Speeches 1995 - Cathedral of Christ the King in Johannesburg (South Africa)






Johannesburg International Airport (South Africa)

Monday, 18 September 1995

1. My brief visit to South Africa is at an end, and I must go on to proclaim the message of the Special Session for Africa of the Synod of Bishops to the Church in another part of this beloved Continent. With gratitude to God I thank all South Africans for the warm hospitality I have received in these days. In my prayers I will remember you all, especially the young, the sick, the needy, and all who still suffer for the sake of justice and freedom.

I extend a special word of thanks to President Mandela and the civil authorities who have made this visit possible and have been present at the various events. I thank the public officials and the many volunteers who have helped in every way. My gratitude also goes to the members of the press, radio and television who have broadcast the event to other parts of Africa and around the world.

2. To the Catholic Bishops and faithful I extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. We have prayed together and celebrated the mysteries of our faith. We have invoked God’s blessings and protection on the Church and on society. I take with me the sights and sounds of your joyful reception of the results of the African Synod. I am encouraged by your generous commitment to implementing its decisions and orientations, as the whole Church prepares to enter the Third Christian Millennium, ever more conformed to her Crucified and Risen Lord.

I assure our fellow–Christians and the followers of other religious traditions that in responding to the aspirations of the peoples of this Continent for authentic dignity, freedom and peace, the Catholic community feels the need to intensify ecumenical co–operation and interreligious dialogue. Along the path of mutual esteem and friendship we can work together for the common good. Divided, we can only delay the coming of true justice and peace.

3. The recent history of South Africa shows that peace is the victory of the human spirit which determines to set aside the ways of division and conflict in order to follow the path of forgiveness and brotherhood. A nation making a new beginning, in the midst of difficulties of all kinds, needs everyone’s co–operation and solidarity. Peace calls for a courage much greater than the senseless temerity which would go on using the old ways of violence. While it is important that the truth about past wrongs be known and responsibility be laid where it is due, it is most important that the budding plant of a just and harmonious multiracial society be cared for and allowed to grow. The whole of Africa, indeed the whole world, follows each step you take, knowing that every achievement along the path to a society that is more just, more humane, more worthy of its citizens, is a victory for everyone, for it bears the hope and inspiration of similar success elsewhere.

God bless all those who work for justice and harmony, without discrimination, among the peoples and nations of Africa! May the Almighty pour out his peace into the hearts of all South Africans!

Farewell! And God bless you all!






Jomo Kenyatta International Airport of Nairobi (Kenya)

Monday, 18 September 1995

Your Excellency, Mr President,
and Members of the Government,
Dear Cardinal Otunga and my Brother Bishops,
Dear People of Kenya,

1. I give thanks to Almighty God in whose wonderful Providence I am able to return for the third time to beautiful Kenya. I thank you, Mr President, for your kind words of welcome. I greet the civil authorities whose presence I see as a sign of friendship and of our shared desire to serve the well–being of all Kenyans. With heartfelt esteem, I greet the whole nation: all its peoples in the rich variety of their origin and culture. With gratitude for the warmth of your traditional hospitality, I say: Wananchi wote, wananchi wote wapenzi. (Dear people, my dearest people!)

2. My present journey through Africa is a celebration of the Special Session for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. That important meeting re–affirmed the commitment of the Catholic Church to her spiritual and humanitarian mission on this Continent. As the universal Pastor of the Catholic Church I wished to come to Africa at this time in order to urge my brothers and sisters in the faith to stand steadfast in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to assume with unfailing generosity the challenge which the Synod proposes: a new evangelization, in a fresh spirit of service to the peoples of this Continent. It is my special joy therefore to greet Cardinal Otunga and my brother Bishops of Kenya, as well as the representatives of the Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa. I especially look forward to joining the clergy, religious and laity in the most sacred act of our worship, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

3. Nimakuja kama rafiki wa nchi ya Kenya ambaye yuko nanyi katika shida na mafanikio bila ubaguzi wa aina yoyote.

(I come as a friend of Kenya: as one who is close to the aspirations, trials and successes of all Kenyans, without distinction).

In fulfilling her spiritual mission, the Church fosters and defends the dignity, freedom and advancement of the human person. She does so concretely through her many schools and educational projects, through her charitable, health–care and social institutions, through all her efforts to promote social progress. The Church in Kenya, under the leadership of the Bishops, has a solid history of service to the common good, and I am certain that for the benefit of the nation everyone will wish to increase the level of mutual trust and co–operation.

