Speeches 2003 - Thursday 15 May 2003



Thursday 15 May 2003

Your Excellency,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican as you present the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Holy See. I appreciate the cordial greetings which you have expressed on behalf of the President, the Government and people of Pakistan. It is my great hope that the friendship which already exists between your country and the Holy See will deepen and be marked by further signs of mutual trust and respect. Please convey to President Musharraf and the citizens of your nation the assurance of my prayers for the country’s peace and well-being.

I am grateful for your observations made in recognition of the untiring efforts of the Church to promote peace and the alleviation of conflict in our troubled world. The Holy See certainly shares Pakistan’s desire to build solid foundations for peace on enduring moral principles which find their source in the fundamental God-given dignity of the human person. Indeed the Holy See’s activity in the international forum stems from this specific vision of the human person, and from the conviction that when it is undermined or abandoned the very foundation of human society is shaken. It is a perspective which calls for the advancement of freedom attained through the guarantee of fundamental human rights. Not least of these rights are: unprejudiced access to the employment market, full participation in democratic civic life, and freedom of authentic religious practice. Each confirms the equality of all citizens.

The recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have given Pakistan unprecedented attention in the international media. Against the backdrop of these human tragedies there has arisen an opportunity – indeed a duty – for your nation to contribute greatly to the peace for which the human family longs. Your Government’s recent efforts to root out the evil perpetuated by fundamentalist groups bent on terrorism have been rightly welcomed across the globe. Similarly, Pakistan’s current courageous gestures and proposals which are breathing new life into the dialogue for peace with India have brought renewed hope for rapprochement and for a reduction in the vast sums spent on maintaining a high level military presence in the Kashmir region. Such initiatives bring a sense of relief not only to your own peoples but also to the international community as a whole. These measures are viewed as positive steps towards the building of a civilization of love in which all peoples can be secure and live in peace.

In addition to a nation’s responsible and willing participation in the accords and agreements intended to promote improved international relations, authentic development also requires adherence to a plan of genuine national progress. Such a programme will always respect the rights and legitimate aspirations of the people, including those of minority groups. It also demands transparent government and an impartial judiciary system. Without these foundations of civilized society the hope for progress, to which every human being aspires, remains elusive. For this reason I have said on numerous occasions that corruption, whether it be on the part of politicians, judiciary officials or administrators and bureaucrats (cf. Ecclesia in Asia ), is a scourge which affronts the inviolable dignity of every human person and which paralyzes a nation’s social, economic and cultural advancement.

Your Excellency, I am pleased to acknowledge the considerable political reforms which have recently been implemented in Pakistan for the improvement of civic life. The abolition of the separate electorates system and the preservation of the reserved seats allocation has done much to restore the faith of all Pakistanis – not just those of the ethnic and religious minorities – in the Provincial and National electoral processes. This move has been publicly lauded by, among others, the Catholic Bishops of your country. Nevertheless it must also be noted that the grievances which continue to be felt particularly among the Christian minority in your country detract from the overall well-being of the nation. The grave difficulties that the Blasphemy Laws cause and the incidents of violence and vandalism against Christians and their properties have been well documented. But there are also the lingering questions of inequality of access to jobs in the workplace and unequal treatment of minority groups in public institutions, whether they be pupils in schools or persons before the law courts. The constitutional guarantee of civil and religious rights must be reflected in the employment and service policies of government departments and become an example for other sectors of public life to emulate. Without the concrete enactment of recognized fundamental human rights the growth of any society will remain stifled.

The Catholic Church, in service of the human family, is prepared to reach out to all members of Pakistani society without distinction, striving to build with them a civilization of love founded upon the values common to all peoples of peace, justice, solidarity and freedom. With greater participation of missionaries in the life of the Church, her schools and health-care facilities could contribute more extensively to the country’s human development programmes. I am confident that you can rely upon the Church to continue to work for the genuine progress of Pakistani society, especially through her assistance of the poor and the relief of suffering.

