Speeches 1999



Saturday, 11 september 1999

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. I am pleased to receive you today, Pastors of God's Church in Puerto Rico, during your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, a sign of your communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal Church. The ad limina visit gives you the opportunity to meet the Successor of Peter and his assistants, and to receive from them the support you need for your pastoral work.

I cordially thank Bishop Ulises Aurelio Casiano Vargas of Mayagüez, President of the Episcopal Conference, for his kind words on behalf of you all, in which he renewed your affection and esteem, and told me of the anxieties and hopes of the Church in Puerto Rico. I also extend a warm and grateful greeting to Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez for his long years of zealous service to the Archdiocese of San Juan, now governed by Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves.

Through you I also greet the priests, religious and faithful of your Dioceses. Please convey to them the greeting of the Pope, who remembers them in his prayer that they will grow in their faith in Christ and their love of neighbour.

2. In your mission as Pastors of the people entrusted to your care, you must first of all be supporters and models of communion. Just as the Church is one, so too is the episcopate, since the Pope, as the Second Vatican Council says, is "the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the Bishops and of the whole company of the faithful" (Lumen gentium, LG 23). Therefore, the collegial union of the episcopate is one of the constitutive elements of the Church's unity.

This union among Bishops is particularly necessary today when pastoral initiatives take many forms and transcend the boundaries of one's own Diocese. Moreover, communion must be made concrete in pastoral cooperation and joint programmes and projects. This becomes even more urgent, if one takes into account the geographical size of Puerto Rico, the facility and multiplicity of the means of communication and information, and the mobility of the population which, because of work and for others reasons, is mainly concentrated in the capital, giving rise to the phenomenon of urbanization with its resulting problems. This phenomenon presents great challenges for the Church's pastoral work (cf. Ecclesia in America, ).

On the other hand, the Ecclesial Communities need Pastors who are men of faith and are united with one another, capable of facing the challenges of a society which is more and more prone to secularization. In fact, although the majority of Puerto Ricans have been baptized in the Catholic Church and practise a variety of popular devotions, they sometimes lack a solid and mature faith. For this reason many of them, especially the young, try to compensate for their interior emptiness and the absence of a plan of life with substitutes of various kinds, letting themselves being drawn into hedonism and shirking their responsibilities (cf. Pastores dabo vobis, PDV 7). In this regard, consumerism, hedonism, the lack of positive ideals and indifference to religious values and ethical principles are a great hindrance to evangelization. This becomes all the more difficult because of the presence of sects and new pseudo-religious groups, whose activities are spreading in traditionally Catholic areas. This phenomenon requires thorough study "to ascertain why many Catholics leave the Church" (Ecclesia in America, ).

In the face of all this, as teachers of sound doctrine called to show the secure way that leads to the Father, and as servants of the light which is Christ, "image of the invisible God" (Col 1,15), you must not cease to impart your teaching, as a united Episcopal Conference, about the problems affecting your island, without usurping the responsibility of politicians and lay people but respecting Catholics' freedom of choice regarding Puerto Rico's "status" and future.

3. In your pastoral mission you rely on the diligent cooperation of your priests who, in communion with you, must always be credible and generous ministers of Christ and his Church in every situation. In this regard, the Second Vatican Council urges: "On account of this common sharing in the same priesthood and ministry then, Bishops are to regard their priests as brothers and friends and are to take the greatest interest they are capable of in their welfare both temporal and spiritual.

For on their shoulders particularly falls the burden of sanctifying their priests: therefore they are to exercise the greatest care in the progressive formation of their diocesan body of priests. They should be glad to listen to their priests' views and even consult them and hold conference with them about matters that concern the needs of pastoral work and the good of the Diocese" (Presbyterorum ordinis, PO 7). For this reason, try to give your priests personal guidance in their pastoral ministry, in both their difficulties and their joys, by visiting and receiving them frequently, making friends with them and showing them fraternal concern, as you encourage them to be faithful to their priestly commitments and especially to have constant recourse to personal prayer.