4. Dear Friends, I am fully conscious of the importance which Kenya, and Nairobi in particular, have as a centre of trade, communications, education and culture, and as the location of many international organizations and agencies for all of Africa. I come as one who is deeply concerned for the destiny of Africa’s peoples. Africa is at a crossroads. Its peoples and their leaders are being called to exercise all their wisdom in the difficult and urgent task of promoting a development which is not just economic and material, but involves building a civilization of respect for all of society’s members – for their rights and freedoms, as well as for the spiritual nature of every person; a civilization founded on the best traditions of this Continent, which emphasize people over things; a civilization which nurtures understanding, harmony and co–operation, not divisive tendencies. Social unity and solidarity are not easy at the best of times. They are made all the more difficult when ethnic, political and social divisions are allowed to smother the yearning for true peace which lies in peoples’ hearts.

The Church is an ally of all who work for a better Africa. She will continue to teach the ways of harmony and peace, for the Gospel says: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (cf. Mt. Mt 5,9). She will do all she can to defend the poor, the weak and those who are without voice, for "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right" (Ibid., 5:6). The Synod for Africa, which I am here to celebrate, is a providential gift to the Church and to the whole of African society. The Synod calls the Church to strengthen in all Africans the hope of genuine liberation. Our confidence that this is possible is based on God’s promise, which assures us that our present history is not closed in upon itself but is open to God’s transforming grace and love (cf. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa ).

Nawaombea baraka za Mungu, Pia kuwashukuru sana Kwa makaribisho yenu mazuri.

(Invoking his abundant blessings upon you all, I thank you for your gracious welcome.)

I’m very, very grateful for this wonderful reception; it is heartfelt, very cordial. Thank you very much.







"Resurrection Garden" of Nairobi (Kenya)

Tuesday, 19 September 1995

"The Bishops of Africa confirmed their steadfast belief that the greatness and mercy of the one God were manifested above all in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, the Son who is consubstantial with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. This – the Fathers affirmed – is our faith; this is the faith of the Church; this is the faith of all the local Churches which everywhere in Africa are on pilgrimage towards the House of God" (John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa ).

In this same faith, I greet you, dear Cardinal Otunga,
Pastor of the Church in Nairobi;
and you Brother Bishops of Kenya, of Africa
and from other parts of the world;
and you Brother Priests, Deacons, Seminarians,
Women and Men Religious, and Lay Faithful
of the Family of God in Africa.

I greet our Friends from the other Christian communities
and from other religious traditions.

1. The Church, by means of which we have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit (cf. Ep 2,18), comes from the Father and is making her pilgrim way back to him, through the world, and therefore through Africa. To this world, the Church must speak "the things that are above" (Col 3,1). As the Third Christian Millennium approaches, the Spirit is calling the Church to proclaim, with ever more urgency and with an increased awareness of what is at stake for the well–being of the human family, the full and genuine liberation which comes through Jesus Christ.

The Church in Africa has heard this call of the Spirit during the Special Session for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. In union with their Pastors, the whole Catholic community has committed itself to be renewed in holiness, to be in a permanent state of mission and, with courage and steadfast hope, to walk with the men and women of this Continent the hard way of the Cross. What the Spirit wants of the Church in Africa will come about as the mature fruit of the dedicated involvement of all the Church’s members: Bishops, clergy, religious and laity in fulfilling the pastoral programme elaborated by the Synod Fathers and now set out in the Post–Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa".

The Exhortation recalls that at a crucial moment of Jesus’ public life, the Apostle Peter professed his faith and that of the other Apostles in these significant words: "Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God" (Jn 6,68). As the Successor of Peter I have ardently looked forward to coming once more to Africa to encourage you to make the Synod’s findings the goal and direction of your ecclesial life towards the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

2. The Document itself, however, is only an instrument and a beginning. What counts is the effective renewal of the Church’s members and their ever more generous ministry and service. The Church exists to continue the mission of the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to bring the Good News of salvation to the human family.But the Church herself, the community of her members, must be thoroughly evangelized, in order to possess the grace and vitality to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel of the Crucified and Risen Lord.

