Speeches 1989

Thursday, 27 April 1989

Dear Bishop Rimpiläinen,
Dear Friends from Finland,

It gives me great pleasure to meet you, representatives of the Lutheran Diocese of Oulu, during the course of your visit to Rome. In the Risen Lord I greet each of you and express my cordial good wishes towards all the members of the Diocese.

I trust that your stay in this City, where the Apostles Peter and Paul bore witness to Christ and suffered martyrdom for the sake of the Gospel, will encourage you in following our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I pray that the greatly improved relations which now exist between us will continue to produce fruits of Christian love and collaboration, not only at a theological level but also at the level of parishes and local communities. It is important for Lutherans and Catholics to make use of opportunities to profess the common faith and pray together for that unity which Christ wishes for his followers. We are united by no less a bond than Baptism into Christ. Baptism is the foundation of our unity and it is our task to develop its interior dynamism towards the fullness of life in Christ (cfr. Unitatis Redintegratio UR 22).

Tomorrow I will begin a Pastoral Visit to Africa, but I am already preparing for my visit in June to the Nordic Countries, including Finland. I look forward very much to having this firsthand experience of your country, meeting its people, visiting the small but esteemed Catholic community, and praying with the other Christians for our shared needs. I would ask you to pray for the success of that journey. It will be not only the first visit of a Pope to Finland but also a recognition of the bonds which have united your country with the Holy See since the Middle Ages.

May Almighty God pour out his blessings upon you, Bishop Rimpiläinen, and upon all of you present here. May the joy and peace of Christ be with your families and friends in Finland.

Jumala varjelkoon Suomea (May God protect Finland).

May 1989






International Airport of Lusaka

Tuesday, 2 May 1989

Mr President,

Distinguished Members of the Government of Zambia,
My Brother Bishops,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Dear Friends,

1. By God’s grace I have the joy of standing on Zambian soil and greeting each one of you – a greeting which I extend to all the people of Zambia. I thank you for coming to meet me at the beginning of my pastoral visit. Already I sense the hospitality for which Zambians are well known. I feel I am among friends. And I wish you to know that I come among you as a friend, a friend of Africa, a friend of Zambia. May these days of my visit strengthen the already close bonds of friendship between us.

I have for a long time wished to come to Zambia! I thank Your Excellency President Kaunda for your oft-repeated invitation, and I am happy that in this way I can return the visits which you have made to the Vatican.

My deep gratitude goes also to the Catholic bishops of Zambia who have invited me to visit them and their people at the beginning of the celebrations marking the centenary of the Catholic Church in this country.

2. Zambia is a young nation with a young population – a country which twenty-five years ago achieved its independence in a peaceful way. Many of you remember those historic days of 1964. Rightly, you cherish your independence and freedom, and you are engaged in the great task of building Zambia into a united, harmonious and just society, a true home for all its people.

I wish to express my encouragement to the Government and all the citizens of Zambia in your efforts to make this land a place of authentic freedom, brotherhood and mutual solidarity – a nation where your children can grow up and live in dignity and in the freedom worthy of the children of God.

3. In coming to your country as the Successor of the Apostle Peter, I look upon my visit as a time of intense spiritual communion with the Zambian Catholic community. I wish to pray with my brothers and sisters in the faith. I will seek to confirm them in the hope that is ours in the Lord Jesus Christ. I shall endeavour to speak the message of God’s infinite love for them and for all people without distinction.

I am pleased that the bishops have chosen as the theme for the centenary celebrations of the Church’s presence here: “Growing together in Christ our Hope, as truly African Christians”. In this way the celebration will remind us of the past in order to gather our energies for the future, a future which is filled with hope The centenary brings to mind one of the first missionaries, famous for his faith and zeal, Father Joseph Dupont, and his White Father companions who arrived here in 1891. The Church is grateful to God for the men and women who have served here since then, bearing witness to Christ’s message of love and reconciliation. The vitality of the Church in Zambia today is the sign that they were indeed God’s fellow workers, and through their labours you have become God’s field, God’s building (Cfr. 1Cor 1Co 3,9).