Since the clergy of your Dioceses are diverse and insufficient in number, the seminary has capital importance as the centre where future priests are prepared. I encourage you to continue to give intense support to the pastoral care of vocations in parishes, so that all priests will feel responsible and involved in the beginning and care of new vocations. At the same time, you must devote your greatest attention and efforts to the new candidates, forming them in fraternal communion, giving them a sound theological and cultural basis, and ensuring that they are above all men of God who will bear constant witness to evangelical charity and poverty, with special sensitivity to the needs of the most poor and marginalized. To this end you must revitalize the seminaries of San Juan and Ponce, preparing holy and suitable educators to give the young men sound guidance as they follow Christ in serving the Church. It is desirable that all Puerto Rican seminarians be formed at these two centres; in this way their Bishops will be able to visit them often and thus create an atmosphere of deeper trust and mutual knowledge.

4. The men and women religious who work in the fields of education, health care or social assistance hold a special place in the pastoral work of the Diocese. It is important to establish relations of communion with them and to help them live in holiness and fidelity to their own charism as an enrichment of ecclesial life, so that they will bear a personal witness wherever they carry out their mission. The contemplative communities too are a silent but very effective presence in the Diocese. They deserve special attention because, through their radical choice of following Christ, they cooperate in spreading his kingdom.

5. On the other hand, pastoral care of the Diocese should be focused primarily on the laity, who through their baptismal priesthood must feel directly involved in ecclesial and social life. In this regard the Second Vatican Council says: "The mission of the Church is not only to bring men the message and grace of Christ but also to permeate and improve the whole range of the temporal order" (Apostolicam actuositatem, AA 5). All the realities which make up this temporal order - which include the family, culture, the economy, the arts, work, politics and international relations - must be directed to God through the commitment of mature Christians. It is through the assiduous and thorough formation of the lay faithful at the spiritual, moral and human level that the Church must help them to be a Gospel leaven in today's society.

Concerning the family, a constitutive element of society, I know that Puerto Rico is going through a particularly difficult period, as evidenced by the increasing number of divorces and the high rate of children born out of wedlock. This makes it urgently necessary to provide a catechesis that stresses the greatness and dignity of conjugal love in accordance with the divine plan, as well as its requirements for the good of the couple and their children. The family, as a "domestic church", is called to be the setting where parents pass on the Christian faith, since "the parents, by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children" (Lumen gentium, LG 11). I therefore invite you to spare no efforts in the pastoral care of the family, preparing family units that will also be catechists in word and by their witness of life.

As a consequence of the above, be concerned about the education of children and young people. In fact, "young people are a great force in society and for evangelization. They "represent quite a large part of the population in many nations of America. On their encounter with the living Christ depends the hope and expectation of a future of greater communion and solidarity for the Church and society in America'" (Ecclesia in America, ). See, then, that the new evangelization reaches the world of young people through groups, movements and associations which encourage them to participate in ecclesial life and in acts of solidarity with those most in need. The formation of young people must not be separated from the religious and moral education which Catholic schools and universities should offer them. That is why the human, religious and cultural formation of teachers should be supervised with care, so that they will ensure and complete the transmission of values that should begin in every family.

6. In this whole process of human formation, we sometimes encounter laws that conflict with Christian principles. In this regard, the Church considers that authentic culture must consider the person in his entirety, that is, all his personal dimensions, without forgetting the ethical and religious aspects. For this reason it is also necessary to appoint properly trained people to look after the pastoral care of culture. In this regard various initiatives such as Catholic Education Weeks, congresses and other cultural activities deserve praise. Alas, the current cultural context - and Puerto Rico is no exception - tends to foster a culture and society in which God has no place.

Some ideas, which can be considered the pillars of modern or postmodern culture, are clearly not Christian. In the ethical realm, divorce, abortion, assisted euthanasia, premarital relations and hedonism are presented as the modern "achievements" of a misunderstood personal freedom which is free of all responsibility. In view of this rather worrisome reality, the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops rightly considered that "the new evangelization calls for a clearly conceived, serious and well organized effort to evangelize culture" (Ecclesia in America, n. 70).

7. Dear Brothers, before concluding this meeting which is taking place a few months before the beginning of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I assure you of my deep communion in prayer together with my firm hope in the spiritual renewal of your Dioceses, so that the Catholic faithful of Puerto Rico will increase in faith, progress in cultivating the Christian virtues and witness courageously in their own surroundings.

