Speeches 1979 - Sunday, 25 March 1979

I am happy to be able to grant today, at last, your desire for a meeting with the Pope, which my late revered predecessor and your illustrious fellow-countryman of happy memory, John Paul I, had already accepted joyfully, without, however, being able to grant it owing to his sudden and premature death.

I greet, therefore, with particular warmth of feelings, all of you gathered here in such large numbers. In particular, I wish to greet the Bishop of Belluno and Feltre, Mons. Maffeo Dúcoli, Mr Vincenzo Barcelloni Corte, President of the Association of Belluno Emigrants, and all the other numerous Authorities present here.

Dear friends, I thank you for your presence in this pontifical house and for the generous sum you have kindly put at my disposal for Third World emigrants. I assure you that I receive you with no less affection than beloved and unforgettable Pope John Paul I, like you a native of Belluno and a son of emigrants, and, like me, Peter's Successor on this Roman Chair, would have done in my place. The fact that I wished to maintain and continue the same name adopted by him, is an external sign of a deep harmony, and the indication of the same intention of pastoral ministry.

I would like to address you as he would certainly have done, with simplicity and wisdom, and with such spiritual joy. I exhort you, therefore, in the first place to be always proud of your generous land, in whatever part of the world you may find yourselves: not out of narrow parochialism, but with the affection that every living, though mortal, person must keep for his own earthly roots. But also, remember constantly that for us Christians "our commonwealth is in heaven" (Ph 3,20) and that therefore we must not be conformed to the mentality of this world (cf. Rom Rm 12,2). Wherever you are, therefore, you are always offered the opportunity for a testimony of limpid faith and genuine charity, which your native and recognized traditions of hard work and tenacity can make even stronger and more effective. I know that you, natives of Belluno, are scattered over the five continents and have an outstanding esprit de corps, fostered by opportune associative activities. Well, I cannot but encourage your specific initiatives, so that they may promote not only the in-dispensable human values, but also the typical ones of the Gospel, in which alone every man can find his own complete salvation.

Dear friends, you know that, even if the ways of the world along which you are journeying are so many and different, the final goal is the same for all. My wish is that your way may be made more joyful and easy every day by the comforting presence of our Lord. I recommend you to him paternally while I willingly grant the special Apostolic Blessing to all of you and to all your dear ones.



28 March 1979

Beloved Young People,

The grandiose and exalting sight of this Basilica, erected on the tomb of the Prince of Apostles and first Vicar of Christ, which, every Wednesday, quivers with festive joy at your youthful presence, is always a cause of consolation and hope for me, and induces me to undertake a simple and direct dialogue, every time with new intensity.

Welcome to you all. To each of you, personally, I address my greeting and my thanks. In particular, I wish to mention the "Youth Pilgrimage" of Civita Castellana and Caprarola, led by the Bishop, Monsignor Marcello Rosina; the Pilgrimage of three thousand students from the Diocese of Tursi-Lagonegro, also presided over by their Bishop, Monsignor Vincenzo Franco; and also the two thousand boys and girls who are pupils of the Institutes of the Roman Union of the Ursulines, coming from various regions of Italy.

Dear boys and girls, we are passing with intense commitment through the sacred time of Lent, which prepares us for Easter and which urges us to deepen and live our responsibility as Christians, baptized, living members of the Mystical body of Christ. On preceding Wednesdays I spoke of our responsibility to God, which we could sum up in the word "worship": that is, the recognition of God in his reality as Absolute, Creator and Father. I also referred to the duty towards ourselves, which can be summed up in another expression dear to ecclesial tradition: fasting, understood as renunciation of things, in order to obtain mastery over them, which will make us ready for good, capable of sacrifice, open to love.

I now wish to refer precisely to this love, this availability with regard to one's neighbour, to the other, a dimension so congenial to youthful conscience today, submitting to your attention the third ascetic exercise characterising the Lenten period, that of alms "Repent... give alms" (cf. Mk Mc 1,15 and Lc 12,33).

