Speeches 2005-13 3





Quirinal Palace Friday, 24 June 2005
Mr President,

I have the joy today of reciprocating the most cordial visit that you were pleased to pay me as Head of the Italian State last 3 May on the occasion of the new pastoral service to which the Lord has called me. First of all, therefore, I would like to thank you and through you, to thank the Italian People for the warm welcome they have accorded me from the very first day of my pastoral service as Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church.

For my part, I assure the citizens of Rome and then the whole Italian Nation of my commitment to do my utmost for the religious and civil good of those whom the Lord has entrusted to my pastoral care.

The proclamation of the Gospel which, in communion with the Italian Bishops, I am called to make to Rome and to Italy, is not only at the service of the Italian people's growth in faith and in the Christian life but also of its progress on the paths of concord and peace. Christ is the Saviour of the whole person, spirit and body, his spiritual and eternal destiny and his temporal and earthly life. Thus, when his message is heard, the civil community also becomes more responsible and attentive to the needs of the common good and shows greater solidarity with the poor, the abandoned and the marginalized.

Reviewing Italian history, one is struck by the innumerable works of charity that the Church, with great sacrifices, set up for the relief of all kinds of suffering. Today the Church intends to journey on along this same path, without any ambition for power and without requesting social or financial privileges. The example of Jesus Christ, who "went about doing good works and healing all" (Ac 10,38), remains the Church's supreme norm of conduct among the peoples.

Relations between the Church and the Italian State are founded on the principle spelled out by the Second Vatican Council, which says: "The political community and the Church are autonomous and independent of each other in their own fields. Nevertheless, both are devoted to the personal vocation of man, though under different titles" (Gaudium et Spes GS 76).

This principle was already present in the Lateran Pacts and was subsequently confirmed in the Agreements that modified the Concordat. Therefore, a healthy secularism of the State, by virtue of which temporal realities are governed according to their own norms but which does not exclude those ethical references that are ultimately founded in religion, is legitimate. The autonomy of the temporal sphere does not exclude close harmony with the superior and complex requirements that derive from an integral vision of man and his eternal destiny.

I am eager to assure you, Mr President, and all the Italian People, that the Church desires to maintain and to foster a cordial spirit of collaboration and understanding at the service of the spiritual and moral growth of the Country; it would be seriously harmful, not only for her but also for Italy, to attempt to weaken or to break these very special ties that bind her to the Country. The Italian culture is deeply imbued with Christian values, as can be seen in the splendid masterpieces that the Nation has produced in all fields of thought and art.

My hope is that the Italian People will not only not deny the Christian heritage that is part of their history but will guard it jealously and make it produce new fruits worthy of the past. I am confident that Italy, under the wise and exemplary guidance of those who are called to govern it, will continue to carry out in the world its civilizing mission in which it has so distinguished itself down the centuries. By virtue of its history and its culture, Italy can make a very worthwhile contribution, particularly to Europe, helping it to rediscover the Christian roots that enabled it to achieve greatness in the past and can still serve to deepen the profound unity of the Continent.

Mr President, as you can easily understand, I have many concerns at the beginning of my pastoral service on the Chair of Peter. I would like to point out some of them which, because of their universally human character, cannot but also concern those who are responsible for government. I am alluding to the problem of the protection of the family founded on marriage, as it is recognized also in the Italian Constitution (n. 29), the problem of the defence of human life from conception to its natural end and lastly, the problem of education and consequently of school, an indispensable training ground for the formation of the new generations.

The Church, accustomed as she is to scrutinizing God's will engraved in the very nature of the human creature, sees in the family a most important value that must be defended from any attack that aims to undermine its solidity and call its very existence into question.

The Church recognizes human life as a primary good, the premise for all other goods. She therefore asks that it be respected both at its initial and its final stages and stresses the duty to provide adequate palliative treatment that makes death more human.

As for schools, her role is connected with the family as a natural expansion of its task of formation. In this regard, save the competence of the State to dictate the general norms of instruction, I cannot but express the hope that the right of parents to choose education freely will be respected, and that in so doing they will not have to bear the additional burden of further expenses. I trust that Italian legislators, in their wisdom, will be able to find "human" solutions to the problems mentioned here, in other words, solutions that respect the inviolable values implicit in them.