4. I greet the leaders and representatives of the other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities who are graciously here to welcome me. I have come to join all Christians in praising God for the growth of faith, hope and love in so many hearts since the Good News was first proclaimed here. I look forward to celebrating with you the common faith we share through God’s love which has been poured forth into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Cfr. Rom Rm 5,5). May this be a time of openness to the mystery of God’s will for the Church and people of Zambia.

To the followers of other religious traditions and to all people of good will I extend the hand of friendship and peace. I thank all of you for your welcome.

5. My dear friends: at the beginning of this pastoral visit, I implore God’s abundant gifts on Zambia. I am aware that events in this region in recent years, and world events beyond your control which affect all developing countries, have brought economic and social difficulties in their wake. You are being challenged not to lose trust in the ideals which inspire your public policies and which consist in recognizing the equal dignity of all human beings without discrimination based on tribe, race, colour or creed. The difficulties of the present must not lead to a lessening of your commitment to protect and promote each individual’s rights.

As a leading country in Africa, you are being strongly challenged to build a society of harmonious relations between people of every racial group. This, and your continuing efforts to promote a constructive dialogue by the parties involved, must be your response to the unacceptable system of apartheid. Racism stands condemned, but it is not enough to condemn. Conditions must be fostered which enable fear to be banished and reconciliation to be achieved. And since people from other parts of Africa are being forced to flee their homelands because of hunger or conflict, you are being challenged to a great effort of solidarity with the many refugees who have knocked at your door for food and shelter. While you offer them generous hospitality, I trust that you will not be left alone in the task of caring for them, and that the international community will give the needed assistance to these suffering peoples.

6. Mr President, dear friends: the Church and the State are different in their nature and purpose, but they serve the same people. In their commitment to defending the natural dignity of every man, woman and child created in God’s image, the Church and State in Zambia share a wide range of concerns and effectively collaborate for the common good. Mr President, I am aware that on many occasions you have publicly expressed your appreciation of the contribution which the Church in this country is making to the advancement of the Zambian people, especially in the field of education, health care and human development. This, together with the existence of friendly relations between your nation and the Holy See, is a source of great satisfaction. Today, in Lusaka, I express my gratitude for this state of affairs.

Mr President, may God continue to bless you and your collaborators.

My prayer today is that the Lord will fulfil for Zambia what he promises in the words of the Psalm:

“I will greatly bless her produce
I will fill her poor with bread.
I will clothe her priests with salvation
and her people shall ring out their joy” (Ps 131,15-16).
May God abundantly bless Zambia!







Cathedral of Lusaka

Tuesday, 2 May 1989

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. I wish to thank Archbishop Mungandu for the gracious words of welcome spoken on your behalf at the beginning of this service. In coming here this evening to meet you – the priests, religious and seminarians of Zambia – I wish to express my love for you and my esteem for all that you are doing to build up the Church in your country. As Successor of Saint Peter and Universal Pastor I can assure you that your joys and sorrows are also my own.

It is very fitting that our meeting should take place within the context of prayer and the celebration of God’s word. Our reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans reminds us of a fundamental truth about our Christian existence: we have been called to live a new life in Christ.This vocation is the basis of our further commitment in the priesthood or the religious life.

Referring to Baptism, Saint Paul writes: “We were buried with Christ, so that as he was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life... You must see yourselves as being dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus” (Rm 6,4 Rm 6,11). Baptism is the source of new life. It is the source of every believer’s vocation in Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we die to sin and are raised up to communion with God, to a life of grace, to the holiness that is a gift from God. In Baptism we are incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ; we become part of the mystery of Christ himself.

2. We are fast approaching the centenary of the coming of Christianity to this country. It is an appropriate moment to look both to the past and to the future. How could we forget the pioneering missionaries, people like Father Van Oost, Father Depaillat and Bishop Dupont of the White Fathers; the first Jesuits – Father Kraupa, Father Moreau and Father Torrend, who arrived from the East and the South? Nor can we forget the Dominican Sisters and the White Sisters, especially Mother Jean de Valois and Mother Claver.

The efforts of the first missionaries and their hopes for evangelization are now in your hands. You in turn will pass the work on to those who are now in formation. I ask you to keep alive the missionary spirit and to cultivate the seed that has been sown here. Ever since those early days of the first stirrings of Christianity in this land, there has been an extraordinary bond of closeness between priests, religious and laity. We can thank God that this close relationship has remained strong in spite of political and social changes. Over the years people have looked to the Church for direction, for sound leadership based on charity and fidelity to authentic teaching. They continue to do so today, and they expect you to help lead them with similar zeal into the Third Millennium.