Hearing the word "alms", your sensibility as young lovers of justice, eager for an equal distribution of riches, might feel wounded and offended. It seems to me I can feel it. On the other hand, do not think you are alone in having such an interior reaction; it is in harmony with the innate hunger and thirst for justice that everyone brings with him. Also the prophets of the Old Testament, when they call the People of Israel to conversion and to the true religion, indicate the redress of injustices, suffered by the weak and defenceless, as the main way for the restoration of a genuine relationship with God (cf. Is Is 58,6-7).

Yet the practice of almsdeeds is recommended in the whole sacred Text, both in the Old and in the New Testament: from the Pentateuch to the Sapiential Books, from the book of Acts to the Apostolic Letters. Well, through a study of the semantic evolution of the word, on which less genuine incrustations have been formed, we must find again the real meaning of alms and, above all, the determination and the joy of almsdeeds.

A Greek word, alms etymologically means compassion and mercy. Various circumstances and influences of a reductive mentality have distorted and deconsecrated its original meaning sometimes reducing it to that of a spiritless and loveless act.

But alms, in itself, must be understood essentially as the attitude of a man who perceives the need of others, who wishes to share his own property with others. Who will say that there will not always be another, in need of help—spiritual in the first place—support, comfort, brotherhood and love? The world is always too poor in love.

Thus defined, to give alms is an act of very high positive value, the goodness of which must not bei doubted, and which must find in us a fundamental readiness of heart and spirit, without which there is no real conversion to God.

Even if we do not have at our disposal riches and concrete capacities to meet the needs of our neighbour, we cannot feel dispensed from opening our heart to his necessities and relieving them as far as possible. Remember the widow's mite; she threw into the treasury of the temple only two small coins but with them all her great love: "for she out of her poverty had put in all the living that she had" (Lc 21,4).

Dear boys and girls, the subject is an attractive one, it would take us far; I leave it to your reflection to continue it. Let my affection, my good will and my blessing accompany you towards the joy of Easter.



29 March 1979

Lord Cardinal, Your Excellency,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is one of the unfathomable divine dispositions that you are only now able to pay to his successor the visit which, as delegation of the Board of Directors of the ecumenical Foundation "Pro-Oriente", together with your venerated founder and president, you already wished to pay to Pope John Paul I last year. I, therefore—representing at the same time also my unforgettable predecessor—receive you with all the greater joy and bid you a very hearty welcome,

For fifteen years, "Pro Oriente"—completely in accordance with the name of the Foundation has—been concerned with dialogue with the Orthodox Churches, and in the last few years particularly with dialogue with the Old Eastern Churches. As I emphasized just recently in my first Encyclical, true ecumenical work means "openness, drawing closer, availability for dialogue, and a shared investigation of the truth in the full evangelical and Christian sense" (Redemptor Hominis RH 6). Your many meetings, conversations, study sessions and publications have served this aim in a fruitful way. Through them, on the plane of personal contacts and specialized scientific research, you have contributed to better reciprocal acquaintance, to a deeper understanding of the different historical developments and traditions of the individual Churches of the East and of the West, and to a more conscious recognition of the rich common heritage which already exists. Looking back today, you can already point with joy and satisfaction to precious concrete results. The setting of the ecumenical foundation "Pro Oriente" was, then, in its time, a noble-minded and at the same time suitable answer of the local Church of Vienna to the special ecumenical task set by the Second Vatican Council. In the Decree on Ecumenism, the latter expressly urged those who wish to commit themselves to the full re-establishment of unity between the Eastern Churches and the Catholic Church "to give due consideration to this special feature of the origin and growth of the Churches of the East, and to the character of the relations which obtained between them and the Roman see before the separation, and to form for themselves a correct evaluation of these facts. The careful observation of this will greatly contribute to the dialogue in view." (Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio UR 14)

While I thank you sincerely on behalf of Our Lord and of the Church for the precious ecumenical work carried out hitherto by your Foundation "Pro Oriente", I request you at the same time to continue in your efforts with unabated zeal also in the future. May the journey you are now making for the purposes of study to Rome and Istanbul also strengthen and encourage you anew to do so. Through you, Lord Cardinal, I am happy to transmit to His Holiness the ecumenical Patriarch Demetrius I, whom you will personally meet shortly, the expression of my respect and brotherly greeting in the Lord. I willingly impart to you all the Apostolic Blessing, with my best wishes for successful days and a happy continuation of your journey.




