Speeches 1983 - Monday, 5 September 1983




Friday, 9 September 1983

Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,

A few days ago I had the joy of being with another group of American Bishops. At that time we reflected on the Episcopal Office, which like the Church herself, is a mystery rooted in Jesus Christ and in his saving love for humanity. We reflected on the Bishop’s calling to be a living sign of the Incarnate Word, a living sign of Jesus Christ. Today we may well emphasize again the Bishop’s personal role in teaching, governing and sanctifying the People of God; his altogether particular responsibility for the transmission of the Gospel, and the unique task that is his as the builder of community within the Church. For the love and zeal with which you fulfill your special ministry in the Church, I thank you in the name of Christ our Lord.

1. And yet, there is another great ecclesial reality that complements our consideration of the Episcopacy, and it is the unity of the priesthood of Christ, which we share with our brother priests. It is to them that our thoughts turn today - to our esteemed and loved co-workers, who participate with us in a ministry and mission that comes from Christ, belongs to Christ and leads to Christ.

And if the Bishop’s role is unique, so too is that great witness in the Church of a united priesthood. Unique also is that wonderful fraternity of the presbyterate which is gathered about the Bishop and works, with him and under his leadership, to build up the unity of the Church, but which already expresses this oneness in the powerful and dynamic unity of priestly consecration and mission. Unique too is that depth of shared responsibility between the Bishop and his priests. For the Bishop, the priests are brothers, sons, friends, counselors and needed helpers in the vast task of effectively proclaiming Jesus Christ and salvation in his name. Not only as individuals do priests perform these roles, but the priests’ councils providentially assist the Bishop in the pastoral government of the Diocese, and are to be promoted according to the norms of the new Code of Canon Law (Cfr. Codex Iuris Canonici, cann. 495-502).

2. In addressing ourselves to the reality of the priesthood, we have a special personal apostolic challenge to fulfill. We are above all called upon to live the mystery of the priesthood as worthy examples to our brother priests. In this regard, our celebration of the Eucharist tells our priests, as well as the whole world, so much about our own Eucharistic faith. Even after years of experiencing the joys attached to a vast number of apostolic activities, we can look back and say that our greatest strength and the deepest source of gladness for our hearts has been the daily celebration of Mass, beginning with those early days after our priestly ordination. And We have always been convinced that the Eucharist is our most outstanding contribution to the Church, our greatest priestly service to the people, the deepest meaning of that splendid vocation which we share with our brother priests.

3. Just yesterday, with my approval, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a Letter to the Bishops of the Church, reiterated the vital role of the priest as the minister of the Eucharist. Only the priesthood can furnish the Eucharist to God’s people. And only priests have the wonderful opportunity to serve God’s people by supplying them with the bread of life. Already, on the day of its publication, this document of the Holy See received the supportive commentary of a Pastoral Letter of a brother Bishop of yours. He expressed so much of the Church’s understanding of the priesthood in the following terms: “The priestly ministry requires us to do many things: to preach the Word of God, to minister the other Sacraments, to encourage, to console, to serve human need, to serve the Church in administration, which the New Testament numbers among the charisms, and to do a variety of other things in virtue of the mission we receive from the Church. This means, of course, that the Priesthood does not consist exclusively in the celebration of the Eucharist. And yet, if we reflect carefully on the Church’s faith about the essential link between the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Eucharist, it does mean that the celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of what it means to be a priest. It means that somehow and in an ultimate way the priest finds his identity in this link between his Priesthood and the Eucharist” (Archuepiscopi John Quinn Litt. Past., p. 4).

Hence as we strive to live this mystery of the priesthood, we have the task of extolling the importance of the priesthood to the Christian people. In explaining the relation of the Eucharist and the priesthood, we are in effect proclaiming the mystery of the Church’s life.

4. Another aspect of our apostolic charge is to confirm our brother priests in their identity as ministers of the Eucharist, and therefore ministers of the Church. Before the people and before our priests, in moments of calm and in times of crisis, we must assert the priorities of the priesthood. Each brother priest is meant to be, with us, in the words of Saint Paul, “a servant of Christ, called to be an apostle and set apart to proclaim the gospel of God” (Rm 1,1). It is in the very act of “proclamation” that we assert our common identity and confirm our brothers. Even back to the earliest times, the choice made by the Twelve was very clear. The apostolic priorities for the priesthood, as expressed in the Acts of the Apostles, are “to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word” (Act.6, 4).

