Speeches 2001 - Friday, 30 March 2001

Many times I myself have suggested the image of a Europe that breathes with both lungs, not only from the religious but also from the cultural and political standpoint. Since the beginning of my Petrine ministry I have constantly stressed that European civilization must be built on recognition of the "value of the human person and his inalienable basic rights, the inviolability of life, freedom and justice, fellowship and solidarity" (cf. Address to the 76th Bergedorf Dialogue on "The Division of Europe and the Possibility of Overcoming This Situation", 17 December 1984; Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII/2 [1984], 1607).

3. I also wished to devote two Special Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops to the Church in Europe, one in 1991 and the other in 1999. Particularly the latter, whose theme was "Jesus Christ, Alive in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe", vigorously stressed that Christianity can make a substantial and decisive contribution of renewal and hope to the European continent, offering with renewed enthusiasm the ever timely message of Christ, the only Redeemer of man.

The Church, "by the power of the risen Lord, is given strength to overcome, in patience and in love, her sorrows and her difficulties, both those that are from within and those that are from without, so that she may reveal in the world faithfully ... the mystery of her Lord" (Lumen gentium, LG 8). With this in mind, you too, dear brothers and sisters, are called to take up the task of reawakening and cultivating in European Christians the commitment to bear witness to the Gospel of hope. To do this, you will need a new missionary season that involves all the members of the Christian people.

Your Commission and the continent's Episcopates are appropriately dedicating themselves to the religious and cultural formation of the faithful and to the ongoing guidance of those responsible for European unification at all levels. The building of a new Europe, in fact, calls for men and women endowed with human wisdom and a clear sense of discernment based on a sound anthropology that is not detached from a personal experience of divine transcendence.

4. In today's world there is sometimes a conviction that man can create on his own the values he needs. Society would often like to delegate the determination of its goals to rational calculation, technology or majority interest. It must be firmly stressed that the dignity of the human person is rooted in the Creator's plan, so that the rights flowing from it are not subject to the arbitrary interventions of the majority, but must be recognized by all and kept at the centre of every social plan and political decision. Only an integral vision of reality, inspired by perennial human values, can help strengthen a community of freedom and solidarity.

Those responsible for governing, for drafting laws and for administering public affairs must constantly look to the human being and his basic requirements. In this area the Church will not fail to make her specific contribution. An expert in humanity, she knows that the first task of any society is to protect the authentic dignity of human beings and the common good, as the Second Vatican Council said: "The common good embraces the sum total of all those conditions of social life which enable individuals, families and organizations to achieve complete and efficacious fulfilment" (Gaudium et spes, GS 74).

5. Dear brothers and sisters, for this effort to be effective, it must be preceded and accompanied by prayer. It is by humbly and confidently turning to God that we can draw the indispensable light and courage to communicate the Gospel of hope and peace to others. Only by setting out from Christ and his message of salvation is it possible to build the civilization of love. May the Virgin Mary, venerated in so many shrines throughout the European continent, sustain you in your apostolic and missionary work.

With these wishes, as I encourage you to continue your praiseworthy service to the European cause, I cordially bless you all.



Saturday, 31 March 2001

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. Rejoicing in "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ep 3,8), I welcome you, the Bishops of Japan, on your visit ad Limina Apostolorum, a veritable pilgrimage in the spirit of communion with the universal Church and with the Successor of Peter. Through you, I greet the entire household of God in your land, "giving thanks at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership in the Gospel" (Ph 1,3-4).

In the Year of the Great Jubilee, the whole Church gave thanks for the endless graces of the two thousand years since the Saviour’s birth; and in greeting you now, I cannot fail to praise God for the heritage of Christian faith which has flourished in Japan from the day when Saint Francis Xavier first set foot on your shores. The early missionaries taught the Christians of Japan a profound reverence for the majesty of God, a high esteem for the Redemption, a fervent love for the crucified Saviour and a resolute shunning of sin. They appealed to your people’s innate sense of the transience of earthly things and fearlessness in the face of death, stirring in them a love for the things of heaven and the eternity found above. As a result, the early centuries of Christianity in Japan were indelibly marked by the courage and steadfastness of your martyrs. Their heroic witness not only adorns your past with the splendor of the crucified Lord, it also indicates the path of the present and future vocation and commitment of Japanese Christians.

