Speeches 1998 - 24 October 1998






Monday, 26 October 1998

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Yesterday we celebrated the solemn beatification of Zefirino Agostini, Antônio de Sant'Anna Galvão, Faustino Míguez and Theodore Guérin. Three priests and a virgin, all founders of com- munities of consecrated life. With great joy today I greet you who have come from various parts of the world to take part in this festive event.

I cordially greet all those who have come on pilgrimage for the beatification of Fr Zefirino Agostini, and I extend a special welcome to the Bishop of Verona and to the other Bishops present. I would like to affectionately encourage the Congregation of the Ursuline Daughters of Mary, who are rejoicing that their founder has been raised to the honours of the altar.

In a situation fraught with material and spiritual difficulties on the outskirts of his native Verona, Fr Zefirino Agostini laboured in every way to further the human and Christian rehabilitation of the younger generations; he established ecclesial and social programmes to help the poor and less fortunate and directed the school of Christian doctrine with great dedication.

His zeal was sustained by constant prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. He drew from continual dialogue with God the energy for his intense apostolate. May his teachings and his life inspire all who venerate him as blessed today.

2. It is with great pleasure that I greet the many Brazilian pilgrims who have come to Rome to take part in the solemn beatification of the first blessed born on Brazilian soil, Friar Antônio de Sant'Anna Galvão, also known as Friar Galvão. Guaratinguetá, his native town, must feel very happy that one of its sons has been raised to the honours of the altar. In Bl. Friar Galvão’s home, the family would gather for prayers every night before the image of St Anne, and this drew his attention to the very poor who came to his house; years later, Friar Galvão was to draw thousands of the afflicted, the sick and slaves in search of comfort and light, so much that he became known as “the man of peace and charity”.

Let us ask God that, through the example of Bl. Friar Galvão, the faithful observance of his religious and priestly consecration will serve as an incentive for a new flourishing of priestly and religious vocations, so urgently needed in the Land of the Holy Cross. May this faith, accompanied by the works of charity which transformed Bl. Friar Galvão into the sweetness of God, increase in God’s children that peace and justice which only blossom in a fraternal and reconciled society.

3. I am pleased today to welcome the pilgrims who, accompanied by their Bishops, have come to Rome from Galicia, cradle of the new blessed, Faustino Míguez, and from the other regions of Spain, Latin America and Africa, where the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess carry out the educational ideals of their founder.

Fr Faustino, simple and observant, soon discovered God as a friend who needed him to forge the courage of young people and to alleviate the suffering of the sick. An exemplary Piarist, all his apostolic and educational work was spurred by the pedagogy of love. Humility was his favourite virtue. In his long life he rejected every mark of distinction, since he wished only “to live hidden and to die unknown”. Strong in adversity and firm in obedience, he hoped against all hope, knowing that God draws good from evil.

Dear brothers and sisters, the extraordinary witness of this religious is an invitation to everyone, especially the Calasanctian Sisters, to love deeply the work of education as an indispensable ecclesial service to the Gospel and a benefit to society.

4. Dear brothers and sisters, I warmly welcome the many English-speaking pilgrims present for the beatification of Mother Theodore Guérin. In particular, I extend a special greeting to the Bishops present and to the Sisters of Providence. Mother Theodore reminds men and women today to seek calm and comfort in the heart of Jesus and to draw strength from prayer. Society today is no less in need of the kind of dedication, wisdom and self-giving love which radiates from her life and work. I encourage you to honour her by imitating her. Through the intercession of Bl. Theodore Guérin, may you alway walk in God’s presence, seek his will and bear courageously all the trials which he may permit in your lives.

I am pleased to welcome the French-speaking pilgrims who have come to take part in the beatification ceremony for Mother Theodore Guérin. May the Church in France and in French-speak- ing countries be inspired by her total trust in Providence to continue proclaiming the Gospel!
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5. I offer my cordial greetings to you, dear pilgrims who have wished to come to Rome for the 10th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, to strengthen and renew your faith in Christ and your fidelity to the Church. Dear friends, your presence with the “Successor of Peter who has the chief responsibility for watching over the unity of the Church” (First Vatican Ecumenical Council, First Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus) is especially significant.

