Speeches 1983 - Friday, 30 September 1983




Friday, 7 October 1983

Dear friends,

It is a distinct pleasure for me to welcome those taking part in the International Congress of Science and Technology against Hunger in the World, sponsored by the Italian National Research Council. The topic of your deliberations merits the most careful attention and is truly one of paramount importance for a group of scientists and experts who are committed to international cooperation in the campaign against world hunger.

The study of ways and means to feed the population of this generation and generations yet to come must draw upon the resources of every field of science and technology. It must attack the problem on different fronts in order to arrive at solutions which are both adequate for the present and will meet the demands of the future.

The problem of hunger in the world assumes grave proportions when seen from the point of view of those developing peoples and nations which are desperately seeking to meet basic human needs, but which fail in this pursuit due to the social, economic and political factors arrayed against them. The urgency of this situation demands concerted action, based on both bilateral and multilateral collaboration, and this action presupposes a clear vision of the social and economic aspects of the question, as well as the cultural and spiritual ones.

This is so because the survival of millions of our fellow human beings cannot be reduced to a matter of vested national interests or political expediency. Their survival must be seen rather in its full significance: as the responsibility, the solemn duty of all humanity united in a spirit of fraternal solidarity. This obligation stems from a common brotherhood under the fatherhood of God, and must be expressed in a charity that is universal - a charity that seeks to bring about a world that is “more human towards all people, where all will be able to give and receive, without one group making progress at the expense of the other” (Populorum Progressio PP 44).

It is clear that the moral challenges facing those responsible for the technical application of the solutions to the problem of world hunger are immense. They involve acquiring and utilizing all the technological and scientific knowledge available and placing it at the service of man as he fights to arrest the causes and effects of this age-old yet ever increasing problem.

The Church has repeatedly lent her support to initiatives which work for the reduction of hunger in the world. The Holy See in particular follows with lively interest the activities of all international organizations which undertake programmes in this regard. I wish to offer you the assurance of my own encouragement for this noble goal which you pursue. I do so because by your working to eliminate hunger you are also making the world a more human place in which to live; you are helping to build a world where every person can live a more fully human life, a life based on that common dignity which is in keeping with the nature given to us by the Creator.

May your efforts to banish hunger from the world be crowned with success, as you labour on behalf of the whole human family.




Saturday, 15 October 1983

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. As pastors of God’s people in Malawi, you have come to Rome to fulfil the sacred functions of an ad Limina visit. On may part I welcome you with all my heart. But it is more than a welcome that I extend to you. I wish to express my profound gratitude for your apostolic labours, to tell you of my deep personal esteem, to assure you of my prayers, and to express to you my fraternal love in Christ Jesus. In the words of Saint Paul, I want you to know that I remember “before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 1,3).

2. The great importance that I attach to this visit of yours is also linked to the fact that you represent and personify the local Churches in Malawi. These local Churches that exist in your country are vital sectors of the universal Church; they are organically structured within the Body of Christ and they beautifully manifest ecclesial unity. What we are celebrating therefore is the mystery of the Church.

In your persons and in all the communities which are spiritually present with you here at the See of Peter, the mystery of the Church is made present in its missionary aspect. It is precisely because “the pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature” (Ad Gentes AGD 2), that the faithful of Malawi are today an honoured portion of God’s flock. It was through the missionary dynamism of the universal Church that your local Churches came into being. Today I cannot let this occasion pass by without praising the plan of God, formulated in his Eternal Word, to bring all history to fulfilment in Christ Jesus, “in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ep 2,21). Through the action of the Holy Spirit, the faithful of Malawi have duly entered into the temple of the Lord.

3. I wish likewise to pay homage to the means chosen by divine wisdom to bring the redemptive work of Jesus into the lives of your people. In the name of Christ and his Church I thank in particular all the missionaries for those generous activities whereby they offered the Gospel of life to all who would freely listen to their message. In our collegial unity today we recall the witness of their lives, their faithful preaching, and their arduous labours to build up each Christian community in the faith of Jesus Christ. In reflecting on the mystery of the Church in her missionary nature, we evoke this dimension not only to explain the origin of your local Churches but to clarify their role and to illustrate how they are called to perpetuate the zeal of Christ who says: “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do” (Lc 4,43).

