Speeches 1985 - Saturday, 16 March 1985



Friday, 21 March 1985

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Praised be Jesus Christ!

It gives me great pleasure to greet the Council of the International Catholic Union of the Press and other Catholic journalists with this traditional Christian salutation, because this salutation expresses an essential part of your vocation.

May Jesus Christ be praised!

May what we do, may what we say and may what we write lead to praise of him who redeemed us, who brought the “Good News” of salvation to the whole world.

May Jesus Christ be praised!

May he be praised particularly in the pages of those publications which are known as Christian, because they reflect faith in Jesus, and as Catholic, because they reflect the universality of his love and of his dominion.

May he be praised also in the writings of all Catholic journalists - not because the name of Jesus will be mentioned in every article they write, but because the truth of Christ and the love of Christ will permeate their writings which will be distinguished by accuracy, by fairness and by that hunger and thirst for justice characteristic of those whom Jesus himself called “blessed”.

The Catholic press already does so much to give Christian information, formation and inspiration to millions of readers around the world, but we must ask ourselves: how can Jesus Christ be even more effectively praised?

Is he not praised in the life of his Church which brings not only the light of Christ’s truth but the warmth of Christ’s love to the poor, to the sick, to the persecuted, to the young who look for guidance and to the old who look for solace and hope?

Is he not praised in the lives of his followers who seek to see and to serve in every person Jesus, our Saviour and Lord?

There is thus much good news to be proclaimed: the good news of what the Church is doing in the name of Jesus; the good news of what individual Christians are doing for the love of Jesus.

It is written of Saint Ignatius of Loyola that his life was changed through the reading of the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. The good news of what the saints had done through the power of Jesus led him to ask himself why he could not do the same in the name of Jesus - ad maiorem Dei gloriam - for the greater glory of God.

Lives can be changed by the written word; individuals can be converted to Christ or to ever greater union with him through knowing how he is imitated in the lives of others.

Contemporary journalism often seeks out the hilden sinners in society, so that their crimes may be revealed and so that society may be healed. This service can indeed be salutary. But I would also hope that contemporary Catholic journalism, in particular, might seek out the hidden saints - those humble men and women who teach the young, who care for the sick, who counsel the troubled - those hidden servants of God who truly live the Gospel. In their lives they praise Jesus Christ; a greater knowledge of their hidden, humble and heroic work could well lead others to praise Jesus Christ. In a world so often divided by conflict and by hatred and so often marred by sin and selfishness, self-sacrifice and service of others in the name of Jesus are truly newsworthy; thy are facets of the good news of Christ which it is our privilege not only to proclaim but also to seek out and to make known so that others may be encouraged, inspired and even converted to faith or to fervour.

This is one small way in which we can give praise to Jesus Christ in the work of Catholic journalism, and we can take solace in the fact that the words we write remain. Scripta manent. When images pass from sight and when spoken words pass from memory, the good news about Christ’s Church and about Christians which we have the privilege to record can lead to meditation, to reflection and to enduring praise of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God. In our words and in our work, praised be Jesus Christ, for ever and ever!




Friday, 22 March 1985

Mr Ambassador,

I am pleased to welcome you to the exercise of your mission as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and I gladly accept the Letters of Credence which authorize you to represent your country before the Holy See.

I thank you for the greeting you have expressed on behalf of your President, General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, and I would ask you to convey to him the assurance of my prayerful good wishes for the peace and well-being of all the citizens of your country.

You had the kindness to refer to the address which I gave to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See in January of this year. From that address you have drawn attention to what I affirmed about the qualities that must characterize international relations if peace is to be preserved and strengthened: reciprocity, solidarity and effective collaboration.

Just as these qualities are the necessary foundation of peaceful relations between nations and groups of nations, they also constitute the firm foundation of harmonious and fruitful relations between different sectors of the population within a given country, and even between individuals in their dealings with each other. Respect for these qualities, and the endeavour to resolve difficulties in sincere dialogue, will ensure that the just rights of all are guaranteed and effectively safeguarded. Where the spirit of reciprocity, solidarity and collaboration prevails, no one will wish to be treated with honour without feeling, at the same time, the obligation to honour others in turn.