Like the first missionaries, many of you – both men and women – have come from other countries to continue the work of sowing, cultivating and reaping. On behalf of the whole Church, I thank you for your generous gift of self, made out of love for Christ and his people. I encourage you to persevere in fulfilling the mission that you have so gladly undertaken.

3. The great work of evangelization in Zambia, both past and present, has one purpose: that people may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, they may have life in his name (Cfr. Io Jn 20,31). Here again we are confronted with the great mystery of dying and rising with Christ in Baptism. The new life of grace impels us to preach the Gospel of salvation to others, to love and serve them as Christ did in bearing witness to the Kingdom to come.

Through Baptism every person shares in the sacramental mission of the Church, but for those who are called to the priesthood or religious life there is a renewed consecration to the service of God. All the greater then is your Christian obligation to die to sin and to live a new life, the life of grace, life according to the Spirit. All the more compelling is your Christian duty to seek perfection in keeping with the Lord’s command: “You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5,48). The life of every priest or religious is no longer just his or her own; it is given in total service to Christ for the building up of his body, the Church.

4. Dear brothers in the priesthood: through the Sacrament of Holy Orders we have been made living instruments of Christ, the Eternal Priest. We have been endowed with a special grace that enables us to live in Christ despite our human weakness, to become one with him, who became a high priest for our sake, “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners” (Hebr.7, 26). The holiness of priests is of the greatest importance in the work of evangelization.

As ministers of the sacred mysteries, especially the Eucharistic Sacrifice which is “the source and summit of Christian life” (Lumen Gentium LG 11), you act in the person of Christ himself. You fulfil your principal mission and manifest your priesthood most fully when you celebrate the Eucharist – all the more so when this mystery penetrates people’s hearts and minds because you, their priests, live the mystery that you celebrate (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Dominicae Cenae, 2). May the celebration of Mass for and with your people always be your greatest joy and strength.

You have also been entrusted with the power to bind and loose in the Sacrament of Penance. Here I wish to repeat what I said last year to the priests in Zimbabwe: “Love this Sacrament and receive it often” (Eiusdem Allocutio ad presbyteros, “Bulawayo”, in Zimbabua habita, O, die 12 sept. 1988: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XI, 3 [1988] 711). If it is our duty to help others to be converted and live, all the more is it our responsibility to do the same: “Being converted means returning to the grace of our vocation... (and) meditating upon the infinite goodness and love of Christ... It means constantly rendering an account before the Lord of our hearts concerning our service, our zeal and our fidelity... (It) also means constantly rendering an account of our negligences and sins, of our timidity, our lack of faith and hope, of thinking only as men think and not as God thinks” (Eiusdem Epistula ad universos Ecclesiae Sacerdotes adveniente Feria V in Cena Domini, 10, die 8 aprile 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, II [1979] 857 ss.).

Within the context of the Sacrament of Penance I also encourage you to remember the Lord’s words: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninetynine... and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (Lc 15,4). Our priesthood requires us to go out of our way to bring faith and reconciliation to those who do not yet know Christ or who have wandered from the practice of their faith.

5. My dear brothers and sisters in religious life: I also give thanks to God today for you and for all that you are doing to bring forth a rich harvest in the Lord’s vineyard in Zambia. Each one of you has a special gift to offer, whether through your apostolate in the world or, like the Poor Clares, through a life “hidden with Christ in God” (Cfr. Col Col 3,3). The contemplative state serves to remind all religious of their call to be “specialists in prayer” (Cfr. Pauli VI, die 28 oct. 1966: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, IV [1966]).

Through the profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, you bear witness to God’s Kingdom and build up the Body of Christ by leading others to a life of conversion and holiness. I urge you to remain faithful to the charism of your Institutes and to work closely with the bishops in carrying out your apostolate (Cfr. Mutuae Relationes, 8). Allow the mystery of “new life in Christ” to penetrate every aspect of your lives, so that whatever you do, in word or deed, is done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Cfr. Col Col 3,17).