Lastly, expressing my hope that the Nation will continue to advance on the path of spiritual and material well being, I join you, Mr President, in urging all the citizens and all the members of society always to live and work in a spirit of genuine harmony, in a context of open dialogue and mutual trust, in the commitment to serve and promote the common good and the dignity of every person. I would like to conclude, Mr President, by recalling the esteem and affection that the Italian People feels for you, as well as its full confidence in fulfilling the duties inherent in your exalted office.

I have the joy of joining in this affectionate esteem and trust, as I entrust you and your Consort, Mrs Franca Ciampi, the leaders of the life of the Nation and the entire Italian People to the protection of the Virgin Mary, so intensely venerated in the countless shrines dedicated to her. With these sentiments, I invoke upon you all the Blessing of God, a pledge of every desired good.


Dear Brother Bishops,

1. In the love of our Lord I cordially welcome you, the members of the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, and make my own the greeting of Peter: "Grace and peace be yours in abundance" (1P 1,2). I am grateful to Bishop Sarego for the kind sentiments he offered on your behalf. I warmly reciprocate them and assure you and those entrusted to your pastoral care of my prayers. Travelling great distances to visit the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul you "more and more recognize and treasure that immense heritage of spiritual and moral wealth that the whole Church, joined with the Bishop of Rome … has spread throughout the world" (Pastor Bonus, Appendix I, 3).

2. Jesus Christ continues to draw the peoples of your two island nations to a still deeper faith and life in him. As Bishops you respond to his voice by asking how the Church can become an even more effective instrument of Christ (cf. Ecclesia in Oceania, 4). The recent national "General Assembly" in Papua New Guinea and the "Seminar" in Solomon Islands have addressed this task. From these two events clear signs of hope have emerged including the keen participation of the young in the mission of the Church, the outstanding generosity of missionaries, and the flowering of local vocations. At the same time you have not hesitated to recognize the difficulties which continue to afflict your Dioceses. In the face of these, the faithful look to you to be courageous witnesses to Christ, vigilant in seeking new ways to teach the faith so that the power of the Gospel can permeate their way of thinking, standards of judgement, and norms of behaviour (cf. Sapientia Christiana, Foreword).

3. As you know, priests are and must be a Bishop’s closest cooperators (cf. Pastores Gregis ). The particular significance of the communio between a Bishop and his presbyters demands that your interest in their well-being be of the utmost importance to you. This special relationship is expressed most effectively through your assiduous care to uphold the unique identity of your priests, to encourage their personal sanctification in the ministry, and to foster a deepening of their pastoral commitment. Priestly identity must never be likened to any secular title or confused with civic or political office. Rather, configured to Christ who emptied himself taking the form of a servant (cf. Ph 2,7-8), the priest lives a life of simplicity, chastity and humble service, which inspires others by example. At the heart of the priesthood is the daily, devout celebration of Holy Mass. In this Year of the Eucharist I appeal to your priests: be faithful to this commitment which is the centre and mission of the life of each one of you (Message at the Missa Pro Ecclesia, 20 April 2005, 4).

The proper formation of Priests and Religious is absolutely integral to successful evangelization (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis PDV 2). I know you have been addressing this matter with due attention for quite some time. Your concern for the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral development of your seminarians, as well as men and women Religious in training, will bear much fruit in your Dioceses. I encourage you therefore to ensure careful selection of candidates, to supervise your seminaries personally and to provide regular programmes of ongoing formation so necessary for deepening priestly and religious identity and enriching joyful commitment to celibacy. Finally in this regard, I offer my prayers of deep gratitude for those who serve in seminaries and houses of formation. Please let them know that the Holy Father thanks them for their generosity.

4. Dear Brothers, your Catechists have embraced with great zeal the burning conviction of Saint Paul: "woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1Co 9,16). During the Synod for Oceania many of you noted with satisfaction that an increasing number of the lay faithful are coming to a deeper appreciation of their duty to participate in the Church’s mission of evangelization (cf. Ecclesia in Oceania, 19). If this zeal is to succeed in convincing an ever greater number of believers that "faith in fact has the force to shape culture itself by penetrating it to its very core" (ibid., 20) then the pastoral priorities which you have identified - especially that of marriage and stable family life - will require corresponding, appropriate adult catechetical programmes. In this way, I am confident that your people will deepen their understanding of the faith, grow in their ability to express its liberating truth, and account for the hope that is in them! (cf. 1P 3,15).

