Speeches 2000 - Thursday, 30 March 2000
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I am pleased to welcome each of you, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, who are gathered in these days for your plenary assembly. I affectionately greet you all!
In particular I greet your President, Archbishop Francesco Marchisano, and thank him for his courteous words presenting the Commission's work and viewpoints, mentioning among other things the Jubilee of Artists. Its preparation intensely involved this dicastery and its successful celebration gave me great joy. With the many artists who came to St Peter's Basilica, I was able in some way to continue with the spoken word that dialogue I began in the Letter to Artists.
2. Your plenary assembly, which has chosen as its theme "The Cultural Heritage in the Context of the New Evangelization", fits well into the framework of the Great Jubilee, in harmony with its primary purpose which is to proclaim Christ anew 2,000 years after his birth.
In your assembly's work, on the basis of the considerable efforts made by your Commission in recent years, you first sought to conform the concept of "cultural heritage" to the mens of the Church; you then focused your attention on the enormous artistic-historical patrimony in existence, identifying the state of protection and preservation with a view to its pastoral utilization; you were also concerned with training workers and making timely contacts with artists in their different fields.
The path commendably undertaken must be continued, and today I would like to encourage you to spare no effort in ensuring that the examples of culture and art entrusted to the Church's care are ever better appreciated, at the service of true human progress and of spreading the Gospel.
3. In fact, the cultural heritage in its multiple forms - from churches to the most varied monuments, from museums to archives and libraries - is a far from negligible component in the Church's mission of evangelization and human advancement.
Christian art in particular, an extremely important "cultural asset", continues to render an extraordinary service by powerfully communicating the history of the Covenant between God and man and the wealth of the revealed message through the beauty of tangible forms. In the two millennia of the Christian era, it has marvellously depicted the fervour of so many confessors of the faith; it has expressed the awareness of God's presence among believers, and has supported the praise that the Church raises to her Lord from every corner of the earth. The cultural heritage has proven to be a remarkable record of the various moments in this great spiritual history.
The Church, moreover, as an expert in humanity, uses the cultural heritage for the promotion of an authentic humanism modeled on Christ, the "new" man who reveals man to himself (cf. Gaudium et spes GS 22). Therefore it should not be surprising that the particular Churches are dedicated to encouraging the preservation of their artistic and cultural heritage through ordinary and extraordinary interventions which enable them to be fully utilized.
4. The Church not only preserves her past; she above all offers inspiration for the present life of the human community, with a view to building its future. She therefore continuously adds to her cultural patrimony in order to respond to the needs of every era and culture and is also concerned to hand on all that has been achieved to future generations, so that they too can drink deeply from the great river of the traditio Ecclesiae.
Precisely in this perspective, the multiple expressions of sacred art should be developed in harmony with the mens of the Church and at the service of her mission, using a language capable of proclaiming God's kingdom to everyone.
In planning their pastoral projects, therefore, the local Churches should not fail to make appropriate use of their own cultural heritage. Indeed, the latter has a unique capacity to spur people to a greater perception of spiritual values and, by testifying in various ways to God's presence in human history and the Church's life, they prepare souls to accept the newness of the Gospel. Moreover, by offering beauty, which by nature speaks a universal language, the Church is certainly helped in her task of reaching out to all people in a climate of respect and mutual tolerance, in accordance with the spirit of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.
5. The new evangelization requires a renewed commitment to liturgical worship, which is also a rich source of instruction for the faithful (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium SC 33). As everyone knows, worship has always found a natural ally in art, because monuments of sacred art have a catechetical and cultic significance in addition to their intrinsic aesthetic value. It is therefore necessary to make the most of them, taking into account their liturgical "habitat", combining respect for history with attention to the current needs of the Christian community and ensuring that the artistic-historical patrimony at the service of the liturgy loses nothing of its eloquence.