5. The Second Vatican Council did not fail to emphasize both elements for the priests of today. For example, it clearly states: “The ministry of priests takes its start from the Gospel message” (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 2). At the same time the Council points out that the ministry of the word terminates in the Eucharist, which is itself “the source and summit of the whole work of evangelization” (Ibid. 5). Yes, if we read carefully the signs of the times as they relate to the priesthood, we will discern that the Eucharist determines the meaning of the priesthood and the identity of our priests. The Council is clear and concise. Its testimony means so much to clarify the meaning of our priesthood, to shed light on post-conciliar questionings and theological reflections. Let us all listen again, together with our presbyterates. It is the Holy Spirit speaking through the Council and saying: “Priests fulfill their chief duty in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In it the work of our redemption continues to be carried out” (Ibid.13). It is crystal clear today and for the future: the priesthood is for ever linked to the Eucharistic Sacrifice and to the actuation of the Redemption.

But the Eucharist is also linked to the building of community. Here too all our priests can fulfill their divine vocation and their human aspirations. Through our priests, each local community is built up in faith and charity, and in an openness to the universal Church of which it is a miniature expression.

6. In the Eucharistic Sacrifice the priest finds the source of all his pastoral charity (Cfr. ibid.14). The spirituality of all diocesan and religious priests is linked to the Eucharist. Here they obtain the strength to make the offering of their lives together with Jesus, High Priest and Victim of salvation. Through the Eucharistic Sacrifice, celibacy is confirmed and strengthened. From his Cross the Lord Jesus speaks to all his priests, inviting them to be, with him, signs of contradiction before the world. Jesus’ plea has entered into the apostolic tradition: “Do not conform yourselves to this age” (Rm 12,2).

7. In every age of the Church there are many meaningful actuations of the priestly ministry. But after the Eucharist, what could be more important than the “ministry of reconciliation” (2Co 5,18) as exercised in the sacrament of Penance? What greater human fulfillment is there than touching human hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of the merciful and compassionate Redeemer of the world? Like the laity, our priests must strive to serve in many relevant ways every day, but they alone can forgive sins in the name of the Lord Jesus. And connected with the forgiveness of sins is new life and hope and joy for the People of God.

With fidelity to Christ, in whose “person” he acts, the priest realizes his identity and mission also through the Liturgy of the Hours, through different forms of prayer, through the reading of the word of God and through the oblation of his will, made in union with that of Christ. The priest’s special love will always be with the sick and dying, with those in pain and sorrow, and with those in sin. For every Bishop and priest there is but one ideal - the person who says: “I am the good shepherd . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jn 10,14-15).

8. In the light of this principle, so many other aspects of the priesthood are clarified: the value of celibacy is proclaimed, not so much as a practical exigency, but as an expression of a perfect offering and of a configuration to Jesus Christ. An understanding of the need for priests to perform, with full human commitment and deep compassion, those activities which only ordained priests can do, confirms the wisdom of the Bishops’ Synod of 1971, in regard to that general exclusion of priests from secular and political activity. It is more than ever necessary that “as a general rule the priestly ministry shall be a full-time occupation” (Pars secunda, 2, a).

9. Dear brother Bishops, since so much of the Church’s life depends on the ministry of priests, let us mobilize the People of God to pray and work for vocations. And let us encourage our brother priests to do everything possible to help young men respond to the call of Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost. The Lord of the harvest will not desert his Church.

10. Before concluding, let me thank you for the zeal with which you have welcomed and supported the Seminary Visitation Program headed by Bishop John Marshall, now being conducted in America. It is being done by my authority but in the spirit of full collegial responsibility.For this reason I invite you to open your seminaries willingly to this visitation, and to do everything possible for its success. What is at stake is the effective training of the present and future generations of priests, so that they may be able to transmit the message of salvation in all its purity and integrity, in accordance with Christ’s command: “Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28,20).