5. With fraternal affection I offer these reflections wishing to affirm you in your desire to embrace the summons to testimony and evangelization which ensue from the encounter with Christ, constantly intensified and deepened in the Eucharist (cf. Mane Nobiscum Domine, 24). United in your proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, go forward in hope! Invoking upon you the intercession of Blessed Peter To Rot, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and the priests, Religious, and lay faithful of your Dioceses.


Tuesday, 28 June 2005
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. "May he enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you, the wealth of his glorious heritage" in the saints (Ep 1,18).

This is the hope that St Paul raises to the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, in the passage from the Letter to the Ephesians that has just been proclaimed.

We can never thank God, Our Father, enough for this immense treasure of hope and glory that he has given to us in his Son Jesus. Our constant commitment is to let ourselves be continuously enlightened by him, so as to become more and more deeply acquainted with his mysterious gift.

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which today, at this prayerful celebration, I have great joy in presenting to the Church and to the world, can and must be a privileged means of growth in the knowledge and joyful acceptance of this divine gift.

2. It sees the light after the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992. Since then, there has been an ever more widespread and pressing need for a concise catechism that would contain all and only the essential, fundamental elements of Catholic faith and morals, simply expressed in a way that is clear, concise and accessible to all. Moreover, it is precisely in meeting this need that in the past 20 years numerous attempts at summing up the above-mentioned Catechism have been made in various languages and countries, some more successful than others. They brought up certain problems concerning not only the fidelity to and respect of the structure and content, but also the completeness and integrity of Catholic teaching.

Hence, the need arose for an authoritative, reliable and complete text on the essential aspects of the Church's faith, in full harmony with the Catechism mentioned, approved by the Pope and destined for the whole Church.

3. The participants in the International Catechetical Congress expressed this widespread need in October 2002 and presented an explicit request to the Servant of God John Paul II.

It has been just over two years since my Venerable Predecessor decided, in February 2003, on the drafting of a Compendium of this kind, realizing that it would be good not only for the universal and particular Churches, but also for today's world that is thirsting for truth. These have been two years of intense and fruitful work. All the Cardinals and the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences have also been involved. The vast majority, when questioned on one of the last drafts of the Compendium, expressed a very positive opinion.

4. Today, on the eve of the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, 40 years after the end of the Second Vatican Council, I feel deep joy in presenting this Compendium, which I have approved, not only to all the members of the Church - most of whose various members are represented here - but also to all of you who are taking part in this solemn meeting.

However, through you, Venerable Brother Cardinals, Bishops, priests, catechists and lay faithful, I would also like in spirit to consign this Compendium to every person of good will who desires to know the unfathomable riches of the saving mystery of Jesus Christ.

It is not, of course, a new Catechism, but a Compendium that faithfully reflects the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which continues to be the source from which to draw for a better understanding of the Compendium, the model to look at ceaselessly in order to rediscover a harmonious and authentic explanation of Catholic faith and morals, as well as a reference point that must encourage the proclamation of the faith and the drafting of local catechisms.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, therefore, keeps intact its full authoritativeness and importance, and this synthesis will be an effective means to make it better known and used as a fundamental vehicle of education in the faith.

5. This Compendium is a renewed proclamation of the Gospel in our time. Furthermore, through this authoritative and reliable text, "let us carefully preserve the faith we received from the Church", in the words of St Irenaeus whose liturgical Memorial we are celebrating today, "because under the action of God's Spirit, like a deposit of great worth contained in a precious vase, it is continuously rejuvenating and also rejuvenates the vase that contains it (cf. Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus Haereses, 1, 10, 2; SC 264,158-160).

The Compendium presents the faith in Christ Jesus. Following the four-part structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it actually presents Christ professed as the Only-begotten Son of the Father, the perfect Revealer of God's truth and the definitive Saviour of the world; Christ, celebrated in the sacraments as the source and support of the life of the Church; Christ, listened to and followed in obedience to his Commandments, as the source of new life in love and in harmony; Christ, imitated in prayer, as the model and master of our prayerful attitude to the Father.

