Speeches 2002 - Monday, 15 April 2002



Saturday, 20 April 2002

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. With affection in the Risen Lord I greet you, the Bishops of Nigeria, on the occasion of your pilgrimage to Rome for your visit ad Limina Apostolorum. It is truly a great joy for me to welcome you and through you to embrace all the faithful of your local communities, whom I remember with affection in the Lord and who remain ever in my prayers. Indeed, your presence rekindles the vivid memories of my visit to your country four years ago, when Almighty God granted me the privilege of beatifying Father Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi in his homeland.

Commending your local communities to the intercession of Blessed Cyprian Michael, I pray for you, the Shepherds of God’s holy people, and for the priests, Religious and laity entrusted to your pastoral care. My prayer for you is that “God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him” (2Th 1,11-12).

2. Your country boasts one of the largest Catholic populations in the whole of Africa and there is a steady increase in the numbers of those added day by day to the Lord. “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Ps 118,23). You are moreover blessed with many vocations to the priesthood and religious life, which also allow you to send missionaries to other African nations. Your generosity in this regard is to be commended and encouraged: indeed, God will “multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness . . . For the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God” (2Co 9,10).

Through your leadership, the Church is also actively involved in Nigerian national life, constantly urging solidarity, the exercise of civic responsibility and the overcoming of tensions and conflict through dialogue and reconciliation.Such efforts are all the more important as Nigeria continues along the path of transition from military rule to democratic government, and more particularly in light of the recent incidents of violence that have erupted in different parts of the country. In all of this, as well as in the other circumstances — both ordinary and extraordinary — of daily life, the Church must remain free to pursue her spiritual mission, which includes her undertakings in the areas of pastoral ministry, education, health care and human and social development. In this same regard, your 1997 National Pastoral Plan for Nigeria, with the necessary modifications and updating, remains an excellent framework for the continuing work of the Church.

3. As many of you have pointed out in your reports, the persistence of widespread poverty, often extreme, and the spread of moral and ethical indifference, from which arise crime, corruption and attacks on the sanctity of human life itself, form the context in which the Church fulfils her mission. For this reason, there is a particular need to intensify efforts to provide the faithful with serious programmes of formation which will help them to deepen their Christian faith and understanding and thus enable them to take their rightful place both in the Church of Christ and in society.

Catechesis complements and perfects the announcement of the Good News, helping faith to grow to maturity and educating Christ’s disciples in a thorough and systematic knowledge of the person and message of the Lord himself (cf. Catechesi Tradendae CTR 19). Bible study, that is, direct contact with the sacred text of God’s word, accompanied by devout prayer (cf. Dei Verbum DV 25) and supported by a clear exposition of doctrine as found in The Catechism of the Catholic Church, will further ensure that lay men and women are secure in their faith and prepared to fulfil its demands in all the circumstances of their lives and activities. Many of your lay faithful are already responding positively to the challenge of playing an active role in public life, including the political sphere. Your untiring efforts in this regard should enable them to be truly “led by the spirit of the Gospel” and to “contribute to the sanctification of the world, as from within like leaven” (Lumen Gentium LG 31).

4. As the members of your local Churches are strengthened and confirmed in the revealed truth, they will be strengthened in their own Catholic identity. They will also be enabled to respond to the objections raised with increasing frequency by sects and new religious movements, of which there are many in your country. Catechesis is especially important for young people, for whom an enlightened faith is a lamp to guide their path into the future. It will likewise be their source of strength as they face the uncertainties of the constantly evolving economic situation. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that pastoral programmes aimed specifically at children and youth should be a principal part of all your pastoral planning.

In this way too, the family will be strengthened, threatened as it is in its fundamental aspects of unity and stability by practices such as polygamy, divorce, abortion and prostitution, by the spread of a contraceptive mentality and by irresponsible sexual activity that also increases the incidence of AIDS. Therefore, working to help families to live their Christian lives faithfully and generously as true “domestic churches” (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 11) remains a priority, for there is still a need to reconcile traditional practices with Church teaching regarding marriage and family life. Likewise, your support of programmes for women — placing the Church at the forefront of the movement to foster greater respect for their dignity and rights — takes on ever greater significance. I would also urge you to investigate ways of making the Church’s participation in the battle against AIDS ever more active and visible.