In celebrating the mystery of the missionary Church, we are also celebrating the presence of Christ in the midst of your people.This presence of Christ in the community is the result of missionary activity. As the Decree Ad Gentes states: “By the preaching of the word and by the celebration of the sacraments, whose centre and summit is the most Holy Eucharist, missionary activity brings about the presence of Christ, the Author of salvation” (Ad Gentes AGD 9). At the same time the Christ who lives in his people inspires them to further efforts at evangelization.

4. The reason why you yourselves are called to live and work and die among your people is to establish through the Church this presence of Jesus Christ. The Church exists in order to manifest out of herself the light of Christ to all nations. And in her relationship to Christ, she becomes a sign and instrument of unity for all humanity (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 1). The Church in your midst, endeavouring to live the life of Christ and to proclaim his uplifting message, is a Church that is called to serve the unity of all humanity. Through the fervour and witness of their Christian lives, the faithful are able to contribute greatly to the well-being of all their brothers and sisters. It is truly necessary for them to make every effort to present the content of the faith to all those who will freely choose to listen. But it is likewise necessary that the Christian charity of every individual and every community in the world should embrace all groups without distinction of race, social condition or religion. The faithful are called to collaborate with all others in the proper regulation of the affairs of economic and social life and to work together to better the human condition and to promote peace and harmony (Cfr. Ad Gentes AGD 12).

5. Your ad Limina visit, dear Brothers, is a splendid opportunity to ponder together the deep reality of your local Churches and to draw fresh strength from a renewed awareness of the greatness of the pastoral mission entrusted to you by Jesus Christ and his Church. All your activities as pastors of God’s people must be seen in the light of the mystery of the Church. This mystery of the Church likewise inspires you in all the individual initiatives that you are called to exercise in the name of Christ. I would briefly allude to three areas of great importance for the life of the Church in Malawi: catechesis, vocations, and seminary training.

6. I wish, above all, to express my gratitude for the efforts that have been made to prepare catechists to help in the mission of spreading God’s word and of building up the Church. The Council characterizes their efforts as being “an outstanding and altogether necessary contribution to the spread of the faith and of the Church” (Cfr. Ad Gentes AGD 17). You can be sure that the Pope and the whole Church support you as you strive to provide worthily for the doctrinal and spiritual training of your catechists and to instruct them well in Sacred Scripture, liturgy, the catechetical method and pastoral practice, so that with you they may truly be heralds of the faith.

Together with you I thank God for the vocations to the priesthood and religious life that he has raised up in your midst. As Bishops you have shown great interest in religious and have offered them support and guidance. The Lord has also heard your prayers for vocations to the priesthood, even though the need is not yet fully satisfied. Be assured that he will assist you in your efforts to make ever more effective training available to your seminarians.

7. This seminary training must indeed have a special priority in your ministry, since the future of your local Churches depends to a great extent on its results. I ask you to continue personally to encourage your seminarians to strive for holiness of life through an ever more intimate union with Jesus Christ in prayer. Make every effort so that they will be formed in the word of God as it is found in the Scriptures and as it is expounded in the genuine teaching of the Church. Endeavour with all your strength to communicate to the seminarians the greatness of the challenge to which they are called by Christ himself. With God’s grace continue to propose to the young people of Malawi the highest ideals of Christ’s priesthood and the great privilege it is to serve God’s people in this way.

I ask you to take back to all your priests, religious, seminarians and laity the expression of my love in Christ Jesus. My special Apostolic Blessing goes to the sick and lonely and to all those who suffer in any way for the sake of the Kingdom of God. I commend all the families of Malawi to the loving protection of Mary the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. With the assurance of my prayers and fraternal support, I embrace you in the great hope that is ours as we proclaim and live the mystery of the Church of Christ. Venerable and dear Brothers, the Apostle to the Nations urges us to immense confidence as he tells us: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen” (Ep 3,20-21).




Monday, 17 October 1983

Dear friends in Christ,

It is a pleasure for me to meet today with the Supreme Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus. In the peace of our Lord, I greet you all.