Friday, 30 March 1979

Mr Ambassador,

THE GREETINGS that you bring me from His Excellency President Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq and the people of Pakistan are much appreciated. I am grateful also for your words about the recognition that the Catholic Church in your country has won for her response to her vocation to work for the betterment of human life.

The Church, as Your Excellency knows, considers it her duty to contribute to the fulfilment of man’s capabilities. The supreme and essential fulfilment lies in man’s relationship with God, in accepting and carrying out the design of his Creator. This design involves many capabilities granted to man for the development of his personal life and tris relations with others.

The Church therefore feels that she is doing no more than her God-given duty when she plays her part in helping to ensure for human beings everywhere the good health, nourishment and shelter needed for their bodily welfare, and the education, culture and freedom required for the development of their mental faculties, and when she strives to advance the reign of justice, peace and friendship between individuals and groups. All this she sees as part of her mission of working to establish right relationships on the part of human beings with God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

Your Excellency may therefore be confident that the Church will continue to co-operate with the striving of the people of Pakistan for a better way of life and for understanding, harmony and peace. I pray that the Almighty will guide and assist your fellow-citizens and their leaders in this endeavour. It is an endeavour to which the exigencies of human dignity call, and one that, if worthily pursued’ cannot fail to receive the blessing of God.

I ask God also to bestow his favours on Your Excellency and your important mission at the service of your country and of humanity, for the fulfilment of which you can count on my willing collaboration and that of the Holy See.



30 March 1979

I would like first of all to express my gratitude to you, Professor, for this initiative to pay me a visit today. I cannot express how grateful I am for this initiative and for this presence of yours. For me it is a continuation of my previous experiences, when I was still in Poland, in Krakow, when it was a usual thing for me to meet scientists, and especially physicists, for different talks. So this day, and our meeting, is for me a first promise that this way of acting, these meetings, will have a future, that they do not belong just to my past but will have a future on another plane. I am also so grateful for what you said, and I think that all that you said was rather the essential talk of our meeting. What I can say now will be rather some allusion, some reference.

Actually, having the fortune to meet you today. I thought that I was not prepared. I would like to be better prepared, but I said to myself: well, let us go as things are, we must take a step, the first stage, as we are, and then, perhaps, we will prepare together with future meetings. But I must say that the things you expressed are really essential for the content of this meeting of ours because they are the fundamental problems: the problems of the very nature of science, and then the problems of the relationship of science and faith, religion. These are problems which are not just, let us say, internal problems of science, but problems of him who is the subject and who is the bearer, the author, of science, and who creates with science an environment of his own for himself: a cosmos of his own, a human cosmos for the problems of man. And so all the other things that you expressed are essential; but I am particularly happy that you should say that the effort that science is making will, perhaps, be a happier one than the effort made by others, such as, for example, politicians. Those have not succeeded in reconstituting the unity of Europe, of our continent, while, on the contrary, scientists, you, are convinced that you will be able to obtain it. Then I am with the scientists, I am with you.

Allow me, Professor, to make a change of language now. I want now to speak in French because it will perhaps be easier for all the participants to translate my sentiments and then also some ideas. Ladies and Gentlemen. I am happy to greet in you a group of eminent scientists, members of the European Physical Society, presided over by Professor Antonino Zichichi. The meeting this morning gives me particular pleasure. In fact, if my personal formation has been rather, and still remains, humanistic, (I must say that I know very little about your subject), geared, afterwards, to philosophical, theological, and moral questions, your concerns, however, are not alien to me. It was even a little strange, but I was always given a good reception by physicists, by the people, by the professors, who represent your profession, your specialization; and, though knowing so little of your problems, your science, I felt rather at home with them. It was possible to understand one another, and we did so. In Krakow I always sought, and found very fruitful, contacts with the scientific world and particularly with specialists in physical sciences. This tells you the value this moment has for me, conjuring up so many other meetings, in particular, perhaps, the one with the "Rome Club"—the results of the work of this Club are well known in our country, in Poland—even if the circumstances do not make it possible to give it that aspect of personal exchange which I appreciated so much. But we will try to give, perhaps, more of this aspect of personal exchange to our meetings in the future.