5. Firm and humble submission to the word of Christ, as authentically proclaimed in the Church, also forms the basis for your relationship with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and for the necessary dialogue with the followers of African traditional religion and with Islam. I am pleased to note from your reports that, despite difficulties, progress is being made in various areas of ecumenical and interreligious dialogues. Indeed, the cultural heritage of the numerous ethnic groups present in Nigeria must be seen as a source of enrichment for the Nation, not a cause of conflict and division. I am aware that, in view of the general elections scheduled for the coming year, you are seeking to intensify ecumenical and interreligious cooperation in order to help politicians, traditional rulers and religious leaders to work together in order to ensure a free, proper and peaceful electoral process.

Here I must also raise an important issue which I know is a source of grave concern to you and your people. There are certain parts of the country where proponents of Islam are acting with ever greater militancy, even to the point of imposing their understanding of Islamic law on entire States within the Nigerian Federation and denying other believers the freedom of religious expression. I strongly encourage and support your every effort to speak out courageously and forcefully in this regard: government leaders, both local and federal, as well as people of good will of all persuasions, must be reminded of the obligation of every government to ensure that the equality of all citizens before the law is never violated for religious reasons, whether openly or covertly. Accordingly, even in cases where a special juridical position is granted to a particular religion, there always remains the duty to ensure that the right to freedom of conscience is legally recognized and effectively respected for all citizens, and also for foreigners residing in the country (cf. Message for the 1998 World Day of Peace, 1).

6. Turning to those who work with you most closely in the pastoral ministry, I wish to encourage your efforts to ensure an ever more complete and permanent formation for your priests.Your relations with them should always be characterized by unity, fraternity and appreciation. All who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders have been configured to Christ the Head and Shepherd of the Church. They must therefore imitate his complete self-giving for the sake of the flock and the advancement of the Kingdom. A commitment to unceasing personal conversion is an essential component of priestly life and ministry. We must always rekindle the gift that is ours, the gift of our sacramental configuration to Christ.

The Priesthood must never be seen as a means for improving one’s lot in life or in terms of gaining prestige. Priests and candidates to the priesthood often live at a level both materially and educationally superior to that of their families and the members of their own age group; it is therefore very easy for them to succumb to the temptation of thinking of themselves as better than others. When this happens, the ideal of priestly service and self-giving dedication can fade, leaving the priest dissatisfied and disheartened.

For this reason, your lives and those of your priests should reflect an authentic evangelical poverty and detachment from the things and attitudes of the world, and the value of celibacy as a complete gift of self to the Lord and his Church must be carefully safeguarded. Behaviour which might give scandal must be carefully avoided, and you yourselves must diligently investigate accusations of any such behaviour, taking firm steps to correct it where it is found to exist. Here too, seminary formation is very important, for the convictions and practical training imparted to future priests are essential for the success of the Church’s mission. As true fathers, then, the spiritual renewal and growth of your priests must be among your top priorities (cf. Optatam Totius OT 22). Furthermore, with many of your priests being sent abroad for studies, it is advisable that reasonable time frames should be set within which they are to complete their studies and return to the Diocese. The same holds true for men and women Religious living or studying abroad: every encouragement and support which you can give to Superiors of Religious Communities in this regard is likewise very important.

7. Indeed, your pastoral concern and solicitude also includes the men and women Religious in your Dioceses. They have received a special consecration which needs to be ever deepened. Through the profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, they bear witness to the Kingdom and build up the Body of Christ by leading others to conversion and a life of holiness. They must remain firmly rooted in Christ, so that the high ideals of their vocation will continue undimmed in their own hearts and in the eyes of the people to whom they are a special sign of God’s loving care. Your role, while respecting and defending the proper autonomy and internal governance of the religious communities within your territory, is to maintain close contacts with them, giving them every possible support so that they may remain faithful to the charism of their Institutes as they work with you, the Pastors of the Church, in carrying out their apostolate (cf. Mutuae Relationes, 8).