I entrust all these wishes and your pastoral ministry to the intercession of Our Lady of Providence, Mother and Patroness of Puerto Rico, so that with maternal concern she will accompany and protect the spiritual growth of all her sons and daughters in a climate of serenity and social peace.

On this occasion, I ask you once again to convey my affectionate greetings to your priests, men and women religious, seminarians and their educators, your pastoral workers and all the diocesan faithful. To you and to them I impart my Apostolic Blessing with great affection.

Holy Father's speech to the

"Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice" foundation

Saturday, 11 September 1999

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am pleased to be with you again, dear members of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" Foundation, who have gathered here with their family members. I greet Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, whom I thank for the kind words he addressed to me. With him I also greet Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Secretary of the same Administration, Mons. Daniele Rota and Fr Massimo Magagnin, national chaplains, and the other ecclesiastics present. I extend a cordial welcome to all of you who did not wish to miss this gathering.

The last time you met was just last February, but you felt the need to meet again with the approach of the Holy Year 2000, for the Jubilee is a great ecclesial event in which your Foundation is called to collaborate, in the context of the Jubilee of the World of Work, to prepare for those who work in the financial sector. As I thank you for this willingness, I am pleased that, precisely in view of this event, you have opportunely decided next year to study the theme: "Ethics and Finance". I am aware of your intention to organize an international congress on this subject on the eve of the Jubilee day. I appreciate such an important initiative and hope that it will bear abundant fruits.

Today, then, you wished to devote ample time to hearing Archbishop Miroslav Marusyn, Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, who spoke to you about my recent Apostolic Visit to Romania and of the many spiritual and material needs affecting the Eastern Catholic communities.

2. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in your daily experience you can see how, within the pervasive phenomenon of globalization that marks this historical moment, an essential aspect and one fraught with consequences is the so-called "financialization" of the economy. In economic relations, financial transactions have already greatly exceeded real ones, so much so that the financial sphere has now acquired an autonomy of its own.

This phenomenon poses new and difficult questions from the ethical standpoint. One of these issues is the problem of the relationship between wealth produced and work, due to the fact that it is possible today for great wealth to be rapidly created without a definite amount of work being done. It is clear that this is a very delicate situation which requires careful consideration by everyone.
When dealing with the question of the "globalization of the economy" in the Encyclical Centesimus annus (n. 58), I called attention to the need to promote "international agencies which will oversee and direct the economy to the common good", while also remembering that economic freedom is only one of the elements of human freedom. Financial activity, in accordance with its own characteristics, must be directed to serving the common good of the human family.

One does wonder, however, which value criteria should guide the decision of financial operators, even over and above the functional requirements of the markets, in a situation such as that of the present day where there is still no adequate international normative and juridical framework. And again: what are the approprite authorities for preparing and providing such guidelines as well as for controlling their implementation?

A first step must be made by financial operators themselves, who could try to prepare ethical or professional codes that would be binding for the sector. Those responsible for the international community are called, then, to adopt appropriate juridical instruments for dealing with critical situations that, if not "regulated", could have disastrous consequences not only within the economic sphere, but also in social and political life. And certainly the weakest would be the first to pay and would pay the most.

3. The Church, who is a teacher of unity and because of her vocation walks with men and women, feels called to defend their rights, with constant concern especially for the poorest. With her social doctrine she offers her assistance in solving those problems which in various sectors affect human life, aware that "even if the economy and moral teaching, each in its own sphere, are based on their own principles, it would be an error to say that the economic order and the moral order are so different and unrelated to each other that the first does not in any way depend on the second" (Pius XI, Quadragesimo anno, n. 42). The challenge appears difficult, due to the complexity of the phenomena at issue and the speed with which they arise and develop.

Christians who work in the economic sphere and, in particular, in the financial sector are called to identify viable ways to fulfil this duty of justice, which is clear to them because of their cultural background, but which can be shared by anyone who wishes to place the human person and the common good at the centre of every social project. Yes, the objective of all your activity in the financial and administrative field must always be never to violate the dignity of man and, for this reason, to build structures and systems that will foster justice and solidarity for the good of all.