The problems you have set yourselves in the course of this international meeting are of great importance and are very topical, for they may constitute a point of reference for the development of modern physics. You have, in fact, dealt in your work with very topical scientific problems which range from very high energies for study of subnuclear phenomena to nuclear fusion, from astrophysical radio-interferometers to the light of synchrotrons. Excuse me if I utter these words and if I am unable to give a personal significance to all these expressions, to this terminology. But it is also, I think, our situation when we live in this highly specialized world; we lose the facility of speaking all possible languages, not just languages in the linguistic sense, but also languages in the scientific sense. Thanks to knowledge of the classical languages (Greek, Latin), we understand a little what these words mean, but the real significance, the correspondence with the reality determined by this terminology, must certainly be brought by you. Your Society, furthermore, which comprises several thousands of physicists belonging to twenty-eight European nations, is also an appeal to the cultural unity of the whole community of European countries.

I do not intend to make a profound speech today but just some remarks on the problem, always new and relevant, of the mutual position of scientific knowledge and Faith. You are in the first place researchers; I must say that this is a word particularly dear to me. Researchers! It is opportune to point out this characteristic of your activity and to encourage the rightful freedom of your research in its own object and method, according to "the legitimate autonomy of culture and especially of the sciences", recalled by the Second Vatican Council (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes GS 59). I must say that this paragraph of Gaudium et Spes is really important for me. Science in itself is good since it is knowledge of the world, which is good, created and regarded by the Creator with satisfaction, as the book of Genesis says: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Gn 1,31). I am very attached to the first chapter of Genesis. Original sin has not completely spoilt this original goodness. Human knowledge of the world is a way of participating in the Creator's knowledge. It is therefore a first degree of man's resemblance to God, an act of respect towards him, for everything that we discover pays tribute to basic truth.

The scientist discovers the still unknown energies of the universe and puts them in man's service. Through his work, he must therefore cause man and nature to grow at the same time. He must humanize man more, while respecting and perfecting nature. The universe has a harmony in all its parts and every ecological imbalance leads to harm for man. So the scientist will not treat nature as a slave but, taking inspiration, perhaps, from the Canticle of the Creatures by St Francis of Assisi, he will consider it rather as a sister called to cooperate with him to open new ways for the progress of humanity.

This way cannot be traversed, however, without the help of technique, of technology, which make scientific research efficient. Allow me to refer to my recent Encyclical "Redemptor Hominis", where I recalled the necessity of a moral rule and ethics which enable man to take advantage of the practical applications of scientific research, where I spoke of the fundamental question of the deep disquiet of modern man. "Does this progress, which has man for its author and promoter, make human life on earth 'more human' in every aspect of that life? Does it make it more 'worthy of man?'" (cf. n. 15).

There is no doubt that from many points of view technical progress, born of scientific discoveries, helps man to solve very serious problems, such as food, energy, the struggle against certain diseases more than ever widespread in the third world countries. There are also these great European projects, with which your international seminar dealt, which cannot be solved without scientific and technical research. But it is also true that man, today, is the victim of great fear, as if he were threatened by what he produces, by the results of his work and the use made of it. In order to prevent science and technique from becoming slaves to the will for power of tyrannical forces, political as well as economic, and in order positively to ordain science and technique to the advantage of man, what is necessary, as is usually said, is a supplement of soul, a new breath of spirit, faithfulness to the moral norms that regulate man's life.

It is incumbent on scientists of the different disciplines, and particularly on you, physicists, who have discovered immense energies, to use all your prestige in order that scientific implications abide by moral norms in view of the protection and development of human life.