Your Excellency, you begin your mission at a time in history when the international community is looking to Pakistan with great expectations and high hopes of progress towards peaceful development in both the national and international spheres. I assure you of the Holy See’s support for all that promotes the common good of humanity. The various departments of the Roman Curia are ready to assist you in carrying out your duties and I am sure that your service will strengthen the bonds of understanding and cooperation between Pakistan and the Holy See. Upon you, your family and your fellow citizens I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.



Thursday 15 May 2003

Your Excellencies,

1. I welcome you at the time when you are presenting the Letters accrediting you as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your respective countries: Australia, Zimbabwe, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia, Latvia, the Fiji Islands, Burundi, Georgia, Vanuatu, Moldova, and Pakistan. I thank you for the courteous words you have conveyed to me from your Heads of State; I would be grateful if you would reciprocate by expressing my respectful wishes to them, for themselves and for their important mission at the service of their countries. Your presence also gives me the opportunity to offer a cordial greeting to the civil and religious Authorities of your countries, as well as to all your compatriots, and to pass on to them my most fervent good wishes.

2. Our world is going through a difficult period, marked by many conflicts of which you are attentive witnesses; this disturbs many people and invites the leaders of nations to be more and more committed to promoting peace. In this perspective, diplomacy is of the first importance.

Indeed, attention to persons and peoples and in addition concern for dialogue, brotherhood and solidarity, are the basis of diplomatic activity and of the international institutions responsible above all for promoting peace, which is one of the most precious benefits for individuals, peoples and States themselves, whose lasting development must be founded on security and harmony.

3. In the year in which we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Encyclical Pacem in Terris of Blessed John XXIII, who was also a diplomat at the service of the Holy See during the troubled years of the Second World War, it is particularly timely to listen once again to his invitation to base social life on "four pillars": the concern for truth, justice, love and freedom. Peace cannot be achieved at the expense of individuals and peoples; it is built when everyone becomes partners and protagonists in building the national society.

4. Since the period of the great World Wars, the international community has set up specific institutions and legislation to prevent any further outbreak of war which kills innocent civilians, devastating regions and leaving wounds that are slow to heal. The United Nations is called more than ever to be the central place for decisions concerning the rebuilding of countries, and humanitarian aid organizations are asked to renew their involvement. This will help the peoples concerned to take charge of their future sooner, enabling them to pass from fear to hope and from bewilderment to the active construction of their future. It is also an indispensable condition for restoring confidence to a country.

Finally, I appeal to all persons who profess a religion to make their spiritual and religious sense a source of unity and peace that will never set people against one another. I cannot fail to mention the children and young people who are often the worst hit by situations of conflict. Since they find it very difficult to forget these experiences, they can be drawn into the spiral of violence. It is our duty to prepare for them a future of peace and a land of fraternal solidarity.

These are some of the concerns of the Catholic Church which I wanted to share with you this morning; you know how committed she is in international life, in relations between the peoples and in humanitarian support, which are expressions of her essential mission: to manifest God's closeness to every human being.

5. During your noble mission to the Holy See, you will have the possibility of discovering its action more concretely. Today I offer you my best wishes for your mission. I invoke an abundance of divine Blessings upon you, your families, those who work with you and the nations you represent.


Thursday, 15 May 2003

Archbishop President,
Dear Priests, Students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy,

1. I am grateful to you for this visit and greet you all with affection. I first greet your President, Archbishop Justo Mullor García, and I thank him for his words on behalf of those present as well as for the diligence and generosity which he dedicates daily to his demanding duty. I extend my sentiments of gratitude to those who, in various ways and capacities, help him in the formation programme.

I greet in a special way you, dear students. Some of you will shortly be completing the academic curriculum and are preparing to enter the Apostolic See's service directly. I express fervent good wishes to them for a fruitful ministry and ask the Lord to guide them at every moment of their lives.

2. Dear students, on other occasions too I have been able to stress the importance of your special "mission", which will take you far from your families while at the same time offering you the opportunity to come into contact with many different ecclesial and social situations.

