Speeches 1970 - Manila, Philippines
Monday, 30 November 1970
Your Excellency ,
We thank you for your welcome. We are certain that, thanks to your courtesy, this visit will proceed happily, allowing us to meet the peoples of this region. We very much appreciate your words of wisdom. We are aware of your efforts in the cause of development; in this you are a witness to that spirit of solidarity which moves the more prosperous nations to share with those who are in need so that, in equity, all may attain that human fulfilment to which everyone aspires. May God bless you and your colleagues. May he bless your great nation.
Monday, 30 November 1970
We are happy express Our to reply to your so gracious greeting, and to best wishes to Your Highness and to all the authorities of the Island.
We are truly happy to have been able to have this meeting with you and thank God for it!
Our wish in undertaking this long journey is to bring you the witness of Our fatherly affection and to express Our desire for your peace and well-being. We greet all who have come here: men and women, the young and the old.
We greet especially Our brothers in the faith, the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. If you are so pleased to see the Pope, rest assured that We too are very happy. The Lord permits Us to become for a few hours a true missionary - as was Saint Peter whose lowly successor We are; Our office as father of all the faithful demands this of Us. May this meeting strengthen your faith and increase your love, the sign by which the true disciples of Jesus Christ are recognized.
May God bless you all. Samoa e fa’amalo le fa’aaloalo.
Monday, 30 November 1970
Our stay is drawing to a close. We are now on Our way to Australia. We would not like the short time We have been able to devote to you to be interpreted as a sign of less interest in you. The Catholic Church belongs to all. We came to you purposely - just as We went to big nations -concerned to bring equally to all the message of brotherly love which We received from Jesus Christ, the Master.
Dear people of Pago-Pago, We want to thank in your persons all the inhabitants of this great Oceania, scattered over a multitude of islands on the surface of the broadest of oceans. From your heart you have shown Us so much kindness. Your welcome was a testimony to a very hospitable spirit. The distance which separates you from the great centres where the world’s destinies are decided seems so great; for this reason We do not conceal from you that We have a certain preference for you, just as the Lord found pleasure in being among those who were lowly and humble. Besides. has not this always been the Church’s attitude? The long-standing presence here of some of the most courageous and unselfish missionaries in the world is a proof of it.
We pray the Lord, whose favour is not limited by distance or human technology, to bless your families, your villages and all your islands.
It is Our wish that the Gospel spirit may permeate your customs and institutions, for the victory of brotherhood, the source of peace and prosperity.
Monday, 30 November 1970
In accordance with Our programme, We are making your city the second long stopping point on Our journey on this side of the world. In greeting Australia with all Our heart and expressing Our good wishes for a happy celebration of the second centenary of Captain James Cook’s expedition in this area, We wish also to display for the whole of Oceania Our feelings of esteem, concern and affection.
We are happy to present Our respectful greetings to the eminent personalities present: the Governor-General who represents Her Majesty the Queen, and the representatives of the Commonwealth Government, the Government of the State of New South Wales, and the City of Sydney.
We have special joy in greeting the members of the episcopate of Australia, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea and the Islands of the Pacific; they have come to welcome Us under the leadership of the worthy President of the Australian Episcopal Conference, Our venerable brother, Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney. In the performance of Our duty, We have come here first and foremost to meet Our brothers in the episcopate who live in this part of the world, in order to show them how concerned We are to share in their pastoral responsibility.
This meeting offers Us the long-awaited occasion for making personal contact also with the whole of the Australian Catholic community, which is so dynamic and so dear to Us. We express Our paternal affection for them. Let all the Catholics of Australia know that the Pope prays for them, that he follows the progress they make in faith and charity, in being witnesses among their brothers to the love of Christ for all men without distinction.
To all the inhabitants of this continent We express Our friendship. We greet in a special way Our brothers of the Christian Churches. Like us, they turn their gaze towards Christ. May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ grant them peace, love and faith (Cfr. Eph Ep 6,23).
To all We wish peace: the peace of a conscience delivered from evil, and concord within families and among social groups. Christ, whose Gospel is a Gospel of peace (Ep 6,15), commands us to diffuse without ceasing his message; he invites men to dedicate themselves to establish those conditions which will assure to all that stability in peace on which everything else depends.
May God bless Australia and bless you all in your worthy undertakings.
Monday, 30 November 1970
My Lord Mayor,
We are happy to thank you for your thoughtful words of welcome in the name of the great city of Sydney. We thank you with all Our heart for the hospitality so kindly offered Us by your city. It permits Us to join in the celebration of the bicentenary of the exploration of your region by Captain James Cook, and at the same time to hold a meeting similar to the one just held in Manila. The aim of this meeting is to join with those in authority in the Catholic Church of this great country in seeking the best way of responding to Our call to serve and advance man by the proclamation of the Gospel.