All of this has particular relevance with regard to religious freedom, a basic human right about which I also spoke during the January meeting with the Diplomatic Corps. “At issue here - I stated - is the dignity of man in opening himself to religious faith by a free homage of mind and of heart, with grace, according to vhat his well-formed conscience discovers and prescribes” (IOANNIS PAULI PP. II Allocutio ad Legatos Nationum apud sedem Apostolicam constitutos habita, 3, die 12 ian. 1985: vide supra , pp. PP 53 ss). In this respect I have often repeated that the Catholic Church does not seek special consideration, but only the freedom to exist and to exercise her mission of love and service, in full respect for consciences, and “for the distinction between the political and the religious domains”.

I have been greatly encouraged by public expressions of appreciation, on the part of authoritative members of your Government, of the contribution of Christians to the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. While the Christian community in your country forms a minority, it seeks to offer its own specific collaboration to the cause of Pakistan, with a full commitment to building up the life of the nation through the educational and charitable activities of Church personnel, as well as through the witness of Christians as true citizens of their country.

The Holy See holds in particular esteem the spirit of equality before the law between the various religious bodies which is in the best tradition of Pakistan - a spirit that has recently been reaffirmed by your President in his Christmas message to Christians. It is my hope that outstanding difficulties in this area will be resolved with respect for this cherished principle.

You have referred to the grave problem of the presence in your country of an immense number of displaced persons from Afghanistan. I am very much aware of the serious strain which this sad situation places on the social and economic resources of Pakistan. The response of your Government in providing as much assistance as possible to these displaced persons deserves ample recognition and support. The Catholic Church, for her part, will continue to collaborate as much as possible to alleviate the sufferings of those who have lost home and property in their homeland. The plight of these refugees is a challenge to the world community, not only as an object of aid and human solidarity, but as a test of the will to ease international tensions and to create a better climate of understanding and dialogue.

Mr Ambassador, as you begin your mission, I am happy to acknowledge the good relations existing between your country and the Holy See, and I reaffirm the Holy See’s willingness to strengthen these bonds in the climate of reciprocity, solidarity and collaboration of which we have been speaking. I assure you of the cooperation which you will always receive from us in the fulfilment of your mission, and I invoke upon you, and upon the Government and People you represent, the fullness of God’s gifts.



Monday, 25 March 1985

Mr Ambassador,

It is indeed a pleasure for me to welcome Your Excellency here this morning and to accept from you the Letters of Credence accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mauritius. I am grateful for the warm good wishes that you have brought from His Excellency the Governor-General and from the Prime Minister, and I ask you to convey to them the assurance of my own.

I have noted with satisfaction your reference to the historical presence of the Church in Mauritius. The early Catholic missionaries came to your country, inspired by an ardent zeal for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a sincere concern for the spiritual well-being of all Mauritians. Their primary purpose was to proclaim the Good News of salvation, bearing witness to the fact that each human person is made in the image and likeness of God. You have mentioned Blessed Jacques Laval, who eminently embodies the generosity, courage and charity of those heroic men and women of faith. Father Laval’s labours to relieve the distress of the slaves is well known, and indeed he is often referred to as “the Peter Claver of modern times”. This same spirit of fraternal love is still present today in the educational, medical and charitable endeavours of Catholic clergy, religious and laity in your nation.

I appreciate your Government’s willingness to welcome me for a Pastoral Visit to Mauritius. I can only confirm the deep longing of my heart to make such a visit one day, if it be God’s will.

As you are aware, while the nature of my Pastoral Visits is primarily religious, these occasions nevertheless afford me the opportunity of expressing once more the Church’s desire to cooperate with nations in promoting the integral well-being of their citizens. The Second Vatican Council clearly affirmed the complementary relationship that should characterize the efforts of ecclesial and public authorities:

“In their proper spheres, the political community and the Church are mutually independent and self-governing. Yet, by a different title, each serves the personal and social vocation of the same human beings. This service can be more effectively rendered for the good of all, if each works better for wholesome mutual cooperation... For man is not restricted to the temporal sphere. While living in history he fully maintains his eternal vocation” (Gaudium et Spes GS 76).

I know that the State and the Church in Mauritius have always sought to develop the bonds of collaboration by having recourse to dialogue, and that this dialogue has proved to be fruitful even when difficulties have arisen.

I am encouraged to hear you reiterate the determination of your country to be an active participant in building up a climate of peace in the Indian Ocean. But important as external conditions may be for the future of the world, the only permanent guarantee of peace remains the innermost conversion of individual hearts.