The life of chastity, poverty and obedience willingly embraced and faithfully lived confutes the conventional wisdom of the worldand challenges the commonly accepted vision of life. The witness offered by consecrated women and men can transform a community’s way of thinking and acting precisely through the love which Religious show for everyone, through their focus on spiritual matters rather than on material things, and through their self-giving service and solidarity with those in need. In this context, it is most fitting for you to show your appreciation and gratitude to the men and women Religious in your Dioceses for all the good that they do through their prayer and through their activity in the different areas of local pastoral life.

8. Dear Brothers, Shepherds of God’s Holy People, it is of the utmost importance that openness, honesty and transparency should always be the hallmark of everything that the Church does, in all her spiritual, educational and social undertakings, as well as in every aspect of her administration. In a true spirit of love and service of the Church and the brethren, you have the task of leading, challenging and uniting all those who work in the Lord’s vineyard. At the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium we do well to remember the Lord’s words about the abundance of the harvest to be reaped through our service of the Gospel (cf. Mt Mt 9,37). Let us dedicate ourselves with fresh vigour to the work of sharing the light of truth with all men and women.

I pray that through your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul the Holy Spirit of God will give you fresh strength for the work of the new evangelization. With affection in the Lord, I commend you, your priests, Religious and lay faithful to the intercession of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi and to the protection of Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother. As a pledge of grace and peace in the Risen Saviour I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.



Saturday, 20 April 2002

Dear Cardinal Ratzinger,
Brothers in the Episcopate,
Madam Minister,
Colleagues of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
Members of Cardinal Ratzinger's Doctoral Circle, Alpine Riflemen from Bavaria,
Brothers and Sisters,

1. My warmest greeting to you all! My esteemed Brothers in the Episcopate and close collaborators, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's several anniversaries gave you the occasion for your pilgrimage to Rome, to the place of the Successor of Peter. The Cardinal completed his 75th year a few days ago; at this time he looks back with gratitude to his having been chosen Archbishop of Münich und Freising and to his having been ordained a bishop 25 years ago. I am delighted to welcome all of you who have come from Bavaria and other regions to the Apostolic Palace. May the joyful celebrations of the liturgy and other celebrations of the visit be for you an unforgettable "feast of faith"!

2. You are faithful to the Apostle's words: "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God ... and imitate their faith" (cf. Heb He 13,7). Indeed, the reason you honour our esteemed Cardinal Ratzinger is not only his personality, but above all his priestly and episcopal service, which the Jubilarian fulfilled first in Germany, and especially, in his native Bavaria, and, since 1981, here in Rome where he has shown tireless dedication to the truth that leads God's children to true freedom (cf. Jn Jn 8,32).

3. Named Archbishop of München und Freising by my venerable Predecessor Pope Paul VI in 1977 and created Cardinal the same year, Joseph Ratzinger developed his theological mission in a deeper and broader direction in accord with his serious responsibility as Bishop. In fact, he performed the salvific service entrusted to the Bishop during his long period as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and the International Theological Commission, and member of other Congregations of the Holy See.

Among the many documents of Church teaching to whose redaction Cardinal Ratzinger made a significant contribution, there is above all the Catechism of the Catholic Church whose preparation from 1986 to 1992 was entrusted to an ad hoc commission that worked under his guidance. In addition to his responsibility with its many challenges, in numerous conferences and publications, the Cardinal succeeded in giving witness to the powerful radiation of the Catholic faith in all its depth and beauty.