4. It should also be added that the processes which are globalizing markets and communications do not in themselves possess an ethically negative connotation, and therefore a summary and a priori condemnation of them is not justified. However, those processes that, in principle, appear as factors of progress can have, and in fact already have had, ambivalent or decidedly negative consequences, especially to the detriment of the very poor.

It is therefore a question of acknowledging this turning point and of seeing that it is directed to the advantage of the common good. Globalization will have many positive effects if it can be sustained by a strong sense of the absoluteness and dignity of all human persons and of the principle that earthly goods are meant for everyone. There is room in this direction to operate in a fair and constructive way, even within a sector that is much subject to speculation. For this it is not enough to respect local laws or national regulations; what is necessary is a sense of global justice, equal to the responsibilities that are at stake, while acknowledging the structural interdependence of the relations between human beings over and above national boundaries.

Meanwhile, it is very opportune to support and encourage those projects of "ethical finance", microcredit and "fair and equitable trade" which are within everyone's reach and possess a positive and even pedagogical value for global co-responsibility.

5. We are at the close of a century that has undergone rapid and fundamental changes in this field as well. The imminent celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 is a particular opportunity to reflect extensively on this problem. I am therefore grateful to your "Centesimus Annus" Foundation, which wished to organize its work in the light of the great Jubilee event, while taking into account the perspective that I indicated in the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, where I wrote that "a commitment to justice and peace in a world like ours, marked by so many conflicts and intolerable social and economic inequalities, is a necessary condition for the preparation and celebration of the Jubilee" (n. 51).

You have understood, dear friends, that the Jubilee year invites you to make your specific, professional contribution, so that the word of Christ, who came to evangelize the poor (cf. Lk Lc 4,18), will find a ready response. I cordially encourage you in this initiative, with the wish that, as a result of the Jubilee, there may be "a new culture of international solidarity and cooperation, where all - particularly the wealthy nations and the private sector - accept responsibility for an economic model which serves everyone" (Bull of Indiction Incarnationis mysterium, n. 12).
With these sentiments, as I wholeheartedly wish that the Foundation will grow, so that it can ever more effectively work with the Holy See and the Church in the new evangelization and in promoting the civilization of love, I entrust your every project and every initiative to Mary, the Mother of Hope.

May you also be accompanied and sustained by my Blessing, which I willingly impart to you and to all your loved ones.



Mr Ambassador,

I am particularly pleased to welcome Your Excellency on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters by which His Majesty Emperor Akihito accredits you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Holy See.

I was touched, Mr Ambassador, by the respectful words you have just addressed to me and by your good wishes for the 20th anniversary of my Pontificate. I thank you for expressing your Sovereign's wishes, and I would be grateful if you would reciprocate my fervent good wishes for him and the imperial family, for the members of the Government and for all the Japanese people. I remember the visit that your country's Prime Minister paid me at the beginning of last January, which is one expression of the strengthening of the cordial ties between the Apostolic See and Japan.

This year your country is celebrating the 450th anniversary of the arrival in your land of St Francis Xavier, patron of the missions and a great figure to whom the Japanese are particularly attached.

He is the symbol of a deep spiritual experience and a close bond with Christ, who urges his disciples to proclaim the Gospel and to put themselves at the service of their brethren on all the continents. From this viewpoint, one can say that this great saint, who is part of your history as well as that of his native country, has helped to build bridges and to create fraternal relations between the West and the East. St Francis Xavier's life and work also remind us of the importance of spiritual and religious freedom, which, while respecting the principles of civil society, are the indispensable conditions for building a nation, as well as for cooperation and friendship between peoples.

Throughout history, Christianity has always been concerned to unite and to bring together persons and peoples, tirelessly helping them to build a more just and fraternal society and to promote peace, which is indispensable for the integral growth of individuals and human communities. In this spirit we should acknowledge Japan's attitude of tolerance: the nation remains attached to its tradition of openness to different religions - this is a guarantee of respect for all individual and community freedoms - while taking care to protect people from movements that may hinder freedom and can seriously endanger its citizens, particularly the weakest.