Dear brother Bishops, in building up the priesthood of Jesus Christ, one of our greatest instruments is fraternal love - fraternal love among ourselves and for our priests. But this love must be clearly manifested, so that our priests will know, beyond all doubt, of the esteem and solidarity that love begets in us. In the attitude of our daily pastoral contacts with them, let us repeat convincingly in word and action: For you I am a Bishop, with you I am a priest.

Praised be Jesus Christ, the one High Priest of our salvation. And may his Mother Mary be a Mother to us all!






Monday, 12 September 1983

Distinguished Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
Director General of the United Nations Office
Executive Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization,
Representatives and officials of the various International Organizations which have their headquarters here at United Nations City.

To all of you I extend the expression of my respect and esteem. I do this all the more willingly, knowing that members of your families are also following this meeting of ours, and showing deep interest in it, as they do in all your worthy activities, which they support as only families can.

1. Allow me to express to you my sincere appreciation for the invitation to visit this place where so many important agencies work to protect and promote life in crucial areas of human endeavour: the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the promotion of industry especially in the developing world, trade law, social and humanitarian development and the serious questions of narcotics control.
All these agencies and offices bear testimony to the pressing need we have in today’s world to work together in order to deal constructively with sectors of human life that are complex and many-faceted. The treatment of these issues offers possibilities for good or for bad in ways that previous generations did not have to face.

That is why the first obligation we share is the obligation of working together, of sharing our expertise, of building up a common consensus through common effort and commitment. Thus the agencies and offices grouped here participate in the same vision and spirit which is proper to the United Nations Organization as such, and which, as I said in New York in 1979, “unites and associates, it does not divide and oppose” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad Nationum Unitarum Legatos, 4, die 2 oct. 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, 1?, 2 (1979) 523). The overriding characteristic that must mark the works you undertake should always be to unite and associate, not to divide and oppose. This characteristic stems from the spirit that called your organizations into existence. It is reinforced by the demands that the content of your fields of expertise makes on you.

2. In my Encyclical “Laborem Exercens”, I reflected on work in the objective sense and referred to the development of modern industry and technology in the richness of its expressions as “grounds for reproposing in new ways the question of work”, and as “a whole set of instruments which man uses in his work”. I viewed the “correct affirmation of technology as a basic coefficient of economic progress” (Eiusdem Laborem Exercens LE 5).

Reflecting on this and applying it to your several concerns, you are being challenged to struggle in new ways to explore and develop the relationship of man with technology. For only when we examine the points of interaction between the human person and technology can we find the criteria to guide the present and future efforts you are called to make. To this end, and mindful that there are many elements to be examined in these points of interaction, I would like today to call your attention to two indispensable factors that must be brought constantly into consideration.

3. The very complexities of your subjects demand a level of training and education that, in terms of time and talent, can be all-absorbing. For example, to master even one of the disciplines that contribute to our knowledge of nuclear energy is a lifelong commitment and vocation. Because of this, the temptation can be great to let the content and the methodology of one discipline determine, in a total way, our vision of life, the values we espouse and the decisions we make. Because of this, because of the all-encompassing inner demands of these highly complex disciplines that offer so much to mankind, it is extremely important that we always maintain the primacy of man as the criterion f or our judgments and decisions.

Man is the subject of all work and of all our intellectual and scientific disciplines. Man is, under God, the measure and end of all the projects that we attempt in this world. Whether the object is industrial projects for developing countries, nuclear reactors, or programmes for the improvement of society, the human person is the guiding criterion. No project, however technically perfect or industrially sound, is justifiable if it endangers the dignity and rights of the persons involved. Every initiative of your agencies should be tested by the question: Does this advance the cause of man as man?

Such a reflection will not always be easy to make but it is necessary. No one would deny that the complexities of industry, technology, nuclear science and the many organizations of modern society must be approached with full respect for all the components which command our careful attention. In light of these realities and conscious of the potential they have, I can and must insist that the commitment and effort you rightly give to the intellectual, tech­nological, scientific and educational aspects must always be matched by a sensitivity for and dedication to the cause of man who we proclaim is formed in the image of God and hence worthy of total dignity and respect.