I want you to know how grateful I am for all that you have done for the Holy See. Your loyalty to the Successor of Saint Peter has been a part of your rich heritage from the beginning. Thus, the special contributions to the Holy See which you have made in recent years are really a sign that this heritage continues to be strong. I thank you, too, for your various projects on behalf of the universal Church, and the way you have collaborated With bishops, clergy and other members of the laity in numerous endeavours aimed at building up individual local Churches and at aiding some of the most needy and defenceless members of society. I pray that your generosity and charity, your fraternity and faith will continue to grow and flourish for many years to come.

The Knights of Columbus have also striven to foster among the laity a better understanding of their irreplaceable role in the Church, something so greatly desired by the Second Vatican Council. In your own homes and personal professions, and through united efforts locally and beyond, you have made important contributions to the mission of the Church and inspired other lay people to similar pursuits. In this regard, I am thinking of the ways you have sought to offer encouragement and support to Christian families at a time in history when they face particularly great burdens and difficulties, and of how you have worked for the protection and dignity of human life at all stages, from conception to death. May God strengthen you as you continue to fulfil your lay vocation in the Church.

You have come to Rome during the Holy Year of the Redemption. I trust that, among your many activities here, you will find time to pass through the Holy Doors as pilgrims, to pray at the Tomb of the Apostle Peter and to seek the special graces of the Holy Year. I hope that you will return home with an even deeper faith in our Redeemer, filled with a fervent desire to open wide the doors of your hearts to the source of all truth and love, our Lord Jesus Christ. To the extent that Jesus lives in you, you will be able to further the Kingdom of Heaven. For as Saint Paul says, “it is God who, in his good will toward you, begets in you any measure of desire or achievement” (Ph 2,13).

I assure you of my prayers for you and your families and I send my greetings to all your fellow Knights throughout the world. May Christ who has redeemed us by his Cross and Resurrection be ever near you, to strengthen you in joy and in hope. May God grant you his abundant blessings.



Friday, 21 October 1983

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is a pleasure to greet the members of the Holy Year Pilgrimage from Miami, and I offer a special word of welcome to Archbishop McCarthy, Bishop Nevins and the many priests who have come as pilgrims to the Holy Land and to Rome. I am pleased, too, that Archbishop-elect De Paoli is able to be together with you in Rome before he sets out for his new mission in the service of the Holy See. It is a joy to meet with all of you during this year when you celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of your beloved Archdiocese.

The providential coincidence of the anniversary celebration and the Jubilee of the Redemption causes us to reflect on the hand of God in human history, on the fact that our individual lives and our lives together are caught up in the redemptive love of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the Master of our lives and the Lord of history. Although we live in a world marked by suffering that stems from sin and evil, we have faith in Christ, and so we never lose hope. We place our confidence in the mercy of God, believing that God’s mercy is more powerful than evil, stronger than death.

Dear friends in Christ, as you return to Miami, may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts. And may you be messengers of Christian hope and joy to all you meet.

God bless you all.
* * *

Caríssimos irmãos e irmãs de Portugal,

1. É com muita alegria que vos saúdo, nesta casa que é de todos os filhos da Igreja. A vossa presença me recorda que ao beijar, em Maio do ano passado, o chão da vossa terra, disse que esse gesto significava “amizade, pela amizade de que me via então rodeado” pelo Povo português. E depois de quatro dias de intensa vibração popular convosco, ao dizer o meu adeus pude assegurar que encontrei abertas as portas dos vossos corações. Por isso vos saudava: “Até à próxima”.

2. Viestes, neste Ano Santo da Redenção, como peregrinos à Cidade Eterna. Podeis sentir aqui, mais de perto, a força salvífica que animou, nestes 1950 anos, uma a uma, as gerações cristãs. Encontrais aqui o túmulo de São Pedro, que foi o primeiro a reconhecer Jesus de Nazaré como o Cristo, o Filho de Deus. E quando muitos dos seus discípulos o abandonaram, porque acharam dura demais a sua maneira de falar, Jesus se dirigiu aos doze apóstolos com uma pergunta decisiva: “Também vós quereis retirar-vos?”, Pedro respondeu em nome de todos: “Senhor, para quem havemos nós de ir? Tu tens palavras de vida eterna e nós acreditamos e sabemos que tu és o Santo de Deus”.