6. It will also be necessary to continue cultivating the juridical preservation of this patrimony among the different ecclesial institutions and civil bodies, by working in a spirit of collaboration with the various State authorities and maintaining contacts with those who manage cultural assets and with artists in various fields. A great help in this regard will be dialogue with associations that protect, preserve and enhance cultural assets, as well as with volunteer groups.
It is the particular responsibility of your office to urge all who are directly or indirectly involved in this sector to sentire cum Ecclesia, so that each one can make his own specific work a precious contribution to the Church's evangelizing mission.
7. Dear brothers and sisters, I cordially thank you for your work and for your contribution to the preservation and full utilization of the Church's artistic heritage. I ardently hope that it will be an ever more effective way to bring those who are still distant closer to the Gospel message and to foster in Christians that love of beauty which opens the spirit to truth and goodness.
I invoke Mary's motherly protection on your efforts and gladly assure you of a remembrance to the Lord for all your intentions. I cordially bless you and everyone who generously works with you.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. As I receive you on the occasion of your Jubilee celebration, I cordially welcome each of you and express my deep respect for your high mission. In particular I greet the President of your association, Dr Mario Cicala, and thank him for his kind words on behalf of you all.
The Jubilee, the celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of Christ's coming into our history, challenges the people of our time, summoning them to the responsible fulfilment of the tasks entrusted to them. Since "all these human activities ... must be purified and perfected by the Cross and Resurrection of Christ" (Gaudium et spes GS 37), believers must be inspired by that event not only in their private sphere of conduct, but also in the commitments connected with their public relationships.
2. By your freely accepted vocation, you have put yourselves at the service of justice and so also at the service of peace. The ancient Romans liked to say: "opus iustitiae pax". There can be no peace among human beings without justice. This opus iustitiae, on which peace is based, is carried out within a precise ethical-juridical framework and is an ongoing worksite. Indeed, wherever fundamental human rights, the inalienable rights that no legislation can violate, are codified in laws, it is always possible to give them a more complete juridical formulation and, above all, a more effective application in the concrete context of social life. History shows how difficult is the advance of a legal culture both because of cultural slowness and especially because of the moral resistance connected with human sin, which gives rise to dangers that can interfere with laws and make peace precarious. One need only think of all the initiatives of individuals and organized groups that, not content with transgressing the law, also endeavour to modify the legal system to serve their own interests, with disregard for ethical principles and the common good. The very roots of secure and peaceful coexistence are also undermined.
A legal culture, a State governed by law, a democracy worthy of the name, are therefore characterized not only by the effective structuring of their legal systems, but especially by their relationship to the demands of the common good and of the universal moral principles inscribed by God in the human heart.
3. In this framework we see how important it is to distinguish the characteristic powers of the modern democratic State, in which the judicial power stands side by side with the legislative and executive powers, with its own autonomous and constitutionally protected function. The balanced relationship between these three powers, each one operating according to its own specific competence and responsibility so that one never prevails over the others, guarantees the proper functioning of democratic life (cf. Letter to the Italian Bishops, 6 January 1994, n. 7).
The Magistracy's task is to see that justice is done by fully applying recognized rights and duties, and by safeguarding the interests protected by the law within the framework of fundamental ethical values. In Italy, these values are written into the Constitution and form the civil and moral basis of organized society, as normally occurs in the democratic States of our time.
4. As you know well, the judge carries out his mission by uncovering, in relation to the dictates of the law, the truth of the particular case. In his investigation the magistrate encounters "man", a creature of God, with his personal dignity and inalienable values, which neither the State nor civil institutions nor the Magistracy nor the magistrate himself can touch, let alone nullify.
In defining the proper relationships between the legislative, executive and judicial powers, the Constitutions of modern States guarantee the judicial power the necessary independence in the realm of law. But this independence is a value which, in the forum of conscience, must be matched with a deep sense of rectitude and serene objectivity of judgement in seeking the truth. The Magistracy's independence can never be exercised with disregard for the values rooted in the nature of the human being, whose inalienable dignity and transcendent destiny must always be respected.
