Speeches 1996 - Saturday, 24 August 1994

5. You know well - and the recent Synod of Bishops has made it even clearer - that the consecrated life is a gift of the Father to the ecclesial community. Within the particular Church consecrated men and women are called to be a leaven of communion. They owe allegiance of mind and heart to the Church's Magisterium, "an allegiance which must be lived honestly and clearly testified to before the People of God by all consecrated persons, especially those involved in theological research, teaching, publication, catechesis and the use of the means of social communication" (John Paul II, Vita Consecrata VC 46). The witness of ready co-operation between Bishops and consecrated persons, and between the Bishops' Conference and the Conference of Major Superiors, will intensify the shared work of building up the Body of Christ in your nation. Sustained by personal and communal prayer, consecrated persons are called to be present especially in the "frontier areas" of the Church's evangelizing mission, both geographically and sociologically, in the fields of education, social action and the media. 'Through you I encourage the consecrated men and women of Sri Lanka "to bear a renewed and vigorous evangelical witness to self-denial and restraint, in a form of fraternal life inspired by principles of simplicity and hospitality" (Ibid., 90). The apostolate of women religious should include attention to the promotion of the dignity and vocation of women. It should support and guide women to put their specific gifts and qualities at the service of the Church and of society with ever greater effect.

6. God himself is in "dialogue" with the world, offering it his love, mercy and salvation. In fidelity to this divine initiative and example, the Church enters into the "dialogue of salvation" with all men and women, freely and respectfully presenting her message and listening to the wisdom of other believers. At the present time it is becoming ever clearer that the most fertile ground for interreligious discussions include moral and ethical issues affecting the future of humanity. The universal and unchanging moral norms which derive from the order of creation are "the unshakable foundation and solid guarantee of a just and peaceful human coexistence, and hence of a genuine democracy, which can come into being and develop only on the basis of the equality of all its members, who possess common rights and duties" (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor VS 96). Interreligious dialogue in Sri Lanka, especially with the majority Buddhist community, can be based on a shared recognition of such values as the inalienable dignity of every human life, the inestimable value of the family, respect for a life of virtue, non-violence, and self-effacement in serving the needs of others. Even though Sri Lankan Catholics are but "a little leaven" (1Co 5,6), the promotion of interreligious dialogue, joint religious witness and effective spiritual solidarity with others constitute an important contribution to building peace and harmony in your country.

Bishops also lead their people in extending "the right hand of friendship" (Ga 2,9) to other Christians. In obedience to Christ's own prayer - "that they may all be one" (Jn 17,21) - the Church is irrevocably committed to seeking the full, visible unity of all Christ's followers. The ecumenical task "is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that she is and does" (John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint UUS 20). Is it not true that effective evangelization depends to a great extent on the united witness of all Christians? Especially significant in this regard are joint efforts to apply Gospel principles to the conduct of social, economic, and political life.

7. Dear Brothers: in considering the Church's mission to the world I cannot pass over in silence the anxiety which you have expressed concerning the hardships and sufferings inflicted upon your people by the violence which continues to affect your beloved nation and by the terrible atrocities being committed. The promotion of peace is integral to the Church's mission, and you have on many occasions raised your voices on behalf of this supreme social good. You have constantly proclaimed that ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity is a treasure to be preserved - not an obstacle to be removed. You rightly recognize that differences make possible a true "exchange of gifts", and should serve to strengthen mutual esteem and a willingness to work together for the common good. You have rightly insisted that negotiated settlement is the only way in which the issues at the root of the conflict going on in the North and East of your country can be addressed. Only dialogue can safeguard inviolable human rights, including the legitimate rights of minorities. You have expressed your willingness to mediate, according to the Church's tradition of being ever ready to provide the impartial atmosphere in which those who work for peace can meet, free from fear and suspicion. As we implore God's peace upon your beautiful Island, we cannot fail to thank the many Christian organizations and individuals who, throughout the hostilities, have borne effective witness to the "more excellent way" of love which Jesus taught (cf. 1Co 12,31). The swift response of solidarity shown to the homeless, refugees and victims of bloodshed is a sign of divine grace at work in your midst. As Pastors sensitive to your peoples' quest for peace with justice, you are well aware that the Church's social doctrine belongs to the fullness of the Gospel message. The Church's contribution to the integral development of Sri Lankan society lies in putting forward a vision in which economic, political and social progress go hand in hand with religious, cultural and moral advancement.