To perform faithfully the duties that will be entrusted to you, it is indispensable that during your years of formation you seek to make holiness your prime objective. I also recalled this when I visited your Academy two years ago on the occasion of its third centenary. Make it your daily task to aspire to Gospel perfection by nourishing a continuous loving relationship with God in prayer, by listening to his word, and especially in devout participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This is the secret, dear friends, of the effectiveness of every ministry and service in the Church.

3. You come from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. Community life in the Academy here in Rome, the heart of Catholicism, teaches you sharing and reciprocal understanding, opens you to the universal dimension of the Church and gives you an opportunity to understand better the complex human realities of our time. All this will be a great help when you work among peoples with different customs, civilizations, languages and religious traditions. Your service will be all the more rewarding the harder you strive, with a genuinely priestly spirit, to encourage the growth of the local Churches, linking them with the Chair of Peter, and for the good of the peoples.

May the Virgin Mary, whom we are venerating in particular during this year dedicated to the Rosary, rest her gaze on each of you and accompany your every step with her motherly protection.

I assure you of my prayers and warmly bless you all.




Friday, 16 May 2003

Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies,

1. I am pleased to welcome you for this annual appointment to which you have come from the various Churches throughout the world.

I thank Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who has expressed your joint sentiments. I also extend a special thought to Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and to the many Bishops present.

Lastly, I greet the General Secretaries and members of the "Superior Council" who, with dedication, assure the proper functioning of these important structures for missionary activity in the life of the Church.

My Predecessors saw fit to qualify the Mission Societies with the title of "Pontifical" and to establish their headquarters in Rome precisely to indicate that in them is expressed the duty and concern of the whole Church to carry out her "opera maxima" (essential task), that is, the evangelization of the world.

2. The Pope's solicitude for all the Churches is expressed in the Mission Societies (cf. II Cor 11: 28). Their task is to promote and sustain missionary awareness in all the people of God, first of all by keeping the apostolic spirit alive in the individual Churches and endeavouring to meet the needs of the Churches in difficulty. Therefore, they can justifiably be described as "pontifical works for the missions". At the same time, however, these "Societies" are also the responsibility of the Bishops, for it is through them that the task of proclaiming the Good News which Christ entrusted to the Apostolic College is expressed and carried out.

"Because they are under the auspices of the Pope and of the College of Bishops, these Societies, also within the boundaries of the particular Churches, rightly have "the first place... since they are the means by which Catholics from their very infancy are imbued with a genuinely universal and missionary spirit; they are also the means which ensure an effective collection of resources for the good of all the missions, in accordance with the needs of each one' (cf. Ad Gentes AGD 38). Another purpose of the Mission Societies is the fostering of lifelong vocations ad gentes, in both the older and younger Churches" (Redemptoris Missio RMi 84).

3. Dear friends, in all this important missionary activity which places you in the very heart of the Church's life, you closely collaborate with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to which the Pontifical Mission Societies are entrusted, thereby becoming the official body of universal missionary cooperation (cf. Pastor Bonus and 91; Cooperatio Missionalis, nn. 3 and 6).

All this expresses the genuinely universal and missionary spirit of the Pontifical Mission Societies, whose deeply "catholic" charism you safeguard and witness to in your prayer, activity and sacrifice.

This is also the spirit that emanates from your Statutes. It should be jealously guarded and constantly readapted to the changing requirements of the apostolate. In this regard, I was pleased to learn that you are undertaking a timely revision, with the intention of bringing the Statutes into line with the changed conditions of the times. Therefore, I can only praise you and all who are working on this renewal, which aims to foster increased collaboration and the appropriate use of the means of assistance to the Churches.

4. On this happy occasion, I cannot forget the 160th anniversary of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood or Missionary Childhood, which is being celebrated this year. I would like to recall and underline the important work of spreading missionary information and awareness that this Society has carried out "from its infancy", to promote the missionary cause. The Message I addressed to the members of the Society on the Solemnity of the Epiphany expresses my full appreciation of these "missionary children". It will therefore be a joy for me to receive in the near future a large and lively delegation of children from all over the world who will be coming to Rome to celebrate the important anniversary of your praiseworthy Society.