We are impressed by the size of your capital, so full of activity, and so dynamic in the cultural field as well as in the fields of industry and commerce. We have no difficulty in imagining the many questions that face the administration of a city of this size. We can see clearly that it is a matter of satisfying the material needs of a very diverse community, of dealing with the demands of continual growth, and of ensuring housing, food, employment and education for all.
It is also a matter of answering the questions of a profoundly changing civilization. New needs appear, sometimes indeed artificial ones; education grows in extent and diversity; business calls for ever sterner measures to meet competition; the way of life of the individual, the family and society is evolving rapidly. All of us, including the churches, are involved in the birth of a new world.
We must all take care that the forward movement does not degenerate into a headlong rush. We must see to it that enthusiasm for the future does not give rise to contempt for the past. Desire for material goods must neither harden our hearts nor make us underrate spiritual values. In the final analysis, it is a question of guaranteeing the conditions for genuine progress, that is, truly human progress. Allow Us to assure you, you and your illustrious collaborators, of Our full esteem for the exemplary zeal which you bring to the fulfilling of your noble functions, and of Our admiration for your concern to exercise your service in a manner which ensures fairness for all. Please accept also Our warm encouragement.
We pray that concord, prosperity and a worthy manner of living may ever reign in the city of Sydney. We wish that this great city’s renown may be upheld from all points of view, and that those who live in it may be distinguished no less for their moral and religious stature than for their energy in work and their spirit of initiative. With these wishes, We invoke upon yourselves, your families, and your fellow citizens, abundant blessings from God.
Tuesday, 1 December 1970
We have come among you not only to talk to you, but also, and especially, to listen to you. And gladly We have listened to you, devoting Our attention to the conclusions of your assembly. It will be, moreover, a pleasant duty for Us to recall your discourses and reflect on your discussions and deliberations, storing up for Ourself and for the whole Church your experience and wisdom, in relation both to the Church’s doctrine and her pastoral guidance; and so We abstain now from commenting on the themes which you have dealt with in your meeting.
We do not, however, wish to deprive Ourself of the pleasure, or release Ourself from the duty, of saying a fraternal word to you on so exceptional and favourable an occasion. Thus We return to the theme of unity within the Church and the unity of the Church. This very encounter is a celebration of this external distinguishing mark of the Church of Christ; it likewise celebrates the internal mystical characteristic of the same Church of Christ, which he founded in unity, manifesting in a supremely clear way his wish «that they may be one» (Jn 17,11).
Let us reflect together a moment on unity in the Church. We shall do well to consider how much theological thought was given to this theme down the centuries: from the unforgettable and prophetic words of the «Didache» (Cfr. Didache, 9: 4; 10: 5), and of the letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch (Cfr. Philad. 4; Ep 20,2 Smyrn Ep 1,2 etc. ), to the treatise of Saint Cyprian (De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate) to the thought of Saint Ambrose (Cfr. Eph Ep 11,4 PL Ep 16,218), of Saint Augustine especially, of Saint Leo, and to the great theologians of the Middle Ages (Cfr. S. TH. 11: 8) and of the Renascence (Cfr. Cajetan, Bellarmine, Suarez, etc.), and down to the modern writers (Cfr. J. Adam Moehler in particular, Newman, Scheeben, Perrone, Clarissac, Congar, Hamer, Cardinal Journet in his great synthesis on L’Eglise du Verbe Incarné), and finally to the post-conciliar theologians (Cfr., among the many, Philips, etc.). We must not forget the great encyclical Mystici Corporis of Pope Pius XII. And we must always keep before us the documents of the Second Vatican Council, in particular the two constitutions Lumen gentium and Gaudium et spes, in which the Church’s doctrinal awareness of herself and of her historical and concrete position in the modern world is expressed in an incomparable manner.
We permit Ourself to remind you of this great cultural fact of the Church of today, on account of its first-rank importance for ecclesial life, and on account of the obligation springing from it for us bishops, witnesses of the faith and shepherds of the People of God-the obligation to take up a secure position on the teaching concerning the Church, and especially on her unity. It is her unity which must give to the Church’s countenance her divinity - reflected radiance, the sign of her authenticity and her symbolic exemplarity also for the contemporary world which is orientated towards temporal unification in a peaceful civilization.
It is for you, venerable brothers, to accept this obvious recommendation and to pursue in depth a study so attractive, so vast, so complex as is that of our dearly loved Catholic Church, for which Christ shed his blood (Cfr. Eph Ep 5,25).
It is for Us, on the other hand, barely to touch on two aspects of this intimate communion of the Church within herself.