In order to safeguard the treasure which Jesus has entrusted to her, and resolutely turned towards the future, it is the Church’s duty to reflect constantly on her link with the Tradition that comes to us from the Lord through the Apostles, as it has been built up throughout history. According to the spirit of conversion in the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente (nn. 14, 32, 34, 50), I urge all Catholics to perform acts of unity and to renew their loyalty to the Church, so that their legitimate diversity and different sensitivities, which deserve respect, will not divide them but spur them to proclaim the Gospel together; thus, moved by the Spirit who makes all charisms work towards unity, they can all glorify the Lord, and salvation will be proclaimed to all nations.

I hope all the members of the Church will remain heirs to the faith received from the Apostles, worthily and faithfully celebrated in the holy mysteries with fervour and beauty, in order to receive grace ever more abundantly (cf. Ecumenical Council of Trent, session VII, 3 March 1547, Decree on the Sacraments) and to live in a deep and intimate relationship with the divine Trinity. While confirming the well-founded good of the liturgical reform desired by the Second Vatican Council and carried out by Pope Paul VI, the Church also shows her understanding for people “who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms” (Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, n. 5). The Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei must be interpreted and applied in this perspective; I hope that it will all be lived in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, in full harmony with Tradition, aiming at unity in charity and fidelity to the Truth.

It is on account of the “Holy Spirit’s activity, by which the whole flock of Christ is maintained in the unity of faith and makes progress in it” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium LG 25), that the Successor of Peter and the Bishops, Successors of the Apostles, teach the Christian mystery; in a quite particular way, gathered in Ecumenical Councils cum Petro and sub Petro, they confirm and affirm the doctrine of the Church, the faithful heir to the Tradition now in existence for almost 20 centuries as a living reality that progresses, giving new energy to the ecclesial community as a whole. The most recent Ecumenical Councils — Trent, Vatican I, Vatican II — were particularly committed to explaining the mystery of faith and undertook the necessary reforms for the Church’s good, while being concerned for continuity with the apostolic Tradition, already noted by St Hippolytus.

Therefore it is primarily the task of the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, to lead the flock with firmness and charity so that the Catholic faith is safeguarded everywhere (cf. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Quinque iam anni; Code of Canon Law CIC 386) and celebrated with dignity. In fact, according to the formula of St Ig- natius of Antioch, “where the Bishop is, there is the Church as well” (Letter to the Smyrneans, VIII, 2). I therefore extend a fraternal invitation to Bishops to show understanding and renewed pastoral attention to the faithful who are attached to the former rite and, on the threshold of the third millennium, to help all Catholics live the celebration of the holy mysteries with a devotion that truly nourishes their spiritual life and is a source of peace.

Dear brothers and sisters, as I entrust you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, perfect model of the sequela Christi and Mother of the Church, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all your loved ones. I cordially greet all the pilgrims who have come to Rome to the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles for the 10th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei. I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all your loved ones.

I warmly welcome the English-speaking pilgrims who have come to venerate the tombs of the Apostles on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei. Upon you and your families, I invoke the almighty God’s abundant blessings.

6. Dear brothers and sisters, when you return home, bring your families and parishes the Pope’s greetings, together with my Apostolic Blessing, which I cordially impart to each of you and to your loved ones.




Monday, 26 October 1998

Your Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Catholic Education, which opened today and will occupy you over the coming days in completing some general guidelines to give better direction to the Church’s educational work. This meeting enables me to express my gratitude to all of you who assist me in the field of education, which is so important for the life of the Church.

I thank Cardinal Pio Laghi for his address and for the best wishes he had the kindness to extend to me on the 20th anniversary of my election to the Chair of Peter. I greet the new Secretary, Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, and express my deep appreciation to the Congregation’s officials for their work, which at times can be unexciting and unnoticed, but is nevertheless invaluable for seminaries, ecclesiastical faculties, Catholic universities and schools, and vocational centres.