I also had the pleasure of welcoming last February numerous representatives of the Pontifical Mission Societies from the United States of America, led by their National Director. Through their generous offerings for our needy brethren, these Societies are a sign in that nation of authentic universal love.

5. I would like to urge you always to keep in mind in your work of "missionary cooperation" the growing needs of the Churches in different parts of the world. For contingent reasons, a disturbing decrease has recently been recorded in the "exchange of gifts" between the Churches, as far as material aid is concerned.

I urge you not to let these setbacks dishearten you. Like St Paul, who recommended "some contribution" be collected to help the Church of Jerusalem (cf. Rom Rm 15,25-27), remind everyone that "cooperation, which is indispensable for the evangelization of the world, is a duty and a right of all baptized Christians" (Cooperatio Missionalis, n. 2 [ORE, 25 November 1998, p. I]; Redemptoris Missio RMi 77 cf. also CIC, cann. 211, 781).

Continue, therefore, to offer to all the Churches, old and new, the privilege of "helping the Gospel", so that it may be proclaimed to all the peoples on earth: "The missionary Church gives what she receives, and distributes to the poor the material goods that her materially richer sons and daughters generously put at her disposal.... "It is more blessed to give than to receive' (Ac 20,35)" (Redemptoris Missio RMi 81).

6. Dear friends, in the month of May in which we are living we naturally turn to Mary, whom we invoke as "Queen of the Missions". Let us clasp tightly in our hands the rosary whose recitation in the history of the Church has always brought, with growth in the faith, special protection for devotees of the Virgin. I would also like to repeat here my invitation to the little members of the Missionary Childhood: "The missionary Rosary links us with the missions... a decade... the white one is for Europe, so that it can regain the evangelizing fervour that gives rise to so many Churches; the yellow decade is for Asia, which is exploding with life and youth; the green decade is for Africa, tried by suffering but ready for the proclamation; the red decade is for America, the promise of new missionary forces; the blue decade is for the continent of Oceania, which awaits a more grassroots spread of the Gospel" (Message to the Society of the Holy Childhood for its 160th Anniversary, n. 5; ORE, 22 January 2003, p. 3.).

With these sentiments, I entrust you all to our common Mother to whom - I am sure - you will offer continual prayers and sacrifices in the fulfilment of your precious missionary work. May the Apostolic Blessing which I warmly impart to you, obtain for you and for your collaborators an abundant outpouring of heavenly favours.



Saturday, 17 May 2003

Mr Prime Minister,
Your Eminences and Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Rector Magnificent,
Dear Professors,
Brothers and Sisters,

1. Today, the visit you have wished to pay with special solemnity to the Successor of Peter on the seventh centenary of your prestigious university gives me great joy. Welcome to this house!

I offer my respectful greeting to the Hon. Prime Minister, Mr Silvio Berlusconi, to the Ministers of the Italian Government, to the Authorities present and to all who are gathered here. I thank Prof. Giuseppe D'Ascenzo, Rector Magnificent of La Sapienza University, Prof. Carlo Angelici, Head of the Faculty of Law, and Prof. Pietro Rescigno, Professor of Civil Law, for their courteous words to me on behalf of the university's Acadmic Staff, Students and Personnel.

I also express deep gratitude for the honoris causa degree in Jurisprudence which the Faculty Council has decided to confer on me. I gladly accept this recognition, which I consider as conferred upon the Church for her role as teacher in the sensitive context of the law, inasfar as it concerns the basic principles on which orderly human coexistence is based.

As has been recalled, your distinguished Athenaeum was founded by Pope Boniface VIII with the Bull "In Supremae" of 20 April 1303, to support and promote study in the various branches of knowledge. That Pontiff's initiative was strengthened and developed by his Successors in the span of the past seven centuries. With further provisions, they gradually perfected the organization of the University, adapting its structures to keep pace with the progress in knowledge. In this regard, it is worth reading the directives of Pope Eugene IV, as well as those of Leo X, Alexander II and Benedict XIV, until the Bull "Quod Divina Sapientia" of Leo XII.