8. Dear Brothers: I give thanks to God for you and for the Church of God now so firmly planted in your country. May Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, who preached the Gospel in the face of difficulties of all kinds, be your model and inspiration! Entrusting you and all the priests, consecrated men and women, and laity to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.



Castel Gandolfo - Friday, 30 August 1996

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. It is a great joy for me to welcome you, the members of the Bishops' Conference of Thailand, on the occasion of your ad Limina visit to the Apostolic See, faithful depositary of the preaching and supreme witness of the Princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. I am convinced that our meetings of these days will further strengthen the bonds of unity, charity and peace which bring us together in the communion of Christ's Body - the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. In particular I wish to thank Cardinal Michai Kitbunchu for the cordial greetings which he conveyed on behalf of the priests, consecrated men and women, and the lay faithful of the Church in Thailand.

From my Pastoral Visit to your country 12 years ago I retain vivid memories of your people's courteous hospitality and enterprising vitality, their spirit of tolerance, their unbounded generosity to refugees and strangers, their ethnic and cultural richness, and their profound religious sense. With joy I remember the warm welcome of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej; and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his accession to the throne I wish to acknowledge his role in guaranteeing Thailand's tradition of religious freedom and his promotion of the lofty ideals of social justice and solidarity.

2. Dear Brothers, reflecting on your ministry I cannot but recall what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught so incisively, namely that the Church is "missionary by her very nature" (Ad Gentes AGD 2). Still fresh in the memory of your particular Churches is the evangelization accomplished in a spirit of generosity and self-renunciation by the first missionaries and sealed by the blood of the Seven Martyrs of Thailand. These noble beginnings cannot but stimulate you to renew and invigorate the work of evangelization among the Christian faithful.

In fact, as the dawn of the Third Millennium breaks upon us, the Church turns her eyes with special attention to Asia, "towards which the Church's mission ad gentes ought to be chiefly directed" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio RMi 37) . Today this missionary endeavour has to be carried out primarily by Asians themselves. Having received the faith from dedicated missionaries, Thai Catholics are called to bear witness to the Gospel before new sectors of society, especially tribal peoples and the poor, migrants and refugees, as well as workers and professional people. With you I am deeply grateful for the priests of the Thai Missionary Society - itself a maturing fruit of the plantatio Ecclesiae - who are now spreading the Good News both within your country and abroad. Through you I also urge consecrated men and women, who "have a special share in the Church's missionary activity, in virtue of their interior consecration made to God" (John Paul II, Vita Consecrata VC 77), to make new efforts to assist the growth of God's Kingdom in Thailand and beyond. Zeal for this pressing evangelical effort must be conveyed to all young men and women in houses of formation, fostering in them a generous and courageous commitment to the task of spreading the Good News.

3. As servants of the Spirit of Truth, who brings to remembrance all that Christ has taught his Church (cf. Jn. Jn 14,26 Jn 16,13), Bishops must see to it that their people are formed in a thorough and systematic knowledge of Jesus' person and message, a knowledge which will enable them to communicate to others the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph. Ep 3,8) with joy and conviction, and with a readiness to give an account of the hope that is in them (cf. 1P 3,15). One of the great blessings bestowed on the universal Church in recent years has been the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I gladly encourage your Conference in its desire to prepare a translation so that its doctrine will enliven the faith of your people.

Through you I send a special greeting to all catechists - parents, lay men and women, and religious - who give so generously of themselves in bringing Jesus Christ, the "one Mediator between God and men" (1Tm 2,5) and the hope of humanity, to children, young people and adults "in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life" (John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae CTR 18). Their apostolate is indispensable to the growth of Dioceses, parishes and Christian families. Centres of catechetical formation, programmes of doctrinal and spiritual renewal, and constant personal encouragement are invaluable means of educating all those responsible for handing on the faith. I pray that the catechists in your local communities - obedient to Christ as their Teacher (cf. Mt. Mt 23,8) - will, with your support, by word and deed, faithfully transmit the living Gospel, the very person of Jesus who is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14,6).