6. This faith is expounded in the Compendium in the form of a dialogue. Thus, it intends to "reproduce", as I wrote in the Introduction to the Compendium, "an imaginary dialogue between master and disciple through a series of incisive questions that invite the reader to go deeper in discovering ever new aspects of his faith".

"The dialogical format also lends itself to brevity in the text by reducing it to the essential. This may help the reader to grasp the contents and possibly to memorize them as well". The brevity of the answers fosters the essential synthesis and clarity of what is being communicated.

7. Images have also been incorporated into the text at the beginning of the respective part or section. This choice aims to illustrate the doctrinal content of the Compendium: indeed, images "proclaim the same message that Sacred Scripture transmits through words and help to reawaken and nourish the faith of believers" (Compendium, n. 240).

Images and words are thus mutually enlightening. Works of art always "speak", at least implicitly, of the divine, of the infinite beauty of God, reflected in the Icon par excellence: Christ the Lord, the Image of the invisible God.

Sacred images, with their beauty, are also a Gospel proclamation and express the splendour of the Catholic truth, illustrating the supreme harmony between the good and the beautiful, between the via veritatis and the via pulchritudinis. While they witness to the age-old and fruitful tradition of Christian art, they urge one and all, believers and non-believers alike, to discover and contemplate the inexhaustible fascination of the mystery of Redemption, giving an ever new impulse to the lively process of its inculturation in time.

The same images are found in the various translations of the Compendium. This will also be a way to identify and recognize this text easily in the variety of languages: the one faith is professed by each member of the faithful in the multiplicity of ecclesial and cultural contexts.

8. The text includes an Appendix at the end which consists of several common prayers for the universal Church and several catechetical formulas of the Catholic faith.

The appropriate decision to add several prayers to conclude the Compendium is an invitation to rediscover a common way of praying in the Church, not only personally but also in community.

In each one of the translations, the majority of the prayers will also be presented in Latin. Learning them, even in this language, will make it easier for the Christian faithful who speak different languages to pray together, especially when they meet for special circumstances. As I said in 1997, on the occasion of the presentation to my Venerable Predecessor of the Typical Edition in Latin of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Precisely in the multiplicity of languages and cultures, Latin, for so many centuries the vehicle and instrument of Christian culture, not only guarantees continuity with our roots but continues to be as relevant as ever for strengthening the bonds of unity of the faith in the communion of the Church".

9. I am truly grateful to everyone who has worked on the publication of this important work, especially the Cardinal members of the special Commission and the editors and experts: all those who have collaborated with great dedication and competence. May the Lord God, who sees all things, in his infinite goodness reward them and bless them.

May this Compendium, the fruit of their efforts but above all a gift that God bestows upon his Church in the third millennium, give a new impetus to evangelization and catechesis, on which depend "[not] only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God's plan" (Catechism of the Catholic Church CEC 7).

May Mary Most Holy and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul support with their intercession this hope for the good of the Church and of humanity.

And I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing to you all.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I meet you with great pleasure on the eve of the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and I offer you all a cordial greeting. Thank you for being here.

First of all, I greet the Cardinals, Bishops, priests, Authorities and various personalities present. I greet in particular Fr Flavio Peloso, who was for some years at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is now Superior General of the Sons of Divine Providence, and Sr Maria Irene Bazzotto, Mother General of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity, along with representatives of the Secular Institute and the Lay Movement of Don Orione, who together make up the Don Orione Family which has organized this event, desired so long ago by the Founder, St Luigi Orione himself, who said: "St Peter's Feast is the Pope's feast day" (Lettere II, 488).

I next greet Mr Ernesto Olivero, Founder of SERMIG-Arsenal of Peace, Dr Guido Bertolaso, Chief of the Department of Italian Civil Protection, and all who via television have joined this witness of filial devotion for the Pastor of the Church of Rome, who is called "to preside in charity" (St Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Rm 1,1).