4. The second criterion that I would mention briefly, places us ¡n the context of the world we live in. It is the concern we must have for the good of people as a whole, for the well-being of society, for what we traditionally call the common good. For you it will mean seeing your work as a contribution not only for a specific project or for a certain government or agency. It will mean seeing your work as a contribution for all the people of the world. Thus you will measure the worth of a project by the impact it will have on cultural and other human values as well as on the economic and social well-being of a people or nation. In this way you place work in the wide and challenging context of the present and future good of the world. You concern yourselves with all the nations of this earth.Promotion of the common good in your work demands respect for the cultures of nations and peoples coupled to a sense of the. solidarity of all peoples under the guidance of a common Father. The advancement of one nation can never be realized at the expense of another. The advancement of all in an equitable use of the expertise you have is the best guarantee of the common good that ensures that all people have what they need and deserve.

5. These few words of mine are offered to you today for your encouragement. As leader of the Catholic Church, whose members are found throughout the whole world, I wish to encourage all of you to be servants of that world which needs to be ever more united through the efforts each of us is called to make in our proper spheres. As servants of the truth about man, as well as servants of the truth of our disciplines, servants of the common good of all nations and peoples, may you be ever more intimately associated together in tasks that will utilize your talents and your knowledge to advance the well-being, harmony and peace of all peoples for generations yet to come.

6. Permit me to allude to an extraordinary person of a former generation - one who is known and admired as an apostle of peace, one whose figure, so often reproduced in art, so familiar to so many of you, and whose ideas are crystallized in expressions that effectively manifest his spirit to the modern world. Yes, the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi are a link spanning generations, uniting men and women of good will of all centuries in the quest for peace, whose spiritual goals are furthered by the honest efforts and hard and concerted work performed each day by the experts of so many fields and disciplines. It is in his spirit that I permit myself to speak of your contributions to the world, of what you are able to do for humanity, by working together, as brothers and sisters under the common Fatherhood of God: Lord, make us instruments of your peace! Where there is hatred - let us sow love! Where there is injury - pardon! Where there is doubt - faith! Where there is despair - hope! Where there is darkness - light! Where there is sadness - joy! And where there is death, let us sow life! Where there is war - let us make peace! Lord make us effective servants of humanity, servants of life, servants of peace!




Monday, 19 September 1983

Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,

1. I have recently spoken to other groups of American Bishops about two important aspects of the great mystery of the Church: the Episcopate and the Priesthood. I would now like to reflect with you on yet another special gift of God to his Church, and this gift is the religious life.

So much is religious life a part of the Church, so intimately does it touch her constitution and her holiness, that it must form an integral part of the pastoral solicitude of the Pope and the Bishops, who have a unique responsibility for the entire life of the Church and are meant to be signs of her holiness. In speaking about religious life we are speaking about an ecclesial reality which concerns the Bishops by reason o f their very office.

2. At every moment, but especially during the Holy Year of the Redemption, the Church offers the call to conversion to all her members, particularly to religious. This call to conversion goes out to religious so that they may acquire the full benefits of the Red­emption and be ever more faithful witnesses of that Redemption; so that they may be ever more authentic channels of the Redemption for the People of God through their own spiritual vitality which, in the Communion of Saints, is a supernaturally effective contact with the Redemption; and so that through conversion they may live more faithfully the unity of the Church, which is itself the effect of the Redemption and a participation in it.

For this reason I wrote to all the Bishops asking for their special pastoral service to the religious of the United States in the context of the Holy Year of the Redemption. In my Letter I stated: “It is my earnest hope that the Holy Year of the Redemption will truly be for religious life a year of fruitful renewal in Christ’s love. If all the faithful have a right - as they do - to the treasures of grace that a call to renewal in love offers, then the religious have a special title to that right”.

The whole thrust of my initiative was formulated as an invitation, a call to be extended to the religious, to open wide the doors of their hearts to the Redeemer. In this regard I wrote: “? ask you to invite all the religious throughout your land, in my name, and in your own name as Bishops, in the name of the Church and in the name of Jesus, to seize this opportunity of the Holy Year to walk in newness of life, in solidarity with all the pastors and faithful, along the path necessary for us all - the way of penance and conversion”.