In particular, respect for a person's rights rule out the use of detention for the sole purpose of trying to obtain significant information for the trial. Justice, moreover, must make every effort to ensure that trials are conducted swiftly: their excessive length is becoming intolerable for citizens and results in a real injustice.
It is also very important that the magistrate's relations with the mass media be marked by the proper reserve, in order to avoid all risk of infringing the right to privacy of those being investigated and to guarantee that the principle of presumed innocence is respected.
5. The search for the truth of facts and proofs, and the correct application of the law are two of the most important requirements of the judge's role and call for total freedom from prejudice and a constant effort of study and examination. Furthermore, the recent institution of the single-judge trial increases the responsibility of each individual magistrate and spurs him to ever greater swiftness in his work.
In addition, you should not overlook a problem that is emerging because legislative activity cannot always keep pace with technological and scientific developments and their resulting effects on society, so that the jurisprudential interpretation of the law is becoming more and more important as a source of law. With good reason there is a reaction in many quarters to the idea of the Magistracy compensating for the omissions of the legislative power, especially when it is a question of human life and death, biotechnology, problems of public morality or essential issues of freedom, which can never degenerate into an individualism that disregards the common good.
6. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that the relationship between truth and humanity is always at stake. The truth that the judge is called to ascertain has nothing to do with mere events and cold norms, but with the concrete individual who may be marked by inconsistencies and weaknesses, but is endowed with inalienable dignity because he is God's image. The nature and application of penal sanctions must be such as to guarantee the rightly invoked security of society, but without attacking the dignity of man, beloved of God and called to redeem himself if guilty. The sentence must not shatter this hope of redemption.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen! As I once again express my esteem for your work, which is so valuable to the common good, I entrust your activity to God's constant protection. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the bright "Mirror of Justice", watch from heaven over you who have seen so many of your eminent colleagues fall in the line of justice, which is particularly hazardous today, as your President has fittingly recalled.
With this wish, I gladly impart a special Blessing to you as a sign of my esteem and affection, and extend it to all your loved ones.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Distinguished Representatives of political life,
Dear Pilgrims of the Czech Republic,
1. Your presence in such great numbers fills me with joy. You are making your national pilgrimage for the Great Jubilee. Welcome to Rome, dear brothers and sisters!
I cordially greet Cardinal Miloslav Vlk along with Archbishop Jan Graubner, President of the Czech Episcopal Conference, whom I thank for his noble words expressing your sentiments of communion and affection for the Successor of Peter. My greeting extends to the dear prelates, priests, consecrated men and women and all of you who have come from the lands of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, as well as those who are joined with us through Radio Proglas, with a special thought for all the elderly, the sick and the suffering. Through you I would like once again to assure the entire Czech nation, which is so dear to me, of my spiritual closeness: the three Pastoral Visits which Providence allowed me to make to your country have left an indelible memory in my heart.
2. The Lenten season we are observing, dear brothers and sisters, offers us a pressing invitation to conversion. Only hearts that know they need a deeper and more intimate union with God are ready to cross the threshold of the Holy Door; only those who truly repent can be faithful and credible witnesses in the world to a new life in Christ. This is the real meaning of the Holy Year!
Gathered in this hall, today you are offering a witness to that unity and love which identify you as true Christians. I urge you to continue to live this solidarity, "united in the same mind and the same judgement" (1Co 1,10), an unequivocal sign of Christ's active presence in the world.
In a spirit of humility and obedience foster understanding and active cooperation with your Bishops, as St Ignatius of Antioch urged: "I implore you, take care that you do everything in divine harmony, under the guidance of your Bishop" (Ad Magn. 6, 1). Be witnesses and workers of unity, so that all Christ's disciples may achieve full communion as soon as possible. May the Lord, who is "our peace" and has broken down "the dividing wall of hostility" (Ep 2,14), continue to guide your progress.
