Speeches 1982 - Tuesday, 18 May 1982



Gatwick International Airport Friday, 28 May 1982

Praised be Jesus Christ!

1. I appreciate very much the cordial welcome expressed by His Grace the Duke of Norfolk in the name of Her Majesty the Queen. And with gratitude to God for the opportunity of being among you in the days ahead, I extend to all the people of Britain my greetings of friendship and peace.

You know that I have come on this pilgrimage of faith in order to make a pastoral visit to the Catholic Church here. Preparations for the journey began a long time ago, and I have been looking forward with joyful anticipation to the opportunity of celebrating the Eucharist and the other sacraments with the Catholic faithful of the local Churches. I am also grateful for the ecumenical encounters which will take place during this journey of faith. The promotion of Christian unity is of great importance, for it corresponds to the will of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The sign of unity among all Christians is likewise the way and instrument of effective evangelization. It is, therefore, my fervent prayer that the Lord will bless our efforts to fulfil his will: Ut omnes unum sint - “that they may all be one” (Jn 17,21).

2. My visit is taking place at a time of tension and anxiety, a time when the attention of the world has been focused on the delicate situation of the conflict in the South Atlantic. During the past weeks, there have been attempts at settling the dispute through diplomatic negotiations, but despite the sincere efforts of many, the situation has developed into one of armed confrontation. It has claimed numerous lives and has even threatened to expand to still more dreadful proportions. This tragic situation has been one of most serious concern to me, and I have repeatedly asked Catholics throughout the world and all people of good will to join me in praying for a just and peaceful settlement. I have also appealed to the authorities of the nations involved, to the Secretary General of the United Nations and to other influential statesmen. In each case I have sought to encourage a solution which would avoid violence and bloodshed. As I stand here today, I renew my heartfelt appeal and I pray that such a settlement of the dispute will soon be reached.

3. At this moment of history, we stand in urgent need of reconciliation: reconciliation between nations and between peoples of different races and cultures; reconciliation of man within himself and with nature; reconciliation among people of different social conditions and beliefs, reconciliation among Christians. In a world scarred by hatred and injustice and divided by violence and oppression, the Church desires to be a spokesman for the vital task of fostering harmony and unity and forging new bonds of understanding and brotherhood.

4. And so I begin my pastoral visit to Britain with the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Peace be with you”. May the God of peace and reconciliation be with you all. May he bless your families and homes with his deep and abiding peace.




Southwark’s Cathedral Friday, 28 May 1982

My brothers and sisters,

1. Praised be Jesus Christ! Praised be Jesus Christ who invites us to share in his life through our Baptism. Praised be Jesus Christ who calls us to unite our sufferings to his so that we may be one with him in giving glory to the Father in heaven.

Today I greet you in the name of Jesus. I thank all of you for the welcome you have given me. I want you to know how I have looked forward to this meeting with you, especially with those of you who are sick, disabled or infirm. I myself have had a share in suffering and I have known the physical weakness that comes with injury and sickness.

2. It is precisely because I have experienced suffering that I am able to affirm with ever greater convinction what Saint Paul says in the second reading: “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm 8,38-39).

Dear friends, there is no force or power that can block God’s love for you. Sickness and suffering seem to contradict all that is worthy, all that is desired by man. And yet no disease, no injury, no infirmity can ever deprive you of your dignity as children of God, as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

3. By his dying on the Cross, Christ shows us how to make sense of our suffering. In his Passion we find the inspiration and strength of turn away from any temptation to resentment and grow through pain into new life.

Suffering is an invitation to be more like the Son in doing the Father’s will. It offers us an opportunity to imitate Christ who died to redeem mankind from sin. Thus the Father has disposed that suffering can enrich the individual and the whole Church.

4. We acknowledge that the Anointing of the Sick is for the benefit of the whole person. We find this point demonstrated in the liturgical texts of the sacramental celebration: “Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it; heal them in body, in soul and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction.”

The anointing is therefore a source of strength for both the soul and the body. The prayer of the Church asks that sin and the remnants of sin be taken away (Cfr. DENZ.-SCHÖN., 1969). It also implores a restoration of health, but always in order that bodily healing may bring greater union with God through the increase of grace.

In her teaching on this sacrament, the Church passes on the truth contained in our first reading from Saint James: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (Iac. 5, 14-15).

5. This sacrament should be approached in a spirit of great confidence, like the leper in the Gospel that has just been proclaimed. Even the desperateness of the man’s condition did not stop him from approaching Jesus with trust. We too must believe in Christ’s healing love and reaffirm that nothing will separate us from that love. Surely Jesus wishes to say: “I will; be clean” (Mt 8,3); be healed; be strong; be saved.