We cannot forget that your country is one of the symbols of peace, as you have just emphasized, since the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a message to all our contemporaries, inviting all the earth's peoples to learn the lessons of history and to work for peace with ever greater determination. Indeed, they remind our contemporaries of all the crimes committed during the Second World War against civilian populations, crimes and acts of true genocide which we thought were for ever in the past but are still being perpetrated in various parts of the world. In order not to forget the atrocities of the past, it is important to teach the younger generation the incomparable value of peace between individuals and peoples, because the culture of peace is contagious but is far from having spread everywhere in the world, as is demonstrated by persistent situations of conflict. We must constantly repeat that peace is the essential principle of common life in all societies.

Although few in number, Catholics are called to take an active role with all their compatriots in the public life of Japanese society and to participate in its development and transformation so that it will be increasingly at the service of the human person, who must be the focus of concern for all public leaders, especially in the political and economic spheres. Throughout her long tradition, the Church has been concerned for the common good and carries out her activity in your country, especially in the educational field, by taking care to impart a civic sense to the younger generation as well as the spiritual and moral values that are essential for their personal life and their role in society; by holding up an ideal to them, she helps young people to have hope in the future and to prepare themselves for assuming the tasks to which they will be called in the service of their country.

Without being practically involved in public life and the conduct of earthly affairs - which is the task of the laity - it is nevertheless the duty of Bishops and the clergy as a whole to offer their support to those involved and to decision-makers, especially by guiding them in their reflection on social issues and in the search for ever new ways to conduct affairs, so that they can perceive and enable their compatriots to perceive the anthropological and ethical foundations of actions and decisions concerning the governance of the res publica, as well as the need for national and international solidarity, to which you have just referred.

In this perspective, while your region is currently experiencing serious economic difficulties, Japan has an important role to play, so that the problems do not weigh inordinately upon the weakest and most fragile countries; indeed, it is essential to mobilize everyone, to prevent more and more individuals and families from being relegated to situations of insecurity and poverty. I therefore invite all Japanese people to show ever greater solidarity to those affected by the crisis in their own country as well as throughout South-East Asia.

As you begin your mission as Japan's representative to the Apostolic See, I offer you my best wishes, hoping that you will carry out your task with particular dedication during the Jubilee Year. I can assure you that you will always receive a warm welcome and attentive understanding from my assistants.

At the end of our meeting, I ask the Most High to shower his blessings upon His Majesty Emperor Akihito and the imperial family, upon the Japanese people and upon those responsible for the country's destiny on the threshold of the third millennium, upon Your Excellency and your loved ones, as well as upon the embassy staff.

Castel Gandolfo, 11 september 1999

Holy Father's address at the close of the Concert

sponsored by the Lucchini Foundation

12 September 1999

At the end of this stirring musical evening, I am pleased to extend a cordial greeting to you, Ladies and Gentlemen, who have taken part in the concert organized by the Lucchini Foundation of Brescia. I first of all greet the President, Dr Luigi Lucchini, and thank him for his courteous remarks a few moments ago.
I also express my appreciation to the young pianist, Daniele Alberti, who played with masterly and impassioned skill.
For the 150th anniversary of the death of the Polish composer and pianist Fryderyk Chopin, your Foundation has organized a series of concerts in places which were significant in the life of that great musician.
I am grateful to the organizers for deciding to hold the first of these programmes here in Castel Gandolfo. I offer you my best wishes that your praiseworthy Foundation's many activities can help to spread those human and spiritual values which form the indispensable basis for the moral, civil and economic progress of the whole community.

2. From Chopin, considered one of the greatest musicians of European Romanticism, we heard several Nocturnes, which reveal the clear, pulsating inner sensitivity of the great master, who knew how to withdraw from the outside world to immerse himself in the human heart, portraying its most subtle, hidden features in extraordinarily expressive musical language. Then in the Fantaisie-Impromptu in C Sharp Minor and the Waltzes, we were able to admire the composer's original inspiration and poetic talent. Finally, we were offered several Polonaises: musical compositions in which Chopin evoked motifs he had heard as a child, recalling his distant yet unforgettable homeland.
While listening to Daniele Alberti's masterly performance, I was thinking of how this concert also bears significant witness to that cultural and spiritual unity of Europe to which the Christian tradition has made an essential contribution over the centuries and still does so today.
In again expressing, also on behalf of everyone here, my deep gratitude to the evening's organizers and to our talented pianist, I offer the heartfelt wish that the initiatives taken by the Lucchini Foundation on the anniverary of Chopin's death will be an outstanding opportunity to foster understanding among individuals and peoples.