2. We are all convinced of the priority of the Church’s educational efforts at every level. We are likewise aware of the difficulties connected with these efforts, which must deal with the technological progress and cultural changes of the present time. The application of new information technologies in the various areas of life and civil society has already caused and will cause even more noticeable changes in the processes of learning, interrelating and personality development. There have been positive results, such as easier communications, the enrichment of interaction and information, the overcoming of borders, but not without negative consequences, such as superficiality, lack of creativity and fragmentation.

In view of this situation, the Church is called to exercise her prophetic role, offering a model of the complete and well-integrated individual. St Paul wrote in his Second Letter to Timothy: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2Tm 3,16). The challenge is to form well-integrated individuals, harmoniously developed in all their abilities and dimensions, individuals who can rise on the two wings of faith and reason towards contemplation of the truth.

To offer this vision of man and to put the relevant pedagogical options into practice is no easy task nor can it be taken for granted. As St Paul reminds us again, “people ... having itching ears ... will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2Tm 4,5). However, like Timothy, we are called to be vigilant so that the Gospel is proclaimed in its integrity and can lead men and women to salvation.

3. In the light of these Pauline texts, I am pleased to read about all the work of your dicastery and the programme for this plenary assembly. The great concern of the Seminaries Office is to see that candidates for the priesthood are given an integral formation, attentive to the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions. In this regard, there is a particularly important relationship between human and spiritual formation. It will be your task to set forth the criteria for using the behavioural sciences in the admission and formation of candidates for the priesthood. I consider it useful to employ the contribution of these sciences for discerning and fostering growth in the human virtues, the capacity for interpersonal relationships, affective-sexual development and education in freedom and conscience. However, it must remain within the limits of their specific fields of expertise and not stifle the divine gift and spiritual inspiration of a vocation or diminish the place of discernment and vocational guidance which is the proper duty of seminary educators.

Another important element of integral formation concerns the full harmony between the educational programme in the strict sense and the theological one, which has a profound impact on the mentality and sensitivity of the students and should thus be co-ordinated with the overall educational plan. I therefore recommend that, wherever possible, theological instruction should be reviewed in relation to priestly formation, and the ratio studiorum of seminaries should be developed in this direction. The Fathers of the Church and the great theologian saints have much to teach us in this task, “non solum discentes sed et patientes divina” (Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, De Divinis Nominibus, II, 9: ), individuals who came to know the Mystery by way of love, “per quandam connaturalitatem”, as St Thomas Aquinas would say (S. Th. , II-II, II-II 9,0, 45, a), and who had an intense experience of their bond with the Churches in which they found themselves working.

4. The vision of a complete, well-integrated individual provides an excellent framework for the efforts that this Congregation’s Universities Office is making to improve the quality of ecclesiastical faculties and universities and to increase the Catholic universities’ awareness of their identity and mission.

In this regard, I would like to recall that, as the Year 2000 draws near, we are also approaching the 10th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, which I meant as a sign of my special concern for Catholic universities. They undoubtedly have a specific task in bearing witness to the Church’s concern to promote comprehensive knowledge, open to all the dimensions of human existence. But, over the years, it seems ever more clear that this specific role of the Catholic university cannot be properly fulfilled without an appropriate expression of its ecclesial nature, of its connection with the Church, at both the local and universal levels.

In this regard a decisive role belongs to the Bishops, who are called to take personal responsibility for the Catholic identity which must characterize these centres. This means that without neglecting the academic requirements for each university to be accepted into the international community of research and knowledge, the Bishops’ role is to accompany and guide those who head the various Catholic universities in carrying out their mission as Catholic institutions, particularly in the area of evangelization. Only in this way will they be able to fulfil their specific vocation: not only to provide their students with tech- nical skills and high-level professional training, but to lead them to human fulfilment and to a willingness to bear witness to the Gospel in society.

5. The Schools Office of your dicastery is also working on the formation of the complete person. The difficulties facing the scholastic world in recent years are obvious to all. They reflect the way of humanity, with its problems and its limitations, but also its hopes and its potential. One need only consider the attention paid to the school by international organizations, government activities and public opinion.

