Speeches 1972


Thursday, 21 September 1972

Pilgrims to Lourdes! We are happy to welcome you and greet you with the words of the Apostle Peter: “Peace to you all who are in Christ” (1 Petr. 5, 14). Your visit gives us the occasion to express to you our loving and prayerful concern.

But we are even more pleased to have the opportunity to proclaim to you a message which you have heard before, but which always brings joy and consolation, especially to those who suffer. It is simply this: Jesus Christ loves you. He loves you now; he loves you at every moment; he loves you even when you think he seems to be far away. Let this love dwell and grow in you, for in this way you are friends of Jesus.

You are also associated with Christ in the building up of his Church, because through the power of your faith and your love you help to make the Church a people who love their Lord in every circumstance of life. Your patience, your courage, your faith transform your suffering. You become imitators of Jesus Christ, who suffered so much for our salvation. And through your good example you help those around you to face the contradictions of their lives with greater tranquillity and confidence in God.

Suffering is a great mystery, but through the grace of Jesus Christ it becomes a sure path to eternal life.

May the Lord give you his grace always, and may you become more and more holy through his presence in you.

With our Apostolic Blessing.



Monday, 25 September 1972

It is a pleasure for us to greet today the President and members of the Boy Scouts World Committee.

We are aware that the Scout movement counts among its members more than fifteen million boys and young men, not to speak of the millions of adults throughout the world who were Scouts in their young days. The movement is indeed one of great potential for good. Its aim is to train young people in initiative, self-reliance, a sense of responsibility and the team-spirit. The training is based upon the well-known principles of Scouting, among which we would single out those of service of God and country, and of world friendship and brotherhood.

Yours is a great responsibility. We live in a world that is undergoing change. It is a world in which people all too easily lose sight of enduring values, in which the purpose of life can become obscured. Some even turn their backs entirely upon their duties to their fellowmen. Through your training and example, numberless young people are able to gain a true perspective, and the values which Scouting puts before them will help them to become worthy leaders of tomorrow’s world.

It is our hope that the Scouting movement will continue to be a powerful force in instilling true and lasting values, and thus become an instrument for bringing about a world based on friendship and worldwide brotherhood, a world in which peace and justice will at last be firmly established.

We pray that your efforts on behalf of youth will be rewarded, and we invoke upon you the abundant blessing of God.

October 1972




Monday, 2 October 1972

Mr Ambassador,

We are pleased to welcome you and to receive the Letters of Credence appointing you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Republic of Tanzania to the Holy See. We thank you for the good wishes which you have expressed on behalf of your President, His Excellency Julius K. Nyerere, and all the people of your country.

We are very appreciative also of your words in regard to our efforts for peace. Peace is our constant concern, and together with all men of good will we lament its absence in so many areas of the world. But we must never forget that at the root of conflict and violence there often lies a history of injustice. It is against injustice of every sort, therefore, that we have dedicated so much of our effort.

You have spoken kindly of the Church’s contribution to the socio-economic development of man. We assure you of the Church’s continuing commitment to the work of freeing men and women everywhere from the injustices and hardships that keep them from attaining the fulness of their dignity as human beings. This commitment manifests itself most concretely in initiatives that are undertaken on behalf of the developing nations.

The Church continues the work of Christ, whose concern for man’s spiritual welfare overflowed into deeds of compassion and love towards the hungry, the poor and the sick. In imitation of their Lord the followers of Christ rightly seek to help men and women everywhere free themselves from conditions that threaten to diminish the image of God in them.

But we must also strive for the conversion of men’s minds and hearts to the importance of the work of development. We hope and pray for a growing conviction and dedication to this on the part of all, but especially among the citizens of the richer nations.

In expressing the Church’s unswerving commitment to the economic and social progress of man, we wish to assure your Government and your fellow-citizens of our prayerful good wishes for the success of your efforts to achieve a well-being that takes into account not only man’s material needs, but also his needs as a spiritual and social being. We cordially invoke upon your President, your Government and all the beloved people of Tanzania the guidance, the strength and the wisdom of Almighty God and to yourself we offer our special good wishes for the successful accomplishment of your mission.

*AAS 64 (1972), p.673-674;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. X, p.1004-1005;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1972, p.364-365;

OR 2-3.10.1972, p.1;

ORa n.41 p.5, 10.


Wednesday, 4 October 1972

Mr Prime Minister,

It is a great pleasure for us to receive you today, and we wish to assure you of our cordial appreciation of your visit.

From the beginning of our Pontificate, one of our main aims has been to work for the establishment of justice and peace. We are well aware that Great Britain shares this ideal: that peace may finally reign throughout the world, and that violence, wherever it may manifest itself and in whatever form, should be rejected and condemned. Great Britain is about to forge closer links with her European neighbours, to whom she will be able to offer her special historical and political experience. In so doing, not only will she be furthering the cause of the brotherhood of all men, but she will also be bringing closer the day when the goal of universal peace and justice will finally be attained.