The unity of your nation is a tangible sign that peace can be achieved by a society that is characterized by various cultural, religious and ethnic differences. The harmonious efforts of Mauritians working together for the promotion of the common good can serve as an excellent example for the rest of the world to follow. It is my fervent prayer that your people will be ever faithful to the rich heritage that is theirs.

Your Excellency, I trust that the time of your service here will be a fruitful one. In accomplishing your mission, you may be confident of the constant interest and cooperation of the Holy See. May Almighty God bless you in this work, and may he always pour out abundant favours upon the beloved people of Mauritius.

                                                        April 1985




Monday, 1 April 1985

Mr Ambassador,

It is a pleasure to accept the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Barbados to the Holy See. I warmly welcome you to this new assignment, and while expressing my gratitude for the kind greetings which you have conveyed on behalf of the Head of Government, Mr Bernard St John, I would ask you to reciprocate his cordial good wishes.

As Your Excellency mentioned, the promotion of justice and prosperity for all peoples is a common concern for Barbados and the Holy See. The diplomatic relations which we enjoy help us to work towards the achievement of this end. At the same time, they symbolize the mutual respect and esteem which characterize these relations and are a pledge of our commitment to work together for the spiritual, moral and cultural betterment of every person, and of families and communities as well.

I appreciate your reference to the solicitude which I have shown for the plight of the destitute and deprived people of the world. The Catholic Church, following the example of Jesus Christ, seeks to reach out with special loving service to the poor and needy. In this, she willingly works side by side with other Christians and with all men and women of good will. Since governments have a unique role to fulfil in these important endeavours, the Church encourages the many worthy programmes which they carry out and she welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with these, to the extent possible and in keeping with her primary spiritual role.

I assure you of my heartfelt good wishes for all the people of your young nation. May the Lord bless you with harmony and all-round progress. May your families enjoy stability and peace. May God assist your leaders now and in the years ahead.

Your Excellency, I hope that your mission to the Holy See will meet with much success, and for its accomplishment you may be assured of all necessary assistance on the part of the Holy See.



Holy Saturday, 6 April 1985

Dear Young People from Thailand,

Eleven months have passed since I had the great joy of visiting your homeland. And today your visit brings back so many memories of that visit.

I wish to reciprocate the warm welcome that you and your fellow citizens gave me last May in Bangkok. I wish to assure you all once again of my profound respect and esteem for the venerable traditions of your land.

It is an added joy for me to welcome you as young representatives of Thailand to the International Youth Year festivities in Rome. By your presence you have given Thailand a part in the great world gathering of young people, and you too have been personally enriched by the solidarity of so many of your brothers and sisters intent on building - building together - a better world: a true civilization of love and truth, justice, freedom and peace.

Your visit to Rome also coincides with the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. For those of you who are Christian, today’s feast of Holy Saturday has a very special meaning: this is the day in which the Church asks you to remember and renew your Baptism. She asks you to realize that Baptism is the greatest event in your life, because it links you to Christ; it gives you a sharing in his death and Resurrection, and commits you to a whole new pattern of living. By reason of your Baptism you have a special vocation to “walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ep 5,2).

And today is the day that you are called to ratify the promises of your Baptism, the commitment of your Christian lives. Today, as never before, you must see clearly what it means, in practice, to be a Christian, to follow Christ, to embrace his word, and to follow him through his Passion to the glory of his Resurrection. But for all of you, Christians and non-Christians, today is a day of joyful commitment to the ideals of a common service to humanity, a common mission of peace, a common endeavour to promote fraternal love in Thailand and through out the world.

May God be with you and bless you all!



Friday, 12 April 1985

Liebe Jugendliche und Seelsorger aus der Vereinigung des Katholischen Apostolates!

1. Es ist mir eine große Freude, euch hier zu begegnen; herzlich grüße ich euch alle auf eurer Pilgerfahrt, durch die ihr den 150. Jahrestag der Gründung eurer verdienten Gemeinschaft durch den heiligen Vinzenz Pallotti feierlich begeht.