In the historical context in which we live, marked as it is by profound changes, the Church is called, from her own perspective, to make available the vast heritage of her educational tradition by seeking to respond to the ever new demands of humanity’s cultural evolution.

I therefore encourage the particular Churches and the religious institutes responsible for educational institutions to continue investing personnel and resources in a work that is so urgent and essential for the future of the world and the Church, as was clearly reaffirmed in the recent circular letter, The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium.

6. The dynamic principle of the complete and thoroughly well-integrated individual can serve as a frame of reference for the activities carried out by the Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations. This can be easily grasped, if one considers that it is only around the mystery of vocation that the various components of human life can vitally converge.

From this standpoint, contemporary reality is not without cause for concern. Many young people, without a sense of being called, are lost on a sea of information, disparate stimuli and data, experiencing a sort of permanent nomadism without concrete guideposts. Such a situation, often causing a fear of the future and of any definitive commitment, must lead the Pontifical Work to continue resolutely on its way, supporting with appropriate initiatives those who at various levels are responsible for this delicate aspect of the Church’s pastoral care.

I entrust these matters, which you will study during your plenary meeting, to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church and Seat of Wisdom. To her I commend your daily work, dear members and officials of the Congregation for Catholic Education. May Our Lady guide you and accompany you in your service to the Gospel and to the Apostolic See. I assure you that I also follow you closely and accompany you with my prayer. Now I am pleased to impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you and to all seminaries and educational institutions.




Tuesday, 27 October 1998

Mr President,
Dear Academicians,

1. I am pleased to welcome you this morning and to offer you my cordial greetings during the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the changes concerning the concept of nature.I thank Prof. Nicola Cabibbo for his kind words. I cordially greet Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, former Chancellor of your Academy, and I thank Mons. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, who has agreed to succeed him.

The reflection you are engaged in is particularly fitting. In ancient times, Aristotle crafted certain expressions which were taken up and enriched in the Middle Ages and used by St Thomas Aquinas in developing his theological doctrine. One would hope that scientists and philosophers will continue to make their contribution to theological research and to the different forms of human knowledge, so that the mysteries of God, of man and of creation may be more and more deeply understood. The interaction of disciplines, in fraternal dialogue (cf. Encyclical Fides et ratio FR 33), can be very fruitful, for it broadens our vision of what we are and what we are becoming.

2. Down the centuries, the concept of nature has been at issue in many ways, especially in theology and philosophy. The concept developed by Ulpian reduced nature to man’s biological and instinctual aspect (cf. Inst., I, 2). In a certain number of current theories, we again find this temptation to reduce the human being to a purely material and physical reality, making man a being who merely behaves like other living species. The broadening of the scientific field has led to an increase in the senses of this term. In some sciences, it refers to the idea of law or model; in others, it is linked to the notion of regularity and universality; in yet others, it suggests creation, taken in a general way or according to certain aspects of living being; finally in others, it explains the human person in his unique unity and human aspirations. It is also linked to the concept of culture, to express the idea that the gradual formation of man’s personality, in which the elements he has been given — his nature — are combined with the elements acquired from contact with society — the cultural dimension by which man fulfils himself (cf. Aristotle, Politics, I, 2, 11-12). Recent scientific and technological discoveries about creation and man, in what is infinitely small or is infinitely large, have significantly altered the meaning of the concept of nature applied to the visible and intelligible created order.

3. In view of these conceptual differences in the area of scientific and technological research, it would be good to ask ourselves about the senses of this concept, because the repercussions for man and for the way scientists look at him are far from negligible. The princi- pal danger consists in reducing an individual to a thing, or regarding him in the same way as the other elements of nature, thereby relativizing man, whom God has placed at the heart of creation. To the extent that one is primarily interested in elements, one is tempted no longer to grasp the nature of a living being or of creation in their entirety, and to reduce them to a series of elements with multiple interactions. Hence man is no longer seen in his spiritual and corporal unity, in his soul, the spiritual principle in man which serves as the form of his body (cf. Council of Vienne, Constitution Fidei Catholicae , DS DS 902).