A life of chastity, poverty and obedience, willingly embraced and faithfully lived, contradicts the accepted wisdom of the world about the meaning of life. But your religious witness can transform the world and its ways of thinking and acting precisely through your love for all, your detachment from material things and your self-giving.

In your commitment to Christ, who “emptied himself” for our sake (Cfr. Phil Ph 2,7), you must be ever conscious of your compatriots who are struggling with economic and social crises. So many of them are living in poverty, faced with insecurity and fear of the future. Both your way of living and your apostolate should be at the service of these people and should always reflect your close association with them. I urge you therefore to manifest a real and tangible solidarity with the life, struggles and uncertainties of your brothers and sisters. Only if you accept this essential aspect of your religious vocation will you find the joy that is Christ’s gift to those who have left everything to follow him. How extremely valuable is the witness of your lives – if authentic and joyful – for the people of Zambia as they continue to find joy and fulfilment in their age-long traditions, now enriched by the values of the Gospel.

6. Finally, I wish to address the seminarians present here today. Much of what I have said thus far also applies to you. You have come here today from all the dioceses of Zambia, and I thank God for the youthfulness, enthusiasm and vigour that I see in your faces.

I am also grateful to God for the increasing numbers of vocations to the priesthood and to religious life in this land. You are the spes gregis – the hope of Christ’s flock – upon whom the people depend. Your faith and generosity in heeding the call that you believe God has given to you speaks volumes to other young people. It is my fervent prayer that the generous spirit of service that fills your hearts today will remain with you and grow, “so that seeing your good works, people may give glory to your Father in heaven” (Cfr. Matth Mt 5,16).

I urge you to make good use of your years of preparation for the priesthood. Deepen your personal knowledge of Christ through prayer and study, through reflection and self-discipline. I am happy that a Spirituality Centre has recently been opened in which candidates for the Major Seminary can deepen their spiritual life in order to better serve God’s people as priests.

To speak of the priesthood is to speak of a lifelong commitment to celibacy. This charism too is made possible by the “new life in Christ” that we received at Baptism. Remember that whenever God gives us a particular vocation he also gives us the grace needed to fulfil it. But we must put all our trust in him without reserve. We are merely the earthen vessels, he is the potter. He is free to mould us as he chooses (Cfr. 2Cor 2Co 4,7).

7. Finally, dear brothers and sisters – priests, religious and seminarians of Zambia – I say to you: rejoice; rejoice in the Lord and in the new life that you share through Baptism. Christ speaks to you, saying: “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16,24). We can be confident that God will not refuse any good gift to those who seek to dedicate themselves completely to his service, for the salvation of the world. I commend all of you to his loving Providence and I cordially impart to you my Apostolic Blessing.






Apostolic Nunciature of Lusaka

Tuesday, 2 May 1989

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. On this occasion of my pastoral visit to your country I greet all of you in a spirit of fraternal love: “To all God’s beloved” in Zambia, “who are called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Cfr. Rom Rm 1,7). It is a great joy for me to be here, thanks to your kind invitation. I am happy to have this opportunity to strengthen the bonds of ecclesial communion which we celebrated together during your ad limina visit to Rome last year.

My visit coincides with the preparations being made for the Church’s centenary in Zambia in 1991. From humble beginnings the Church has grown and flourished in your country. Today there are nine dioceses, many parishes and outstations, a growing number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, increasing lay involvement, and many educational, medical and social service institutions.

I rejoice with you at the gift of salvation in Christ that the Father has willed to grant to Zambia through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the dedicated efforts of missionaries, both men and women, the Gospel was brought here in obedience to Christ’s command to teach all the nations (Cfr. Matth Mt 28,19). But the challenge to carry forward the work of evangelization never ceases. With Saint Paul we can say: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1Co 9,16). The whole Church in Africa is continually being called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For this reason I was pleased to announce earlier this year a Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. This came about as a result of frequent requests from various groups and individuals over the years, as well as my own experience of the Church’s vitality in Africa during the course of previous pastoral visits. I am confident that the Special Assembly will be a particular moment of grace for the Church in Africa. I know that you will join me in prayer for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon this event and the preparations that are being made for it.