In God’s plan, the Church is not a means to be used for some human enterprise, no matter how noble and useful. Rather, the Church as she comes to us from the loving hand of the Father, is the sign and instrument of the human family’s communion with God himself and of its own deepest unity. If Africa is fragmented and divided, the Church as the Family of God must be a model of unity for society. If Africa is hurt by poverty, corruption, injustice and violence, the Church must be a healing, reconciling, forgiving and supporting community. Love is the binding force of this community, in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give, and none are so rich that they have nothing to receive. Love of God and love for every human being, especially the poor and defenceless, is the motivating force of the evangelizing mission to which you are being called. Love impels Christ’s followers to carry his light and his healing to the ends of the earth: and therefore to every corner of Africa.

3. At the beginning of this year I had the wonderful privilege of celebrating the World Youth Day with millions of young people in Manila in the Philippines. On that occasion I was able to meet the Bishops taking part in the Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. What I said to them about the great task of evangelization is equally applicable to Africa: "When we try to imagine the future of evangelization on this Continent, do we not see it as the irradiation of a vibrant, living faith practised and declared by individual Christians and Christian communities?... To irradiate the faith implies the highest standards of Christian living – a rich life of prayer and sacramental practice, and moral integrity – on the part of everyone. To proclaim to others ‘eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rm 6,23) demands of each member of the Church the holiness and integrity of one for whom ‘to live is Christ’ (Ph 1,21). Proclamation becomes credible when it is accompanied by sanctity of life, sincerity of purpose and respect for others and for the whole of creation" (John Paul II, Address to the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference, 5 [15 Jan. 1995]).

4. With what resources will the Church in Africa succeed in meeting these enormous challenges? The Synod says: "The most important [resource], after the grace of Christ, is the people. The whole People of God in the theological understanding of “Lumen Gentium” – this People, which comprises the members of the Body of Christ in its entirety – has received the mandate, which is both an honour and a duty, to proclaim the Gospel... The whole community needs to be trained, motivated and empowered for evangelization, each according to his or her specific role within the Church" (Lumen Gentium LG 53).

It is therefore with immense joy and hope that I entrust the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa" to each segment of the People of God in Africa, to the agents of evangelization.

In the first place to the laity.

The maturing of the Catholic community in Africa will consist to a great extent in empowering the laity to exercise with responsibility their full Christian vocation and dignity. Lay men and women, and especially young people, are sometimes disappointed at the space given them in the Church, and at the fact that they are not helped to develop to the full their specific charisms.

The Synod Fathers acknowledged the need for a dynamic laity: parents who are deeply believing people, educators who are conscious of their responsibilities, political leaders who have a profound sense of morality (cf. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa ).

Les fruits du Synode sont confiés tout particulièrement aux familles, aux familles qui s’efforcent de vivre pleinement leur vocation chrétienne, car “le foyer est la première école de vie chrétienne et "une école d’enrichissement humain"” (Ibid., 92). C’est justement à cause de la vigueur des traditions familiales africaines que les Pères du Synode ont considéré l’Eglise Famille de Dieu comme l’idée – force de l’évangélisation de ce continent (cf. ibid., 63). Et c’est précisément dans la famille et par la famille que la l’inculturation de la foi peut être bien posée, en fonction de l’expérience de la réalité quotidienne. Les relations chaleureuses de la famille africaine, l’attention que ses membres portent les uns aux autres, surtout aux enfants et aux anciens, la solidarité qui lie la famille à la communauté plus large, son amour et son respect intenses pour la vie qui est conçue et qui naît, tout cela constitue un riche terrain dans lequel l’esprit de l’Evangile peut faire s’épanouir une splendide floraison de l’esprit des béatitudes. Quand les valeurs traditionnelles de la famille sont purifiées, élevées et transformées par leur rencontre avec l’Evangile de la vie, la communauté catholique redécouvre les dimensions essentielles de la fraternité et de l’amour chrétiens, que compromet l’individualisme excessif des sociétés sécularisées (cf. ibid., 43).

Le Synode ne pouvait pas ignorer les défis nouveaux auxquels la famille africaine doit faire face, à cause de l’adoption parfois imposée de modèles de développement économique et social qui ne reflètent pas le génie de l’Afrique. C’est ainsi que, dans tous les pays africains, on connaît “les phénomènes de déracinement familial, d’urbanisation, de désoeuvrement, avec les séductions matérialistes de toute sorte et un ébranlement intellectuel accentué par l’avalanche d’idées insuffisamment critiquées et par l’influence des médias” (Ibid., 92). L’Afrique a certainement en elle les ressources humaines et spirituelles nécessaires pour trouver sa propre voie vers un meilleur développement matériel et plus de bien–être, sans importer chez elle ce que les sociétés de consommation ont de moins bon! Dans l’Exhortation apostolique, j’ai voulu reprendre ce que j’ai dit au cours de ma visite au Malawi en 1988: “Je vous lance un défi aujourd’hui, un défi qui consiste à rejeter un mode de vie qui ne correspond pas au meilleur de vos traditions locales et de votre foi chrétienne.