Von nah und fern seid ihr nach Rom gekommen, in die Stadt, wo Vinzenz Pallotti während seines kurzen Lebens (1795-1850) mit unermüdlichem apostolischem Einsatz gewirkt hat. Ihr seid hier, um sein Lebensvorbild und seine Verkündigung zu betrachten; diese bleiben ja stets gültig und aktuell, bei allem Wandel von Zeit und Mentalität. Schließlich seid ihr auch gekommen, um dem Papst zu begegnen, der als Nachfolger des Apostels Petrus so sehr von eurem Gründer verehrt und gehört worden ist. Von Herzen danke ich euch für euer Kommen.

Ihr wißt gut, wie sehr Vinzenz Pallotti die jungen Menschen geliebt hat. Mit zwanzig Jahren hatte er das Gelübde der Keuschheit, der Armut, der Demut und des Gehorsams gegenüber seinem Beichtvater abgelegt, um sich voll und ganz dem Dienst am ewigen Heil der Menschen widmen zu können. In seinem Tagebuch schreibt er zu jener Zeit: ”Non il mondo, ma Dio!“, was man übersetzen könnte: ”Nicht die Welt, sondern Gott (ist mein Ziel)!“. Diesem Programm ist er sein ganzes Leben lang treu geblieben. Als er am 16. Mai 1818 zum Priester geweiht wurde, hatte er schon eine Zeit lang mit voller Kraft unter der Jugend volkreicher Stadtviertel gewirkt: Er ging zu den jungen Menschen, spielte mit ihnen, hörte ihnen zu, öffnete sich ihren Problemen, tröstete sie bei Schwierigkeiten, gab ihnen Ratschläge und ermutigte sie zum Guten. Ihre Freizeitbeschäftigungen endeten stets mit einer geistlichen Besinnung in der Kirche. Vor allem aber setzte er sich für die religiöse Unterweisung der Jungen und Mädchen ein. Zu diesem Zweck richtete er Abendschulen in Städten und Dörfern ein, organisierte Kurse künstlerischer oder handwerklicher Art und widmete sich selbst immer intensiver der direkten apostolischen Arbeit. Aus seinem Zusammenwirken mit den Menschen entstand so die fruchtbare Idee des Laienapostolates, die später in der Katholischen Aktion eine offizielle konkrete Form annahm, während sie ihren maßgebenden Ausdruck in den Texten des II. Vatikanischen Konzils gefunden hat.

Der heilige Vinzenz Pallotti hatte so geschrieben: ”Wie alle dazu berufen, ja dazu verpflichtet sind, Jesus Christus nachzufolgen, so sind alle je nach ihren Möglichkeiten und ihrem Stand zu Apostolat berufen . . . Das katholische oder universale Apostolat, das von jeder Art von Menschen ausgeübt werden kann, bedeutet also, das zu tun, was jeder einzelne für die größere Ehre Gottes und für das eigene und der anderen Heil tun kann und tun sollte (Werke, III, PP 137-143). Das II. Vatikanische Konzil widmete dem Laienapostolat ein eigenes Dekret, ”Apostolicam Actuositatem“ genannt. Dort heißt es wörtlich: ”Pflicht und Recht zum Apostolat haben die Laien kraft ihrer Vereinigung mit Christus, dem Haupt. Denn durch die Taufe dem mystischen Leib Christi eingegliedert und durch die Firmung mit der Kraft des Heiligen Geistes gestärkt, werden sie vom Herrn selbst mit dem Apostolat betraut“ (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 3).

2. Dear young people. In Saint Vincent Pallotti you have a holy patron and an enlightened teacher. He urges you to devote yourself to apostolic activities. “On all Christians . . . rests the noble obligation of working to bring all people throughout the whole world to hear and accept the divine message of salvation” (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 3). As I wrote in my Letter to Young People for International Youth Year, you possess a great and wonderful treasure - your youth itself. Give it to Christ. Use it in proclaiming and testifying to the world that he is really the Saviour and Redeemer of humanity.

Devoting oneself to the Christian apostolate means that one has truly grasped the meaning of human life. It also means basing one’s own life on great ideals, universal and supernatural ideals. Of course one has to have deep and living convictions, inspired by a complete knowledge of Christ and by constant and fervent imitation of him. The first of these convictions is that God really does call everyone to the knowledge of the truth and to eternal salvation. As Saint Paul writes to Timothy, “God our Saviour . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Tm 2,4). Salvation comes from Christ. He continually says that he is the truth, the light that enlightens every human being, the Son of God who has come to give life: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17,3).