2. On the eve of the Church’s centenary in Zambia, your thoughts must inevitably turn to the spiritual needs and aspirations of all those within your own country. During your ad limina visit last year I raised some of these concerns. I spoke about marriage and the family, young people, seminarians and priests, men and women religious, lay involvement in Small Christian Communities, ecumenism, social communications and the needs of refugees. Today I wish to continue my reflections. In particular, I wish to discuss the Church’s teaching office, and the role of the diocesan bishop as an authentic teacher of the faith for his people.

Christ himself told his apostles to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that he had commanded (Cfr. Matth Mt 28,19-20). Before he returned to the Father, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit upon his Church, to guide her into all truth (Cfr. Io Jn 16,15). Through the anointing of the Spirit of truth, the entire People of God has been enabled to cling to the faith it has received, to gain deeper insight into its mysteries, and to apply it more fully in daily life (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 12).

As successor of the apostles, the Pope and the bishops have been entrusted with the mission of preaching the Word of God. The Second Vatican Council teaches that bishops are both heralds of the faith, who draw new disciples to Christ, and “authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ”, who preach to the people entrusted to their care. It falls to bishops to teach the faith, to make it bear fruit, and to be vigilant against errors that threaten their flock (Ibid. 25).

In fulfilling this great task, dear brothers, we can be certain that God who entrusted it to us will also give us the grace to fulfil it. For our part, we must never fail to persevere in our task of teaching: we must search for the most suitable and effective means of accomplishing it; and we must never lose confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit whose grace we received at our ordination.

3. Within the local Church, the diocesan bishop is the “moderator of the entire ministry of the Word” (Codex Iuris Canonici CIC 756). As such, he is called to collaborate actively with many people in the service of the Gospel. On every level of the Church’s life, it is your duty to ensure that the Word bears fruit and grows in the lives of those who believe (Cfr. Col Col 1,6). For all members of the Church, this will require a lifelong formation in Christian doctrine and discipline and in the riches of the spiritual life. Priests, religious and laity must be continually formed in Christian living, so as to hold fast to the faith, in accordance with their particular vocation. Their knowledge of the faith must be deepened; their practice of it must determine their choices and actions; and their love for it must create the desire to share it with others.

Priests are your indispensable companions in teaching, sanctifying and shepherding God’s people, and so they should receive a spiritual and intellectual formation equal to their responsibilities. For this reason, I urge you to give special attention to the formation of those preparing for the priesthood as well as to the continuing education of those already ordained so that your priests may be of one mind and heart with you in the ministry of proclaiming the Word (Cfr. Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 7). Love for Christ means zeal for all his flock, especially for those who do not yet know him and those who have wandered away. I join you in asking for God’s blessing on the work of the Emmaus Spirituality Centre which you have set up in order to provide priests with the sound training they need for the service of Christ’s flock.

4. Your duty as bishops to make the faith “shine forth and bear fruit” (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 12) also requires you to provide for the spiritual growth of the laity. You can be justifiably proud of the many lay organizations in Zambia and the many catechists and lay leaders who do so much in the service of the Gospel. Catholics are called to occupy positions of responsibility in the civic and cultural life of this country. But vigilance is needed on your part so that the good seed of the Gospel is not snatched away or choked or does not wither amid the temptations and cares of modern life (Cfr. Luc Lc 8,11-14). You must attend to the many profound questions being asked today about the human person and society – questions that Zambia must also face as it looks to the future. As pastors and teachers you will want to do everything possible to help your people understand their Catholic faith in the light of their own questions about life and the challenges that may be raised by others.

This teaching task likewise calls for a systematic approach to adult catechetics suited to different groups of people. Special attention should be given to those whose social, economic or cultural status could weaken their sense of Catholic identity or their ties with the Church community. Nor can I fail to mention the solicitude required of pastors towards those who find it difficult to fulfil the Christian obligation of marriage and family life in accordance with Church teaching. Teachers of the faith must constantly call people to conversion, to perseverance, to a deeper love rooted in the Cross. We have as our inspiration the words of Saint Paul: “Let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Ph 1,27).