2. In the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, I pondered the story of the miraculous catch of fish which we find in the Gospel of Saint Luke (5:1-11). Duc in altum!: these were the words that echoed in my mind as I looked back upon the grace of the Great Jubilee and forward to the future for which the Jubilee was an excellent preparation. Not only in Japan, but in many parts of the world, Pastors can be left feeling as Peter did when Jesus commanded him to cast his nets out into the deep for a catch. We labor with all our might to make a catch; yet at times we are left feeling that we have caught little or nothing and that, for the time being at least, there is nothing there to catch. Yet Jesus says: Put out your nets! Faith assures us that the Lord knows our world better than we do, that he sees into the deep waters of the human soul and of the culture which you are called to evangelize.

History shows that times which seem particularly difficult for the proclamation of Jesus Christ and resistant to his Gospel can also be the most rewarding. There are in fact many signs of a widespread hunger for the deeper things of the Spirit (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, NM 33). Christ is calling us to "an exciting work of pastoral revitalization" (ibid.,29). With imagination and courage we must seek to apply to the world of our day the ageless program of the Gospel, and to present to all who will listen the endlessly attractive figure of the Lord Jesus and the truth of his Gospel, "the power of God for salvation" (Rm 1,16).

3. The necessary inculturation of the faith in the context of Japanese society cannot be the result of a preconceived plan or theory, but must be born of the lived experience of the whole People of God in a continuous dialogue of salvation with the society in which they live. In guiding this dialogue, the Pastors of the Church in Asia have a delicate and vitally important duty to fulfil, which the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops dealt with at length, offering guidelines which I reported in the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia. The close bonds between religion, culture and society make it particularly difficult for the followers of Asia’s great religions to be open to the mystery of the Incarnation and to conceive of Jesus as the one and only Savior. The proclamation of Christ therefore requires a careful and protracted effort to translate exactly the truths of the faith into categories more readily accessible to Asian sensibilities and the mentality of your people. The challenge is to present the "Asian face of Jesus" in a way that is in perfect harmony with the Church’s whole mystical, philosophical and theological tradition.

The Good News of God’s love manifested in Jesus Christ is good news for everyone, for it concerns the meaning of our human existence and destiny. As the well-known text of the Second Vatican Council states: "It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear" (Gaudium et Spes GS 22). At a time when many are confused about the meaning of life or are searching for a light to clarify the many existential and moral questions which trouble them, the truth about our human condition is the essential basis for building a culture and a society worthy of the image of God inherent in every man and woman. When there is an effort to build progress and prosperity without reference to God, bringing incalculable damage to the dignity of the human person, the Church has a duty to remind people of what is essential: the truth, goodness, justice and respect for all. To present this reality is a fundamental form of solidarity with our fellow human beings. To proclaim this to society is an excellent form of pastoral charity.

4. In responding to the yearning of the human spirit, we fully rely on God’s grace while we recognize also the need for careful and confident pastoral planning (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, NM 29). The challenges before your pastoral ministry are many and complex. Happily now, the right to religious freedom is fully recognized in your land and the days of persecution are a thing of the past. Yet pressures of another kind have emerged to beset the faith and challenge your ministry. Some of these challenges are common to the Church in all developed countries, and others are particular to your own country.

As so often happens, affluence brings with it an array of problems, the roots of which are to be found in the human heart. While some enjoy the benefits of material progress, others are left at the margins, in new and sometimes particularly degrading forms of poverty. When a consumerist mentality takes hold, people are absorbed by the concern for "having", to the detriment of "being". The harmony of the spirit is fragmented, and the result is dissatisfaction and the inability to build interpersonal relationships and assume a commitment of self-giving love and service of others. How many people, even among the affluent, are threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination! Some of the ways in which people seek relief are extremely self-defeating and destructive of individuals and society: violence, drugs and suicide come immediately to mind. But, as Pastors of souls, you are fully aware of the truth of what Saint Paul writes to the Romans: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (5:20). It is your confidence in this grace of God which gives you hope and strength in facing the challenges before you, and it is true pastoral charity which urges you to gather all the energies of the communities entrusted to your pastoral care in a great and generous effort to bring the Gospel to bear more visibly and more effectively on the situation in which you live.