Dear friends, this evening you have given life to a special "feast day for the Pope", as Don Orione said, to bring "so many hearts to surround the Pope's heart", and thereby to renew your act of faith and love for the one whom Divine Providence has chosen to be Christ's Vicar on earth.

Together with the greeting of Fr Flavio Peloso, whom I cordially thank, I have just listened with deep attention to the words of St Luigi Orione. He speaks with vibrant affection of the Pope, recognizing his role not only in the Church but also at the service of the entire human family.

"You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Mt 16,18). Jesus addresses Peter with these words after his profession of faith. He was the same disciple who was later to deny Christ. So why is Peter described as "rock"?

Certainly not because of his personal solidity. "Rock" is rather a nomen officii: in other words, not a title of merit but of service, which defines a calling and a responsibility of divine origin for which no one is equipped simply by virtue of his own character.

Peter, foundering, who sank in the waters of the Lake of Tiberias, becomes the rock on which the divine Master built his Church. This is the faith that you want to reaffirm by renewing your attachment to the Successor of Peter.

I am sure that this joyful and varied musical and spiritual performance which has brought you together from various nations of the world will help you to grow in love and fidelity to the Church and in docile obedience to her Pastors, following the teachings and example of your holy Founder.
The Pope is grateful to you for your prayers, which I need, and for your affection, and expresses his appreciation for the many initiatives of good that you carry out with an ecclesial spirit in Italy and throughout the world. "Works of charity are essential", St Luigi Orione asserted; "they are the best apology of the Catholic faith" (Scritti, 4, 280). Indeed, they express, and in a certain way reveal, in human history the grace of salvation, of which the Church is a sacrament for the entire human race.

This evening you have wished to focus on a particular aspect of the ministry of the Successor of Peter, that of being a "messenger of peace". It is a specific task that is linked to the statement that Jesus bequeathed to his Apostles in the Upper Room: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (Jn 14,27).

The Church's commitment to peace is first and foremost of a spiritual nature. It consists of showing Jesus present, the Risen One, the Prince of Peace, and of educating in the faith, from whose sources flow fertile energies of peace and reconciliation. We must thank God for the thoughts and works of peace that the Christian Communities, Religious Institutes and Volunteer Associations are developing with such vitality in all parts of the world.

How can I not make the most of your presence to pay homage to the many silent "peacemakers", who through their witness and sacrifice are doing their utmost to further dialogue among men and women, to overcome every form of conflict and division, to make our earth a homeland of peace and brotherhood for all? "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Mt 5,9). How timely and necessary this Beatitude is!

Persevere, dear friends, each one in your own province and in accordance with your own possibilities, in offering your collaboration for the safeguard of the dignity of every person, for the defence of human life in the service of a determined action of authentic peace in every social milieu.
I address this invitation especially to you, dear young people, whom I see are very numerous.

Thank you for your commitment. My beloved Predecessor John Paul II, whose process of Beatification begins this very day, used to like to repeat that you young people are the hope and future of the Church and of humanity. In the heart of each one, therefore, may the desire to give life to a world of true and stable peace never cease to grow.

I entrust these hopes to the intercession of St Luigi Orione and especially to the Virgin Mary, Queen of peace. May it be she who blesses and comforts the generous efforts of all those who dedicate themselves unsparingly to building peace on the strong pillars of truth, justice, freedom and love. I accompany these vows with the assurance of a special remembrance in prayer, as I impart a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing to you all.


Dear Brothers,

In welcoming you today for the first time after the beginning of my Pontificate, I am pleased to greet the members of the Delegation that His Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, sends each year for the Feast of the Holy Patrons of the Church of Rome. I address to you Paul's words to the Philippians: "Make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals.... Your attitude must be that of Christ" (Ph 2,2-5).

The Apostle, aware of how easy it is to succumb to the ever latent threat of conflicts and disputes, urged the young Community at Philippi to concord and unity. To the Galatians he was to indicate forcefully that the whole law finds its fullness in the one precept of love; and he exhorts them to proceed in accordance with the Spirit so as to avoid acts of the flesh - discord, jealousy, disagreement, division, factions, envy - and thus to obtain instead the fruit of the Spirit which is love (cf. Gal Ga 5,14-23).