3. This pastoral endeavour is of such importance that it could be fulfilled only by a full collegial commitment on the part of all the Bishops of the United States. At that time I promised you my fraternal and prayerful support. I also named a Commission headed by Archbishop John Quinn whose task it would be to assist you in the exercise of collegiality and to facilitate your pastoral work of “helping the religious of your country whose Institutes are engaged in apostolic works to live their ecclesial vocation to the full”. I am deeply grateful to the Commission for the generosity and zeal with which they are striving to formulate a suitable program that will effectively assist the body of Bishops who have the main responsibility in this matter. As guidelines for both the Commission and yourselves in this important work, I approved a summary of the salient points of the Church’s teaching on religious life prepared by the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes.

Since then I have also had the opportunity, as I had hoped, to speak personally with so many Bishops about religious life, hearing their viewpoints and learning about their own devoted pastoral service to religious. I am deeply grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ that this initiative has been so zealously undertaken by the Commis­sion and by individual Bishops, and that it is seen for what it is, an application - an extremely important application - of the principle of collegiality, a principle so forcefully enunciated by the Second Vatican Council. In proposing this initiative to your pastoral zeal, my first intention has been to affirm collegial responsibility for the state of religious life, which is intimately linked to the mystery of the Church and to the mystery of the Episcopate. Religious need the support and assistance of the Bishops in their lives of consecrated witness to the holiness of Christ and to the primacy of God. Your collegial collaboration is not only a means of giving general support to religious and to assisting them in solving particular problems that inevitably touch their lives; it also signifies an authentic functioning of collegiality, an authentic and vital relationship between the Episcopate and the religious.

4. The collegial service that you, as Bishops, are asked to render to religious in the precise area of episcopal competence is, above all, to proclaim a call to holiness, a call to renewal and a call to penance and conversion. In other words, in the name of the Redeemer to extend the call of the Holy Year, asking for the greatest possible response of love. In my Letter to you I mentioned that “this call is linked in a particular way with the life and mission of religious.

it affects them in a special way; it makes special demands on their love reminding them how much they are loved by Christ and his Church”.

This initiative of pastoral care for religious is one aspect of the great dialogue of salvation, which begins with an awareness of God’s love, made visible in the Incarnation, and leads to the fullness of salvation effected by this love. The whole dialogue of salvation is directed to the full acceptance, through metanoia, of the person of Jesus Christ. In the case of the religious, as in the case of the faithful, the process is the same: in the very moment in which we Bishops recognize our own need for conversion, the Lord asks us to go out to others - humble and repentant, yet courageous and without fear - to communicate with our brothers and sisters. Christ wants to appeal through us, to invite and call his people, especially his religious, to conversion. The aim of all dialogue is conversion of heart.

5. It is not my intention on this occasion to speak about all the essential elements of the Church’s teaching on religious life, as de­scribed in my Letter and in the document of the Sacred Congregation. I am convinced that you will continue to reflect on all of these points, which are taken from authentic sources, so as to be able to explain and promote them all. At this time I would like to emphasize only a few points intimately linked to the theme of conversion and holiness of life in the context of religious life and of the pastoral responsibility of the Bishops, who are “entrusted with the duty of caring for religious charisms, all the more so because the very indivisibility of their pastoral ministry makes them responsible for perfecting the entire flock” (Mutuae Relationes, 9 c.). Bishops must proclaim the nature of religious life as teachers of the faith and representatives of the Church that guarantees the charism of religious. This proclamation is both an instruction for the People of God and an encouragement for the religious.

In selecting certain aspects of religious life for special reflection, the notion of prayer stands out immediately. The new Code of Canon Law states that the first and principal duty of all religious is the contemplation of things divine and constant union with God in prayer (Cfr. Codex Iuris Canonici, CIC 663, § 1). The question of religious being united with God in prayer precedes the question of what activity they will perform. The idea of prayer is again underlined as it touches the apostolate. The Code insists that the apostolate of all religious consists primarily in the witness o f their consecrated life, which they are bound to foster through prayer and penance (Cfr. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 673).

6. All of this tells us something very profound about religious life. It speaks to us about the value of living for God alone, of witnessing to his Kingdom, and of being consecrated to Jesus Christ. Through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, religious consecrate themselves to God, personally ratifying and confirming all the commitments of their Baptism. But even more important is the divine action, the fact that God consecrates them to the glory of his Son; and he does this through the mediation of his Church, acting in the power of his Spirit.