5. In the climate of prayer surrounding your visits to the tombs of the Apostles it will perhaps be more easy to reaffirm that the goal of all pastoral planning and activity is holiness according to the standards of the Beatitudes (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, NM 31). The call to holiness, while it applies in specific ways to Bishops, priests and Religious men and women, is, as Chapter 5 of Lumen Gentium stresses, a universal call. There are different ministries and different roles in the Church, but this cannot mean that some are called to holiness and others are not. Everyone who is baptized is drawn into the holiness of God, and therefore "it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, NM 31).

In a sense, the holiness of clergy and religious is intended as a service to lay people, enabling them to grow more and more in the way of holiness, so that they can fulfil their baptismal vocation. A laity imbued with Christian virtue to a heroic degree is not a novelty in the history of the Church in Japan. In the list of your martyrs the names of lay people figure prominently, and when difficulties persisted for long periods it was the laity who passed on an ardent faith from one generation to the next. The truth is that holy Pastors will produce holy lay people, and from among those holy lay people there will come the vocations to the priesthood and religious life which the Church needs in every time and place. We must keep this vision of complementarity and collaboration in mind, so that the relationship between clergy and laity will reflect more and more the communion (koinonia)which is the Church’s very nature.

6. One of the principal objectives of your pastoral planning in union with your collaborators will be to help Christian communities in Japan to become more than ever "genuine schools of prayer", "where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly ‘falls in love’" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, NM 33). Such prayer is more than comfort and strength in the disciple’s life: it is also the well-spring of evangelization. It is from a new depth of prayer and contemplation that a "new evangelization" will come.

A specific renewal of pastoral activity and methodology is required in parishes and communities which are being transformed by an influx of immigrants, many of whom are Catholics. These brothers and sisters in the faith are in most cases going through the difficulties of adjusting to an unfamiliar situation with very little resources. They are often friendless, linguistically disadvantaged and culturally estranged, with negative consequences for work opportunities, the education of their children and even necessary services such as health care and legal protection. Many are not well instructed in the faith, and are greatly in need of spiritual as well as material support. Every effort must be made to meet their legitimate needs and to make them feel welcome in the Catholic community. The Church cannot but oppose all forms of discrimination and injustice, working with determination to act on behalf of those who are exploited or have no voice of their own.

A "new evangelization" in Japan will also mean a discerning but generous openness to the communities and movements which the Holy Spirit is raising up in the Church as a special fruit of the Second Vatican Council. It is often in such groups that people, especially the young, find the spiritual fervor and experience of community which leads them to a personal encounter with Christ and makes them in turn missionaries of the new millennium. Clearly these communities and movements have to work in union with the Bishops and priests, and in full harmony with the pastoral life of the local Churches. It is the Bishops’ task to "test everything and hold fast what is good" (1Th 5,21).

7. Dear Brother Bishops, the good seed has been planted in the rich soil of Japan (cf. Lk Lc 8,8). The work of Saint Francis Xavier and the first missionaries, which has borne such fruit in the past, will continue to bear abundant fruit as long as their memory is cherished and venerated. The witness of the Japanese martyrs will not cease to show forth "the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2Co 4,6); the heroic fidelity of those Japanese Christians who secretly held to their faith for centuries despite persecution and a lack of priests is surely a guarantee that the fruitful encounter between the faith and Japanese culture can come about at the deepest levels of mind and heart.

Entrusting you, and the priests, religious and all Christ’s faithful in Japan to Mary, "Mother of the New Creation and Mother of Asia" (Ecclesia in Asia, ), I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in her divine Son.


Saturday, 31 March 2001

Your Eminence,
Mr President,
Distinguished Scholars!