4. Your local Churches are blessed with lay men and women who are deeply faithful to Christian life and to the celebration of the Liturgy with dignity and prayerful solemnity. At the same time the laity require your help in order to carry out their specific mission in the temporal order, a mission which involves many of them in helping migrants and refugees, the homeless, those suffering from AIDS, and the women and children gravely offended in their human dignity by a veritable industry of sexual exploitation. Likewise, young people's restless search for meaning in life, their desire for close communion with God and with the ecclesial community, and their enthusiasm in volunteer service to those in need is a challenge to all pastoral workers. Thai youth "ought to be encouraged to be active on behalf of the Church as leading characters in evangelization and participants in the renewal of society " (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici CL 46).

It is however through the family, which is the foundation of society and the first cell of ecclesial life, that lay people fulfil their primary vocation. For this reason the family deserves your attentive pastoral care, especially where it is threatened by a growing materialism and a consumer attitude, foreign to the traditional values of Thai culture and often promoted by outside institutions. The result is the advance of a "contraceptive mentality" which not only contradicts the full truth of conjugal love but also leads to a more ready acceptance of the terrible crime of abortion. (cf. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae EV 13) To offset this grave threat, every Diocese should develop a programme for the family apostolate which will help parents and children to live their vocation according to the mind of Christ.

A specific problem which you are facing in the care of families involves interfaith marriages.Couples in these situations often require special assistance. Preparation for marriage, which is "above all the task of the family" (John Paul II, Letter to Families LF 16) but which also calls for the help of priests and other ministers, should ensure that there are proper pastoral safeguards for the faith of the Catholic partner and its free exercise, above all with regard to the duty to do everything to ensure the Catholic Baptism and education of the children of the marriage (cf. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio FC 78). Authentic interreligious dialogue and understanding within families is not furthered by religious indifferentism but by love for the truth and by sincere mutual respect.

5. The Church in Thailand is rightly proud of the contribution made by its Catholic schools to the advancement of ecclesial and national life. The Second Vatican Council describes the principal aims of schools under the Church's care: that Catholic children will be "gradually introduced into a knowledge of the mystery of salvation, ... that they may be trained to conduct their personal life in righteousness and in the sanctity of truth ... and devote themselves to the upbuilding of the Mystical Body" (Gravissimum Educationis GE 2). I am sure that you will always be close to those who devote themselves to this apostolate, that you will make every effort to maintain and strengthen the Catholic identity of the Church's schools, and that you will seek ways to open their doors more widely to the less advantaged members of the Catholic community and of society at large. This is an important way of putting into practice the Church's preferential option for the poor.

The mission of the Church in Thailand is likewise being advanced by your Conference's growing involvement in the field of social communications. With great joy I have learned that you have assumed responsibility for transmitting television programmes which are a vehicle of evangelization This presents you with new and challenging opportunities, and every effort needs to be made to train the faithful to make appropriate use of the media as an instrument of the "civilization of love".

6. As your quinquennial reports show, your particular Churches are blessed with many candidates to the priesthood and consecrated life. In particular I join you in giving thanks to God on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Lux Mundi, the National Major Seminary, for all that has been done there to prepare priests who will be ever "holy and blameless" in God's sight (cf. Eph. Ep 1,4). It is important for families and parish communities to pray ardently for an increase in vocations, and for you personally to be involved in the entire process of your seminarians formation, assigning exemplary priests to this task, even when this entails making sacrifices in other areas.

Even in the years following ordination, especially in the first years, efforts must be made to help priests maintain the habits of discipline, prayer and apostolic zeal which they learned in the seminary. The Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests, issued with my approval by the Congregation for the Clergy, should guide you, individually and through the Episcopal Conference, in your efforts to renew the mind and heart of priests committed to the Church's mission. May priests never think of themselves as mere caretakers of ecclesial institutions but as "living instruments of Christ the eternal Priest" (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 12), in preaching the word, celebrating the sacraments, and spreading God's Kingdom. In addition, the personal relationship between a Bishop and his priests, the Bishop's "fellow workers" (1Co 3,9) in serving the People of God and proclaiming the Gospel ad gentes, shows the ordained ministry to be truly "a collective work" (John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis PDV 17). This sense of fraternal cooperation is heightened by the effective implementation of the various structures of ecclesial communion called for by the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law. Thus will the Diocese show itself to be truly a family, a community of persons in which everyone - clerical, religious or lay - places his or her charisms at the service of the whole Body of Christ (cf. Rom. Rm 12,4-8 1Co 12,4-11).