At your University, countless men and women have been formed who, in the various disciplines of knowledge, have brought honour to it, enabling knowledge to cover new ground, encouraging growth in the quality of life and deepening a serene and fruitful dialogue between lovers of science and of faith.

The cordial relations that existed in the past between your Athenaeum and the Church, thanks be to God, continue to exist today with full respect for their reciprocal provinces, but also conscious that each one carries out, at different levels, an equally useful service for human progress.

2. In my years of pastoral service to the Church, I have considered it part of my ministry to give ample space to the affirmation of human rights because of their close connection with two fundamental features of Christian morality: the dignity of the person and peace. Indeed, in creating man in his image and calling him to be his adoptive son, God conferred an incomparable dignity upon him; and God created men to live together in harmony and peace, providing them with an equal distribution of the necessary means in order to live and to develop. Awareness of this has motivated me to do my utmost to serve these values; but I could not carry out the mission required of me by my apostolic office without having recourse to the categories of law.

Although I dedicated myself in the years of my youth to studying philosophy and theology, I have always felt great admiration for the juridical science in its most elevated forms: the Roman law of Ulpian, Gaius and Paul, the Corpus iuris civilis of Justinian, the Decretum of Gratian, the Magna Glossa of Accursius, the De iure belli et pacis of Grotius, not to mention certain peaks reached by juridical science which have brought renown to Europe and particularly to Italy. With regard to the Church, I myself had the opportunity in 1983 to promulgate the new Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church, and in 1990, the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches

3. The principle that has guided me in my commitment is the fact that the human person - as created by God - is the foundation and the goal of social life, which law must serve. In fact, "the centrality of the human person in law is effectively expressed by the classical aphorism: "Hominum causa omne ius constitutum est'. This means that law is such if and to the extent to which it is based on man in his truth" (Address to Symposium on "Evangelium Vitae" and Law, 24 May 1996, n. 4: ORE, 29 May 1996, p. 3). And the truth about man consists in his being created in the image and likeness of God.

As a "person", man, according to a profound thought of St Thomas Aquinas, is "id quod est perfectissimum in tota natura" (what is most perfect in all nature) (S. Th., q. 29, a. 3). Setting out from this conviction, the Church has spelled out her doctrine on "human rights", which do not derive from the State or from any other human authority but from the person. Public authorities must therefore "[ensure that these rights are] recognized, respected, co-ordinated, defended and promoted" (Pacem in Terris PT 60): In fact these rights are "universal and inviolable, and therefore altogether inalienable" (ibid., n. 9).

This is why Christians "should work ceaselessly and effectively to further the dignity which each person receives from the Creator and to join forces with those others to defend and promote this dignity" (Address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission "Iustitia et Pax" and the Colloquium on "The Church and Human Rights", 15 November 1988, n. 4; ORE, 19/26 December 1988, p. 15). "The Church, in fact, can never abandon man, whose destiny is closely and indissolubly linked to Christ" (Address to the World Congress on Pastoral Promotion of Human Rights, 4 July 1998, n. 3; ORE, 29 July 1998, p. 3).

4. For this reason, the Church accepted favourably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, approved at the General Assembly on 10 December 1948. This document marked "a step in the right direction, an approach toward the establishment of a juridical and political ordering of the world community. It is a solemn recognition of the personal dignity of every human being; an assertion of everyone's right to be free to seek out the truth, to follow moral principles, discharge the duties imposed by justice, and lead a fully human life. It also recognizes other rights connected with these" (Pacem in Terris PT 144). Just as favourably the Church accepted the European Convention for the Safeguard of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and of the Unborn Child.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 does not, of course, present the anthropological and ethical foundations of human rights which it proclaims. In this domain "the Catholic Church... has an irreplaceable contribution to make, for she proclaims that it is within the transcendent dimension of the person that the source of the person's dignity and inviolable rights is to be found". Therefore, "the Church is convinced that she serves the cause of human rights when, with fidelity to her faith and mission, she proclaims that the dignity of the person has its foundation in the person's quality as a creature made in the image and likeness of God. (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 9 January 1989, n. 7; ORE, 13 February 1989, p. 3). The Church is convinced that the most effective protection against any violation or abuse of human rights lies in recognition of their anthropological and ethical basis.