A scientific community such as yours, comprising scholars of all European countries and of all religious convictions, can cooperate in an extraordinary way in the cause of peace. As you have just said, science, in fact, transcends political frontiers and calls, especially today, for collaboration of a worldwide character. It offers specialists an ideal place for meetings and friendly exchanges which contribute to the service of peace.

In an increasingly high conception of science, in which knowledge is put in the service of mankind in an ethical perspective, you will allow me to present to your reflection a new degree of spiritual ascesis. There is a link between faith and science, as you were able to affirm too. The Magisterium of the Church has always said so and one of the founders of modern science, Galileo, wrote that "Holy Scripture and Nature both proceed from the divine Word: one, as being dictated by the Holy Spirit, and the other, as the very faithful executor of God's orders"; so he wrote in his letter to B. Castelli in 1613 (Edizione nazionale delle Opere di Galileo, vol. V p. 282).

If scientific research proceeds according to absolutely rigorous methods and remains faithful to its own object, and if the Scripture is read according to the wise directives of the Church, given in the conciliar Constitution Dei Verbum, which are, let us say, the most recent directives—previously there were other similar, ones—there can be no opposition between faith and science. In cases in which history stresses such an opposition, the latter always derives from erroneous positions which the Council has openly rejected, deploring certain attitudes (not unknown among Christians) deriving from a shortsighted view of the rightful autonomy of science: they have occasioned conflict and controversy and have misled many into opposing faith and science" (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes GS 36).

When scientists advance humbly in their search for the secrets of nature, God's hand leads them towards the summits of the mind, as was noted by my predecessor, Pope Pius XI, in the Motu Proprio which set tip the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; the scientists called to be members of it "did not hesitate to declare, rightly, that science, in whatever branch it may be, opens and consolidates the way leading to Christian faith".

Faith does not offer resources to scientific research as such, but it encourages the scientist to pursue his research knowing that he meets, in nature, the presence of the Creator. Some of you are walking along this way. All of you are concentrating your intellectual forces on your speciality, discovering every day, with the joy of knowledge, the indefinite possibilities that fundamental research opens for man, and the formidable questions that it sets him at the same time, sometimes even for his future.

I would like us to be able to continue this conversation in the future, finding the opportunity and methods of an indirect exchange—my occupations, like yours, do not leave any other possibility—which will enable me to get to know your concerns better and what you would like to hear from the Pope. I think that these few observations are, in a way, preliminary ones. I hope, Ladies and Gentlemen, that the blessing of the Almighty will descend on your work and on your persons, and will give you the comfort of contributing to the real progress of humanity, to physical and spiritual health, and to solidarity and peace among Peoples. Thank You.



31 March 1979

Dear Young People,

I bid you welcome. This spontaneous and joyful enthusiasm with which you welcomed my arrival in this hall, is a testimony of sincere affection and is also a very clear expression of the deep faith you have in the ecclesial ministry, entrusted to me by Christ.

Your presence today is a great joy for me. And I cannot say that we are meeting for the first time; I do not know how many times we have met already. I remember all those meetings in Poland. And I must say that those meetings have yielded their fruit, because on entering today I did not know who was in this Hall. Are they Italian or Polish young people? I asked myself.

So many meetings! I remember well those at Kroscienko, and then once also at Krakow.

But it is now necessary to speak of your pilgrimage. I have always thought that I was quite a faithful pilgrim, faithful to Czestochowa and to Jasna Gora, but I have met also here persons who have made the pilgrimage from Warsaw to Czestochowa twice, on foot. Whereas I have made it only once and not from Warsaw, but, from Krakow, which is a shorter distance. So you have been pilgrims in Poland so many times. You come to Kroscienko, you come nearly everywhere during summer when those so-called oases, those assemblies, spiritual exercises of young Poles are held. You like to come and spend those days with them. And then you come to take part in that pilgrimage from Warsaw to Czestochowa, which is, if I am not mistaken, a distance of two hundred and fifty kilometers, and the way is not so easy.

Last year the number of Italian participants was the highest and I think that the majority of those pilgrims consisted of young people belonging to your Movement.