1. I willingly receive today from the management of the prestigious Enciclopedia Italiana the powerful work, in a very beautiful format, that was prepared on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. The three volumes of the Enciclopedia dei Papi are one of the most important cultural fruits of the Jubilee Year. I sincerely thank you for this truly precious gift.

It is an exceptional work, created by no less than 137 collaborators from about 12 different countries, under the direction of eminent experts. With careful scientific discipline and rich, original iconography, the encyclopedia attests to the surprising continuity of the papacy throughout the events of history. At the same time it offers an extensive view of the 2,000 years of Christianity which have just ended. This is pointed out by Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in his scholarly introduction. I extend my cordial greeting to him, and thank him for his kind words expressing your common sentiments. I also greet the President of Treccani and all present who are involved in the work in various ways.

This monumental achievement, already considered an indispensable point of reference by scholars, is destined to make a substantial contribution at the dawn of the third millennium not only to the history of the Church, but to culture itself.

2. The papacy has marked humanity's history, begining with the events of an unknown fisherman of Galilee, Simon son of John, to whom Christ gave the name Peter. I am his humble Successor in 2,000 years of continuity which have not been exempt from harsh trials, to the point of martrydom. Peter was first of all a martyr who, by shedding his blood in the capital of the Empire, made Rome the centre of Christianity. This Enciclopedia dei Papi introduces the reader to a world that has as its constant reference-point, in accordance with the Lord's will, the Apostle's Successors, in different and, at times, dramatic historical circumstances. Through the succession of so many Pontiffs who differed in origin, culture and lifestyle, the papacy, even while being continuously renewed, has maintained its basic identity in the historical development of its function.

The Enciclopedia dei Papi also emphasizes the vital historical relationship that binds the papacy to Italy in a special way, in the fulfilment of a truly universal ministry which is the Catholic one. This bond is clearly shown by the very rich artistic and cultural patrimony preserved by Rome and Italy, as an eloquent witness to the inculturation of the Gospel.

3. May the Lord reward you for offering attentive readers the fruit of a precious work of historical research with methodological rigour, serious scientific analysis and an accurate bibliography. I warmly congratulate you on the long and diligent work of the editors, carried out on the sound basis of historical knowledge and with no apologetic intent. I cordially thank the Institute of the Enciclopedia Italiana for this editorial initiative of high cultural value that honours them, and, while I assure you that I will remember you in my prayers, I impart my affectionate Blessing to you all.


Saturday, 31 March 2001

Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Dear Seminarians,

1. This traditional annual meeting is always a cause of special joy to me. Indeed the audience granted to the Apostolic Penitentiary, to the confessors of the city's Patriarchical Basilicas and to the young candidates for the priesthood, participants in the course on the internal forum organized by the Penitentiary, gives me the occasion to discuss various aspects of the sacrament of reconciliation which is so important to the life of the Church.

I first greet the Cardinal, the Major Penitentiary, and thank him for the kind words he has just addressed to me on everyone's behalf. I then greet the members of the Penitentiary, the institution of the Apostolic See whose task is to offer the means of reconciliation in the most serious, tragic cases of sin, together with authoritative advice for problems of conscience, and the indulgence which is the crowning of grace, preserved or recovered through the Lord's mercy. I also greet the confessors who live their priesthood with generous dedication to the ministry of sacramental reconciliation, and the young men present who, with a good understanding of the excellence and indispensability of this ministry, wanted to perfect their training by taking part in the course that is now ending. Lastly, I extend my grateful appreciation to all the priests throughout the world who, especially during the recent Jubilee, dedicated themselves with patience and hard work to the valuable service of the confessional.

2. Through Baptism, the human being becomes like Christ, with an indelible ontological configuration to him. However, his will remains exposed to the fascination of sin, which is rebellion against God's holy will that results in the loss of the divine life of grace, and, in extreme cases, the breaking of the juridical and visible bond with the Church; it is the tragic fallout of sin.