My dear brothers and sisters, as you live the Passion of Christ you strengthen the Church by the witness of your faith. You proclaim by your patience, your endurance and your joy the mystery of Christ’s redeeming power. You will find the crucified Lord in the midst of your sickness and suffering.

6. As Veronica ministered to Christ on his way to Calvary, so Christians have accepted the care of those in pain and sorrow as privileged opportunities to minister to Christ himself. I commend and bless all those who work for the sick in hospitals, residential homes and centres of care for the dying. I would like to say to you doctors, nurses, chaplains and all other hospital staff: Yours is a noble vocation. Remember it is Christ to whom you minister in the sufferings of your brothers and sisters.

7. I support with all my heart those who recognize and defend the law of God which governs human life. We must never forget that every person, from the moment of conception to the last breath, is a unique child of God and has a right to life. This right should be defended by the attentive care of the medical and nursing professions and by the protection of the law. Every human life is willed by our heavenly Father and is a part of his loving plan.

No State has the right to contradict moral values which are rooted in the nature of man himself. These values are the precious heritage of civilization. If society begins to deny the worth of any individual or to subordinate the human person to pragmatic or utilitarian considerations, it begins to destroy the defences that safeguard its own fundamental values.

8. Today I make an urgent plea to this nation. Do not neglect your sick and elderly. Do not turn away from the handicapped and the dying. Do not push them to the margins of society. For, if you do, you will fail to understand that they represent an important truth. The sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share his sufferings.

Let us keep the sick and the handicapped at the centre of our lives. Let us treasure them and recognize with gratitude the debt we owe them. We begin by imagining that we are giving to them; we end by realizing that they have enriched us.

May God bless and comfort all who suffer. And may Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world and healer of the sick, make his light shine through human weakness as a beacon for us and for all mankind. Amen.

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as we speak of suffering, affliction and death, we cannot forget those who have suffered and died during the armed conflict in the South Atlantic. Let us now remember in our prayers the victims of both sides. May the Father of mercies and of all consolation be close to the wounded and to all the families touched by tragedy.

May he give eternal rest to those who have died in Christ and to those who mourn in Christian hope and let us pray that negotiations may pave the way to a just and lasting peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Friday, 28 May 1982

My dear brother Bishops,

1. As we come together this evening, we turn our thoughts immediately to our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospels, Christ tells us that he is not alone. He experiences communion with his Father: “And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone . . .” (Jn 8,29). On another occasion he says: “I am not alone, for the Father is with me” (Ibid. 16, 32). Christ’s consciousness of being one with his Father pervades his life and his mission. It is a source of strength for him. Even at the height of his Passion, he knows that he is not abandoned, even though he suffers in his human nature the anguish of loneliness.

2. Christ also knows that his disciples have the very same need as he had: they must not face their mission alone. And so he made his promise, a promise that pervades the life of the whole Church, for ever: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28,20).

This promise was the echo of promises that God had made before. Moses had heard God say: “I will be with you” (Ex 3,12). It was a promise that was made to him precisely so that he could lead God’s people into freedom. Jeremiah, who was to shrink in fear before the magnitude of his prophetic task, was reassured by God: “I am with you to deliver you” (Ier. 1, 8). The Apostle Paul, too, heard reassuring words: “Do not be afraid but speak and do not be silent, for I am with you . . .” (Act.18, 9).

3. And today, in the context of the collegiality that we are celebrating, I wish to offer for your meditation Christ’s promise to remain with his Church, Christ’s assurance that you are not alone.

The principle of collegiality shows us how Christ’s own conviction about himself - “I am not alone” - applies to ourselves. Through the action of his Holy Spirit, Christ is with you and in you, as you preside, as his vicars (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 27), over the Churches entrusted to your pastoral care. He is also close to you through the ministry of him to whom the Church attributes in a special way the titles of Vicar of Christ and Servant of the Servants of God.

4. All of you together, as a Conference - the Latin Rite Ordinaries as well as Bishop Hornyak, beloved pastor of the Ukrainian faithful - know the solidarity of the Bishop of Rome with you in prayer and fraternal love. And as members of the worldwide College of Bishops, you know that you have the support of the Successor of the Apostle Peter who was made “a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion”, precisely “in order that the Episcopale itself might be one and undivided” (Ibid. 18). In the past weeks the Pope has been close to you, as he has been close to your Argentine brothers in the Episcopate, in the great pastoral need that has been experienced by both your peoples as the result of armed conflict in the South Atlantic.