Once I remember, perhaps it is a good thing that I should remember—I am not reading—but it will be the last memory for the moment, I remember on one occasion at Krakow, after that Warsaw-Czestochowa pilgrimage, there came a group, an Italian group, to my chapel at Krakow in the Archbishop's house, and they sang in Polish. I was not able to distinguish: are they those of Communion and Liberation or are they those of our Movement for the living Church? And so we are not meeting for the first time.

I tell you that this meeting today is for me above all a very great joy, and I hope that there will always be such a joy, a similar joy.

I wish to express to you the comfort and satisfaction that this meeting with you gives me. I have already had occasion repeatedly to bear witness to the confidence I have in the young—everywhere: in Poland, in Mexico, in Italy; the confidence I have in their generous enthusiasm for every noble and great cause, in their prompt and disinterested readiness for sacrifice for the ideals in which they believe.

I express this confidence once again to you this morning, to you who believe in Christ, in whom is placed the real hope of the world, for he is "the true light that enlightens every man" (Jn 1,9). You have set out to bring to every environment, in which Providence has placed you to live, to serve and to love, the renewing message of faith, because you are convinced that it is possible to find in the Gospel the satisfying answer to all the questions that beset man. Your proposal has met with support, though amid conflicts and opposition, and I know that you have also suffered.

Then, amid conflicts and opposition, you have seen converging upon you and taking their place at your side other young people, for whom your example has opened up new horizons of dedication, self-fulfilment and joy.

So you have been able to ascertain personally how much our world needs Christ. It is important that you should continue to proclaim his word of salvation with humble courage. Only from this, in fact, can the true liberation of man come. St John wrote incisively: "The Word gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1,12). In Christ, that is, is placed the source of the strength which transforms man inwardly, the principle of that new life which does not fade and does not pass, but lasts for eternal life (cf. Jn Jn 4,14).

Only the meeting with him, therefore, can satisfy that restlessness in which, as I noted in my recent Encyclical, there "beats and pulsates what is most deeply human—the search for truth, the insatiable need for the good, hunger for freedom, nostalgia for the beautiful, and the voice of conscience" (Redemptor Hominis RH 18). It is logical, therefore, that "seeking to see man as it were with the eyes of Christ himself, the Church becomes more and more aware that she is the guardian of a great treasure, which she may not waste but must continually increase" (cf. ibid.).

Every Christian is called to participate in this awareness, and in the commitment deriving from it. So you too, young people, beloved young people, have shown, in the very name chosen to describe your movement "Communion and Liberation" (I must say that I like this name very much, I like it for many reasons: for a theological reason and for, I would say, an ecclesiological reason. This name is so closely linked with the ecclesiology of Vatican II. Then I like it because of the perspective it opens to us: the personal, interior perspective and the social perspective: Communion and Liberation. For its topicality, this is the task of the Church today: a task which is expressed precisely in the name "Communion and Liberation"). With this name, therefore, you have shown that you are well aware of the deepest expectations of modern man. The liberation to which the world aspires—you have reasoned—is Christ; Christ lives in the Church; man's true liberation takes place, therefore, in experience of ecclesial communion; to build up this communion is, therefore, the essential contribution that Christians can make to the liberation of all.

It is a profoundly true intuition: I cannot but urge you to draw from it consistently all its logical consequences. The Church is essentially a mystery of communion: I would say that it is a call to communion, to life in communion. In vertical communion, let us say, and in horizontal communion; in communion with God himself, with Christ and in communion with others. It is communion that explains a full relationship between one person and another. The Church is essentially a mystery of communion: intimate communion, always renewed with the very source of life which is the Most Holy Trinity. It is communion of life, of love, of imitation, of following Christ, the Redeemer of man, who integrates us closely with God. Hence springs the active authentic communion of love among us, by virtue of our ontological assimilation to him.

A call to communion. Live with generous impulse the demands that spring from this reality. Try, therefore, to create unity in thoughts, in sentiments, in initiatives around your parish priests and with them around the bishop, who is the "visible principle and foundation of unity in the particular Church" (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 23). By means of communion with your bishop, you can reach the certainty of being in communion with the Pope, with the whole Church; of being in communion with the Pope who loves you, who has confidence in you and who expects a great deal from your action in the service of the Church and of so many brothers whom Christ has not yet reached with the light of his message.