The first communion, the first unity, is that of faith.
Unity in faith is necessary and fundamental, as you know. On this demand there can be no compromise. No matter how different are the subjective conditions of the believer, we cannot admit uncertainly, doubt or ambiguity concerning the supreme gift, which Revelation has given us, about God the Father, the almighty, Creator of all things, the immanent Principle of all that exists, the transcendental and inexpressible Being, worthy of unlimited adoration and love on the part of us who have the indescribable good fortune to be raised from the level of creatures to that of children of God. Likewise we can have no hesitation about recognizing in Jesus Christ the Word made man, the Teacher of supreme truths about man’s destinies, the sacrificed and risen Saviour of mankind, the head under whom everything is brought together (Cfr. Eph Ep 1,10), and the one who by his Cross draws all men to himself (Jn 12,32) and makes of men who are faithful one mystical Body (Cfr. Eph Ep 4,4). We can have no doubts about the Holy Spirit, who gives life and bears witness of himself within our hearts (Cfr. Io Jn 15,26 Jn 16,13 Rm 8,16 etc. ), and who gives the Church qualified ministers for decisive witness on religious truths (Cfr. 2Co 10,5-6). We cannot prescind from the great reality emanating from Christ, his continuation, his social and historical Body, visible and mystical, his Church, the sign and instrument for the salvation of mankind. In this regard we cannot forget the lapidary words of Saint Augustine: «The Christian has nothing to fear so much as being separated from the body of Christ» (In Io. Tr. 27: 6; PL 35: 1618). In a word, the Creed, our Creed, is for us inalienable. It is our riches. It is our life. With this security - for the confirming of which, as Peter’s humble but authentic successor, we have been given special power by Christ the Lord (Lc 22,32)-We look at the human reality of Catholicism. By its very definition, it is for all men, for all races, for all nations, for all the earth.
How can Catholicism, so firm and so jealous about its unity, embrace all men, who are so different from each other? Does it perhaps demand absolute uniformity in all manifestations of life? Is there perhaps only one practical and historical way of interpreting the true and unique faith of Christ?
You know, brothers, how easy and clear is the answer to this disturbing question. It was given by the Holy Spirit himself on the day of Pentecost, when those who had been filled by the divine outpouring sent from heaven by Christ in fire and in wind began to speak foreign languages so that each elf their listeners heard them «in his own native language» (Act. 2: 6), although they belonged to different races. Then too the reply is given by the recent Council, amply and repeatedly, especially in the now famous Decree Ad gentes, where the unity which marks Catholicism is shown in harmony with its apostolicity. Far from smothering what is good and original in every form of human culture it accepts, respects and puts to use the genius of each people, endowing with variety and beauty the one seamless garment (Jn 19,23) of the Church of Christ (Cfr. Ps Ps 44,10 Ad gentes AGD 22 etc. ).
So, one may ask, is «pluralism» admitted? Yes, but the significance of this word must be well understood. It must on no account contradict the substantial unity of Christianity (Cfr. Eph Ep 4,3-6). You are acquainted with some dangers that lie hidden in pluralism. These occur when it is not limited to the contingent forms of religious life, but presumes to authorize individual and arbitrary interpretations of Catholic dogma, or to set up as a criterion of truth the popular mentality, or to prescind in theological study from authentic tradition and from the responsible magisterium of the Church.
The second aspect of the Catholic communion is that of charity. You know what supreme importance charity has in the whole of the divine design of the Catholic religion, and what particular place charity has in the connecting fabric of ecclesial unity. We must practice in its ecclesial aspects, which the Council has emphasized, a more conscious and active charity. The People of God must accordingly be progressively educated in mutual love for each of its members; the whole community of the Church must by means of charity feel itself united within itself, undivided, living in solidarity and therefore distinct (Cfr. 1Co 1,10 1Co 12,25-26 2Co 6,14-18). Hierarchical relationships, pastoral ones (as is well known), collegial relationships, those between different ministerial functions, social ones, domestic ones-all must have running through them an ever active stream of charity, having for its immediate effects service-that is, self-sacrifice and self-giving-and unity.
The Church is charity; the Church is unity. This, it seems to us, is the principal virtue demanded of the Catholic Church at this moment of history, for it is a time that is spiritually very disturbed, to the point of inspiring fear of great and ruinous upheavals. The Church will be solid and strong if she is united within herself in faith and by charity. Many ask what must the Church do to draw close to her the hostile and unbelieving world. Unity in faith and love will be the witness which will have a salutary action on the world, in accordance with the word which Jesus left to us (Jn 17,21).
This, venerable brothers, is the message which We leave you in the name of Christ in memory of this encounter: «that all may be one». With Our fraternal Apostolic Blessing.