Beaucoup de personnes en Afrique portent leur regard, au–delà de l’Afrique, vers la soi–disant "liberté du mode de vie moderne". Aujourd’hui je vous recommande vivement de regarder en vous–mêmes. Regardez les richesses de vos propres traditions, regardez la foi que nous célébrons dans cette assemblée. Vous trouverez ici la véritable liberté, vous trouverez ici le Christ qui vous conduira à la vérité” (Ibid., 48).

5. I entrust the results of the Synod to the youth of Africa, for young people constitute the largest portion of the population and the hope of your future. Young Africans are often caught up in a crisis of identity: between contrasting models of life which leave them confused and without ideals. The Church must find suitable ways of being close to them, with special attention to out–of–schoolers, street children, children migrants and refugees.

The Synod calls young people to be apostles to their own generation, transmitting to others the light of Christ which illumines their own interior (Ibid., 93)

The fruits of the Synod are entrusted in a special way to catechists, who have always been and are today "a determinative force in the implantation and expansion of the Church in Africa" (Ibid., 91) In the name of the whole Church I say thanks to all catechists for the indispensable work you do in the service of the Gospel. Often you work in a quiet, hidden way. The Lord, who sees in the secret of your hearts, will not fail to reward you!

6. With particular confidence I entrust the implementation of the Synod to the consecrated witness and action of women and men Religious, whether Africans or missionaries from abroad. You are the living signs of undivided love for God and absolute dedication to the growth of his Kingdom. The Apostolic Exhortation encourages you to seek ways to grow and expand by fostering new vocations, and to continue to bring the richness of your charisms to the Churches and the peoples you serve, just as you have done since the beginning of the plantatio Ecclesiae on this Continent.

I appeal in a special way to the contemplative Religious communities, to continue to bring the needs of the Church and the peoples of Africa before the throne of God’s grace. By the example of your adoration and sacrifice, go on teaching that God is the true centre and goal of human life, and bring upon God’s People the supernatural fruitfulness which will make the coming years a new springtime for the Church in Africa.

7. In union with our Brother Bishops, I solemnly entrust the Apostolic Exhortation to the priests and deacons of Africa.

It will depend above all on you and your Bishops whether your parishes, communities and organizations will undergo the renewal which the Spirit is offering and which the Catholic peoples of Africa need in order to enter the Third Christian Millennium with "a firm commitment to implement with great fidelity the decisions and orientations which, with the Apostolic authority of the Successor of Peter, I present in this Exhortation. They are decisions and orientations which can be traced back to the genuine heritage of the Church’s teaching and discipline and in particular to the Second Vatican Council, the main source of inspiration for the Special Assembly for Africa" (Ibid., 141) With ardent love in the Lord for each one of you, I encourage you to be servants and leaders through fidelity to the Eucharist and to God’s word. You are in the forefront of the great enterprise of the new evangelization, which must give flesh to the truths and values of the Gospel in the language, history, and social, political and economic life of your peoples (Ibid., 59)

8. The Synod is over. The Synod has just begun. The road ahead will not be easy, but every member of the Family of God in Africa – Bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, Religious and lay women and men – must all trust in the Lord’s promise: "I am always with you, yes, to the end of time!" (Mt 28,20). To him be glory and honour, for ever and ever.






Jomo Kenyatta International Airport of Nairobi (Kenya)

Wednesday, 20 September 1995

Dear Mr President,
Your Eminence, Your Excellencies,
Dear Kenyan Friends,

1. Wakati wa kusema Kwa heri Umefika. Ziara yangu imemalizika haraka sana. Nimefurahia tena kuwepo hapa Chini Kenya. Nawashukuruni nyote kwa ukarimu wenu na upendo mlionionyesha wakati wote niliokuwepo nanyi.

(It is already time to say farewell. My visit has come to an end, all too quickly. I have greatly enjoyed being in Kenya again. I am grateful to everyone for the kindness and interest that have accompanied me at every moment).