The happy tradition of assuring a reciprocal presence in St Peter's Basilica and in St George's Cathedral for the Feasts of Sts Peter and Paul and of St Andrew is therefore an expression of this shared desire to combat the works of the flesh that tend to divide us and live in accordance with the Spirit who fosters the growth of charity between us. Your visit today and the visit that the Church of Rome will reciprocate in a few months' time, witness that in Christ Jesus, faith works through love (cf. ibid., 5: 6). This is the experience of the "dialogue of charity", inaugurated on the Mount of Olives by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, an experience that has proven not to have been in vain.

Numerous significant gestures have been made since then. I am thinking of the abrogation of the reciprocal condemnations in 1054, of the discourses, documents and meetings promoted by the Sees of Rome and of Constantinople. These gestures have marked the way in the past decades.

And how can I not recall here that in St Peter's Basilica a few months before his death, Pope John Paul II, of venerable memory, exchanged a fraternal embrace with the Ecumenical Patriarch precisely in order to give a strong spiritual sign of our communion in the Saints whom we both invoke, and to reaffirm our determined commitment never to stop working for full unity?

Certainly the way ahead of us is long and will not be easy, marked at first by fear and hesitation; but it will become quicker and more knowledgeable. This journey has seen the growth of the hope for a sound "dialogue of truth" and a process of theological and historical clarification which has borne appreciable fruit.

With the words of the Apostle Paul we must ask ourselves: "Have you had such remarkable experiences all to no purpose?" (Ga 3,4). We feel the need to join forces and to spare no efforts, to resume with new vigour the official theological dialogue that was initiated in 1980 between the Catholic Church and all the Orthodox Churches.

In this regard, dear Brothers, I would like to express my sentiments of gratitude to His Holiness Bartholomew, who is doing his best to reactivate the work of the Joint International Catholic-Orthodox Commission. I would like to assure him that I am firmly determined to support and encourage this action. Theological research, which must address complex questions and identify solutions that are not reductive, is a grave commitment that we cannot evade. If it is true that the Lord appeals forcefully to his disciples to build unity in charity and in truth; if it is true that the ecumenical appeal is a pressing invitation to rebuild among all Christians the unity, in reconciliation and peace, that has been seriously damaged; if we cannot deny that division makes less effective that most holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio UR 1), how can we shirk from the task of examining our differences clearly and with good will, facing them with the deep conviction that they should be resolved?

The unity that we seek is neither absorption nor fusion but respect for the multiform fullness of the Church, which must always be, in conformity with the desire of her Founder, Jesus Christ, one, holy, catholic and apostolic. This recommendation finds full resonance in the intangible profession of faith of all Christians, the Creed worked out by the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils of Nicea and Constantinople (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 15).

The Vatican Council clearly recognized the treasure that the East possesses and from which the West "has taken many things"; it recalled that the fundamental dogmas of the Christian faith were defined by the Ecumenical Councils celebrated in the East; it urged the faithful not to forget all the suffering the East had to bear to preserve its faith. The Council's teaching has inspired love and respect for the Eastern Tradition, it has encouraged people to consider the East and the West as mosaic pieces that together make up the resplendent face of the Pantocrator, whose hand blessed the whole Oikoumene.

The Council went even further, saying: "It is hardly surprising, then, if sometimes one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed them better. In such cases, these various theological formulations are often to be considered complementary rather than conflicting" (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 17).
Perseverance in search for unity

Dear Brothers, I ask you to convey my greetings to the Ecumenical Patriarch, telling him of my resolution to persevere with firm determination in the search for full unity among all Christians. Let us continue together on the path of communion and together take new steps and make new gestures that lead to overcoming the remaining misunderstandings and divisions, keeping in mind that "in order to restore communion and unity... one must "impose no burden beyond what is indispensable' (Ac 15,28)" (ibid., n. 18).

Heartfelt thanks to each one of you for coming from the East to pay homage to Sts Peter and Paul, whom we venerate together. May their constant protection and above all the motherly intercession of the Theotokos always guide our steps. "Brothers, may the favour of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit" (Ga 6,18).