Tuesday, 1 December 1970
Among the many satisfactions We encounter in the course of Our journeys, one of the greatest is to be able to greet the members of the clergy, Our brothers in the priesthood. It is not Our intention to make a speech to you, but simply to speak with you in words that come straight from Our heart.
As the Council says, priests fulfil «in the renewal of Christ’s Church a role of the greatest importance and of ever - increasing difficulty» (Presbyterorum ordinis PO 1). Did you not receive this particular mission of sacred service of the Gospel-the mission of proclaiming it to all nations (Cfr. ibid. 28: 19), and of sanctifying the People of God-as a share in the very function of the Apostles, in subordination to the order of bishops? (Cfr. Presbyterorum ordinis PO 2) We are well aware of the zeal of the Australian clergy; We appreciate the Christian spirit which has greeted Us today and which bears witness to the faith which you have shared. We earnestly hope that in spite of the discussions which today surround the person and office of the priest, you will remain ever firm in the joy of your vocation. This joy does not have its source in material comforts or in human prestige - if such still exists-it comes rather from having a share in the special friendship of Jesus Christ (Cfr. Io Jn 15,16).
Dear brothers, be men of God, proclaiming by your whole conduct the primacy of the supernatural, the uprightness of your faith, the whole-heartedness of your self-giving to the Lord. It is freely that you have offered your whole being to Christ so as to bring to the world the message of salvation.
You are aware that this service of the Gospel can only be understood and lived in faith, prayer, penance and love; you know that it involves struggles and mortification and at times even misunderstanding. We urge you to hold fast with faith and generosity to all these commitments which conform you to the image of Christ the Priest (Cfr. Letter to the Cardinal Secretary of State, 2 February 1970; A.A.S. 1970, II, 29 February 1970).
Be also servants of all your fellowmen, without distinction of origin or rank, servants of those who are near as of those who are far, of those who search and of those who suffer; and as shining witnesses to the liberation brought by Christ accept and satisfy their longings.
Be also men of the Church. The Church cannot be separated from Jesus Christ; she is the Body of Christ. It is in the Church, with the Church and for the Church that your spiritual life will develop fully and that your ministry will be fruitful, for it is through her that the life of Christ is given to the faithful (Cfr. Lumen gentium LG 7). Be therefore one with your bishops, not only in the observance of a hierarchical bond, but by a genuine attachment of mind and heart, as to the representative of Christ the supreme Shepherd (Cfr. Presbyterorum ordinis PO 7).
We pray that God may grant Australia holy priests, that he may call many young men to join their numbers and that he may make their love equal to the greatness of the needs of the entire Church.
With special affection, We impart to you Our Apostolic Blessing.
Tuesday, 1 December 1970
Dear Sons and Daughters,
At the Second Vatican Council the members of the laity have seen their place in the Church solemnly recognized in a new way. While it is true that, in accordance with Christ’s call, certain people fulfil within the Church special functions of ministry, teaching and government, all Christians are recognized to be equal «in regard to the dignity and activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ». All share responsibility for the progress of the kingdom of God (Lumen gentium LG 32-33). It is therefore a mistake to separate on the one hand an active category, the ecclesiastical authority, and on the other a passive category, the laity. You who direct the National Catholic Organizations have understood this well, and We congratulate you for it.
Your activities are many-sided and diverse, and this reflects very well the richness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed to each one according as he chooses (Cfr. 1Co 12,11). To all your organizations We wish prosperity and apostolic fruitfulness, whether their aim be personal consecration or the active spreading of the Gospel, charitable activity of the working for the renewal of the temporal order. The fields are vast and there is room for a generous response from everyone who wishes to live fully his baptismal commitment and the graces of his state.
It is not possible for Us to tell you at this moment everything that is in Our heart. Allow Us simply to draw your attention to two points.
It is Our earnest wish that your organizations - those at least whose aims and recruitment allow it -should open their doors to youth. Theirs is the age of dynamism. Young people realize the value of dedication for others; they are instinctively drawn to teamwork provided they do not feel that they are being used but rather that they are taking a real part in the work in which they are invited to collaborate.
Although the Church’s aims are spiritual, she has a true moral responsibility in secular matters. To her belongs preeminently the task of forming consciences for the sake of the integral perfection, even in the temporal order, of every man and of the whole man (Cfr. Populorum progressio PP 42).
The family apostolate, social action, Christian commitment in civic and political life, the giving of that aid so badly needed by the Third World-all these are spheres for the laity’s activity. Is it not your special vocation to seek the Kingdom of God precisely through the ordered management elf temporal things, in accordance with God’s plan? It is Our hope that there may arise apostles who -animated by the Gospel spirit - will provide the ferment necessary for the consecration of the world (Cfr. Lumen gentium LG 31).