All of this emphasizes the esteem that we Bishops must have for the religious and for the immense contribution that they have made to the Church in the United States. And yet this contribution is more a contribution of what they are than of what they have done and are doing. In speaking of religious, we must say that their greatest dignity consists in this: that they are persons individually called by God and consecrated by God through the mediation of his Church. The value of their activity is great, but the value of their being religious is greater still.

Hence one of the Bishop’s contributions is to remind the religious o f their dignity and to proclaim their identity before the People of God. This enables the laity to understand more clearly the mystery of the Church, to which the religious offer so much.

7. The ecclesial dimension is absolutely essential for a proper understanding of religious life. The religious are who they are because the Church mediates their consecration and guarantees their charism to be religious. Although their primary apostolate is to witness, their other apost?lates involve a multiplicity of works and activities performed for the Church and coordinated by the Bishops (Cfr. ibid., can. 680).

Since the value of the consecration of religious and the super natural efficacy of their apostolates depend on their being in union with the Church - the entirety of which has been entrusted to the Bishops’ pastoral care for governing (Cfr. Act. 20, 28) - it follows that Bishops perform a great service to the religious by helping them to maintain and deepen their union with the Church, and by assisting them to harmonize all their activities with the life of the Church. The fruitful living of the religious charism presupposes the faithful acceptance of the Church’s Magisterium, which in fact is an acceptance of the very reality and identity of the Episcopal College united with the Pope. The College of Bishops, as the successor of the Apostolic College, continues to enjoy the guidance of the Holy Spirit; the words of Jesus apply still today: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lc 10,16).

8. Venerable and dear Brothers, in the dialogue of salvation I would ask you to speak to the religious about their ecclesial identity and to explain to the whole People of God how the religious are who they are only because the Church is what she is in her sacramental reality. And I would ask you to emphasize the special feminine role of women religious: in the Church and personifying the Church as the Spouse of Christ, they are called to live for Christ, faithfully, exclusively and permanently, in the consciousness of being able to make visible the spousal aspect of the Church’s love for Christ.

And may everyone realize that the greatest misunderstanding of the charism of religious, indeed the greatest offense to their dignity and their persons, would come from those who might try to situate their life or mission outside its ecclesial context. Religious are betrayed by anyone who would attempt to have them embrace teaching against the Magisterium of the Church, who conceived them by her love and gave them birth in her liberating truth. The acceptance of the reality of the Church by religious and their vital union - through her and in her - with Christ is an essential condition for the vitality of their prayer, the effectiveness of their service to the poor the validity of their social witness, the well-being of their community relationships, the measure of the success of their renewal and the guarantee of the authenticity of their poverty and simplicity of life. And only in total union with the Church does their chastity become the full and acceptable gift which will satisfy the craving of their hearts to give themselves to Christ and to receive from him, and to be fruitful in his love.

9. Dear Brothers, through our collegial action, especially in the Holy Year of the Redemption, let us manifest our pastoral love in a special way to the religious of the United States. And let us lead the way in the sacrifice and love demanded by conversion. As Bishops we must help ensure for this generation and for those to come that the magnificent contribution made by the religious of the United States to the mission of the Church will continue.

But, above all, what is at stake in the collegial service of our pastoral love is to confirm the religious of America in their charism to be religious, and to be ever more the expression of Christ’s holiness in the mystery of the Church. May they live for Christ, as Mary lived for Christ, in renunciation, sacrifice and co-redemptive love, filling up “what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for his body, the Church” (Col 1,24). The first and principal duty that springs from their being religious will always be “the contemplation of things divine and constant union with Christ in prayer” (Codex Iuris Canonici, CIC 633, § 1).

Finally, for the benefit of all, let us recall those memorable words of Paul VI that apply to every age of the Church’s life: “Do not forget, moreover, the witness of history: faithfulness to prayer or its abandonment is the test of the vitality or decadence of the re­ligious life” (PAULI VI Evangelica Testificatio, 42).

All of this is part of the ministry whereby we, as Bishops, live the mystery of the Church, encouraging the religious, whom we love and for whom we live and are willing to die, to strive to become ever more “the very holiness of God” (2Co 5,21).

Speeches 1983 - Monday, 5 September 1983