Speeches 1976 - Saturday, 12 July 1975



Wednesday, 10 September 1975

Mr President,

As we receive today Your Excellency and the members of your entourage, we intend to give yet another attestation of our respect, esteem and love for Uganda.

We have had many opportunities to do this recently: we have had the repeated pleasure of speaking to the various pilgrim groups who have come from your country to this city of Rome, and we have often evoked our memorable visit to Uganda and the special bonds of affection that join us to the Ugandan people. And our voice has been loud and clear in exhorting the pilgrims to be strong in their religious faith and its consequences, which are to render service as exemplary citizens and to love their brethren. We are very pleased to have these pilgrimages and we are indeed grateful for the assistance that has been generously rendered in making them possible. And you may be sure that our exhortation is today and always a message of brotherhood and peace, a call for love and service.

Just a few days ago we were pleased to receive Your Excellency’s reply with regard to some recent events concerning Catholic missionaries in Uganda, assuring us that foreign religious personnel would always be welcome in your country, as well as their contribution towards the development-both spiritual and material-of the local communities.

We are happy to repeat what we have already expressed in writhing to Your Excellency: namely, that the Catholics in Uganda, and the foreign missionaries who assist them, are ever ready to collaborate, within the limits of their possibilities, with other Christian and non-Christian bodies for the welfare of all the people of your nation. Moreover, we look forward to the day when, thanks also to the untiring efforts of the missionaries, it will be possible to hand over the direction of Church activities completely to the sons of Uganda, in whom we are pleased to reiterate our full confidence.

On this auspicious occasion we willingly invoke again upon Uganda the choicest blessings of the Almighty.

*AAS 67 (1975), p.536-537.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.914-915.

L’Osservatore Romano, 11.9.1975, p.1.

ORa n.38 p.2.



Monday, 15 September 1975

Venerable Brothers,

As the United States exults in her first native-born Saint, and as the whole world recognizes the authentic fruits of sanctity produced in your beloved country, we wish to extend to you our joyful felicitations in Christ Jesus. We are one with you in the extraordinary joy of this event, just as we are one with you in all the successes and disappointments, the burdens and challenges of your apostolic ministry.

We share, moreover, Brethren, you hopes for the future. Indeed, our hope for America is so great that we look forward in prayerful expectation, if God so wills, to a “second spring” in the life of the Church in the land of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. For we are convinced that the action of the Holy Spirit is ever intense in the midst of your people, stirring up new fruits of holiness and justice, and leading many to discover that the message of the Cross is truly “the power of God” (1Co 1,18).

And as we turn our thoughts to the future, we pray that the faithful will open their hearts ever more to the grave of God and be increasingly receptive to the word of Christ. Thus with Saint Paul we do not hesitate. to say to you, the Bishops of this great Church: “. . . proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience but do all with patience and the intention of teaching . . . Make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work in thoroughgoing service” (2Tm 4,2 2Tm 4,5). And we are confident that the merits of Christ will continue to produce great holiness in all walks of life.

The very meaning, however, of the Canonization of Saint Elizabeth Seton impels us to express our good wishes, filled with loving hope, for Religious Life in the United States. Through you, the Bishops, we say to all the Religious: “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith” (Hebr. 12, 2). Jesus, and Jesus alone, is our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification, our redemption (Cfr 1Co 1,30).

Through the powerful example of joyful love and of selfless service rendered by Religious, may the young people of America again find attraction in Christ’s invitation to follow him and to be witnesses of the transcendence of his love. Our earnest prayer therefore for all Religious is that they may base all their activity on the power of God and not on the deceptive wisdom of the world, and that they may recognize for their lives the absolute necessity of prayer and of the transforming power of the Eucharist: source of all the Church’s power (Cfr . Sacrosanctum Concilium SC 10). After the shining example of Elizabeth Seton may they have renewed conviction that Christ offers them complete fulfillment in their vocation of consecrated love and ecclesial service.