Dear and Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,

After yesterday's liturgical celebration on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, it gives me great joy to meet you again this morning, together with your relatives and the faithful from your dioceses who have accompanied you on your pilgrimage to the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles to receive the Pallium. This ancient tradition, which dates back to the 11th century, is a significant confirmation of the communion of the Metropolitan Bishops with the Pastor of the Church in Rome. Indeed, you come from different nations and continents and are called to serve the one Church of Christ: I offer each of you my fraternal and cordial greeting.

In the first place, I address Cardinal Angelo Sodano, on whom the Pallium has been conferred because he is the Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as I thank him for the many years he has collaborated with the Successor of Peter, my thoughts go to all the members of the College of Cardinals, with gratitude for their support and the prayers with which they accompany my service as Pastor of the universal Church.

I greet Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Archbishop Salvatore Nunnari of Cosenza, Archbishop Paolo Mario Atzei of Sassari. I also greet Archbishop Rrok Mirdita of Tiranë, Albania, and Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini of Izmir, Turkey.

Dear Brothers, always take good care of Christ's flock that is entrusted to you. Be good and reliable guides for all by your example and your words. And you, dear friends who accompany them, may you follow their teachings with docility, cooperating with them generously in the realization of the Kingdom of God.

I am happy to greet Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Paris, Archbishop Bernard Nicolas Aubertin of Tours, Archbishop Joseph Ngô Quang Kiêt of Hanoi, Archbishop Marcel Honorat Léon Agboton of Cotonou, upon whom I conferred the Pallium yesterday as a special sign of communion with the Apostolic See. May the example of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, who served communion to the point of giving themselves, guide your own pastoral activity in the service of the People of God that has been entrusted to you! I also greet the members of your families and the diocesan groups that have accompanied you to Rome. To you all, I wholeheartedly impart a special Apostolic Blessing.

Dear friends in Christ, I extend a cordial greeting to the English-speaking Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom I conferred the Pallium yesterday: Archbishop Bernard Blasius Moras of Bangalore, Archbishop Malayappan Chinnappa of Madras and Mylapore, India, Archbishop Ernesto Antolin Salgado of Nueva Segovia, the Philippines, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Archbishop José Horacio Gómez of San Antonio, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, U.S.A., Archbishop Daniel Bohan of Regina, Canada, Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda of Windhoek, Namibia, Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa, Kenya, Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, and Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington, New Zealand.

I also welcome their family members and friends, and the faithful from their Archdioceses who have accompanied them to Rome. Dear friends: may your pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts Peter and Paul confirm you in the Catholic faith which comes from the Apostles. To all of you I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.

I affectionately greet the Spanish-speaking Archbishops and all those who have accompanied them to this significant ceremony of the conferral of the Pallium. I refer to Archbishops Jaume Pujol Balcells of Tarragona, Octavio Ruiz Arenas of Villavicencio, Santiago García Aracil of Mérida-Badajoz, Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Pablo Lizama Riquelme of Antofagasta, Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano of Managua and Manuel Ureña Pastor of Zaragoza.

Various countries of this broad language group can rely on their new Metropolitan Pastors, whose special mission is to foster close ties of communion with the Successor of Peter and with their suffragan Dioceses. I ask all of you who have accompanied them to stay close to them in prayer and generous collaboration, to increase hope in youth and love and fidelity in families, fostering a spirit of friendly social coexistence.

I ask the Virgin Mary, who is so widely venerated in your countries - Chile, Colombia, Spain, Nicaragua and Peru - to encourage the Archbishops in their ministry and to accompany with tenderness the priests, the Religious communities and the faithful of their Archdioceses. Please convey my affectionate greeting and my Apostolic Blessing to them all.

Today the Church of Brazil is rejoicing because the Archiepiscopal Sees of Maringá, Belém do Pará and Sorocaba are celebrating the conferral of the Pallium on its new Archbishops who are, respectively: Archbishop Anuar Battisti, Archbishop Orani João Tempesta and Archbishop Eduardo Benes de Sales Rodrigues, who are accompanied today by their relatives and by the priests and faithful of their Archdioceses.

I would also like to greet with affection your Particular Churches, offering them my best wishes that this important celebration will contribute to strengthening unity and communion with the Apostolic See and will encourage the generous pastoral dedication of their Bishops for the growth of the Church and the salvation of souls.