Encontrais, aqui em Roma, também o túmulo de São Paulo, o grande apóstolo das gentes, que pôde dizer de si mesmo: “Já não sou eu que vivo, é Cristo que vive em mim”. Encontrais ainda as catacumbas, que continuam a falar do heroísmo dos primeiros cristãos, mártires pela fé em Cristo. Encontrais numerosas igrejas a testemunhar, através dos séculos, uma fé viva e intrépida.

3. Caríssimos irmãos e irmãs, hoje o Sucessor de São Pedro vos confia esta mesma mensagem de fé dos Apóstolos, tão profundamente enraizada nesta cidade: aproveitai essa vossa peregrinação a Roma para aprofundar a fé em Cristo Redentor e o vosso empenho de vida cristã. Ao passardes pela Porta Santa, enriquecei-vos dos sentimentos de penitência, reconciliação e de fidelidade à Igreja. Levai para a vossa querida terra esta mensagem do Ano Santo da Redenção. Levai a alegria da salvação e da reconciliação. E a todos abençoo, de coração: Em nome do Pai, e do Filho, e do Espírito Santo, Ámen.




Saturday, 22 October 1983

Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,

1. Some weeks ago, during another ad Limina visit, I spoke about various aspects of the Bishop’s identity as a living sign of Jesus Christ, within the context of the sacramentality of the Church. I would now like to pursue that general theme, reflecting with you on the Bishop’s role as a minister of God’s word, “a minister of the Gospel” (Ep 3,7). For indeed, it is as a minister of God’s word, acting in the power of the Holy Spirit and through the charism of his episcopal office, that the Bishop manifests Christ to the world, makes Christ present in the community, and effectively communicates Christ to all who wide their hearts.

As a minister of the Gospel, the Bishop is a living expression of Christ, who, as the Incarnate World, is himself the supreme revelation and communication of God. The ministry of the word clearly defines our identity as servants of Jesus Christ, called to be apostles and “set apart to proclaim the Gospel of God” (Rm 1,1). By preaching and teaching we fulfill our specific mission. Each of us thus actuates his special charism to be a living sign of the Christ who says: “I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God . . . because is what I was sent to do” (Lc 4,43).

2. The Second Vatican Council captures the notion of our identity when it states: “Among the principal duties of Bishops, the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For Bishops are heralds of the faith who lead new disciples to Christ. They are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice” (Lumen Gentium LG 25). As preachers and teachers, the Bishops have a vital role to fulfill, a vital message to communicate. Bishops exist in order to proclaim God’s free gift of salvation offered to humanity in Jesus Christ and effected through his Paschal Mystery.

All the activities of Bishops must be directed to proclaiming the Gospel, precisely because the Gospel is “the power of God leading everyone who believes in it to salvation” (Rm 1,16). Salvation is found in the Gospel and the Gospel is received in faith. Hence everything the Bishop does should be directed toward helping people to give “the obedience of faith” (ibid. 1, 5) to God’s word, helping them to embrace the full content of Christ’s teaching. The role of the Bishop as minister of the Gospel is profoundly pastoral, and, precisely as the proclamation of God’s word, it reaches its apex in the Eucharist, in which the work of our salvation is sacramentally actuated.

3. The Council emphasized that God wills that everything he has revealed for the salvation of the world should be preserved in its full integrity and handed on to future generations. For this reason Christ commissioned his Apostles to proclaim the Gospel, and his Apostles transmitted their own teaching role to their successors, the Bishops (Cfr. Dei Verbum DV 7). The Council also declares that the episcopal office of teaching in the Church is conferred by episcopal consecration and can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head and the members of the College of Bishops (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 21). I mention these truths to indicate just how much the ministry of the word is linked to our own sacramental identity and to our whole episcopal mission. Our lives as Bishops revolve around the mandate of Christ to teach everything that he commanded the Apostles. What is more, our apostolic ministry is endowed with a sharing in that full authority given to Jesus, which he himself evoked before he sent his disciples forth to make disciples of all nations, to baptize and to teach. Our ministry is likewise strengthened by that special abiding presence of the Lord with us until the end of the world (Cfr. Matth Mt 28,18-20). All of this constitutes the episcopal charism, sacramentally transmitted, sacramentally received, sacramentally exercised.