But God, "dives in misericordia" (who is rich in mercy, cf. Eph Ep 2,4), does not abandon the sinner to his destiny. Through the power granted to the Apostles and their successors, he makes active within him, if he is repentant, the redemption acquired by Christ in the paschal mystery. This is the wonderful effectiveness of the sacrament of reconciliation, which heals the contradictions produced by sin and restores the true state of the Christian as a living member of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The sacrament is thus organically connected with the Eucharist, which, as the memorial of the sacrifice of Calvary, is the source and summit of the life of the one and holy Church.

Jesus is the one, necessary mediator of eternal salvation. St Paul is explicit: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1Tm 2,5). Hence the need, with regard to eternal salvation, for those means of grace instituted by Jesus which are the sacraments. The claim to settle one's own accounts with God, doing without the Church and the sacramental economy, is therefore deceptive and disastrous. It is significant that on Easter Sunday evening, the risen Christ conferred the power to forgive sins upon the Apostles and declared its necessity (cf. Jn Jn 20,23). At the Council of Trent, the Church solemnly taught this necessity with regard to mortal sins (cf. ses. XIV, chap. 5 and can. 6; DS 1679,170).

It forms the basis of the priest's duty to the faithful and their right to expect the priest to administer the sacrament of Penance correctly. I have addressed twelve Messages to the Apostolic Penitentiary on the subject from various viewpoints in the period between 1981 and last year, 2000.

3. The large flow of the faithful to sacramental confession during the Jubilee Year has shown how this subject - and with it that of Indulgences, a happy incentive for sacramental reconciliation - is always timely. Christians feel an inner need for reconciliation and are grateful when priests receive them willingly in the confessional. Therefore in the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte I wrote: "The Jubilee Year, which has been particularly marked by a return to the sacrament of Penance, has given us an encouraging message, which should not be ignored. If many, and among them, many young people, have benefited from approaching this sacrament, it is ... necessary that Pastors ... present and lead people to appreciate it" (n. 37).

Encouraged by this experience, which is a promise for the future, in today's Message I would like to recall several aspects of special importance, at the level of principles and of pastoral orientation. The Church, in her ordained ministers, is the active subject of the work of reconciliation. St Matthew records Jesus' words to his disciples: "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (18: 18). Likewise, St James, speaking of the Anointing of the Sick, which is also a sacrament of reconciliation, urges: "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (5: 14).

The celebration of the sacrament of Penance is always an act of the Church which in it proclaims her faith and gives thanks to God, who in Jesus Christ has set us free from sin. From this it follows that for the validity and liceity of the sacrament, the priest and the penitent must faithfully follow what the Church teaches and prescribes. For sacramental absolution, in particular, the formulas to be used are those prescribed in the Ordo Paenitentiae (Order for the Administration of the Sacrament of Penance), and in similar ritual texts in force for the Eastern Churches. The use of other formulas is absolutely forbidden.

It is also necessary to bear in mind what is prescribed by canon 720 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and by canon 960 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary way by which the faithful who are aware of serious sin are reconciled with God and with the Church; therefore general absolution, without the previous individual confession of sins, must be kept rigorously within the specific canonical norms (cf. CCEO, cann. 720-721; CIC, cann. 961, 962, 963).

4. The priest, as a minister of the sacrament, acts in persona Christi, at the summit of the supernatural economy. In sacramental confession the penitent accomplishes a "theological" act, that is, dictated by faith, with sorrow that stems from the supernatural causes of love and fear of God, with regard to the recovery of his friendship with him and so ordered to eternal salvation.

At the same time, as is suggested by the formula of sacramental confession, with the words: "May God grant you pardon and peace", the penitent aspires to interior peace, and also legitimately desires psychological peace. However, the sacrament of Reconciliation should not be confused with a psychotherapeutic technique. Psychological practices cannot substitute for the sacrament of Penance, nor, even less, be imposed in its place.