At the same time, you and the Bishops of Argentina have been assured of the prayers and fraternal support of your brother Bishops throughout the world. The concelebrated Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on 22 May was, among other aspects, an example of the powerful collegiality that transcends natural boundaries, languages, cultures and even generations. The appeal for peace made at that time was a collegial act in favour of the whole Church and all humanity. The Episcopal College stands by its individual members. The problems of individual Bishops and Conferences are, as you have experienced, the concern of the whole body. You are not alone.

5. You in your turn are called upon to collaborate for the good of the universal Church. Some of you had the privilege, as I did, of taking part in the Second Vatican Council. All of you have contributed in one way or another to the work of the Synod of Bishops or to that of your Episcopal Conference. Some of you have taken part in the collegial activities coordinated in the Roman Curia.

6. At the same time the universal Episcopate with which you have worked for the good of the whole Church collaborates with the Roman Pontiff in important matters that touch your local Churches. This aspect, too, is a vital part of collegiality: not only do you collaborate for the good of others, but you accept the collaboration of the College in your own ministry.That collaboration is offered in various ways, often in nonjuridical expressions, and it is a great help to you. In this aspect of collegiality you yourselves are helped to read accurately the “signs of the times”, to discern clearly “what the Spirit says to the churches” (Ap 2,7). It is in this context of collegiality that we see how the local Churches and their pastors contribute to the universal Church, and also how they receive the combined insights of the universal Episcopate. These insights assist local Bishops to be ever more solicitous for the good of the whole Church; they likewise help the Bishops to safeguard in their local Churches that unity of faith and discipline which is common to the whole Church (Lumen Gentium LG 23), and which must be authenticated by her universal authority. In the principle of collegiality, the Bishops find at one and the same time fraternal support and a criterion of accountability for their sacred mission. The words of Jesus are certainly full of meaning for us his servants: I am not alone.

7. In your ministry as Bishops you know how much your priests depend on you, and how much you depend on your priests. Together - and not alone - you have been commissioned to proclaim the Gospel and build up the Body of Christ. The priests are your brothers and the co-workers of your episcopal order. Your brotherhood with them ensures the effectiveness of your ministry, and their union with you guarantees their union with Christ.

8. Now a word about Religious. The Second Vatican Council and its implementing documents have done much to show the genuine place of Religious in the Apostolate of the local Churches. Here too your role is so important, not only for the coordination of pastoral activity but also for ensuring that the splendid contribution of men and women Religious is adequately utilized in the spirit of shared responsibility for the Gospel, “that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph” (2Th 3,1). In your pastoral zeal, the orderly and fruitful collaboration between Bishops and Religious will confirm your own joyful experience of not being alone in the work of evangelization and catechesis.

9. And what of the laity? I am deeply convinced also that the increased scope of the lay apostolate is a source of special strength for you as pastors of God’s people. The Second Vatican Council was emphatic in stating how much the laity contribute to the welfare of the entire Church. In the same context it states that “pastors also know that they themselves were not meant by Christ to shoulder alone the entire saving mission of the Church” (Lumen Gentium LG 30). In God’s plan, by fulfilling their own proper role, the laity are meant to offer a great service of loving support to their pastors in Christ. In all of this, the task of the Bishops remains a formidable one. It is a ministry of heavy responsibility, but the presence of Christ and the right measure of shared responsibility assumed by the community is more than enough to convince us all as Bishops that we are not alone.

10. There are so many ways in which we are called to serve as Bishops - so many individual areas of our pastoral mission: as teachers, leading God’s people “by right paths for his name’s sake” (Ps 23,3); as leaders of liturgical worship, offering “praise in the vast assembly” (Ps 35,18); as loving and compassionate shepherds who know their sheep and are known and loved by them. In all these various areas the principle of collegiality finds its pertinent application, and the life and ministry of the Bishop is marked by the experience of Christ the chief Shepherd, who proclaims unceasingly to the world: I am not alone.

11. And today, dear Brothers, the Bishop of Rome wishes to emphasize this point strongly: that like Christ you are not alone. With you the Bishop of Rome is pastor of God’s people, and for you he is the universal servant pastor. As he confirms you in the faith, he also encourages you and your people - as well as your Argentine confreres and their people - in every effort for total reconciliation and peace. With the Apostle Peter, I say again: “Peace to all of you that are in Christ” (1 Petr. 5, 14).