7. While safeguarding the rightful autonomy of the Institutes of Consecrated Life established in your Dioceses, you can help these institutes to fulfil their particular mission by giving them due consideration in pastoral planning (cf. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata VC 48-49). Continue to encourage Superiors to discern carefully the suitability of candidates seeking admission and, especially in institutes of diocesan right, assist them in providing a solid spiritual, moral and intellectual formation both before and after the profession of the evangelical counsels. I take this occasion to appeal to all the consecrated men and women of Thailand to meditate prayerfully and at length on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Vita Consecrata", and to accept it as a providential gift to the Church of our day. They should joyfully look to the future, where the Spirit is leading them, with resolute fidelity to the charism of their call and with complete dedication to the One in whom they have placed their trust (cf. 2Tm 1,12). In the midst of God's people may they ever bear witness to "the primacy of God and of eternal life" (John Paul II, Vita Consecrata VC 85), and to the truth that in Christ Jesus "the Kingdom of God has come near" (Lc 10,9)!

I wish to express particular appreciation to the women religious in Thailand who are completely devoted to the contemplative life, with the hope also that a contemplative community of men can soon be established. By their witness to the traditions of Christian asceticism and mysticism, contemplatives make a very valid contribution in a silent but effective way to interreligious dialogue (cf. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata VC 8). By sharing their experience of affective prayer, meditation and contemplation, they help to forge closer bonds between the followers of Christianity and Buddhism, while opening the way for greater co-operation in the promotion of integral human development. In this context the Church's social doctrine is also a bridge linking Christians and Buddhists.May you and your fellow citizens of other religious traditions work together with mutual respect and understanding to defend human life and dignity, support the family, and promote justice and peace in society, co-operating in every way possible to build a society ever more worthy of the human person.

8. Dear Brothers: during my Pastoral Visit to your nation I shared with you the hope that the mystery of Christ would be made known "in the very values that characterize your Thai culture" (John Paul II, Address to the Clergy, Religious and Laity in the Cathedral of Bangkok, Thailand, 7, [11 May 1984]). The Church's mark of catholicity means that the Gospel is to take flesh in every people's culture, and the Gospel message ought always to be preached in a way that is accessible to a people's particular genius. The necessary and arduous task of inculturation signifies neither syncretism nor an accommodation of truth. Rather, it implies that the Gospel has the inner power to penetrate the very heart of a culture and become incarnate in it: the Good News takes the many positive values found in different cultures and assumes them into the mystery of salvation, purifying, elevating and transforming them in the light of divine Wisdom (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 17). I pray that Almighty God will give you the gift of discernment, enabling you to encourage wisely and judge prudently this process of inculturation, a process which must be increasingly fostered if the Church is to be ever more firmly planted in Thailand.

9. The approach of the Third Millennium is inspiring the whole Church to turn with greater fervour to her Lord and to share more fully in the accomplishment of his redemptive mission. As Pastors we have a unique responsibility in carrying out this sacred trust. At the Last Supper Jesus invited his Apostles into friendship with himself (cf. Jn. Jn 15,13-14) and sealed this intimacy with the gift of the Eucharist. He continues to draw us, Successors of the Apostles, into communion with him, so that we in turn will lead many - those already belonging to the flock and those still far off - to him who is "our peace" (Ep 2,14). I pray that the Great Jubilee in Thailand will truly be a "year of the Lord's favour" (Is 61,2 cf. Lk. Lc 4,19) for which each particular Church will prepare a spirit of conversion and with a renewed commitment to evangelization. May Mary intercede for the people whom you serve with zeal and devotion, and lead all of you to her Son who is "the true light that enlightens every man'' (Jn 1,9). With warm affection for the People of God in Thailand, whom I bear in my heart and daily recall in my prayers, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

September 1996




Friday, 13 September 1996

Dear Brother Bishops,

With heartfelt joy I welcome you—the second group of Bishops from Indonesia—who have come on your ad Limina visit to re-affirm your faith at the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. I thank God for "the joy and comfort of your love" (Phm 1,7) and for the bonds of our fraternal communion in the College of Bishops. The pastoral ministry entrusted to the Bishop of Rome is a divine gift which belongs to the full expression of the life of every particular Church. That ministry to the universal Church makes me a servant of her unity in the truth, a service rooted in God's mercy, to be carried out in communion with my Brother Bishops (cf. John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint UUS 88-96). Similarly, in your own Dioceses you are servants and ministers of ecclesial truth and unity. In the love of the Lord Jesus I wish to encourage you to fulfil that task with all the responsibility and authority which comes to you from your episcopal consecration—an authority which the Gospel distinguishes from worldly power (cf. Mt. Mt 20,25 Mc 10,42)—so that the People of God in Indonesia may be ever more one body, one spirit in Christ.