3. Your society is at last enjoying a period of democracy and freedom. However, gradual secularization and widespread moral relativism challenge your Christian community. You are right in thinking that the present situation requires a consistent catechetical effort at all levels: from children to young adults, from families to the school, from the communications media to the world of work and culture. I urge you to spare no efforts in this important sector!
In the process of Gospel formation the family's role is fundamental. Dear parents, help your children to discern the values on which to build their lives. And you, dear young people, do not be misled by deceptive myths and mirages. Do not give in to the illusion of easy success; on the contrary, may your hearts always aspire to greater values, not excluding from the horizon of your choices the prospect of giving yourselves totally to God through priestly or religious consecration.
A united family is certainly a guarantee for building a responsibile society. Each one, therefore, should do all he can in the religious, social and political realms to defend the family and to safeguard human life from conception to its natural end.
4. Throughout history, the Church has always endeavoured to make her own contribution to the country's spiritual and civil progress. Vitally involved in society, she desires only to serve man, showing him the vast horizons of his dignity and the vocation he has received from God, the Creator and Redeemer. After passing through the crucible of persecution, she intends to offer her spiritual treasures to all the people. Naturally, the desired understanding with the State, for the stable, harmonious direction of reciprocal relations in mutual respect and honest cooperation, will help make the Church's activity more effective for all the citizens of the Czech Republic.
5. Dear brothers and sisters, renewed and strengthened by this pilgrimage in your fidelity to Christ, return to your homeland filled with a convinced personal faith and an intense love for the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.
May the Mother of God, whom you especially venerate at Svatá Hora and Svatý Kopecek, guide your steps and sustain you each day in living according to Gospel values. May the example of all your patron saints inwardly strengthen you, so that you may be "the light of the world and the salt of the earth" (cf. Mt Mt 5,13-14) in your homeland.
With these sentiments, I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, to your families and to the beloved Czech people.
Praised be Jesus Christ
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. I am pleased to extend a cordial welcome to each of you gathered at the tomb of Peter to celebrate the Jubilee of the Incarnation of Christ the Saviour.
I would first like to greet you, dear faithful taking part in the pilgrimage of the Pastoral Region of the Abruzzi and Molise, and especially your Bishops, with the priests and religious who have accompanied you.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (He 13,8). This profession of faith is the essential reason why you have crossed the threshold of the Holy Door. With this act of devotion, you have renewed your fidelity to Christ, our Redeemer, and strengthened your commitment to the new evangelization. For this you must constantly deepen your understanding of the faith and put it into practice according to the needs of our time, while at the same time taking full advantage of various forms of popular piety.
The Jubilee is a fitting occasion for strengthening your ecclesial communion, which gives rise to the solidarity that is so necessary today. May families, young people and those who are marked by forms of poverty and marginalization be the special object of your concern. Thus you will make the Gospel message credible and you will build up hope.
2. I extend a cordial welcome to you, dear faithful from the Pastoral Region of Calabria, who with your Pastors have wished to meet the Successor of Peter during the celebration of your Jubilee. This year of the Lord's special mercy and the Lenten season we are observing invite us to turn our gaze to the Cross, the basis of our Christian hope. It is from the Cross of Christ that we can draw strength to give meaning and value to all our actions.
How appropriate it is that the Cross of young people is traveling through various Italian Dioceses in this time of preparation for World Youth Day! I would like to tell you, young people of Calabria, and all Calabrians: do not succumb to fear, but by contemplating Christ crucified and drawing from the unfathomable riches that flow from his Heart, set out in the new millennium and offer everyone the effective witness of charity, forgiveness and mercy!
3. I now greet you, dear faithful of the Archdiocese of Trent, together with Archbishop Luigi Bressan and the priests and religious.