4. Dear brothers and sisters, Cardinal Ratzinger received as his mission in life that of being a "collaborator of the truth", after the model of many wonderful pastors of Christ's holy Church. By his example, may he spur you to discover the service to the truth, who is God himself, with a joyful faith and perseverance in the variety of situations in which you live. I warmly thank our Jubilarian for his work and I ask God to grant his gracious guidance, so that he can continue his service in the Church. I hope that all of you who have come here to celebrate his Jubilees, may be enriched by the experience of a faith that brings happiness, and may give generous witness to Christ who said of himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (Jn 14,6). To that end I cordially impart to you and to your loved ones in your homeland my Apostolic Blessing.




To Dr Emilio Rossi
President of the Catholic Union of the Italian Press

1. At the end of the initiative Children and the media: 100 meeting points, promoted by the Catholic Union of the Italian Press of which you are President, I would like to greet you and all the participants, and express my great appreciation for all that your association does.

The many conferences on the topic of "Children and the Media" that are being held in many Italian cities using the variety of media for the presentations have helped to give the agents and users of the media a better idea of the widespread impact of the media's presence in society. Such a massive presence raises new problems and presents a real challenge for families, educators, operators and all who have at heart the future of the young generations.

2. The rapid diffusion of the media undeniably offers children greater possibilities for learning and knowledge. It is right to recognize and appreciate these positive elements, although certain problems have emerged that call for your careful reflection.

Television often becomes the main formative agent for children, impressing on them unhealthy values and information that influence their development negatively, especially when they spend a great deal of time in front of the screen which virtually takes the place of their parents. While everyone seems to agree that all forms of exploitation of minors by the media should be banned, it should be recognized that few special programmes are actually designed for them. It is therefore urgent to produce programmes which take into account the sensitivity and educational needs of children and respect the pedagogical dynamics and ethical values.

3. We should consider that children, on their own or with their parents, also watch ordinary programmes. It is useful to rate the programmes on the scale of how they confirm or depart from family values, but in no way should it mean that families are the only ones who need to exercise responsibility. Indeed, it is not enough to keep them from watching television; instead, they should be offered better quality media products, especially television programmes, that do not need to be forbidden. Programmes are needed that foster personal development, give a sense of personal goodness and help people even to face life's difficult moments without trauma or distortion. Above all, it is urgently necessary to promote through the media values and personalities who incarnate the fundamental truths about the human person and the important questions they raise. Among other things, religious truths should be carefully presented so they be seen to offer suitable answers to the deeper questions a person asks as he is growing up.

4. At the beginning of my Pontificate, in the context of the International Year of the Child, I said that there are enormous possibilities and means that adults can use to teach and entertain their children. Grown-ups can stimulate the minds of children to listen, lull them to sleep or - God forbid - poison them irremediably (cf. Message for World Day of Social Communications, 27 May 1979, ORE, 28 May 1979, p. 9). This is a serious responsibility and here we must apply Christ's harshest words as a warning against scandalizing the little ones and the weak (cf. Mt Mt 18,6).

Paying attention to children in the context of the media turns out to be one of the important proofs of a great civilization and its progress. It is an exalted work to which all must contribute in accord with their specialized role and skills. This work is part of that social pedagogy through which we can shape the new generations and help them to express all the good that lies hidden in their hearts, without harming it or making it dry up.

From this point of view, the new media such as the Internet and the multimedia technology have an extraordinary potential: they are more widespread and interactive, and demand additional skills and call for the exercise of responsibility on the part of the organisms that are deputed to look after the common good. With the coming of these new media we find ourselves at a "decisive gateway", as I recalled in my Message for the 36th World Communications Day to be celebrated next 12th of May, dedicated to the theme: The Internet: a New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel. We must "cross this threshold bravely" with both discernment and initiative, if we want to guarantee to future generations an environment that is safe from manipulation and abuse.

5. Lastly, I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to those who exercise responsibility in the world of communications. I ask government leaders and institutions for the protection of children to make respect for the rights of children the primary and indispensable criterion in evaluating how the media operate. I ask parents to exercise careful attention to how their children are being educated, both at home and in social groups. I ask media communicators and in particular editors and producers to invest in programmes that are good for children not forgetting how children think and act.