And together, my brother Bishops - and not alone - we must proclaim that peace is possible, that it is a human and Christian duty, that reconciliation is the way to peace, and that Christ himself is our justice and our peace. Amidst joys and anxieties, in hopes and pain, the Catholic Episcopate is jointly accountable to Jesus Christ for the way in which it proclaims, in his name and by his mandate, his Gospel of peace, and exercises his “ministry of reconciliation” (2Co 5,18).

With our clergy, religious and laity, and united with one another, let us proclaim the saying and reconciling message of the Gospel, with a deep conviction that - like Jesus and with Jesus - we are not alone. In the collegiality of the Catholic Episcopate let us find renewed strength and vigour to lead God’s people. And in Christ Jesus may we always realize that we are not alone.




Saturday, 29 May 1982

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

1. Wish to express my special foy at this meeting.You are here in such large numbers as representatives of all the religious of England and Wales. On the eve of Pentecost you are her to renew your religious vows. With the Pope, the Successor of Peter, you will proclaim before the whole Church that you believe in your consecration; that it is your call to follow Christ which inspires your joy and your peace. “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Ph 4,4).

2. You worthily continue a tradition that goes back to the dawn of English Christian history. Augustine and his companions were Benedictine monks. The great monastic foundations of Anglo-Saxon and mediaeval times were not just the staging posts for evangelization; they were also the centres of learning and the seedbeds of culture and civilization. Places such as Canterbury, Jarrow, Glastonbury and St Albans are indicative of the role monasticism played in English history. Men like Bede of Jarrow, Boniface of Devon who became the Apostle of the Germans, and Dunstan of Glanstonbury who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 960; women such as Hilda of Whitby, Walburga and Lioba, and many others - these are famous names in English history. Nor can we forget Anselm, or Nicholas Breakspear, born at Abbots Langley, who became Pope Adrian IV in 1154.

In Norman times this army of Christ reached new splendour with the foundation of monasteries of Cistercians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians.

Later, religious life suffered greatly. English religious communities were scattered and destroyed, or fled to foreign lands. It is impossible here to name all the men and women religious of this period who followed our Lord to the point of giving their lives in defence of their faith. To that unhappy age belonged also an extraordinary Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward, who became a pioneer of the active unenclosed congregations for women.

The last century saw an amazing rebirth of religious life. Hundreds of religious houses, schools, orphanages, hospitals and other social services were established. Missionary congregations spread the faith in distant lands.

In our own time the Second Vatican Council has addressed to you a call for appropriate renewal of religious life through a return to the original charism of each institute and through a healthy adaptation to meet the changed conditions of the times (Cfr. Perfectae Caritatis PC 2).

3. My brothers and sisters, we can see what the Church, and indeed society at large, expects from you today. The people of our time look to you and repeat what the Greek-speaking visitors to Jerusalem said to the Apostle Philip: “We wish to see Jesus” (Jn 12,21). Yes, in you the world wishes to see Jesus. Your public profession of the evangelical counsels is a radical response to the Lord’s call to follow him. As a result, your lives are meant to offer a clear witness to the reality of the Kingdom of God already present in the affairs of men and nations.

As you renew your religious consecration here this morning before God and the Church, in the sight of millions of your fellow countrymen, I wish to meditate with you on the greatnes and dignity of your calling.

4. To most people you are known for what you do.Visitors to your abbeys and religious houses see you celebrate the liturgy, or follow you in prayer and contemplation. People of all ages and conditions benefit directly from your many different services to ecclesial and civil society. You teach; you care for the sick; you look after the poor, the old, the handicapped; you bring the word of God to those near and far; you lead the young to human and Christian maturity.

5. Most people know what you do, and admire and appreciate you for it. Your true greatness, though, comes from what you are.Perhaps what you are is less known and understood. In fact, what you are can only be grasped in the light of the “newness of life” revealed by the Risen Lord. In Christ you are a “new creation” (Cfr. 2Co 5,17).

At some time in your lives, the call of the Lord to a special intimacy and union with him in his redemptive mission became so clear that you overcame your hesitations. You put aside your doubts and difficulties and committed yourselves to a life of total fidelity to the highest ideals of the Gospel. Your free decision was sustained by grace, and your perseverance through the years is a magnificent testimony of the victory of grace over the forces that struggle to tarnish the newness of your life in Christ. This “newness of life” is a gift of Christ to his Church. It is a proof of the Church’s holiness, an expression of her vitality.

