Speeches 2000 - Saturday, 9 December 2000



Monday, 11 December 2000

Mr Ambassador,

1. I am pleased to receive the Letters of Credence appointing you Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Dominican Republic to the Holy See. At the same time, I offer you my most cordial welcome and best wishes for the mission which your Government has entrusted to you. I am grateful for your kind words and, in particular, for the respectful greetings you have brought me from President Hipólito Mejía. Please express to him my appreciation and my best wishes for the beloved Dominican people.

I cannot forget that it was the first American land to receive me at the beginning of my Pontificate, as I followed the route of the first evangelizers. It was the entrance, in a sense, to a part of the world filled with human wealth and hospitality, where the Cross of Christ put down strong roots and the Church, to whom I wanted to bring "new hope in its hope" (Arrival Address in the Dominican Republic, 25 January 1979), has flourished.

This first meeting was followed by another particularly important one for the Church and for America, when I celebrated the fifth centenary of the first evangelization, once again in the Dominican Republic as the continent's threshold. On that occasion I invited the Bishops, who were meeting for the Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, to accept the legacy of the first missionaries' immense effort with another, that of the new evangelization, no less involved and important for the new millennium.

2. In this perspective of evangelization, which is the Church's particular mission, diplomatic relations with the Holy See, which your Government has entrusted to you, take on particular significance. In this regard, Christ's message offers salvation for the whole human person, and therefore preaching the Gospel means bringing light, instilling hope and giving new initiative to people, with their possibilities as individuals and as essentially social beings. For "faith throws a new light on all things and makes known the full ideal which God has set for man, thus guiding the mind towards solutions that are fully human" (Gaudium et spes GS 11).

The Church, then, while strictly respecting the competence of civil authorities, seeks the good of individuals, families, social institutions and the national community. Close collaboration with those responsible for administering the people's common good will undoubtedly benefit the human, social and spiritual progress of all.

3. The points of convergence and cooperation between the Church and States are well known and involve, more than practical or particular interests, those areas in which full human dignity is decided and those values are fostered on which a world of ever greater justice, solidarity and peace should be built. At a time like the present, when many factors are prompting people to think only of immediate results, causing confusion in individuals and instability in society, it is highly important to be on guard against losing what is most genuine and deeply rooted in human nature.

For this reason, the Church asks everyone to make an effort, so that society, which must nurture and bring to fulfilment the life of every human being, does not become a threat to life because of deceptive solutions. The inviolability of human life, in its various phases of development or in any situation, presupposes the other human rights, limits all human power and grounds the conscious and tireless quest for peace.

4. The Church in the Dominican Republic has always shown concern for the good of its people and the country's human progress. She does so with her educational, cultural and charitable institutions, but above all, by instilling a spirit of Christian hope and social commitment, so that all will feel responsible for building a better future. By doing so, she only seeks to carry out her mission of evangelization, firmly convinced that this is the noblest and most effective way to guide the profound vocation of each Dominican to the sublime dignity that God has given him.

5. Mr Ambassador, I offer you my best wishes for the fulfilment of your important diplomatic mission, and I hope that you and your distinguished family will have a very happy and beneficial stay in Rome. You have arrived at a special time, when the Jubilee of the Year 2000 of Christ's Incarnation is drawing to a close. The Church of Rome has been open to the world, to every sector of society, to the faithful of all ages and social conditions. They came in search of an inner peace which only reconciliation with God and our brethren can give. However, at the same time, they have filled every corner of this most ancient See of Peter with their profound experiences and enriched it with their diversity.

As I ask you kindly to express my greetings to the President, I assure you of my prayers to the Almighty, through the motherly intercession of Our Lady of Altagracia, that with his gifts he will always assist you, your staff and your noble country's leaders and citizens, whom I always remember with special affection.




Monday, 11 December 2000

Mr President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

With great pleasure I welcome you this morning on the occasion of the Executive Committee Meeting of FIFA. I greet the President Mr Joseph Sepp Blatter and his Vice-Presidents, the Secretary-General Mr Michel Zen-Ruffinen, the Presidents of the International Confederations, and all of you who are responsible for overseeing the world of football, a truly universal task.

Football is indeed a world-wide sport, and this is now more evident than ever, given the massive level of popular interest and media coverage which the sport receives. Yours is a global responsibility, with more than two hundred countries and one hundred and twenty million players involved in your Association. An immense power lies in your hands, and it must be used for the good of the human family.

You are administrators certainly; but you are educators as well, since sport can effectively inculcate many higher values, such as loyalty, friendship and team-spirit. It is especially important to keep this in mind at a time when football has also become as it were a global industry. It is true that football’s financial success can help to sustain praiseworthy new initiatives, such as FIFA’s “Charity Project”. But it can also contribute to a culture of selfishness and greed. That is why the finer values of sport must be emphasized and passed on through the bodies represented in your Federation.