As I thank the representatives of the Catholic Union of the Italian Press for what they are doing, I encourage them to continue to involve more people in promoting a new, richer social and cultural season that will give life to a constructive and careful relationship between the media and children. May Jesus' special love for children (cf. Mk Mc 10,13-16), whom he showed to be an example of how to enter his Kingdom (cf. Mt Mt 18,3-4), be an example and an incentive to each one to encourage communications that are appropriate for men and women, attentive to the common good and especially to the good of children.

May the Virgin Mary be close with motherly care to all who are involved in such an important mission that has a huge impact on the formation of young people. As I assure you of my prayers for each of you, I cordially impart my Blessing to you.

From the Vatican, 18 April 2002.




Monday, 22 April 2002

Dear Friends in Christ,

In the peace of Easter, I am happy to welcome "you [who] have been born anew... through the living and abiding word of God" (1P 1,23). The Bible Societies exist to open the inexhaustible riches of Sacred Scripture to all who will listen; and that is a noble Christian service, for which I give thanks to God.

For many years, your Societies have been engaged in translating and distributing the text of Scripture, an essential part of proclaiming Christ to the world. For it is not just words which we must speak: it is the Word of God himself! It is Jesus Christ, promised in the Old Testament, proclaimed in the New, whom we must present to a world which hungers for him, often without knowing it. It was Saint Jerome who declared that "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ" (Commentary on Isaiah, Prologue). Your work then is above all a service of Christ.

The urgency of this task demands that we commit ourselves to the cause of Christian unity, for division among the disciples of Christ has certainly impaired our mission. Your meeting therefore draws together members of different Churches and Ecclesial Communities, united in the love of the Bible and in the desire that "listening to the word of God should become a life-giving encounter..., which draws from the biblical text the living word which questions, directs and shapes our lives" (Novo Millennio Ineunte NM 39). Whatever differences remain between us, the promotion of the Bible is one point where Christians can work closely together for the glory of God and the good of the human family.

The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 was a splendid occasion for all Christians to rejoice in celebrating the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, not just as a past event but as an enduring mystery. It is my fervent hope that this momentum will continue to inspire Christians to a still deeper love and knowledge of the Holy Bible, thus encouraging the work of the Bible Societies. Praying that Christ himself will "touch your ears to receive his word and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father" (Rite of Baptism), I gladly invoke upon you the abundant blessings of Almighty God, whose word endures for ever.





To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments

In the peace of Christ, our eternal High Priest (cf. Heb He 5,10), I greet you and the members and advisors of the Vox Clara Committee which has been established to assist and advise the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts. Representing the different continents as it does, the committee reflects the international character of the English language. This makes available to the Holy See the great wealth of pastoral experience drawn from different cultures.

In my Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, I spoke of the pastoral promotion of the Liturgy and the need for a "permanent commitment to draw ever more abundantly from the riches of the Liturgy that vital force which spreads from Christ to the members of his body, which is the Church" (No. 10). Undoubtedly, the use of the vernacular has been an important means of enabling the faithful to participate more deeply in the encounter with God in Christ.

Since the lex orandi conforms to the lex credendi, fidelity to the rites and texts of the Liturgy is of paramount importance for the Church and the Christian life. In that light, I wish to offer every encouragement to the Vox Clara Committee in its task of assisting the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in ensuring that the texts of the Roman Rite are accurately translated in accordance with the norms of the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam.

In a special way, I wish to commend to the Pastors of the Church the important task of making available to the faithful, as quickly as possible, the vernacular translations of the editio tertia of the Missale Romanum, the publication of which I authorized last year. I am pleased to learn that the members of the Vox Clara Committee have generously pledged to assist the Holy See in expediting the revision and recognitio of these translations by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Invoking the light of the Holy Spirit upon the Committee and the Congregation, and entrusting your work to the loving care of Mary, Mother of the Church, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace in the Risen Saviour.