In expressing these wishes We are happy to invoke upon you and upon the members of your organizations the blessing of God.
Wednesday, 2 December 1970
It is a pleasure for Us to meet here those in charge of the administration of North Sydney. We offer them Our respectful greetings, together with Our thanks for their welcome and Our good wishes for their welfare.
One of the distinguishing marks of your nation is its attachment to democratic liberty. We are glad to remark on it in order to felicitate you for it. Among you this liberty is able to unfold because there is another quality which favours it, namely, civic spirit. It is thanks to such values that a healthy and stable society can develop.
The field of competence of public authority tends today to extend continually because of the complexity of services required by modern life; it still has, however, for its aim to satisfy the demands of the common good. It must take into account, within a harmonious balance, the demands of life in society as well as of the rights of each individual, and at the same time respect the lawful liberties of each person-particularly his right to honour God according to the proper rule of his conscience. It is in the accomplishment of this delicate task that you are engaged with competence and zeal. We pray God to assist you with his grace.
Very willingly do We call down upon you and your families, your staff and all under your administration abundant blessings from the Almighty.
Wednesday, 2 December 1970
Dear Brothers in Christ,
It is with great joy that We join you on this happy and significant occasion. We are grateful to you, Bishop Garnsey, to the Australian Council of Churches, to the Catholic national commission on ecumenism and to all who have worked to arrange this service of prayer.
We who gather here share a faith in the same God and his Son Jesus Christ. We come together in his Name, and has he not promised that he will be in our midst? (Cfr. Matth Mt 18,19)
Jesus died «to gather together in unity the scattered children of God» (Jn 11,52). And because unity is not yet realized fully among us, we want to associate ourselves in a special way this evening with the prayer Our Lord made for his followers, «May they all be one, Father . . . so that the world may believe . . .» (Jn 17,21).
You know well how the Second Vatican Council awakened in the Catholic Church a new awareness of the bonds already existing between Christians who share the riches of Christ through faith and baptism. Many of you who do not belong to the visible fellowship of the Roman Catholic Church also found new encouragement in that ecumenical zeal generated by the Council.
But in these days it is clear that ecumenical work is a continuing and costly task. It demands honest facing of the fact «that in content, development and expression of faith . . . there exist certain differences» (Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, 18 September 1970, Reflections and Suggestions concerning Ecumenical Dialogue IV, 2(b)), that doctrinal indifferentism is to be rejected (Ibid., IV, 2(a)), and at the same time that «confessional triumphalism or the appearance of it» (Ibid., IV, 6) must be avoided. History cannot be written off overnight, and the honest hesitations of sensitive consciences always demand our respect and understanding. There is no easy way. The reconciling work of our Lord was achieved through suffering and the Cross. The unity which the ecumenical movement strives to serve has to be bought at a similar price.
Because bonds of unity exist between Christians, it is possible to act together as well as to speak together. Through such efforts undertaken by Christians the world is better able to see the countenance of him «who emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave» (Ph 2,7). This is our common calling, to glorify the Father through his Son, by bringing to the world evidence of the redeeming love with which God has enfolded the world from the beginning.
We rejoice to be with you, dear brothers, on this occasion when you have gathered to renew your intention of continuing on the ecumenical way, «to seek in order to find, to find in order to seek still further» (S. AUG., De Trinitate, XV: 2; PL 42: 1057). May God bless us all and lead us «to a deeper realization and clearer expression of the unfathomable riches of Christ» (Unitatis redintegratio UR 11).
Wednesday, 2 December 1970
We have made a special point of briefly visiting your institute since it is the first congregation founded in Australia by a person born in Australia. But it is to all teaching Religious that We direct Our greeting while expressing Our esteem for their apostolate and Our deep desire to encourage them in the fulfilment of their vocation as teachers.
We likewise wish to associate with Our greeting your lay co-workers. Their numbers have continually grown, so that they can bring to realization with great success the precious work of education. This encounter-all too short-is not in proportion to the attachment We feel for the cause of the Catholic school, for the Christian education of youth, and for the ever-evolving world of teaching, whether it concerns the communication of secular culture or catechetical instructions. The Catholic school has a particular importance in a secularized world; for the witness given therein is that of consecrated persons who, while having made a radical choice for the kingdom of God, are able with competence to be at the service of the world’s progress. We hope that you will not let yourselves be assailed by doubt. Those who serve the Catholic school are still-and, We would say, today more than ever before-great collaborators in the Church’s mission.