2. Your quinquennial reports confirm that we must thank God for the rich harvest of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life which many of your Churches are experiencing. Sharing with you an intimate sacramental configuration to Christ the High Priest, your priests are your principal co-workers in the service of God's people. Indeed, with you they form "an intimate brotherhood, which should naturally and freely manifest itself in mutual aid, spiritual as well as material, pastoral as well as personal" (Lumen Gentium LG 28). Be for them the living image of the Father; treat them as sons, brothers and friends; pray fervently for them that the Holy Spirit may lead them to the perfect fulfilment of their vocation.

Today more than ever the integration of the academic, pastoral and spiritual dimensions of priestly formation is necessary at every level. Formation is not just, or even primarily, a matter of developing pastoral skills but of forming the dispositions—the very heart and mind—of Christ Jesus (cf. Phil. Ph 2,5) in those called to serve the Church in persona Christi. As secularism makes inroads sometimes even among those who have answered the Lord's call, the seminary must help candidates to understand that the priesthood is not a career which serves personal advancement. Instead, the priest's simplicity and mature responsibility should conform to the attitude of the disciples who left all to follow Christ (cf. Mt. Mt 19,27). I am pleased to learn that your seminaries are striving to implement the directives for priestly formation set forth in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores Dabo Vobis". Seminary personnel too should be chosen only from among those who have clearly demonstrated balance and maturity in this regard.

3. During my Pastoral Visit to Indonesia, seven years ago, I drew attention to the essential "complementarity of roles between clergy and laity" (John Paul II, Meeting with the Bishops, Clergy and Men and Women Religious of Indonesia, 5, [10 Oct. 1989]). Priests should be careful not to usurp the laity's role in the temporal order, while the lay faithful should avoid a kind of "clericalization" which overshadows the specific dignity of the lay state founded on Baptism and Confirmation (cf. John Paul II, Christifideles Laici CL 23).

For their part the laity will be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Mt 5,13-14) to the extent that provision is made for their spiritual, doctrinal and moral formation. Such training should promote personal, family and liturgical prayer, a sense of responsibility for the life and mission of the Church, and knowledge of her teaching. Catholic institutions of higher learning have a particular role to play in helping the laity to know and apply the rich tradition of Catholic social teaching— which is itself an effective instrument of evangelization (cf. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus CA 54)—through courses and public conferences and the media of social communications. I have a vivid recollection of my meeting with the university community on the campus of Atma Jaya University, and renew my esteem and encouragement for all those who are engaged in this noble but difficult vocation.

When the laity receive a solid Christian formation, they are equipped to play a constructive role in the life of the Nation, with a distinctive motivation, and force: they see their efforts as a way to fulfil the Lord's command to love our neighbour as ourselves (cf. Mt. Mt 22,39 John Paul II, Christifideles Laici CL 42). This is the attitude which inspires support for Pancasila, the body of principles which fosters national unity, religious tolerance and justice among all the various communities of your vast: country. Indonesian Catholics, loyal at one and the same time to Christian principles and to the distinctive values of their own culture, and in collaboration with the followers of other religious traditions, will continue to play their part in building a society capable of ensuring that the dignity of all citizens is upheld and respected. They are especially eager to contribute to the integral progress of the Nation when it finds itself in difficult and complex situations. In this respect, we all recall the tragic events which took place recently in Jakarta, bringing concern and suffering to all those who truly have the good of Indonesia at heart.

While we pray for the victims and all those who in one way or another have been hurt by these sad events, we must hope that everyone will be guided by that deep conviction of which I spoke during my visit to your country: "As your national tradition teaches, the most secure basis for lasting unity and development as a nation is a profound respect for human life, for the inalienable rights of the human person and for the freedom of responsible citizens to determine their destiny as a people" (John Paul II, Address to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, 2, [9 Oct. 1989]). Let us pray that the strength of this conviction will grow and that there may be a more widespread willingness to seek, in truth and justice, a peaceful solution of existing tensions.