Our response as Bishops to Christ’s mandate must be expressed in a vital proclamation, through preaching and teaching, of all the truths of faith: the truths that lead our people to salvation, the truths that invite our people to give the obedience of faith. The Bishops exercise the teaching role of the Apostles precisely in order “to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church” (Dei Verbum DV 7). For this reason, the Council’s Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office encourages Bishops explicitly to expound, in the power of the Holy Spirit, “the whole mystery of Christ” (Christus Dominus CD 12).

4. It is easy to see how the Bishop’s role of vital preaching, faithful custody of the deposit of faith, and authoritative teaching exercised in union with the Pope and the whole College of Bishops also involves the duty to defend the word of God against whatever would compromise its purity and integrity. If we understand the nature of the Church, in which the Paschal Mystery is lived out, we will not be surprised to find, in every generation of the Church’s life, including our own, not only sin, but also some measure of error and falsehood. A serene sense of realism and Church history will, however, help us to exercise our role as authentic teachers of God’s word without either exaggerating or minimizing the existence of error and falsehood, which our pastoral responsibility obliges us to identify and to reject. Our fidelity to the word of God also requires us to understand and put into practice that great reality proclaimed by the Council: “The task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (Dei Verbum DV 10).

In studying and listening to the word of God, in guarding and explaining the deposit of faith, in preaching and teaching the mystery of Christ, vigilance and fidelity on the part of Bishops are synonyms for pastoral love. The words Paul spoke to Timothy are relevant for each one of us: “I charge you to preach the word, to stay with this task whether convenient or inconvenient - correcting, reproving, appealing - constantly teaching and never losing patience . . . Be steady and self-possessed; put up with hardship, perform your work as an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2Tm 4,2 2Tm 4,5). We find immense consolation and strength in the realization that we exercise our special service to the word of God through a divine mandate, with the help of the Holy Spirit and in virtue of a sacramentally conferred charism.

5. The fruitful exercise of the Magisterium requires us to reflect on various aspects of the mystery of God’s word and its transmission in the Church. We know that the authentic Magisterium of the Church is characterized by unity. It makes no claim to be above the word of God; rather it seeks humbly to serve that word, through its specific charism, exercised in the name of Christ and by his authority. As such, the Magisterium has no parallel in the Church. There is only one authentic ecclesial Magisterium, and it belongs to the Bishops. On the part of individual Bishops, the communion of teaching with the Pope and the whole College is of extreme importance, because it is the guarantee of authentic doctrine and of the supernatural effectiveness of every pastoral initiative.

The teaching charism of the Bishops is unique in its responsibility. As such it must be exercised personally and cannot be delegated. By episcopal consecration the Bishop has a unique relationship to Jesus Christ the Teacher; by Christ’s authority he is enabled to teach with particular effectiveness. In a unique way he is a living sign of Jesus Christ, proclaiming God’s word with special power.

The priests are intimately related to the sacramental ministry of the Bishop, and with the Bishop, as co-workers of the episcopal order, they exercise their own proper responsibility for the word of God. This relationship of ours to our priests in the word of God gives us a special motive for a deep pastoral and fraternal love for them, as well as an opportunity to thank God for their partnership in the Gospel.

6. At the same time the Bishops are servant pastors in their local Churches, where the whole ecclesial community - priests, deacons, religious and laity - collaborate with them, in accordance with the constitution of the Church, to proclaim and live the word of God. The Bishops’ sacramental service to the word of God is ordered to the well-being of the entire community of the faithful. The Bishops guide the faithful to understanding the word of God. The very proclamation of the word of God by the Bishops has a power that leads to the assent of faith. And after this assent of faith has been given, the faithful themselves contribute to the further growth of the Church’s understanding of God’s word (Cfr. Dei Verbum DV 8), and, in this sense, faith develops in each succeeding generation of the Church. But, in the words of Saint Vincent of Lerins, “it must truly be development of the faith, not alteration of the faith . . . The understanding . . . of individuals as well as of the whole Church ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import” (First Instruction, ch. 23). Understanding the development of doctrine in this way, we know that the present or “current” teaching of the Church does not admit of a development that is either a reversal or a contradiction.