It is evident that the public authorities, particularly in this country, have responded remarkably to their duty of ensuring the exercise of each man’s right to education, and in this it is our duty to congratulate them. Does this mean that the preservation of Catholic schools is no longer worthwhile? Certainly not: to the extent that the Catholic school, within the context of the liberty so dear to your democratic society, makes possible a form elf instruction that is original in its educational value. The Council defined this distinctive character of Christian education when it stated that it has the special aim of creating for the school community an atmosphere enlivened by freedom and charity, of helping the adolescent to live in accordance with his commitments at baptism, and of bestowing a culture illumined by faith (Gravissimum educationis GE 8).
We know the serious difficulties which you may meet in maintaining your institutions because of limited private resources at a time when progress calls for more and more costly investments in buildings and teaching materials. We believe that the benefits of the Catholic school are worthy of a special effort at all levels to ensure that it can go on being able to respond to the desires of the Church which promoted it, to the just concern of families for a Christian education for their children and to the technical demands of the State which it serves.
In this regard We are happy to note the cordial relations existing between the public authorities and the Catholic schools. We rejoice at the growing forms .of partnership being set up between Government schools and independent schools with greater benefit to the education of youth.
With all Our heart We invoke the blessing of God on yourselves, your institutes, on the whole body of Catholic teachers and on all of your students.
My dear boys and girls,
When we go on journeys round the world, We are always very happy to meet children like you. Yaw know how Jesus loved people of your age. He loved to have them round him to show them his affection. We have come to see you because We love you too. We wanted to come even more because you are ill. We know that you do not feel well, and We know that you do not like being away from your dear families and your homes. We pray that you will soon get better and be able joyfully to go back to the people you love.
Every child must remember that Jesus was once a child too. Jesus knew everything. But like the other children in Nazareth he wanted to have lessons from his mother, the Virgin Mary; he wanted also to learn a trade from Saint Joseph. Think about the home of Jesus and how God was pleased with it. How happy Mary and Joseph were to see the child Jesus getting on with his work, being the best friend of the other children and saying his prayers with all his heart. That is the example you must follow, children: Jesus is your model and your friend.
We also wish to say a word to the doctors, nurses and all the other people working in this hospital, to assure them of Our esteem and to encourage them to carry on with their admirable work. Christ is your model too, Christ who showed so much sympathy for the sick and infirm and all those afflicted by suffering.
To all of you here present, who in one way or another devote yourselves to the works of mercy, We say again how much importance the Church attaches to this form of charity (Cfr. Act. 8). It is especially through dealing with children and with those who are suffering or in need that we avoid the risk-that might possibly be incurred in a social system equipped with very advanced technical aids-of becoming callous.
God bless you, dear children. God bless those who look after you. God bless the people you love and those who love you. May God give courage to those who suffer, and brotherly love to those whom he calls to care for his little ones (Cfr. Matth Mt 25,40).
We greet you, dear priests, with fatherly affection. You are not unaware of the great place that priests have in the heart of the Pope; with their bishops they are his closest collaborators in the work of salvation. We wish to express Our appreciation of the wonderful work accomplished here in building up this dynamic and generous community which is so attached to the teaching of the Church. You have sown, others reap, but it is always the same harvest with its one and only master, our Lord Jesus Christ.
If age or sickness has caused you to retire from the active ministry, you know that the exercise of your priesthood has not thereby substantially diminished; it has only changed in its expression. By your special conformity to Jesus Christ, you can, today as in the past, carry out his priestly function of praising the Father, through the celebration of Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office. You who are experiencing suffering are being brought close to your Divine Master and being united with him in his redemptive passion. It is, in fact, in Christ and through Christ that suffering has its meaning and finality; when we realize how to endure it patiently, it is transformed into «spiritual offerings, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ» (1 Petr. 2: 5; cfr. Lumen gentium LG 34).
May God bring you comfort, dear brothers in the priesthood. After the example of so many saints who have suffered sickness, may he make of you missionaries of Oceania and of the whole of this earth. With paternal affection in Our heart, We impart to you Our Apostolic Blessing.
Beloved Sons and Daughters,
Our journey has brought Us here to meet you, and it is with joy that We greet you-you who have reached another stage in your lives. We a so wish to greet the Sisters who live here with you and help you, We know the devotedness they show throughout the world, and We are happy to express to them here Our great admiration and to bring them Our encouragement.
Dear friends, the «third age»-as people have begun to call it-is for some people a break which they sometimes feel deeply. The rhythm of life has slowed down. The kind of work you used to do and which in some way has formed you has changed. You must not have in this period of your life a feeling of failure or disillusionment. Old age is truly a stage in life: it is the fulfilment of adult life.