The second conviction that you must have concerns the presence and mission of the Church, which was willed and founded by Jesus in order to keep the faith intact and to ensure salvation.

There is a third conviction that you must have: the conviction that it is essential to accept the strategy of the apostolate, which is a strategy of the Cross and of sacrifice. Jesus Christ is of course the “sign of reconciliation”; but he is also the “sign of contradiction”. As the life of Saint Vincent Pallotti clearly shows, souls are saved through prayer and suffering. And it is often a heavy cross, living a consistently good life, obeying the moral law and the law of self-sacrifice in order to live in grace and to practise charity towards others. It is especially difficult in modern society, which often denies transcendent values and seeks nothing but comfort and pleasure.

But we know that in Christ is life and that life is the light of men and the light shines in the darkness (Cfr. Io Jn 1,4-5). The imitation of Christ was the basis of Vincent Pallotti’s personal commitment. And he now invites you young people to this same demanding undertaking, so that you can really be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world” (Cfr. Matth Mt 5,13-14).

3. Cari giovani, desidero ancora richiamare alla vostra attenzione due grandi insegnamenti di San Vincenzo Pallotti e lasciarveli come ricordo del vostro pellegrinaggio romano: la direzione spirituale e la devozione a Maria santissima.

Pio XII parlando dell’apostolo di Roma “umile e semplice” ricordava che la sua predicazione era sempre diretta all’“unum necessarium”, il cui frutto era il suo confessionale bramosamente ricercato e circondato da straordinari effetti di grazia” (Pio XII, Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, 2 marzo 1950, vol. XII, p. 9). Così pure papa Giovanni XXIII nel discorso per la canonizzazione rammentava “la cura diretta delle anime, paziente e saggia, nel confessionale” (Giovanni XXIII, Discorsi, Messaggi, Colloqui, 20 gennaio 1963, vol. V, p. 89).

I tempi che stiamo vivendo sono irti di difficoltà per la fede e per la vita cristiana; come ho notato nella Lettera ai giovani, i vostri animi sono talvolta tormentati da molteplici e affannosi interrogativi (cf. Giovanni Paolo II, Epistula Apostolica ad iuvenes, Internationali vertente Anno Iuventuti dicato, 15, 31 marzo 1985: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VIII/1 [1985] 794 ss.); talvolta si perde la strada nella notte oscura! Avete bisogno di ricorrere con vero impegno ascetico al sacramento della Riconciliazione e alla direzione spirituale, come inculcava il Pallotti e come da sempre insegnava la Chiesa, per preservarvi dal male e per fortificarvi nella virtù e nel coraggio della carità e della testimonianza. Sia questo un vivo e fermo proposito sgorgato dalla vostra venuta alla tomba di San Pietro, per essere sempre saldi nella fede! (cf. 1P 5,9).

Confidate poi sempre nella nostra celeste madre Maria! Si legge nella biografia del Pallotti che quando passava per le vie di Roma i suoi beneficati e quanti lo conoscevano gli si avvicinavano per baciargli la mano; ma egli velocemente traeva dalla manica un’immagine della Madonna e la dava a baciare, esortando a invocare sempre la Vergine santissima. Quante strepitose conversioni di peccatori e di persone lontane dalla Chiesa egli attribuì all’intercessione di Maria, fiduciosamente invocata e costantemente imitata!

Anche voi, come cristiani, avete un mondo immenso da amare, da convertire a Cristo, da risanare, da elevare! E la vera strada è quella indicata da San Vincenzo Pallotti: la devozione al Cuore immacolato e addolorato di Maria!

Cari giovani! Siano questi i propositi per l’Anno commemorativo che state celebrando con fervore, per essere davvero soci attivi e convinti dell’unione dell’Apostolato cattolico, secondo il carisma del fondatore, per il bene vostro, della Chiesa e della società.

E vi sia di conforto anche la mia benedizione! Cari giovani e cari assistenti spirituali dell’unione dell’Apostolato cattolico.




Friday, 12 April 1985

Dear Friends,

I am indeed happy to welcome you all, representatives of the Catholic Police Officers of England and Wales, with members of your families, to this audience.

I am especially happy to renew my acquaintance with members of a category of public servants who played such a willing and generous part in facilitating my visit to your country in 1982.