I thank you, Mr President, and the Members of the Government, the civil and military authorities, and all who have contributed to the smooth running of this visit; as well as all the representatives of the press, radio and television, who have followed the events of these days.

I am especially grateful to Cardinal Otunga and to Archbishop Okoth, President of the Episcopal Conference, and all the Bishops, as well as the priests, religious and laity who have taken part so joyously in the Mass and Synodal Session, or followed them in spirit from afar. I leave the Catholic community of Eastern Africa with the assurance of my warm affection in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A word of thanks also goes to the representatives of the other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities who have wished to take part in these celebrations. It is encouraging to witness the trust and friendship which mark ecumenical relations among Kenyan Christians. May the Holy Spirit lead you along this path to ever greater understanding and mutual support.

I pray too that Christians and Muslims will continue to build bonds of mutual knowledge and respect, so that all believers in the Almighty will work together for the good of society as a whole.

To all the followers of Traditional African Religion, I likewise express my appreciation and esteem.

2. This is the conclusion of my entire journey, which has taken me from Cameroon to South Africa, and to Kenya. These have been three stages of a pilgrimage in spirit to all the peoples of Africa. And what reflection do I make at the end of this pilgrimage? I see a Continent eager to rise to a new level of life and dignity. I see a profound process of change taking place: people questioning, seeking the reasons for the slowness of development, and daring to explore new ways to meet the challenges inherent in the changing political and economic world situation. In an increasingly interdependent world, Africans know that they must seize the opportunity to advance not only materially, but above all on the path of respect for human rights and authentic democratic freedom. The peoples of Africa wish to give themselves the chance of a better future. They cannot let themselves down, and they must not be let down by others.

3. From the heart of Africa a cry goes out to those who are in a position to help. The so–called South of the world urges the North not to weaken its resolve to tackle the question of poverty, of refugees, of economic and cultural underdevelopment. The continuing gap between rich and poor regions of the world is a serious threat to global stability. The moral imperative of solidarity is fundamentally linked to human nature itself and to the absolute need which human beings have of one another. At the level of nations and continents, this need must be met, or living together in harmony becomes impossible. The poor do not envy the rich their progress! They ask them to acknowledge the responsibilities which flow from their situation of privilege and to meet the ethical demands of the universal destination of the world’s resources. The cry that goes out to the richer nations from the peoples of Africa is for aid, co–operation and solidarity which effectively respect people as people, poor or rich, powerless or powerful, all united in the one human family and in the same human dignity.

No one must be discouraged at the enormity of the demands of a progress that is truly worthy of man. The very scale and importance of the enterprise should already be a source of inspiration and encouragement to Africa’s sons and daughters.

4. Every day I pray for Africa’s peoples. The Almighty, the Lord of history, gives men and women of good will the strength to go forward perseveringly and to follow through courageously in the work of development and peace. He is the guarantee that we do not hope in vain.

Dear Friends, Kenya occupies a central place in the promise that is Africa. It has the resources to work against the obstacles that stand in the way of progress, and to work for a society of justice and harmony. All Kenyans must be able to feel proud of their country. All must be able to play a part in building her future. This is the wish I express for you all. This is the prayer I make to Almighty God for the marvellous Kenyan people.

Mungu wa Amani aw nanyi nyote. Mungu Ibariki Kenya. Mungu Ibariki Afrika.

(May the God of peace be close to you all!
God bless Kenya! God bless Africa!)



Consistory Hall

Friday, 29 September 1995

Dear Brother Priests,

I am happy to greet you, Korean Priests studying in Europe. I pray that your pilgrimage to the Tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul will confirm you in a deep and abiding love of the Church, and will encourage you in your priestly lives and ministry.

As you pursue your studies, remember that if you are to be worthy and effective ministers of the Gospel, you must personally walk the way of holiness. As priests of Christ, you are called to imitate the Lord’s example, who, as St Paul tells us, emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, and humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death (cf. Phil. Ph 7-8). In order to be able to satisfy your people’s thirst for progress in the spiritual life and for greater love and solidarity in human affairs, you must truly be men of God, grounded in prayer, having "the mind and heart of missionaries, open to the needs of the Church and the world" (John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis PDV 32).