For this technological world, in which the tendency is to consider man only with regard to what he produces, you are a salutary lesson. You teach that there is a dimension of life, made up of a human, cultural, social and spiritual values, whose worth cannot be measured in terms of money, yet it constitutes that which makes men and not machines. The worth of a civilization is measured by the attention it pays to these riches and, consequently, by the guarantees it offers aged persons to be able to live a fitting life as full members of society.
Old age is also the privileged age of freeing oneself from material cares. Your unique experience makes it possible for you to measure the proper value of earthly things. By bringing you close to the Lord in prayer and meditation and by strengthening you in your faith, it gives you the riches that do not pass away. It confers on you a remarkable sense of balance in the face of life as well as in the face of death, which is a meeting with the One who has loved us to the point of dying for us.
May God bless you all. May he comfort you when you suffer. May he help you in that spiritual ascent, in joy and trustfulness, to which we are all called.
We are happy to have a special meeting with you on the occasion of Our stay in Sydney. A certain number of you have taken part in this journey from its beginning. During these days We have seen you at your work, and We have noticed the fatigue and the sacrifices which it calls for. We express to you Our admiration and Our praise. Besides, We know that you do your task with willingness; public opinion expects it of you-pitilessly, We would say. You play an important role in regard to the great interest your readers and listeners have these days in religious events in the world. Even though you may not be aware of it, you really do contribute by the mere objectivity of your information to saving the man of today from the all too evident risk of being completely taken up with earthly things alone.
We extend a special greeting to the Australian press, whose members are so many and so dynamic. Their courtesy is a reflexion of that of the Australian people, in the midst of whom We are happy to find Ourself at this moment.
Today your dispatches, your films, your reports and your commentaries speed round the world in an instant. Among the many things said of the press along with the whole of the communications media is that it is World Power Number One. It is certainly difficult to measure its influence: millions of men, whole peoples are affected by your work-and soon it will be all mankind. What a wonderful mission it is for those who place their intelligence at the service of truth and right ! What a serious, a truly serious responsibility it is for those who abuse their power by supporting prejudices and dividing communities and nations, or who go so far as to turn this noble invention into an instrument of moral perversion.
You are endowed with an acute sensitiveness to the problems of your age. Hence you are not unacquainted with the aspirations of contemporary man, nor are you unmoved by the gulf that unfortunately exists between these desires and their satisfaction. Modern man has riches and many discoveries at his disposal, including those of mass media. Should he not be able to face up positively to his urgent duty of making this world a happy and fraternal one? Our predecessors and We, impelled by the Message which Christ entrusted to Us, have not ceased to encourage concern for others, international solidarity, and brotherhood of the human family-all in the service of development, which is «the new name for peace». These are the key to our human and spiritual destiny. Man knows happiness only when he shares it; he cannot bring his religious aspirations to fulfilment unless he has at least a minimum of well-being.
Here, friends, with confidence in your nobility of spirit and with esteem for your power, we turn to you to give this world of ours reasons for living.
At this moment when mankind as a whole is moving towards the attainment of culture, especially when the transistor brings the journalist’s voice into the humblest dwellings, you can be - you must be - the builders of a more just, true and peaceful society. It depends on you more than on many other powerful forces. Be assured that your voice will not be left without an echo. We have trust in man. We believe in the store of goodness in everyone’s heart. We know the motives of justice, truth, renewal, progress and brotherhood that lie at the root of so many wonderful undertakings, and even of so many protests and, unfortunately, of violence at times.
It is up to you not to flatter man but to make him aware of his worth and capabilities. Sow the seed of a true ideal, not the pursuit of selfish interests, which end up by lowering and at times degrading him. No, it must be an ideal to make him grow to his true stature as one created in the likeness of God, an ideal to drive him to surpass himself unceasingly, in order to build jointly the brotherly city to which all aspire and to which all have a right. In so doing, you will have the approval of good men, and you will be able to count on God’s protection.
The Catholic Church, especially since the fresh impulse of «aggiornamento» that sprang from the Council, is going out to encounter man-the same man whose service is your ambition. For «the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties elf the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts» (Gaudium et spes GS 1). Without being bound to any political system or any particular culture, ancient or recent (Cfr. Ibid., 58), the Catholic Church appeals to all its members to undertake, along with all men of goodwill from every race and nation, this peaceful crusade for the good of man. We hope that in that crusade we will all go forward together.
We invoke upon you and your work the all-powerful blessing of God our Father.
It is a real pleasure for us today to welcome in an especially cordial way you who are the descendants of Australia’s first inhabitants. As We express Our affection for you and Our happiness in having your visit, We wish also to say a brief word about your position in today’s world.
We know that you have a life style proper to your own ethnic genius or culture-a culture which the Church respects and which she does not in any way ask you to renounce.