Our thoughts on this occasion likewise turn spontaneously to parochial and other Catholic schools in your nation. We bless the providence of God that raised up Mother Seton to inaugurate this important work. We render homage to those who have expended their lives to communicate Christ through the apostolate of the school, and to give to generations of young Americans true education imbued with Christian principles. In this regard, Brethren, we know the difficulties involved in preserving the Catholic schools, and the uncertainties of the future. And yet we rely on the help of God and on your own zealous collaboration and untiring efforts, so that the Catholic schools can continue, despite grave obstacles, to fulfill their providential role at the service of genuine Catholic education, and at the service of your country.

The example of Saint Elizabeth Seton presents an ever urgent challenge to the entire Church of God and in particular to her fellow citizens. We pray that the Church in the United States will indeed be faithful to her mission on behalf of those who endure suffering in various forms-spiritual and material poverty, sickness, loneliness, lack of understanding, deprivation of rights-on behalf of those on the margin of society, those without hope. Despite the secularism of the modern world, which we must confront with the wisdom of the Cross-a secularism that detests truth, sanctifies hedonism, consecrates violence, denies liberty and justice, and destroys life-millions of our brothers and sisters are calling out from their need and misery. And if we listen we can hear what Philip heard-the urgent call and anguished plea of the crowd: “We wish to see Jesus” (Jn 12,21). And We must show Jesus to the world. Jesus and no substitute.

And finally let us express our great confidence in the intercession of Elizabeth Seton for the true progress of ecumenism in your country, in which much has been done to promote Christian brotherhood and mutual love. With the Second Vatican Council we would exhort all your people “to remember that the more purely they strive to live according to the Gospel, the more they are fostering and even practising Christian unity” (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 7). And so we do not cease to call for renewal, convinced as we are “ that conversion of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement and can rightly be called «spiritual ecumenism»” (Ibid. 8).

Beloved Brethren, there are many other things that we would like to speak to you about. But our message today is one of deep gratitude for your ministry and of fraternal affection and esteem for you and for our brother Bishops at home. It is, moreover, a message of supreme confidence in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and in the power of his Cross and Resurrection. And as we send our paternal greetings to our Catholic sons and daughters, we likewise cordially invoke upon all the citizens of the United States the blessings of true progress and peace, with liberty and justice for all!



Saturday, 20 December 1975

Mr Ambassador,

We are very happy to have received from Your Excellency the Letters of Credence appointing you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and we extend to you a sincere welcome.

We gladly reciprocate the kind wishes which you have brought to us in the name of His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II, to whom we ask you to transmit our cordial greetings.

Your generous commendation of the Holy See’s contribution to the solution of the human problems facing the world today is especially appreciated. When we were privileged to be in Africa we said: “The Christian life is of great importance even for our earthly life; it is of importance for all living together in society: for the family, the school, for work; for peace between all social classes, between the tribes, between the nations” (Address at the Sanctuary of Namugongo, 2 August 1969: AAS 61, 1969, PP 589-590).

There are still, unfortunately, various forms of discrimination which militate against peace among men; in particular the racial discrimination to which you have alluded, and which causes us such sorrow. Opposition to such violations of human rights must indeed be by peaceful means, but it must still be vigorous and compelling. It is the task of peace-loving men and the mission of the Church to replace these evils by gently inculcating into the hearts of all men a recognition of God’s dominion and of man’s dignity.

Mr Ambassador, in welcoming Holy Year pilgrims from Lesotho this week, we asked that when they returned home they should “tell everyone of our love and esteem in the Lord” (L’Osservatore Romano, 18 December 1975). In asking you to convey this same message to the authorities and to all the people of your beloved country, we assure you that our concern for Lesotho will continue to be heartfelt and sincere. The Church’s commitment to charitable work there for the good of the whole man will certainly not weaken. You have the pledge likewise of whatever assistance is possible. To this, add also our prayers, remembering that every time we pray for all of you, we pray with joy (Cfr . Phil Ph 1,4).

To yourself we give the promise of the Holy See’s willing cooperation in the fulfilment of your mission.

*AAS 68 (1975), p.124-125.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.1536-1537.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1975, p.423-424.

L'Osservatore Romano 21.12.1975, p.1.

ORa 1976 n.1 p.2.

Speeches 1976 - Saturday, 12 July 1975