The confessor, minister of God's mercy, will feel bound to be generous in offering to the faithful his time and patient understanding. Canon 980 of the Code of Canon Law prescribes that "if the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of a penitent who asks for absolution, absolution is not to be refused or delayed"; canon 986 makes it a necessary obligation of priests responsible for the care of souls to hear the confessions of their faithful "qui rationabiliter audiri petant" (who reasonably ask to be heard) (CIO 735,1). This obligation is the application of a general juridical and pastoral principle, which says that "the sacred ministers cannot refuse the sacraments to those who ask for them at appropriate times, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them" (CIC 843,1). And since "caritas Christi urget nos" (the charity of Christ presses us), even priests who are not in charge of souls will show generosity and availability in this regard. In every case, the canonical norms about the necessary and appropriate place to hear sacramental confessions should be respected (cf. CCEO, CIO 736 CIC, can. 964).

In addition to being an act of faith of the Church, the sacrament is also a personal act of the penitent's faith, hope and, at least in an initial stage, love. The priest's task will therefore be to help him to confess his sins, not simply as a recalling of the past, but as an act of religious humility and trust in God's mercy.

5. The transcendent dignity that enables the priest to act in persona Christi in the administration of the sacraments, creates in him - excepting that for the penitent the sacrament is always effective even if the minister should be unworthy - the duty to conform himself to Christ so as to be his living image for the faithful. To achieve this it is necessary that he, in turn, receive faithfully and often the sacrament of Reconciliation as a penitent.

His condition of minister acting in persona Christi imposes on the priest the absolute obligation to respect the sacramental seal on the contents confessed in the sacrament, even at the cost, if necessary, of his life. Indeed, the faithful do not entrust the mysterious world of their conscience to the priest as a private person, but as the instrument, through the mandate of the Church, of the power and mercy which are God's alone.

The confessor is judge, physician and teacher on the Church's behalf. As such, he cannot propose "his own" personal morality or asceticism, that is, his private opinions or choices, but must express the truth of which the Church is the guardian and guarantee in the authentic Magisterium (cf. CIC, CIC 978).

During the Jubilee, for whose spiritual fruits we thank God, the Church commemorated the 2,000th anniversary of the birth among men of the Son of God, made man in Mary's womb and made to share in every aspect of the human condition except sin. Its celebration revived in Christian consciences the awareness of Christ's living and active presence in the Church: "Christus heri et hodie, Ipse et in saecula" (Christ yesterday, today and forever). The sacramental economy is placed precisely at the service of the dynamism of Christ's grace. In it Penance, closely connected with Baptism and with the Eucharist, acts so that Christ may be reborn and dwell mystically within believers.

From this comes the importance of the sacrament, which Christ wanted to give to his Church on the very day of his Resurrection (cf. Jn Jn 20,19-23). I urge priests from every part of the world to become its generous ministers, so that the wave of divine mercy can wash over every soul in need of purification and comfort. May Mary Most Holy, who brought forth Jesus physically in Bethlehem, obtain for every priest that he bring forth Christ in souls, and be an instrument of the Jubilee that never ends.

Upon my heartfelt appeal, with you and for you, I humbly beg the Lord's blessing; may the Apostolic Blessing which I impart to you be its pledge.
April 2001



Monday, 2 April 2001

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

My cordial welcome and my thanks for coming to you all. You represent the local authorities of Kraków. Present here are the Mayor of the city, the President of the Municipal Council and the Councillors - all those who assume responsibility for the appearance and life of this royal city.

During my last visit to Poland, I saw all the changes that have occurred. I also noticed how the city of Kraków has become more beautiful and has come alive. I remember that last year, Kraków was listed among the nine Capitals of European Culture. This is the result of the efforts made by all the city's residents and I know that you too have had a considerable part in them.

A city's image does not only come from the external beauty of the streets, squares and buildings, but consists above all in the way of life of its residents, from both the material and spiritual viewpoints. Therefore the local authorities, when making decisions concerning a city or district, must first of all consider the good of its residents - their needs, their expectations and the prospects of their full development. This is particularly important today.

I hope that through your service every citizen of Kraków, in affirming the beauty of his city, may thereby also express his own serenity, which comes from the sense of material security and the joy of sharing the whole cultural and spiritual patrimony of the city. I pray God that your daily service may bear good fruit. May the good Lord bless you in this service for the good of Kraków and its inhabitants.



Speeches 2001 - Friday, 30 March 2001