4. In Catholic philosophy and theology and in the Magisterium, the concept of nature has an importance which it would be good to point out. First of all, it calls to mind the reality of God in his very essence, thus expressing the divine unity of “the holy and ineffable Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, [who] is one God by nature, of one substance, of one nature, and of one majesty and power” (11th Council of Toledo, DS 525). The same term also explains creation, the visible world which owes its existence to God and is rooted in the creative act by which “the world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness” (Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 338). According to the divine plan, creation finds its purpose in the glorification of its maker (cf. Lumen gentium LG 36). Thus we see that this concept also expresses the meaning of history, which comes from God and advances towards its end, the return of all created things to God; therefore history cannot be understood as cyclical, for the Creator is also the God of salvation history. “It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend, and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Encyclical Fides et ratio FR 34).

Through reason and the various intellectual operations belonging to the nature of man as such (cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 71, a. 2), man “by [his] nature can discover the Creator” (Encyclical Fides et ratio FR 8) from contemplating the work of creation, for the Creator makes himself known through the greatness of his work. Its beauty and the interdependence of created realities spur scientists to admire and respect creation's own principles. “Nature, philosophy’s proper concern, can contribute to the under- standing of divine Revelation” (ibid., n. 43). This rational knowledge does not, however, exclude another form of knowledge, that of faith, based on revealed truth and on the fact that the Lord communicates himself to men.

5. The concept of nature acquires a particular meaning when applied to man, the summit of creation. The only being on earth that God willed for his own sake has a dignity stemming from his spiritual nature which bears the mark of the Creator, for he was created in his image and likeness (cf. Gn Gn 1,26) and endowed with the highest faculties a creature can possess: reason and will. These make him capable of free self-determination and enable him to communicate with God, to answer his call and to fulfil himself in accordance with his own nature. In fact, because he has a spiritual nature, man can receive supernatural realities and attain the eternal happiness freely offered by God. This communication is made possible because God and man are both spiritual beings. This is what Gregory of Nazianzus meant when he spoke of the Lord having assumed our human nature: “Christ heals like by like” (Oratio 28, 13). In the view of this Cappadocian Father, the metaphysical and ontological approach enables us to learn the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, by which Jesus, true God and true man, took on human nature (cf. Gaudium et spes GS 22). Speaking of human nature also reminds us that there is a unity and solidarity belonging to the whole human race. For this reason, man is to be considered “in the full truth of his existence, of his personal being and also of his community and social being” (Encyclical Redemptor hominis RH 14).

6. At the end of our meeting, I encourage you to continue your scientific work in a spirit of service to the Creator, to man and to the whole of creation. Thus human beings will praise God, since all things come from him (cf. 1Ch 29,14); they will respect the dignity of every individual and will find the answer to the fundamental questions about their origin and their ultimate end (cf. Encyclical Fides et ratio FR 1). They will care for creation, which “God willed as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 299), and which is good by its nature (cf. Council of Florence, Bull Cantate Domino , DS DS 1333).

In wishing you fruitful work in a rich dialogue between the different disciplines you represent, I cordially give you my Apostolic Blessing.





29 October 1998

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“With the affection of Christ Jesus” (Ph 1,8), I welcome you to the Vatican as The Across Trust celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, and I join you in giving thanks to God for the many gifts which these years have brought to so many people.

The work of groups like The Across Trust bears witness to the truth that the sick and the suffering are at the very heart of the Gospel. We preach Christ crucified (1Co 1,23) – which means that we preach a strength which comes precisely through weakness (cf. 2Co 12,10). When the ill and infirm are united with Christ, God’s strength enters their lives and, through their very weakness, it touches the world. All of you – the sick and those who care for them – have a particular share in the mystery of the Lord’s Cross, “the Gospel of suffering” (Salvifici Doloris, VI).

Human suffering in fact can show forth the goodness of God: the wound can become a fountain of life (cf. Jn Jn 19,34). The experience of suffering discourages and depresses many people, but in the lives of others it can create a new depth of humanity: it can bring new strength and new insight. The path to understanding this mystery is our faith. When faith turns to prayerful contemplation, it reveals to us all the power of the Lord’s Easter victory: “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor tears nor pain” (Ap 21,4).