With these sentiments, I invoke the Lord's protection upon everyone here and upon their families, as I cordially impart to all my Apostolic Blessing.



13 september 1999

Mr Ambassador,

I am particularly pleased to welcome you and to extend my fervent best wishes to you for the high office of Ambassador of Italy, a role that you officially assume today. In thanking you for the noble words you addressed to me, I wish to send a respectful and cordial greeting to H.E. Prof. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Republic, to whom I again extend my best wishes just a few months after his election to the highest office of the Italian Republic.

The apostolic mission of the Roman Pontiff knows no territorial limits, and for all peoples he is an equally attentive and caring father. However, his relationship to Rome and to Italy is a very special one: it is to this city that Peter came; it is here that he shed his blood; from Rome the Successors of Peter promoted the spread of the Good News throughout the world. Over a span of two millenniums this unique mission has never been wanting, even when, for a short period external circumstances compelled the Popes to leave the city that was, and remains, their natural seat.

This historical fact, so significant in itself, is nothing merely external or physical. Catholicism has shaped this country with endless signs of faith and charity. If it is true that Italy holds a glorious record for works of art, it is also true that a large number of them have a strong religious character and often a precise religious purpose. We should also remember, on the other hand, that Italy has given much to the Church: saints of exceptional stature, distinguished figures in every rank of the People of God, with unique contributions of genius and style to the Roman Curia, which was thus able to offer effective mediation in the tensions and conflicts which have long undermined the unity of Europe and menaced the peace of the world.

The 1900s happily overcame the misunderstandings and crises that had accompanied the establishment of Italy as a free national State. In this regard Pope Paul VI judged as somewhat providential the passing of the temporal domain, which nevertheless had an undeniable function in the past. Once the wounds that had distressed the fathers had been soothed, the new century made it possible to reach a balanced solution, which was also confirmed in the difficult events of recent decades. Already at the end of the First World War it was clear to Italy and to the Holy See that the 19th-century disagreement was now resolvable, but relations were only finalized with the Lateran Pacts. These are the essential principles of coexistence.

With the Treaty they have, moreover, confirmed the establishment of "Vatican City State", endowed with that minimum territorial basis necessary for guaranteeing the Pope and the Holy See absolute sovereignty and independence. The Concordat, beyond the letter of the law, has assumed great and exemplary value as a guarantee for that free practice of religious life which is the first among human rights, since it is essential for a mature and modern citizenry that spiritual inspiration be able to express itself with all its potential.

You, Mr Ambassador, opportunely recalled the mutual collaboration of the State and the Catholic Church "for the advancement of the human person and the good of the country" (cf. Art. 1, Agreement on Revision of the Lateran Concordat of 1984). This collaboration deserves to be deepened and continued in order to satisfy some fundamental aspirations that are particularly felt by the Church and by Catholics in Italy. The defence of human dignity from conception does indeed pertain to the natural law, but it expects from the State's positive legislation that full recognition based on an awareness that there is an undisputed value in motherhood for the individual and for society as a whole. The family, the basic cell of society and its natural foundation, also calls for its more effective recognition as the place of love for man and woman and the home for the hope of new lives. It is in the education of the younger generation that the religious experience of the Italian nation can boast a creative originality of scholastic institutions, to a great extent aimed at the less well-off, which deserves respect and support through effective legal and financial parity between State and non-State schools, which will courageously overcome misunderstandings and sectarianism, so foreign to the basic values of the European cultural tradition.

In the name of my special concern for the young generation, I feel compelled to ask all the members of Italian society to make a joint effort to overcome these obstacles and delays in order to provide the new generation with that work which frees the personality and enriches civil society.
By drawing on these basic resources, Italy can manifest its vocation in the European context. If the unity of the old continent is not just an organizational or economic fact, Christian Italy can make a fundamental contribution to the building of a Europe of the spirit, in which even the very important external facts of the common home can be welcomed and harmonized. In fact, it is Christian inspiration that can transform a political and economic aggregate into a real common home for all Europeans, by helping to form an exemplary family of nations, from which other regions of the world can draw fruitful inspiration.

Speeches 1999