Within the context of lay formation, your role as teachers also demands attention to the religious education of the young. I know and share your concern for the youth of Zambia, who make up such a large part of the population. Many of them are unable to continue their education or to find work. By reaching out to them, the Church manifests Christ’s love for them. By teaching them the Gospel she helps to answer their deepest questions about life and salvation. In Catholic schools particularly they should be able to find sound catechesis in Catholic doctrine and Christian living, especially through the instruction and good example of teachers who are well prepared spiritually and intellectually for this important task.

Finally, dear brothers, I urge you to take full advantage of the communications media in furthering the Church’s teaching mission. Your use of the press, radio and television will not only serve Catholics: it will also influence and inform public opinion about the Church and her teachings. I know that the Church in Zambia enjoys freedom to make use of the media. Do not hesitate therefore to devote the resources and the talents necessary to carry out this important ministry as part of your work as teachers of the faith.

Next Sunday, 7 May, is the Twenty-Third World Communications Day. In my message for this occasion I point out that “the question confronting the Church today is not any longer whether ‘the man in the street’ can grasp a religious message, but how to employ the communications media so as to let him have the full impact of the Gospel message. The Lord encourages us very directly and simply to take the broader view in our witness and our communication: ‘Do not be afraid... what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops’ (Mt 10,26-27)” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius scripto dotus ob diem ad communicationes sociales favendas dicatum, 6, die 24 ian. 1989: vide supra, p. 163).

5. Dear brothers, I encourage you and wish to be close to you in your faithful service to Christ and your devoted efforts for the sake of the Gospel in Zambia. In the face of new challenges, you are striving to bring the knowledge of Christ to people so that they in turn may bring him to others. You are building up the Church by your example and by leading the faithful to an ever deeper understanding of her life and mission. With Saint Paul, I know that “he who began this good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Cfr. Phil Ph 1,6).

With fraternal affection in the Lord, and with full confidence in the power of divine grace at work in our local Churches, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.






Independence Stadium, Lusaka

Wednesday, 3 May 1989

Mr President,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Dear Young People of Zambia,
Moni nonse (I greet everyone).

1. I am very happy to be able to spend some time with you in your own beautiful country of Zambia. I greet you with the words of Saint Paul: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ph 1,2). I come here today with hope and joy: the hope that we share with Jesus our Brother, and the joy that his Gospel – the Good News – proclaims to all people of good will. My joy echoes that of Saint Paul when he addressed the Christians in Philippi: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you, thankful for your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now” (Ph 1,3-5).

The “first day” on which the Gospel message was brought to Zambia by Catholic missionaries was almost a century ago. Preparations for the centenary celebrations have already begun. As we look back over the past hundred years, we look to the future as well because the Church is a pilgrim people always moving towards the final meeting with Christ.

Today I thank God for this opportunity of sharing in your hopes and concerns. I thank Archbishop Mutale and the youth representative for their inspiring words. Above all, I thank God for your vitality and your youth. “To be young is already in itself a special and specific treasure for every young man and young woman” (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Epistula apostolica ad iuvenes internationali vertente anno iuventuti dicato, 3, die 31 mar. 1985: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VIII, 1 [1985] 760). I thank God for your joy in life, in a world which knows so much sorrow and pain. I thank you for your welcome, which you expressed in dance and song: song and movements which speak of the harmony of creation and the praise you wish to offer to him who is the life of your soul. Your desire to celebrate in song and dance today shows the Church’s desire to celebrate and share the message of Christ’s love with the whole world.

2. As in so many countries of the world, you young people of Zambia make up the majority of the nation’s population. You are indeed a young nation: a young nation with enormous potential, not only because of your mineral and agricultural resources but especially and above all because of your human potential. As I look at you from where I stand, I see before me a treasure of enormous value. I see smiling, happy faces: I see eyes that wish to look for what is good in others; lips that want to speak the truth; limbs that are ready and willing to build up this country and make it stronger and more beautiful for your own children. You have an immense potential to do good, to foster peace, harmony and tolerance, to better the economic and social conditions of this country. You rightly want to improve educational and employment opportunities. You ask for guidance and inspired leadership. You must remember, however, that positive and lasting changes can come about only if built upon fairness and justice. True progress is not to be measured by a greater number of cars or radios, but by the way in which the poor and neglected are treated, by the way they have the Gospel presented to them.

Speeches 1989