6. Through the profession of the evangelical counsels you are bound to the Church in a special way (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 44). Let me suggest to you, then, some of the aspects of your consecrated life that are especially significant in the present circumstances of the pilgrim People of God. Today there exists a widespread temptation to unbelief and despair. You, on the other hand are committed to being men and women of deep faith and unceasing prayer.To you in a particular way way be addressed Saint Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of the faith: take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1Tm 6,12). Believe in the Risen Lord. Believe in your own personal vocation. Believe that Christ called you because he loves you. In moments of darkness and pain, believe that he loves you all the more. Believe in the specific inspiration and charism of your Institute. Believe in your mission within the Church. Let your faith shine before the world, as a lamp in the darkness; let it shine as a beacon that will guide a confused society to the proper appreciation of essential values. May the spiritual joy of your personal lives, and your communal witness of authentic Christian love, be a source of inspiration and hope. Let your consecration be known. Be recognizable as religious men and women. The secular city needs living witnesses such as you.

7. Today many people are tempted to live by a false set of values. You, on the other hand, are men and women who have discovered the pearl of great price (Cfr. Matth Mt 13,46), a treasur that dos not fail (Cfr. Luc Lc 12,22-34). Through poverty voluntarily embraced in imitation of Christ - being poor in spirit and in fact, singly and corporately (Cfr. Perfectae Caritatis PC 13) - you seek freedom from the tyranny of the consumer society. Chastity practised “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19,12) is a special gift to you from Christ, and from you to the whole Church. Virginity or celibacy is not only a preferential love of the Lord, but also a freedom for a total self-giving in universal service, without conditions and without discrimination. Your chastity, when it is marked by genuine generosity and joy, teaches others to distinguish between true love and its many counterfeits. Through your obedience, which is a complete dedication of yourselves to the will of God, you seek to achieve the “mature measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ep 4,13). Paradoxically, through self-renunciation, you grow to human and Christian maturity and responsibility. You show that many current ideas of freedom are in fact distorted. You help ransom society, as it were, from the effects of unbridled selfishness.

8. The witness of religious consecration has a special dimension for those of you who live the contemplative form of religious life. Your lives are hidden with Christ in God. In silence and through prayer and penance you praise him. You call down his graces and blessings upon God’s people (Cfr. Perfectae Caritatis PC 7). Many people have a vague idea of what you do, but very many more, including Catholics, fail to recognize the greatness of your special vocation and its irreplaceable role in the Church’s life. Contemplative life imparts to God’s people “a hidden apostolic fruitfulness” (Ibid.). Contemplative prayer sustains the Church in her struggle to bring mankind to a proper understanding of human dignity and spiritual values. In the name of the Church I thank you. I ask you to pray all the more for the pilgrim People of God and for the world. And to those who feel called to the contemplative life, I repeat Jesus’ invitation to two hesitant disciples: “Come and see”. They came and saw and stayed with him (Cfr. Io Jn 1,39).

9. The “hidden witness” of contemplatives is flanked by the vigorous apostolic thrust of the active religious communities. In the footsteps of the Master, with zeal for his Father’s will, and confident in your own particular charism, you “show wonderfully at work within the Church the surpassing greatness of the force of Christ the King and the boundless power of the Holy Spirit” (Lumen Gentium LG 44).

Religious communities have a special responsibility to be sensitive to the signs of the times, and to try to meet such needs as are the proper concern of the Church’s ministry. Imitate the faith and courage of your founders. Be ready to sacrifice yourselves as they did. Help the Bishops in their pastoral ministry, with confidence in Christ’s promise to protect and guide his Church.

10. Men and women religious, lift up your hearts! Give thanks to the Lord for your wonderful vocation. Through you Jesus wants to continue his prayer of contemplation on the mountain. He wants to be seen announcing God’s Kingdom, healing the sick, bringing sinners to conversion, blessing children, doing good to all and always obeying the will of the Father who sent him (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 46). In you the Church and the world must be able to see the living Lord.

Do not be afraid to proclaim openly before the rest of the Church, especially the young, the worthwhileness of your way of life and its beauty. The Catholic community must be shown the high privilege of following Christ’s call to the religious life. The young must come to know you more closely. They will come to you when they see you as generous and cheerful followers of Jesus Christ, whose way of life does not offer material rewards and accommodate itself to the standards of the world. They will be attracted by Christ’s uncompromising, exciting challenge to leave all in order to follow him.

11. In concluding, I wish to greet the Religious of the Anglican Communion who are present here. You too are inspired by the evangelical call to an ever closer following of Christ. You have expressed a desire to welcome the Pope and to hear him speak. I thank you. I commend to your prayers the ardent desire of millions of Christians throughout the world: that we may be fully one in faith and love.