5. In the course of my service as Successor of Peter, I have felt it my duty to insist forcefully on some of these rights which, affirmed in theory, are often disregarded both in legislation and in practice. Thus, I have gone back several times to the first and most fundamental human right, the right to life. Indeed, "human life is sacred and inviolable from conception to its natural end.... A genuine culture of life, just as it guarantees to the unborn the right to come into the world, in the same way protects the newly born, especially girls, from the crime of infanticide. Equally, it assures the disabled that they can fully develop their capacities, and ensures adequate care for the sick and the elderly" (Message for World Day of Peace 1999, n. 4; ORE, 23/30 December 1998, p. 10).

In particular, I have insisted on the fact that the embryo is a human individual and, as such, possesses the inviolable rights of the human being. Juridical norms, therefore, are called to define the legal status of the embryo as a subject of rights who cannot be overlooked by either the moral or the juridical order.

Another fundamental right which I have had to go back to because of its frequent violation in the contemporary world is the right to religious freedom, recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 18), the HelsinkiFinal Act (1 a, VII) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 14). Indeed, I consider that the right to religious freedom is not merely one among the many human rights, but is the one with which all the others are connected, since the dignity of the human person originates in the essential relationship with God. Actually, the right to religious freedom "is so closely linked to the other fundamental rights that it can rightly be argued that respect for religious freedom is, as it were, a touchstone for the observance of the other fundamental rights" (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 9 January 1989, n. 6; ORE, 13 February 1989, PP 2-3).

6. Finally, asking that they be expressed in obligatory juridical norms, I have endeavoured to bring into the limelight many other rights, such as the right not to be discriminated against for reasons of race, language, religion or sex; the right to own private property, which is valid and necessary but should never be separated from the fundamental principle of the universal destination of goods (cf. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 42 Centesimus Annus, n. 6); the right to freedom of association, expression and information, always with respect for the truth and the dignity of the person; the right - which today is a serious duty - to participate in political life, "intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good" (Christifideles Laici CL 42); the right to economic initiative (cf. Centesimus Annus CA 48 Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, n. 15); the right to housing, that is, "the right to housing for every person with his [own] family", which is closely connected "with the right to start a family and to have an adequately paid job" (Angelus, 16 June 1996, n. 1; ORE, 19 June 1996, p. 1); the right to education and culture, because "illiteracy is a great poverty; it is often synonymous with marginalization" (Message to Secretary General of the United Nations for Literacy Year, 3 March 1990; ORE, 9 April 1990, p. 11); the right of minorities "to exist" and "to preserve and develop their own culture" (Message for World Day of Peace 1989, nn. 5 and 7; ORE, 19/26 December 1988, p. 2); the right to work and the rights of workers: I dedicated to this topic the Encyclical Laborem Exercens.

Lastly, I have taken special care to proclaim and to defend "openly and strongly the rights of the family against the intolerable usurpations of society and the State" (Familiaris Consortio FC 46), knowing well that the family is the primary place of "humanization for the person and society" (Christifideles Laici CL 40), and that "the future of the world and of the Church passes" through the family (Address to the Confederation of Christian Consultors, n. 4; Insegnamenti III/2, 1980, p. 1454).

7. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to end our meeting by expressing the sincere wish that humanity will make further progress in becoming aware of the fundamental rights that reflect its native dignity. May the new century which has inaugurated a new millennium record an increasingly conscious respect for the rights of man, of every man and of the whole man.

Sensitive to Dante's recommendation: "You were not born to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge (Inferno, XXVI, 119-120), may the men and women of the third millennium be able to incorporate in their laws and express in their behaviour the perennial values on which every authentic civilization is founded.

In my heart my greeting becomes a prayer to Almighty God to whom I entrust you, invoking from him an abundance of blessings upon you who are present here, upon your loved ones and upon the whole community of La Sapienza.

Speeches 2003 - Thursday 15 May 2003