earth and in time his voice (Lc 10,16) and his saving action (Mt 28,19). Christ is here. Let us take notice of this mysterious reality, with an act of faith both conscious and strong. It is true: we firmly believe that the Lord’s promise, «Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age» (Mt 28,20), is fulfilled now, at this moment of history, in a singular and marvelous way. Christ is with us.
How is this promise fulfilled at this moment? It is fulfilled in the countenance of the Church, herself the «sign and sacrament» of Christ (Cfr. Lumen gentium LG 1 De Lubac, Méitation sur l’Eglise LG 157 ff. ). This countenance seems here to reflect with brilliant clarity the characteristic marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. This last mark, apostolicity, concerns us now in a particular way. Let us think about it for a moment.
All of us meeting here are successors of the Apostles. We have received from Christ himself the mandate, the power, his Spirit to carry on and to spread his mission. We are the heirs of the Apostles; we are Christ working in history and the world; we are the ministers of his pastoral government of the Church; we are the institutional organ, entrusted with dispensing the mysteries of God (Cfr. 1Co 4,1 2Co 6,4 Lumen gentium LG 20).
You know that the Council has clearly proclaimed this doctrine, which forms part of the divine and unchanging constitution of the Church. You know too that there have sprung up many discussions about this doctrine; not all of them are useful for confirming and expounding it, as they should, but sometimes indeed more apt to confuse the doctrine and weaken it. This seems to us a suitable occasion for restating our firm support of the doctrine of the apostolic nature of the Church. We must realize that this doctrine establishes the permanence and the authenticity of the foundation of the Church by Christ; it marks the boundaries of ecclesial communion (Cfr. Luc Lc 10,16 Lc 11,23 Unitatis redintegratio UR 2); it qualifies our persons with a sacramental character for the ministry that is entrusted to us; it makes us members of a single Apostolic College, under the leadership of Peter, establishing between us bonds of unity, love, peace, solidarity and collaboration; it vindicates the importance and the fidelity of tradition. Besides this it demonstrates the present vitality and ever-renewed youth of the Church; it explains its organic hierarchy and the vital capacity of the Mystical Body to function; it safeguards the existence and the exercise of the ministerial powers proper to the Christian priesthood, which shares in the single priesthood of Christ; it is the prime source, authorized and responsible, of missionary activity (Cfr. Journet, L’Eglise du Verbe Incarné II, 1208, 2). The fact that it derives its authority not from «below» but from Christ does not mean that it sets up a privileged caste, but rather it makes of the Episcopate an organ for the benefit and service of all the individual churches, and of the entire Catholic Church, one which works from love, to the very point of sacrifice (Cfr. Christus Dominus CD 6).
We remind you of all this, brothers, that your confidence may be great in Christ’s assistance for you and your labors, for your sufferings and your hopes. You must be aware of your vocation, the fact of your having been chosen and of your responsibility. You must ever hear re-echoing in the depths of your souls the words of Saint Paul: «Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood» (Act.20: 28). Be strong, be patient. You have before you an immense field for your apostolate; its very geographical vastness and the enormous multitudes that inhabit it would suffice to fire your apostolic zeal.
Here we should cast our glance over that human panorama in which your ministry must be exercised, although we know that you have already had experience in theory and in practice.
You have before you an immense field for your apostolate. It is difficult to speak of Asia as a whole since more than half of mankind lives here. One can however point to a certain network of common interests, a certain identity in the way of looking at life and a certain harmony of aspirations. Young in its peoples but rich in civilizations often thousands of years old, Asia is impelled as by an irresistible desire to occupy her rightful place in the world, and her influence is effectively increasing. The attraction to change and the desire for progress are present everywhere, and Me see in them a fresh chance for the man of today.
It is certainly true that-except for certain regions such as the Philippines - the Church, in spite of a histoly which is already long, is represented in Asia only by small minorities. Yet who can say how much heroic devotion, as well as faith in the men of Asia, has guided from the first beginnings the destiny of the missions of this continent? Who could ever fully describe the journeyings - often, even up to our own times, painful and tragic - of a missionary apostolate upheld by only one support, that coming from on high! Therefore Our hope is great, based as it is upon the command of the Lord to go to all nations, and upon his promises conveyed in the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven in the dough (Lc 13,18-20). We shall limit Out-self to indicating a few points which seem to Us to be of capital importance for your present mission. Nothing of what We say is new to you; but We hope that you will take comfort in hearing your thoughts and intentions confirmed by Our words.
The first thing that We would propose to you is this: let us make an effort to take as our guide the teaching of the recent Ecumenical Council. This teaching sums up and ratifies the heritage of Catholic tradition and opens the way for a renewal of the Church according to the needs and possibilities of modern times. This adherence to the teachings of the Council can establish a wonderful harmony throughout the Church, and this harmony can enhance the effectiveness of our pastoral activity and preserve us from the errors and weaknesses of the present time. This is especially true in one particular field, the field of faith. It seems to Us that the defence and the spreading of the faith must take first place in our spiritual expression, and that it must be the prime object of our pastoral care. We bishops are the teachers of the faith. We are the preachers, the promoters of instruction in the faith. This is our main task and commitment. From this duty flows everything that we do to encourage study of the faith, catechesis, knowledge and meditation of the Word of God, Catholic teaching and Catholic schools, our press, the use of social communications and ecumenical dialogue. We cannot keep silent. We must not lose the truth and unity of the faith. We must strive to make the faith the fundamental driving principle of the Christian life of our communities.