7. Through the exercise of their own charism, the Bishops provide a great service to the faithful and assist them to carry out their own role of contributing to the growth of the faith. In this regard I would repeat once again what I said in Chicago to all the Bishops of the United States: “In the community of the faithful - which must always maintain Catholic unity with the Bishops and the Apostolic See - there are great insights of faith. The Holy Spirit is active in enlightening the minds of the faithful with his truth, and in inflaming their hearts with his love. But these insights of faith and this sensus fidelium are not independent of the Magisterium of the Church, which is an instrument of the same Holy Spirit and is assisted by him. It is only when the faithful have been nourished by the word of God, faithfully transmitted in its purity and integrity, that their own charism are fully operative and fruitful. Once the word of God is faithfully proclaimed to the community and is accepted, it brings forth fruits of justice and holiness of life in abundance. But the dynamism of the community in understanding, and living the word of God depends on its receiving intact the depositum fidei; and for this precise purpose a special apostolic and pastoral charism has been given to the Church. It is one and the same Spirit of truth who directs the hearts of the faithful and guarantees the Magisterium of the pastors of the flock” (IOANNIS PAULI PP.II, Allocutio ad sacros Praesules Conferentiae Episcopalis Foederatarum Civitatum Americae Septentrionalis habita, 7, die 5 oct. 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, II/2 [1979] 639).

8. I wish at this time, as I did during my visit to the Catholic University of America, to say a special word of appreciation for the role of the theologians in the Church, and in particular for the assistance that they give to the Bishops and the service that they render to the faith. Since theology receives its object from faith, and since it is vitally concerned with the sacred deposit of revelation, there are many elements that are common to the role of Bishops and to that of theologians. Although in different ways, both Bishops and theologians are called upon to guard the word of God, to study it more deeply, to explain it, to teach it, to defend it. Both Bishops and theologians are called to live and work and pray for the same great cause: “That the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph” (2Th 3,1). Theologians have special qualifications for studying and elucidating the reasons for the doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church. By their training and scholarship, and following their specific method, theologians are in a position to probe and illustrate the data of faith and the interpretation that the Magisterium gives of these data in doctrine and morals.

In their role of teaching theology, theologians are called upon to open the treasure of faith ever wider and to inculcate respect for the Magisterium, which in turn guarantees the interpretation of God’s word. It is this respect for the Magisterium that is indeed “a constituent element of the theological method” (cf. PAULI VI, Allocutio ad sacros Galliae Praesules Conferentiae Episcopalis regionis centralis et orientalis occasione visitationis “ad limina” coram admissos, die 20 iun. 1977: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XV [1977] 623). On their part the Bishops know that the exercise of their own sacramental charism is linked to reading, study, consultation and, above all, prayer. But it remains a charism at the service of the faith of the whole Church.

Venerable and dear Brothers, in inviting you to reflect with me on our configuration to Jesus Christ in our ministry of the word, I desire with all my heart to confirm you in your deepest identity as Bishops of the Church of God. The word of God is our life and ministry, our joy and our strength, our wisdom and our hope. But even more, it is the salvation of our people, their vital contact with the Lord. Our proclamation of God’s word is linked to a special sacramental power, and our teaching of God’s word is guaranteed by the authority of Christ the Teacher. As ministers of the Gospel we are indeed living signs of Jesus Christ. The Council assures us: “In the Bishops . . . our Lord Jesus Christ, the supreme High Priest, is present in the midst of all those who believe” (Lumen Gentium LG 21).

And may Mary, the Mother of Jesus the Incarnate Word, be with us as we endeavour to communicate to the world the Gospel of her Son.

Speeches 1983 - Friday, 30 September 1983