We note with satisfaction the part played by Great Britain on the international level, especially by her membership in worldwide organisations. May the Lord favour every initiative which she may undertake for the benefit of the less fortunate members of the human family.

It is likewise our prayerful hope that peace in justice may soon be established in Northern Ireland, concerning which our thoughts and our anxieties are well known to you. We trust that whatever obstacles hinder the solution of the present problem will speedily be eliminated. We extend our good wishes to all those authorities who are sincerely and patiently trying to solve this problem without violence and in a peaceful, just and fair way.

We would ask you to convey our respectful greetings to Her Majesty the Queen, with the assurance of our prayer that God may ever assist her and endow her with every good gift.

Our greetings go also to the whole British people, which includes a flourishing Catholic community. We know that we can assure you that the members of that community, by their dedicated participation in the life of the nation, will ever continue to be among the first to favour every undertaking for the common good.

In expressing once more our pleasure at this meeting, we invoke upon you, Mr Prime Minister, and upon your colleagues the abundance of God’s blessings.

*AAS 64 (1972), p.674-675;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. X, p.1013-1014;

OR 5.10.1972 p.1;

ORa n.41 p.3.



Thursday, 5 October 1972

It is a great pleasure for us today to greet the group of priests who are celebrating forty years in the priesthood.

We can easily understand what memories this occasion has for you and what significance you attach to such an anniversary as this. We wish to tell you in very simple words that we are especially close to you at this time; we willingly associate ourself with you as you render your thanksgiving to the Father through Jesus Christ the High Priest.

We know that you have lived these years with faith and love and that your lives have been an oblation of singlehearted service to the Lord and to his brethren; we know that this oblation has had great value and efficacy because it has been united with Christ’s sacrifice of love.

Despite human limitations you have been able to bring a salvific message to God’s people and you have been able to minister to their needs, bringing to them the strength and joy of the Gospel.

It is our intention today to express our gratitude for what you and so many of your brother priests throughout the world have done, working as God’s humble ministers and acting through the power of his grace. But even more, it is our intention to confirm you in your act of faith and in your fidelity to the ministry of love which you have shared all these years with Jesus Christ, who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebr. 13, 8). We likewise encourage you to go forward tirelessly in your mission of serving the community and bringing to it the uplifting and transforming love and justice of the Lord.

We pray for each of you to have deep joy in Christ Jesus. “May he strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God” (1Th 3,13). And may he give you his peace in abundance.



Thursday, 26 October 1972

Beloved sons in Jesus Christ,

It is a joy - a great joy - for us today to receive this group of Vocation Directors from England and Wales. We are indeed pleased to have this happy occasion to address to you a word of encouragement, support and blessing.

The message that we have for you, and for all the Vocation Directors of the world who may hear these words of ours, is above all one of confidence in the Lord. It is a message that comes from our heart.

Your task of promoting vocations is an arduous one; there are many difficulties inherent in it. In every age of the Church your ministry requires much effort; today it involves a most special and unremitting dedication. It is necessary to follow closely the mentality of young people, to know them well and to be their friends. It is necessary to appreciate the obstacles that they face and the particular pressures they encounter in being modern Christians.

But it is likewise necessary for you to meditate on the riches of God’s grace and to realize fully the ever-present attraction of Christ’s priesthood in each generation till the end of time. In this regard, we say to you today: beloved sons, never underestimate the efficacy of Christ’s salvific work, of his redemptive life, passion and death. And never forget the undying and inexhaustible power of his Resurrection. The power of these mysteries of Christ are the source of renewed life and perpetual energy and enthusiasm in the People of God. The power of these mysteries is the source of new vocations in the Church.

It has always been so. And you can be assured that the vital activity of the Holy Spirit is not lacking in stirring up vocations in our own age.

Be confident therefore that Christ’s invitation is still extended personally in the hearts of young people: “You did not choose me; no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last . . .” (Jn 15,16). It is up to you to help awaken a consciousness of this calling, to counsel generosity in accepting it and perseverance in fulfilling it. You know that you yourselves must radiate authentic Christian joy and that your ministry cannot be devoid of personal prayer and penance. And in the Eucharistic celebration the entire community of God’s people must be united in begging “the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest” (Mt 9,37).

And so, beloved sons, in Nomine Domini go forward in your work, with determination and with the realization of cooperating vitally in the mission of perpetuating Christ’s ministerial priesthood and the entire salvific plan of God the Father. And may peace and grace be yours in abundance.

November 1972



Friday, 3 November 1972

Dear Brothers in Christ,

We are pleased to welcome you to Rome and are happy that you have wished to express your faith and devotion by visiting us. We greet you, and through you we send our greetings to all of the beloved People of God who are in your pastoral care.