I commend you and the Church in Korea to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. In the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

October 1995



Tuesday, 3 October 1995

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am happy to be able to meet the students of the Pontifical North American College who are about to be ordained to the Diaconate. I gladly greet your families, friends, and Superiors. For a long time you have been preparing spiritually and academically for the sacramental configuration with Christ, the Servant, which you will now receive, and I urge you to live the obligations of your new state with the utmost fervor and dedication. Do everything out of a deep and abiding love of God and with a generous and unfailing commitment to the salvation of souls.

I am about to leave for your country, the United States, where I look forward to visiting the Catholic communities of Newark, New York, Brooklyn and Baltimore. Please pray for the results of my visit to the United Nations Organization which, after 50 years of existence, needs to be able to meet the ever increasing demands being made on it in the service of world peace and development.

God bless you all!






Newark International Airport (Newark, New Jersey)

Wednesday, 4 October 1995

Mr President,
Dear Friends,
Dear People of America,

1. It is a great joy for me to return to the United States, as I had hoped to do last year. Thank you all for receiving me so warmly. This is a land of much generosity, and its people have always been quick to extend their hands in friendship and to offer hospitality. Thank you especially, President Clinton, for coming here today in that same spirit.

For my part, I greet you and all the representatives of the federal, state and local governments. I greet the Bishops’ Conference of the United States and the individual Bishops who have invited me to their Dioceses and have worked so hard, with countless co–workers, to prepare for this visit. I look forward to meeting the Catholic communities of Newark, Brooklyn, New York and Baltimore, as well as our brothers and sisters of other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities.
To the members of the Jewish faith I extend a very cordial greeting and my respectful best wishes on this day of special significance for them.

I greet all the people of this great nation, of every race, color, creed, and social condition. I pray for you all and assure you of my profound esteem.

2. Exactly thirty years ago today my predecessor, Pope Paul VI, spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and delivered a message that still resounds in many hearts. "No more war, war never again!" He went on to appeal: "Peace, it is peace which must guide the destinies of people" (Paul VI, Address to the United Nations Organization, 4 Oct. 1965).

I too come as a pilgrim of peace and understanding among peoples. Tomorrow, in observance of the United Nations’ Fiftieth Anniversary, I shall return there to express my deep conviction that the ideals and intentions which gave origin to that worldwide Organization half a century ago are more indispensable than ever in a world searching for purpose.

The world, in fact, is undergoing a profound transformation. Opportunities for justice, reconciliation and development are visible in parts of the world where they were hardly discernible even a few years ago–almost within our reach, it seems, but still so difficult to grasp. Ancient rivalries and suspicions still compromise the cause of peace. We must find ways to set them aside. If we do not, history and the Lord of history will judge us harshly.

3. Especially since the events of 1989, the role of the United States in the world has taken on a new prominence. Your widespread influence is at once political, economic, military and, due to your communications media, cultural. It is vital for the human family that in continuing to seek advancement in many different fields – science, business, education and art, and wherever else your creativity leads you – America keeps compassion, generosity and concern for others at the very heart of its efforts.

In particular, for nations and peoples emerging from a long period of trial, your country stands upon the world scene as a model of a democratic society at an advanced stage of development. Your power of example carries with it heavy responsibilities.Use it well, America! Be an example of justice and civic virtue, freedom fulfilled in goodness, at home and abroad!

4. From its beginning until now, the United States has been a haven for generation after generation of new arrivals. Men, women and children have streamed here from every corner of the globe, building new lives and forming a society of rich ethnic and racial diversity, based on commitment to a shared vision of human dignity and freedom. Of the United States we can truly say, "E pluribus unum".

It is my prayerful hope that America will persevere in its own best traditions of openness and opportunity. It would indeed be sad if the United States were to turn away from that enterprising spirit which has always sought the most practical and responsible ways of continuing to share with others the blessings God has richly bestowed here.

The same spirit of creative generosity will help you to meet the needs of your own poor and disadvantaged. They too have a role to play in building a society truly worthy of the human person – a society in which none are so poor that they have nothing to give and none are so rich that they have nothing to receive. The poor have needs which are not only material and economic, but also involve liberating their potential to work out their own destiny and to provide for the well–being of their families and communities. America will continue to be a land of promise as long as it remains a land of freedom and justice for all.

5. Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen: I come as one who has an abiding hope in America’s noble destiny. I thank God for allowing me to return to you again. Thank you and God bless you all!

Speeches 1995 - Cathedral of Christ the King in Johannesburg (South Africa)