4. Responding to a changing society, you have increasingly directed your pastoral attention to family life, including the traditional model of the extended family—the community of generations—which is still strong in many parts of your country. Especially important is the task of preparing young people for marriage, a preparation which should be a veritable "journey of faith , a special opportunity for the engaged to rediscover and deepen the faith received in Baptism" (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio FC 51). The good of society requires that the dignity and specific mission of women be promoted and strengthened so that they can achieve real equality, including "equality of spouses with regard to family rights and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of citizens" (John Paul II, Letter to Women, 4). Throughout the world the Church hopes and prays that women will lead the way in the establishment of a culture of life attuned to the sacredness of the human person.

In fact, a serious challenge to your ministry in relation to the family is the threat posed by aggressive programmes of population control rooted in a utilitarian approach to the value of life itself. While the Church acknowledges the right of public authorities "to intervene to orient the demography of the population" (Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 2372), she insists that all such efforts must "respect the primary and inalienable responsibility of married couples and families", and should exclude the use of methods "which fail to respect the person and fundamental human rights" (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae EV 91). In the face of birth control campaigns which subject couples to economic or social pressure, robbing them of their dignity and freedom, the Catholic community cannot fail to respond by upholding the truth regarding the intrinsic nature and meaning of conjugal love and by spreading knowledge of methods of regulating fertility which correspond to that truth.

These brief remarks on the family would be incomplete without a reference to a challenge which cannot but be dear to your hearts as Pastors: the handing on of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the youth of Indonesia. Lead them along the path of "holiness and righteousness" (cf. Lk. Lc 1,75). Teach them to be the evangelizers of their own generation. Listen attentively to their aspirations, their doubts and struggles, as well as their reasoned criticism. Above all, teach them to pray - with pure hearts, lively faith, firm confidence and persevering vigilance.

5. Consecrated men and women, following in the footsteps of the dedicated missionaries who planted the Cross in your Islands, continue to plays an indispensable role in the mission of evangelization, especially by their prayer of intercession, persevering pursuit of holiness, fraternal life and apostolic zeal. In a country of such diverse ethnic groups, fraternal life in common should be an eloquent sign of the unity of God's People, "for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Ga 3,28). Especially in the light of the hallowed traditions of the jubilee year, consecrated men and women are being challenged to commit themselves ever more generously to serving the poor and the suffering, the abandoned and the marginalized. In ways appropriate to their founding charism Religious Institutes should defend and foster human dignity and rights. This is not an invitation to political or merely humanitarian involvement, but a call to truly evangelical service: to proclaim to the poor, the captive and the oppressed (cf. Lk. Lc 4,18) the Good News that they "dwell in the heart of God" (cf. John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente TMA 8) and have a share in the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (cf. Jn. Jn 17,3).

With. respect to Institutes of diocesan right, Bishops should take a personal and caring interest in their overall well-being, by promoting vocations and assuring that candidates are selected only after prudent discernment. The good of the Church requires that every effort be made to see that all Religious, men and women, receive a human, theological, spiritual and pastoral formation which is thorough and well-integrated. I can only encourage the growing dialogue and cooperation which is maturing between the Indonesian Bishops' Conference and the Union of Major Religious Superiors. Cordial and candid dialogue manifests true ecclesial charity and serves to build up the communion - which is both hierarchical and charismatic - of the Church of God.

6. Dear Brothers: As the Great Jubilee approaches, we should be convinced that this commemoration of the Redemptive Incarnation "of God who comes in person to speak to man of himself and to show him the path by which he may he reached" (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente TMA 6) must be an occasion of great interior renewal in the Church. The One who was, and is, and is to come (cf. Rev. Ap 4,8) is inviting each individual and community to a radical conversion of heart.In the time remaining, the goal of each Pastor in his Diocese, and all together as a Conference, will be to prepare, through intensified prayer, doctrinal formation and works of solidarity, the whole of God's people in Indonesia for the graces of this "year of the Lord's favour" (Is 61,2). May Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Church, accompany you - and all those in each of your Dioceses whom I greet from my heart - on your journey to meet the Lord who is coming (cf. Rev. Ap 22,20). With my Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 1996 - Saturday, 24 August 1994