Among the criteria of authenticity that my great predecessor Paul VI set on ecclesial movements in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, there is one that deserves to be meditated upon attentively: the "communautés de base", small communities, Paul VI said, will be "a place of evangelization" and "a hope for the Church" if they "remain firmly attached to the local Church in which they are inserted, and to the universal Church, thus avoiding the very real danger of becoming isolated within themselves, then of believing themselves to be the only authentic Church of Christ, and hence of condemning the other ecclesial communities" (58).

These are words dictated by a wide pastoral experience, and you are able to appreciate all their wisdom. Accustom yourselves to compare with them your every concrete initiative. On this constant effort of verification there depends the apostolic efficacy of your activity, which will then be the authentic expression of the Church's saving mission in the world.

I said that this name, Communion and Liberation, opens up to us an interior and at the same time a social perspective. Interior, because it makes us live in communion with others, with those nearest; it makes us seek this communion in our personal path, in our friendship, in our love, in our marriage, in our family. Then in the various environments: it is very important to maintain that level of communion in intrahuman, interpersonal relations; that level of communion in relations among men, among persons. It makes it possible for us to create a real liberation, because man is liberated in communion with others, not in isolation; not individually, but with others, through others, for others. This is the full meaning of the communion from which liberation springs.

Liberation, as I said also in a Wednesday address in this Hall, liberation has various meanings. A great deal depends on the social and cultural environment: liberation means different things. It is one thing in Latin America, another thing in Italy, another thing in Europe and yet another thing in Western Europe or in Eastern Europe, another thing in African countries, etc. It is necessary to seek that incarnation of liberation which is the right one in the particular context in which we live. But liberation is always obtained in communion and by means of communion.

Beloved young people, concluding this meeting and these words—I know that they have not touched on all the possible subjects; they have touched, I would say, only on the most essential points: the meaning of your name. But we hope there will be other opportunities to go on and study the subject more deeply; it is not possible to say everything on one occasion; it is better that listeners should remain with their appetite still not quite satisfied—well, concluding this meeting, I wish to leave you one instruction: with the Church go confidently towards man. In the Encyclical I indicated precisely in man the main way along which the Church must walk, "because man—every man without any exception whatever—has been redeemed by Christ, and because with man—with each man without any exception whatever—Christ is in a way united, even when man is unaware of it" (Redemptor Hominis RH 14). Let your Christian witness be nourished by this certainty and draw from it a new impulse and a new freshness every day.

Let us now have a little interval, to impart the Blessing. I am sure that there is nothing else to be said, just to accept this Blessing and to let it be heard in our hearts. But before the Blessing I want also to address your Spiritual Father. And then I want to address your President too, who spoke to me at the beginning, who introduced me and who offered me also that Brazilian picture. I am grateful for your gift. I am grateful to the artist, the painter; I am very grateful to the painter who made it. And now we can pray, and give the Blessing.

Afterwards some ideas and some words will come to us . ... (prayer follows)

And now some words that came to us during the prayer.

First: I want to thank you for the fact that you introduced me into the Pontificate: you came on the first day, also bearing an inscription in Polish. But I thought at once: they are not Poles who are carrying it, because—I shall explain to you why not—because there was a mistake, an error of spelling. That is the first thing that came to us during the player.

Second: well, things being as they are, we must now sing Otejes gen. We must sing together, because what that song expresses is true.

…(there follows the song).

There is another idea, a word. Why am I leaving you in this way with your appetite not quite satisfied, not touching on all the subjects? Because I have arranged to meet the students of Rome on Thursday, next week, for a Eucharistic Celebration in St Peter's Basilica, an Easter Celebration. The Cardinal Vicar said: Easter with the students. So I must not say too much today, in order to leave something to say next week. That is enough.

                                                         April 1979

Speeches 1979 - Sunday, 25 March 1979