The Church proclaims that you, like al1 other ethnic minorities, have all human and civic rights-in every way the equa1 of those in the majority. You have likewise certain duties and obligations. By reason of the common good, these necessitate the harmonizing of your activities in a spirit of brotherhood and collaboration for the benefit of the society to which you belong.
In this regard, however, it must be clear - and We would like to stress it - that the common good never can be used legitimately as a pretext to harm the positive values of your particular way of life. Society itself is enriched by the presence of different cultural and ethnic elements.
For Us, you and the values which you represent are precious. Me deeply respect your dignity and reiterate Our deep affection for you.
We pray that all the blessings of Christ’s uplifting Gospel may be yours in abundance.
We are happy to reply to your greeting and your welcoming wishes. We wish to express Our respect and esteem for your faith in a God who created man and the universe. As you know, the Catholic Church has wished, particularly during its recent Ecumenical Council, to enter into dialogue with the whole world, and especially with religious people-a dialogue making it possible for us to serve harmoniously all men without distinction of race, belief or opinion. The Church’s purpose in so doing is to promote peace and well-being, those blessings which Gold himself desires that men should have.
This is why We are so happy at this encounter. Rest assured that We will keep you in Our thoughts. We pray to God for you who have come here, for your families, for your country, and for all your dear ones.
We rejoiced when we learned how members of the Jewish community in Australia desired to be associated with the welcome being prepared for Us and that some took part in the work of organization itself. On the occasion of Our visit here We wish to recall a statement of the Second Vatican Council: «Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred Synod wishes to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit above all of biblical and theological studies, and of brotherly dialogues» (Nostra aetate NAE 4). It is Our hope that understanding and respect will lead to esteem and love, and We assure the members of the Jewish community that We have all these feelings in Our heart for them.
We would need more time to give your group the attention which it truly deserves. We are very happy to meet you, you who represent here today the towns and cities of the great nation of Australia, the different colonies of those who have immigrated here and the Red Cross organization.
We have not seen very much of Australia, but in a way it is the whole of Australia that has come to Us in you. Please tell your fellow-citizens how touched the Pope has been by the warmth of your welcome. Please tell them that he wishes them success in the great task of building up this immense country. Let no one forget that upright conduct, both of individuals and of groups, must always be held in the highest esteem for its fundamental worth. It is the essential foundation of harmonious human society. It is the surest guarantee of genuine and lasting human progress.
To you who represent those who have immigrated here, We wish to say that We appreciate how painful it can be to have to leave behind one’s loved ones and one’s native land to go to a new country. Australia, thank God, has given you a warm welcome and for this We congratulate both the public authorities and the leaders of the Church. Without rejecting your own values, try to live in such a way that, by inserting yourselves into the society that has welcomed you, you may ensure for it that unity which is essential for the good of all. Stand fast by your religious convictions, and in this diverse society be the witnesses to the values found in the one Church of Jesus Christ, that Church which down the centuries has skilfully adopted the most different cultural resources and which has entered into the different civilizations in order to present the Christian message to the world (Cfr. Gaudium et spes GS 58).
The Red Cross organization is one that We know very well. How many times has it exercised its beneficient activity and worked side by side with Our Caritas Internationalis and its national branches? In this world still tormented by wars and all too often the victim of natural disasters, the members of the Red Cross continue to provide their voluntary aid and their skilful work in the service of good. The Lord must surely bless a work so profoundly in accord with the Gospel spirit.
To you all We offer Our encouragement. May God bestow most powerful assistance upon those whom you represent.
We express Our profound gratitude to you for the joy you have given Us during Our stay in Sydney. We know what minute preparation and unremitting devotion were behind the faultless organization of the various meetings We have had. Thanks to you, it has been possible for Us during Our stay to come close to a people that is hospitable, dynamic, and united in its diversity. You have thus facilitated the realization of the spiritual aims of Our journey, enabling Us to bring to the greatest possible number of communities the message of joy and peace entrusted to Us by Jesus Christ.
May God reward you a hundredfold.
As a father We joyfully give you, your families and all who helped to make Our stay a success Our blessing.
To all of you assembled here outside the Cathedral We wish to express Our paternal affection and Our deep gratitude for all the manifestations of respect and of filial attachment to the humble successor of Saint Peter which have surrounded Us during Our stay among you.
In a special way We would like to thank those who have so freely and ably given their services to ensure that Our visit to Sydney would be carried out successfully.
We express to all of you Our good wishes for your happiness, your peace and your fidelity to your faith.
With these intentions We call down upon all of you gathered here and upon those who have not been able to come to meet Us an abundance of divine blessings.
Speeches 1970 - Manila, Philippines