Your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul is prompted by the wish to give new zeal and enthusiasm to religious practice in your land. The Catholic faith spread from Trent, the "City of the Council", throughout Christianity with renewed vigour, inspiring plans and projects of reform which enriched it with holiness, good works and fervour. Welcome this same faith and pass it on with enthusiasm. Always be faithful to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, and become his heralds, courageous witnesses and the promoters of authentic spiritual and social renewal in your Archdiocese.
4. My thoughts now turn to the faithful of the Diocese of Jesi who, with their pilgrimage, want to prepare themselves for celebrating the Fourth Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and, at the same time, to mark the 25th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of their Pastor, Bishop Oscar Serfilippi. I offer him my affectionate embrace and fraternal wishes that his ministry will bear abundant apostolic fruit.
Dear brothers and sisters, may your meditation on the mystery of the Eucharist help you to understand ever more deeply the place that the Eucharistic mystery has in your life as a Church. In particular, I invite families to see the Eucharist as the source of their harmony and unity. Thus they will be ready to accept the gift of life with joy, to grow in mutual love and to surmount their daily problems with prayer and forgiveness.
5. I would next like to offer an affectionate greeting to Bishop Germano Zaccheo of Casale and the diocesan pilgrimage he is leading. Dear faithful, I trust that your coming to Rome to the tombs of the Apostles will help you to rediscover the value of baptismal grace and the joy of belonging to the Church, the Body of Christ. I am convinced that this rediscovery will spur you to be joyful heralds of the Gospel message in every context. In a special way I encourage you to proclaim the Gospel in the world of work, and to work so that everyone will have a job and perform it in an atmosphere of respect for the rights and dignity of the human person.
6. I also thank you for your presence, dear prelates and officials of the Apostolic Penitentiary, ordinary and extraordinary Father Confessors of the city's Patriarchal Basilicas and those attending the course on the internal forum conducted by the Apostolic Penitentiary. The ministry of Penance is very precious and requires clarity of doctrine and pastoral compassion, proper training and constant availability.
I express my sincere gratitude to you for your generous dedication in carrying out your work, and I take this occasion to urge those attending the course and all priests to make the most of the sacrament of Penance, especially during the Jubilee Holy Year.
7. Dear members of the Italian Association of the Perpetual Rosary who have come to Rome for your Jubilee pilgrimage: thank you for your visit. I congratulate you and the Dominican Fathers who are guiding you on your spiritual journey. Your praiseworthy sodality, founded a century ago by Fr Costanzo Becchi of the Order of Preachers, aims at promoting an intense devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and to the Mother of the Lord, through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the sweet prayer of the Rosary.
Continue to spread love for the Lord Jesus, who in the Eucharist remains for ever among his followers in the Church. Recite the Holy Rosary and spread this practice wherever you go. It is a prayer that introduces us to the school of the lived Gospel; it teaches piety to hearts, makes you persevere in goodness, prepares you for life and, above all, endears you to Mary most holy.
8. Lastly, my cordial thoughts turn to you, dear pilgrims of the Society "At the Service of Divine Mercy". Always spread and make known everywhere the tenderness of "God, who is rich in mercy" (Ep 2,4). May God's love sustain you and help you to be apostles of forgiveness and reconciliation.
As a pledge of abundant heavenly graces upon you, your families and your communities, I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you present and to all the other pilgrims gathered today in St Peter's Square for this welcome meeting.
Saturday, 1 April 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With greet affection I greet all of you who have taken part in this moving celebration and the recitation of the Holy Rosary on the First Saturday of April. I thank you for your presence. Our prayer has been guided by the theme "Christ, the Redeemer of man". This important theme will direct your reflection on the topic planned for the next gatherings of university students scheduled during this Jubilee Year.
1. Dear university students of Rome, thank you for organizing this meeting. An affectionate greeting to each of you, to your spiritual directors and, first of all, to Bishop Rino Fisichella, Auxiliary of our Diocese. It has become a tradition for us to meet during the Lenten season to recite the Holy Rosary in preparation for World Youth Day. I invite you now to take part in that event in large numbers, and to give a generous welcome to your friends who will come from all over the world.