What word would you expect to hear from the Pope? What message can he give that you can carry back to your people? Certainly it is the message of faith, an exhortation to believe in Christ and on Christ, an encouragement to open the soul ever more widely to the illuminating graces of revelation, to an ever more full-hearted acceptance of divine reality and the divine sense of values. That light must not be allowed to grow dim through distraction or sophistication, through the confusion of materialism or the false promises of pleasure.

To the message of faith we would add that of joyful hope. God is with us, and there is no strength equal to his strength, no power equal to his power, no promise equal to his promise. That which he asks of us and which we recognise through our faith may be difficult and demanding; but the yoke and the burden are rendered sweet by the gentle Christ, the powerful Christ, the understanding and sustaining Saviour of his People.

The message of the Pope, then, is one of faith and hope which finds fulfilment in love. As the Father has loved his Son, so the Son has loved us; we can indeed abide in his love. We can abide in his love, quietly secure in the fact of God’s love for us and in the enriching privilege of our capacity to love him and one another, through the grace that he has given us. We can be one, with him and with each other, building up all the while that magnificent temple of God which is his Church. The greatest commandment, the greatest privilege, the greatest destiny is to love God and to love his People. This is the message that we would give to you.

We welcome you once again and greet you as the Vicar of Christ and the humble Successor of Peter. With the assurance of our prayers, we gladly impart to you and to the entire beloved Churches of Southwark, Clifton and Nottingham our Apostolic Blessing.



Saturday, 11 November 1972

It is a joy and a pleasure for us to receive this morning His Eminence Archbishop Paavali, Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland, and to extend a greeting of grace and peace in Jesus Christ. For us this visit constitutes a precious moment of brotherhood and of deep spiritual communion.

Through Your Eminence we greet all the members of your Church and express our esteem for your beloved people. We know that there is a good spirit of collaboration existing between your Church and the Catholic Church and for this we render humble thanks to God our Father. It is our prayer that this spirit of cooperation will develop under the action of the Holy Spirit and one day culminate in that perfect ecclesial communion and Eucharistic sharing willed by Christ.

To this same Lord we raise our hearts in humble supplication, asking him to give us strength and courage to pursue his blessed will in perseverance and with strong faith and genuine love. At the same time we profess our complete fidelity “to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ep 3,20).

We thank Your Eminence for this visit and assure you of our prayerful support and fraternal affection in the Lord.



Thursday, 23 November 1972

Dear Brothers in Christ,

We are very happy to welcome you, our brother bishops and fellow labourers in the vineyard of the Lord, to the centre of the Christian Church. As the successor of Peter we greet you and send our greetings to your beloved people in your beautiful country, which we had the pleasure of visiting many years ago.

We bishops have been called by the High Priest himself to be shepherds of our flocks. Never before has the need to be good shepherds been more urgent. The flock need us; they need the light we can bring, they need our presence, they need our love. In the face of confusion and materialism, the shepherd must be the first to bear the light and show the way. The frightened and the wandering must find in us a sure and secure rock upon which they can stand, upon which they can depend. Like the shepherds of ancient Israel, we must make our presence felt, we must continually tell the sheep that we are there, lest they lose their bearings and fall easy prey to the wolf that would devour them. Most of all, we must show our flock that they are loved and not alone. We must know them; they must know us. And we should be ever ready to lay down our very lives on their behalf.

Who would suppose that our mandate can be taken lightly or fulfilled effortlessly? We have been entrusted with the awesome task of safeguarding and transmitting the wisdom of the ages; we have been commanded to show the way, to bring the light, to preach the truth of the Gospel. We have been asked to be nothing less than the presence of Christ himself in his world. Nothing less can be expected of us; nothing more could be demanded of us.

What, then, would the Pope say to you as you visit him? His first word would be one of encouragement. It is not the task of man that we are asked to carry out; it is the task of God. Nor are we expected to carry it out with man’s strength alone; we are assured of the strength of God. We have the promise of his grace, and that grace can and will overcome every weakness. The Pope would also assure you of his affection for yourselves and for your people. The climate of the Church is a climate of love, an atmosphere of charity, which reflects the love of Christ for his people. In that love, and for that love, we live and have reason for our being.

As a sign of our affection, and as a pledge of our prayers that God will grant many graces to you, to your people and to your beloved country, we impart our special Apostolic Blessing.



Wednesday, 29 November 1972

We are happy to greet the participants of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education. You are well aware of how much the Church prizes endeavours such as the one in which you are engaged. Recent years have seen a great expansion in the content and method of the theological sciences. You are to be praised for the interest in theological renewal which has brought you to Rome in order to draw upon the rich resources found here.

You know that questions concerning religion continue to be asked, even by the most highly educated. Thus theological renewal offers important pastoral assistance, for it enables the priest to speak with broader learning and surer knowledge.

As you return to your homeland, we are confident that you will remember always what is the most important thing: it is your life with Jesus. May he enrich your prayer with his joy and peace; may he deepen your study with his wisdom and understanding; may he render your work more effective with the power of his love and grace. For this purpose we gladly impart to you our special Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 1972