From the Vatican, 20 April 2002





Tuesday 23 April 2002

Brothers in the Episcopate,
Distinguished Academics and Professors,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. It gives me spiritual joy to welcome you in this special audience today. You have come to present to the Pope the first volume of the great Russian Catholic Encyclopedia, the fruit of your hard work and your love for the Church! My heartfelt thanks!

I greet with fraternal affection Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, and I am delighted with the initiative that he has accepted and supported in order to offer the Russian people this important gift that illustrates the tradition, life and teaching of the Catholic Church. In addressing him, I would also like to extend an affectionate greeting to the Catholic pastors and faithful of the Russian Federation.

My deep thanks go to the highly qualified group of experts, academics, writers and collaborators, coordinated by Fr Gregory Ciorok, who have begun this worthwhile enterprise with great competence.

I am grateful to all those who with far-sighted generosity have supported the practical implementation of the work. May the Lord reward each one abundantly!

2. Dear friends, I am pleased that despite the difficulties, you have happily concluded this first stage of your programme.

The Encyclopedia you have compiled is an important contribution that Catholics wish to offer to those who speak Russian who want to know more about the treasures that God has lavished upon men through his Church. With this work, the Catholic community, present in Russia for several centuries, intends to reaffirm its desire to collaborate with the great Russian culture in order to engage in a profitable and fruitful dialogue with it for the great benefit of the people whose culture it is.

I hope that your labour will contribute to bringing about a deeper reciprocal knowledge and esteem among all who live Christ's Gospel in your beloved homeland. Indeed, the common sources of the faith and the respective legitimate traditions bear witness to the command of Our Lord Jesus to take the Gospel to every corner of the earth (cf. Mt Mt 28,19-20).

With these sentiments, as I pray for the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church and of Sts Cyril and Methodius upon all the beloved Russian people, I impart my cordial Blessing to you and to your communities, as a pledge of abundant spiritual fruits.


Tuesday, 23 April 2002

Dear Brothers,

1. Let me assure you first of all that I greatly appreciate the effort you are making to keep the Holy See, and me personally, informed regarding the complex and difficult situation which has arisen in your country in recent months. I am confident that your discussions here will bear much fruit for the good of the Catholic people of the United States. You have come to the house of the Successor of Peter, whose task it is to confirm his brother Bishops in faith and love, and to unite them around Christ in the service of God's People. The door of this house is always open to you. All the more so when your communities are in distress.

Like you, I too have been deeply grieved by the fact that priests and religious, whose vocation it is to help people live holy lives in the sight of God, have themselves caused such suffering and scandal to the young. Because of the great harm done by some priests and religious, the Church herself is viewed with distrust, and many are offended at the way in which the Church's leaders are perceived to have acted in this matter. The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God. To the victims and their families, wherever they may be, I express my profound sense of solidarity and concern.

2. It is true that a generalized lack of knowledge of the nature of the problem and also at times the advice of clinical experts led Bishops to make decisions which subsequent events showed to be wrong. You are now working to establish more reliable criteria to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated. At the same time, even while recognizing how indispensable these criteria are, we cannot forget the power of Christian conversion, that radical decision to turn away from sin and back to God, which reaches to the depths of a person's soul and can work extraordinary change.

Neither should we forget the immense spiritual, human and social good that the vast majority of priests and religious in the United States have done and are still doing. The Catholic Church in your country has always promoted human and Christian values with great vigor and generosity, in a way that has helped to consolidate all that is noble in the American people.

A great work of art may be blemished, but its beauty remains; and this is a truth which any intellectually honest critic will recognize. To the Catholic communities in the United States, to their Pastors and members, to the men and women religious, to teachers in Catholic universities and schools, to American missionaries in all parts of the world, go the wholehearted thanks of the entire Catholic Church and the personal thanks of the Bishop of Rome.

3. The abuse of the young is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the Church but society as a whole. It is a deep-seated crisis of sexual morality, even of human relationships, and its prime victims are the family and the young. In addressing the problem of abuse with clarity and determination, the Church will help society to understand and deal with the crisis in its midst.

Speeches 2002 - Monday, 15 April 2002