This evening, however, is a special occasion, because it is part of the Jubilee Year and, thanks to the modern communications media, sees your young colleagues participating on every continent. I want to send them all a very warm fatherly greeting.
2. My cordial greeting goes to you, American college students, gathered in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. I extend a special word of gratitude to Cardinal Hickey, Archbishop of Washington, who is there with you.
Dear students, thank you for being a part of this prayer. Continue to bear witness in your college life and your daily activities to your faith in Christ. Defend and promote respect for the dignity of every human being. The Church and society need such apostles at this time of extraordinary developments in the fields of information technology and biomedicine.
3. I greet all of you, young people from different universities in the Philippines, gathered in the Chapel of St Thomas University in Manila. Dear university students, I am very happy that you are taking part in this event. I greet Bishop Yalung and Bishop Tirona who are presiding at your celebration.
I remember with deep emotion the World Youth Day in 1995. I still keep in my heart the memory of your joy and your fidelity to the Gospel. With great affection, the Pope is close to you, and he has confidence in your evangelizing efforts, especially among your peers and in the world of culture.
I look forward to seeing you in Rome for the Jubilee events dedicated to young people.
4. My thoughts now turn to the Shrine of Fátima in order to greet you, university students of Portugal, who have gathered there from all over the nation. You are being led by Bishop Tomás da Silva Numes, Secretary of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, to whom I send a fraternal greeting.
Dear university students of Portugal, it is important that you create times to meet one another, to discern more fitting ways for the Church to have a significant presence in the university. Dear young people, you face many challenges, but also great opportunities. Be courageous and faithful to the Gospel. May Our Lady of Fátima, which, God willing, I will have the joy of visiting this May, help you to be disciples and witnesses of Jesus Christ in her image.
I am waiting for you in Rome! Come and participate in our Jubilee meetings which are planned both for you young people and for the university.
5. From Portugal I now turn in mind and heart to Brazil, to greet you university students gathered at the Shrine of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, at the prayer vigil led by Cardinal Aloísio Lorscheider, whom I also greet with a fraternal embrace.
Dear Brazilian university students, I would like to thank you for taking part in such large numbers. I have great confidence in your generous and creative presence in the Church's life and in the university. During this Jubilee Year, strive with renewed fervour to proclaim Christ the Redeemer, the centre and root of all authentic culture. In this way you will also help to build up your society.
I am waiting for you in Rome to celebrate together the love of God who renews all things and shows men and women the way.
6. I now greet you cordially, dear university students gathered at the Shrine of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa. In particular I greet Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak and Bishop Henryk Tomasik, who have guided your prayer.
I thank you for your presence and your involvement in the academic apostolate. Your meeting today is in preparation for the traditional pilgrimage of university students from across Poland to Our Lady of Jasna Góra. I hope that in this Jubilee Year your pilgrimage will be the occasion for a renewal of your creative missionary spirit, so that you may be witnesses in all areas of university life. May the Jubilee's motto: "The university, for a new humanism", which I entrust to you this evening, spur and guide you in preparing your university communities for the Jubilee and the meetings with young people in Rome. I ask you to entrust to Mary the pastoral care of universities in Poland and the whole Church. Praised be Jesus Christ!
7. I once again turn to all of you in St Peter's Square. Before ending, I would like to greet those taking part in the pilgrimage of the Knights of Columbus, and, in a special way, Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, the order's chaplain. I thank you for your participation and for your commitment to serving the Gospel. Continue generously to support the Church's work in universities in the most appropriate ways, so that contemporary culture can be inspired by the light of the Gospel.
As I invoke the heavenly protection of the Blessed Virgin on you, on those in this square, and on everyone who is joined to us by television and radio, I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.
To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal William W. Baum
Speeches 2000 - Thursday, 30 March 2000