This year you are celebrating the Seventieth Anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic Police Guild, established under the auspices of Cardinal Bourne in 1914. I wish to encourage you to persevere in the spirit and good works which inspired the intentions of the founding members.

Your visit to the holy places of Rome, especially to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, give a truly pilgrim character to your presence here. I pray that this religious dimension of your stay will serve to consolidate your Christian faith and help you to see your professional and family responsibilities in the light of the Gospel message of God’s love.

The high moral standards, the discipline, the self-sacrifice and the genuine concern for the common good which mark your public service are all ways of witnessing to the authenticity of your belief in the Paschal Mystery of the redeeming Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Yours is a work of service and of brotherhood. As such it needs the support of a profound sense of the unique dignity of every human being. The special value of each person can only be fully understood where each one is accepted as an image of God himself and a brother or sister of Christ. I hope that your work, which sometimes brings you into contact with the darker side of human nature, will not deter you from enthusiastically serving the cause of civic harmony and well-being with sensitivity and Christian hope.

Through you I wish to send my Easter greetings to all the members of your Guild, and indeed to all the members of the police forces of England and Wales.

May the grace and peace of the Risen Christ accompany you always! And may your families and friends, here present and at home, be abundantly blessed with Christian strength and joy! Know that I am grateful to you and that you remain in my prayers!




Saturday, 13 April 1985

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Friends,

I am very pleased that you would wish to have this meeting with me during your visit to Europe. For me it is a happy occasion to extend to you the hospitality of the Vatican, and to offer you a word of fraternal encouragement and friendship. I know that you consider me a friend of the American people and I am happy to be looked upon as such.

It is extremely evident from history and from an accurate reading of “the signs of the times” that the American people have a special mission of service in the world. God has abundantly blessed your forebears and the land they settled in: it is no wonder that he permits so many people throughout the world to place so much hope in America. How many refugees and immigrants have found new life in your land!

I am sure that this visit of yours to Europe is in fact placed under the sign of solidarity - a solidarity that you wish to manifest as representatives of the American people, a solidarity that transcends your national boundaries and reaches out to peoples everywhere.

I am sure that every day you pose questions to yourselves: What can we do to be of service to our people? And what can we do to enable our people to fulfill their role of service to their fellow human beings? In a word: How can we advance the great cause of human solidarity? In your search, you certainly come face to face with immense problems, urgent needs, critical situations. But in all of this you must remain conscious of your mission: service and solidarity. And certainly in this service and solidarity there is great human enrichment for the American people, who are themselves confirmed in their traditions and strengthened in their own identity.

But in order to make a lasting contribution of service, in order to promote the true solidarity of peoples, America must remain faithful to herself as “one Nation under God”, being truly conscious - in the expression of your own Declaration of Independence - of “Nature’s God”, of the “Creator”, of “the Supreme Judge” and of “the Protection of Divine Providence”.

In the awareness of this dependence on God, America is then able to sustain the defense of those rights which your Founding Fathers reverently spoke of as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

As Senators of the United States you are in a splendid position to make a monumental contribution to the defense of life, the preservation of liberty and the attainment of true human happiness for countless men, women and children - millions of whom are yet unborn. It is my prayer that the effectiveness of your service will be recorded for future generations in the annals of the Congressional history of the United States. And through you and your fellow legislators may the cause of human solidarity be advanced among the peoples of the earth.




Friday, 19 April 1985

Dear Friends,

I am happy to greet you in the Vatican on the occasion of the Colloquium which you have called together to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Conciliar Declaration “Nostra Aetate”, on the relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, and particularly the section of it dealing with her relations with Judaism.

It is indeed a remarkable occasion, not only because of the commemoration in itself, but also because it happens to bring together Catholics, other Christians, and Jews, through the collaboration of the Theological Faculty of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the Centro Pro Unione and the “Service International de documentation judéo-chrétienne” (SIDIC). The Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews has also agreed to give you its assistance and participation.

In this gathering of such important institutions for the purpose of celebrating “Nostra Aetate”, I see a way of putting into practice one of the main recommendation of the Declaration, where it says that “since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is... so great, this Sacred Synod wishes to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit above all of biblical and theological studies, and of brotherly dialogues” (Nostra Aetate NAE 4).

Speeches 1985 - Saturday, 16 March 1985