To all of you I express my gratitude and respect. I entrust all the Religious of England and Wales to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of the Church, the loftiest example of discipleship. May the Holy Spirit fill your hearts with his gifts. Rejoice in the Lord always! Again, I say, rejoice! May the public renewal of your religious vows help bring about a new Pentecost in your lives and in the Church in this land.

Praise be Jesus Christ!



1. In the Cathedral Church of Christ at Canterbury the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have met on the eve of Pentecost to offer thanks to God for the progress that has been made in the work of reconciliation between our Communions. Together with leaders of other Christian Churches and Communities we have listened to the Word of God; together we have recalled our one baptism and renewed the promises then made; together we have acknowledged the witness given by those whose faith has led them to surrender the precious gift of life itself in the service of others, both in the past and in modern times.

2. The bond of our common baptism into Christ led our predecessors to inaugurate a serious dialogue between our Churches, a dialogue founded on the Gospels and the ancient common traditions, a dialogue which has as its goal the unity for which Christ prayed to his Father “so that the world may know that thou has sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me”. In 1966, our predecessors Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey made a Common Declaration announcing their intention to inaugurate a serious dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion which would “include not only theological matters such as Scripture, Tradition and Liturgy, but also matters of practical difficulty felt on either side”. After this dialogue had already produced three statements on Eucharist, Ministry and Ordination, and Authority in the Church, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Donald Coggan, in their Common Declaration in 1977, took the occasion to encourage the completion of the dialogue on these three important questions so that the Commission’s conclusions might be evaluated by the respective Authorities through procedures appropriate to each Communion. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission has now completed the task assigned to it with the publication of its Final Report, and as our two Communions proceed with the necessary evaluation, we join in thanking the members of the Commission for their dedication, scholarship and integrity in a long and demanding task undertaken for love of Christ and for the unity of his Church.

3. The completion of this Commission’s work bids us look to the next stage of our common pilgrimage in faith and hope towards the unity for which we long. We are agreed that it is now time to set up a new international Commission. Its task will be to continue the work already begun: to examine, especially in the light of our respective judgments on the Final Report, the outstanding doctrinal differences which still separate us, with a view towards their eventual resolution; to study all that hinders the mutual recognition of the ministries of our Communions; and to recommend what practical steps will be necessary when, on the basis of our unity in faith, we are able to proceed to the restoration of full communion. We are well aware that this new Commission’s task will not be easy, but we are encouraged by our reliance on the grace of God and by all that we have seen of the power of that grace in the ecumenical movement of our time.

4. While this necessary work of theological clarification continues, it must be accompanied by the zealous work and fervent prayer of Roman Catholics and Anglicans throughout the world as they seek to grow in mutual understanding, fraternal love and common witness to the Gospel. Once more, then, we call on the bishops, clergy and faithful people of both our Communions in every country, diocese and parish in which our faithful live side by side. We urge them all to pray for this work and to adopt every possible means of furthering it through their collaboration in deepening their allegiance to Christ and in witnessing to him before the world. Only by such collaboration and prayer can the memory of the past enmities be healed and our past antagonisms overcome.

5. Our aim is not limited to the union of our two Communions alone, to the exclusion of other Christians, but rather extends to the fulfilment of God’s will for the visible unity of all his people.

Both in our present dialogue, and in those engaged in by other Christians among themselves and with us, we recognize in the agreements we are able to reach, as well as in the difficulties which we encounter, a renewed challenge to abandon ourselves completely to the truth of the Gospel. Hence we are happy to make this Declaration today in the welcome presence of so many fellow Christians whose Churches and Communities are already partners with us in prayer and work for the unity of all.

6. With them we wish to serve the cause of peace, of human freedom and human dignity, so that God may indeed be glorified in all his creatures. With them we greet in the name of God all men of good will, both those who believe in him and those who are still searching for him.

7. This holy place reminds us of the vision of Pope Gregory in sending St. Augustine as an apostle to England, full of zeal for the preaching of the Gospel and the shepherding of the flock. On this eve of Pentecost, we turn again in prayer to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who promised to ask the Father to give us another Advocate to be with us for ever, the Spirit of truth, to lead us to the full unity to which he calls us. Confident in the power of this same Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves anew to the task of working for unity with firm faith, renewed hope and ever deeper love.

May 29th 1982

Speeches 1982 - Tuesday, 18 May 1982