I greet Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and his guests. I thank him for all he has done for John Paul II and for me personally. I invoke God's help on his new mission. God bless all who are present here.

Venerable and dear Brothers, I thank you once again for this pleasant visit and for the apostolic work that you carry out. While you are preparing to return to your respective Archdioceses, I would like to assure you that I remain united to you with affection and prayer; at the same time, I ask you to continue to walk together, united by the same sentiments of harmony and love for Christ and his Church.

With these sentiments I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you who are present here and to your diocesan Communities, and I invoke upon each one the protection of the heavenly Mother of the Lord and the constant assistance of the Apostles Peter and Paul.


My Brother Bishops,

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!" (Ep 1,2). I offer a warm welcome to you, the Bishops of Zimbabwe, on the occasion of your quinquennial visit ad Limina Apostolorum. May your pilgrimage to the Tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and this meeting with Peter’s Successor, be for all of you an incentive to ever greater unity in the cause of the Gospel and the service of Christ’s Kingdom. May these days also grant you a precious opportunity to withdraw from your pressing pastoral cares in order to spend time with the Lord (cf. Mc 6,31) in prayer and spiritual discernment, so that you may take up with renewed zeal your ministry as heralds of God’s word and shepherds of his people in your native land.

The recent elections in Zimbabwe have laid the basis for what I trust will be a new beginning in the process of national reconciliation and the moral rebuilding of society. I appreciate the significant contribution to the electoral process which you offered to the Catholic faithful and to all your fellow-citizens in your Joint Pastoral Statement published last year. As you rightly noted in that Statement, responsibility for the common good demands that all members of the body politic work together in laying firm moral and spiritual foundations for the future of the nation. Through the publication of the Statement and your most recent Pastoral Letter The Cry of the Poor, you yourselves have brought the wisdom of the Gospel and the rich heritage of the Church’s social doctrine to bear upon the thinking and practical judgements of the faithful both in their daily lives and in their efforts to act as upright members of the community. In the exercise of your episcopal ministry of teaching and governance, I encourage you to continue to provide clear and united leadership, grounded in an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to "the word of truth, the Gospel of salvation" (Ep 1,13). In your preaching and teaching the faithful should be able to hear the voice of the Lord himself, a voice that speaks with authority of what is right and true, of peace and justice, of love and reconciliation, a voice that can console them in the midst of their troubles and show them the way forward in hope.

Amid the difficulties of the present moment, the Church in Zimbabwe can rejoice in the presence of so many communities vibrant in faith, a significant number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the presence of a committed laity devoted to various works of the apostolate. These gifts of God’s grace are at once a consolation and a challenge to an ever more profound and integrated catechesis aimed at training the faithful to live fully their Christian vocation. "In all areas of Church life, formation is of primary importance" for the future of the Church in Africa (Ecclesia in Africa ). For this reason, I encourage you to work together to ensure suitable and comprehensive catechetical preparation for all the faithful, and to take whatever steps may be necessary to provide for a more systematic education of catechists. Future priests, for their part, should be helped to present the fullness of the Catholic faith in a way which truly addresses and responds to people’s difficulties, questions and problems. The national seminaries require practical support in their challenging task of providing seminarians with an adequate human, spiritual, doctrinal and pastoral formation, while the younger clergy would greatly benefit, in the first years of their priestly ministry, from a programme of spiritual, pastoral and human accompaniment guided by experienced and exemplary priests. Your concern for sound catechesis and an integral religious education must also extend to the system of Catholic schools, whose religious identity needs to be strengthened, for the good not only of their students, but of the entire Catholic community in your country.

Dear Brother Bishops, in union with the Successor of Peter and the College of Bishops, you have been sent forth as witnesses to the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Pastores Gregis ). As you return to your native land strengthened in faith and in the bond of ecclesial communion, I ask you to cooperate generously in the service of the Gospel, so that the light of God’s word will shine ever more brightly in the minds and hearts of Zimbabwe’s Catholics, inspiring in them a deeper love of Christ and a more firm commitment to the spread of his Kingdom of holiness, justice and truth. With great affection I commend you and the clergy, religious and laity of your Dioceses to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.


Speeches 2005-13 3