To this plea for the affirmation and the orthodoxy of the faith permit Us to add a plea for prayer. In our day we are witnessing the decline of prayer, and you know the causes of this. Yet in favour of prayer we have two great - though different - resources: the first is the liturgical reform promoted by the recent Council. The Council has not only renewed the outward form of ritual, always according to certain traditional norms, but it has also given fresh life to the sources-doctrinal, sacramental, communal and pastoral - of the Church’s prayer. We must take advantage of this providential teaching, if we wish prayer always to be the living and sincere expression of the faithful and always to retain in the Church a place of honor among religious values. The second resource of prayer is the natural inclination of the Asiatic spirit. We must honor and cultivate this deep and innate religious sense, which is the hallmark of the soul of the Eastern world. We must defend the spirituality proper to these peoples and ensure that their contact with materialistic modern secular civilization does not suffocate the inner aspirations of ‘this spirituality. We are certain that the Church possesses the secret of true conversation with God; and you have the duty of opening the hearts of your people to the mysterious and true Word of God and to the intense filial expression of religious dialogue to which Christ authorized us and which the Spirit gives us the power to direct to the heavenly Father.
In this regard there arises another fundamental point, which concerns not only the language of prayer and religious instruction but the genius and style of evangelization which, as the Council says, must «be adapted to the particular way of thinking and acting» of the peoples to which it is directed (Cfr. Ad gentes AGD 16-18, etc.).
If, in the past, an insufficient knowledge of the hidden riches of the various civilizations hindered the spread of the Gospel message and gave the Church a certain foreign aspect, it is for you to show that the salvation brought by Jesus Christ is offered to all, without distinction of condition, without any privileged link with one race, continent or civilization. Far from wishing to stifle «the seeds of good in men’s hearts and minds or in their own rites and culture», the Gospel heals, raises and perfects them for the glory of God (Cfr. Lumen gentium LG 17 Ad gentes AGD 22). Just as Jesus Christ shared the condition of those who were his own, so the man of Asia can be a Catholic and remain fully Asian. As We declared a year ago in Africa, if the Church must above all be Catholic, a pluralism is legitimate and even desirable in the manner of professing one common faith in the one same Jesus Christ.
And this, brothers, is also the foundation of your particular responsibility as you continue to proclaim Jesus Christ to the men of Asia. None better than an Asian can speak to an Asian. None better than he should know how to draw from the treasures of your rich cultures the elements for the building up in Asia of a Church which will be one and catholic, founded upon the Apostles and yet different in its life styles. Should We not note, to the praise of your peoples and for the strengthening of your pastoral activity, the natural disposition of the peoples of the East for this religious mystery, which seems a prophetic sign of their call to Christian revelation?
Your individual churches would certainly lack an essential aspect of maturity if missionary vocations did not develop within them. It is for the bishops of Asia, for their priests, their religious brothers and sisters and their lay people engaged in the apostolate to be the first apostles of their Asian brothers, with the cooperation of missionaries from abroad, whose merits are so great, and whose efforts-God grant-will continue and grow, in the name of the unchangeable solidarity that is the duty of the whole Church in this sphere.
One of the aspects of the present adaptation of missionary activity, which We stressed in Our last Message for Mission Sunday, is the importance it accords to the action of development. Is not the Gospel, which is the good news preached to the poor (Lc 4,18), the source of development? The Church, conscious of human aspirations towards dignity and well-being, pained by the unjust inequalities which still exist and often become more acute between nations and within nations, while respecting the competence of States, must offer her assistance for promoting «a fuller humanism», that is to say «the full development of the whole man and of every man» (Populorum progressio PP 42). It is a logical consequence of our Christian faith. The hierarchy of the Philippines recalled it quite recently: «Christianity and democracy have one basic principle in common: the respect for the dignity and value of the human person, the respect of those means which man requires to make himself fully human» (9th July 1970). It is in the name of this principle that the Church must support as best she can the struggle against ignorance, hunger, disease and social insecurity. Taking her place in the vanguard of social action, she must bend all her efforts to support, encourage and push forward initiatives working for the full promotion of man. Since she is the witness of human conscience and of divine love for men, she must take up the defence of the poor and the weak against every form of social injustice.
We know that much has been done by you in this regard, on the level both of study and action. We are convinced that in this way you are contributing to the maintaining of peace: «Christian faith, as well as the intimate link that should exist between the promotion of human rights and the socio-economic progress of man are the true basis for authentic and lasting peace», as the Philippine episcopate likewise declared (1st May 1970).
As We utter that word «peace» how can We fail to raise up anew our heart to implore from the Lord that the peoples so painfully and for so long afflicted by war be able at last, in justice and in peace, to lead a happy and peaceful life!
Finally, We pray to Christ that he will grant that this journey may be for all the peoples of Asia a confirmation of the invitation offered them by him to accept his message, charged with truth and love, divinely conceived for them, for each of them, in his own language and in harmony with his own civilization, as it has been received and as it continues to be welcomed still by the people of the Philippines!
May Mary, Mother of the Word made flesh, Mother of the Apostles, preside still over this Pentecost.
Speeches 1970 - Saturday, 6 September 1970