I pray that the Risen Christ will be with you all, to sow in your hearts the joy which comes to those who know that “nothing can separate them from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord” (cf. Rom Rm 8,39). May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Mother of all our joys, guard you with a special love. As a pledge of divine strength and peace I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.





29 October 1998

Your Excellency,
Dear Friends,

I warmly welcome the members of your Foundation on the occasion of your meeting in Rome. Your visit comes shortly after the twentieth anniversary of the election of this son of Poland to the See of Peter, and I take the occasion to thank you for your spiritual closeness during these years. The Foundation was established in order to foster the rich spiritual values which are so much a part of Poland’s millennial Christian culture. I am most grateful for your support of this worthy enterprise and your efforts to ensure its future through the establishment of a perpetual endowment fund.

Strengthening the bond between faith and culture is an essential feature of the Church’s mission, and particularly so in this period leading up to the Third Christian Millennium. The new evangelization calls not only for a renewed appreciation of the great cultural heritage which shaped Poland’s past, but also a personal commitment on the part of all believers to building a modern society inspired by the same profound human and spiritual values. During my last Pastoral Visit to Poland I emphasized that “Upon our perseverance in the faith of our fathers, upon the fervour of our hearts and the openness of our minds depends in fact whether the future generations will be led to Christ by the same testimony of holiness that has been left to us by Saint Adalbert, Saint Stanislaus and Queen Saint Hedwig” (Krakow, Angelus Discourse, 8 June 1997).

Dear friends, I pray that your support of the Foundation will bear abundant fruit for the renewal of Christian life and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. I entrust all of you to our Lady of Czhestochowa, whose familiar face accompanies us on our pilgrim way.





Thursday, 29 October 1998

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brother in the Priesthood,

1. As you make your ad limina visit, I am pleased to welcome to this house you who have been given the responsibility of leading God’s People by fulfilling the triple ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing. Members of the Episcopal Conference of the Indian Ocean (CEDOI), in making this pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles you are expressing your living and dynamic communion with the universal Church by meeting the Successor of Peter and those who assist him. I hope that on this occasion your pastoral zeal for the service of the Gospel will be strengthened and that your communities will find a new impetus for their Christian life and their missionary commitment.

thank the President of your Episcopal Conference, Bishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis, Mauritius, for expressing with sensitivity the feelings which motivate you and for having presented the recent developments in the Church’s situation in your region. Through you, I cordially greet the priests, religious, catechists and lay people of your Dioceses, as well as all the peoples who live on the islands of the Indian Ocean. May God fill them with his blessings so that they may always live in peace and solidarity! May I mention here Cardinal Jean Margéot, to whom I ask you to convey my affectionate union in prayer.

2. The context in which you exercise your ministry involves great diversity. I hope that the human and religious groups which constitute each of your regions may actively continue their co-operation in building fraternal and peaceful societies where each person, recognized and accepted with his differences, can rightly participate in the life of society.

The distinctive features of the human situations which you encounter are also a treasure for the witness of universality and unity which the Church of Christ must give among the nations. On the other hand, your widely scattered Dioceses on islands that are often very far apart is a call for you to strengthen collaboration within your Episcopal Conference and to continue developing your relations with the particular Churches that are closest to you, so that the clergy and faithful will find the necessary support for their efforts.

3. As we are about to enter the last preparatory year for the Great Jubilee, the whole Church is invited to broaden her horizons, “so that she will see things in the perspective of Christ: in the perspective of ‘the Father who is in heaven’ (cf. Mt Mt 5,45), from whom the Lord was sent and to whom he has returned (cf. Jn Jn 16,28)” (Tertio millennio adveniente TMA 49). Each one of your communities thus finds itself committed in a particular way to turning its gaze to the Father of all mankind, in order to draw from its intimate relationship with him the source of love that gives it life and to which it has a vocation to witness boldly.

Speeches 1998 - 24 October 1998