As a sport shared by people of different ethnic, racial, economic and social backgrounds, football is an excellent means of promoting the solidarity so greatly needed in a world deeply affected by ethnic and racial tensions. FIFA’s “Fair Play Campaign” is a positive sign that you are eager to do your part in using sport to build a climate of respect and understanding between people.

Sport is educational, because it takes human impulses, even potentially negative ones, and turns them to good purpose. The young learn to have healthy competition without conflict. They learn that they can enter an arena in which their opponent is not their enemy. For this reason, I express the earnest hope that FIFA will continue at all levels to tackle the problem of violence, which does so much harm to the game.

In fact, for all its importance as an education for the great challenges of life, football remains a game. It is a form of play, both simple and complex, in which people take joy in the wonderful possibilities of human life - physical, social and spiritual. It would be a sad day if the spirit of play and the sense of joy in fair competition were to be lost. You are the guardians of the true spirit of the game. You have taken as your motto the words “For the Good of the Game”. Have no doubt, the good of the game can also be an important part of the good of the world! As a pledge that the Almighty is with you in this task, I invoke upon you and those whom you represent the divine gifts of peace and joy. God bless you all!




To my Venerable Brother Zeno Grocholewski
Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology

1. The happy occurrence of the 75th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology gives me the pleasant opportunity to extend a cordial greeting to you, to the teaching staff, to the collaborators and to the students. I would also like to express my keen appreciation of the precious cultural activity the Institue has carried out over the past decades; and which it is continuing to carry out through numerous studies, meetings, discussions and publications.

Today you are solemnly commemorating the Motu proprio "I primitivi cemeteri", with which Pope Pius XI, of venerable memory, established this research and formation centre. I would like to extend to you all the assurance of my spiritual closeness and my warmest encouragement to continue in your service to all who have at heart the knowledge and study of the Christian community's wealth of historical memorials.

The caring concern with which my venerable Predecessor, Pius XI, following in the footsteps of so many other Popes, wished to promote the preservation and knowledge of the vast archaeological heritage of the Church of Rome, fits in well with the sacred Pastors' duty to gather with the greatest of care the testimonies of faith and the riches of art, liturgy and theology which flow from the great river of Revelation like countless rivulets through the history of Christianity. This task acquires a special value at the beginning of this new millennium. The celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation of the Son of God has given new strength to the community of believers that is determined to continue with renewed faith its work of evangelization for all humanity.

2. "Sanguis martyrum, semen christianorum" Tertullian affirmed (Apol. 50, 13), to show how the fruitfulness of unconditional adherence to Christ had contributed to the construction of that magnificent living building which is, precisely, the Church. This testimony, also expressed through the multiform variety of literary, architectural and pictorial monuments, created in so many centuries, is an eloquent vestige of the countless "unknown militants" of God's great cause. The community of the faithful cannot allow this rich spiritual heritage to be lost.

I am pleased to recall in this regard what my Predecessor, St Damasus, whose liturgical commemoration we are celebrating today, recommended to the faithful: he urged them to revere those places which preserved the relics of those who "Christum per astra secuti ... aetherios petiere sinus et regna piorum" (Carm. IX, PL 13, 382-383). Knowledge of the heritage of past Christian generations enables those who follow to remain faithful to the depositum received, so that the one saving and life-giving Gospel can ring out in every time and place.

The vast literary, cultural and academic activity which your praiseworthy institute has been carrying out for 75 years, as well as its intense work of conservation and making known the monuments of Christian Rome, have made valuable contributions to the Church in the liturgical, patristic, hagiographical, canonical, and theological fields, as well as in the context of sacred building.

3. If the principal purpose of the Institute of Christian Archaeology is the study of the remains of ecclesial life down the centuries, we should not forget its beneficial influence in the investigation of the traces left by other ancient cultures, which contributed to the birth and development of expressive Christian forms from its beginning. The institute's academic activity thus entered into close scientific dialogue with those who study the civilizations of the first Christian millennium, contributing further knowledge and receiving from it valuable instruction, in a relationship of cordial and fruitful osmosis. I fervently hope that the atmosphere of serene comparison of the past decades will continue and will help to develop an attitude of sincere seeking for the truth. Indeed, it is possible to attain precious scientific and human goals, overcoming a superficial attitude in the approach to events and deeds which certainly bear in the depths of their structure traces of the passions, ideals, errors and concepts of those who made them. And thanks to the freedom, honesty, perseverance and humility of today's researchers, an investigation can be undertaken which is capable of attaining ever deeper knowledge of what antiquity has bequeathed to us.

4. Next to the scientific results which are also important, your institute can likewise make a useful contribution to the knowledge and deepening of the faith. Indeed, the study of the "traces of the People of God" facilitates reflection on the contents of faith and on the lively process of their inculturation spanning many centuries. From this it can be seen that the Church is truly held up as a sign among the nations, made up of those "whom the Lord has blessed" (Is 61,9).

I offer you my best wishes that the timely celebration of the anniversary of the Institute of Christian Archaeology, an effective academic instrument which supports the work of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, may be for the young generation a cause of renewed interest in the study of the noble tradition which so many Christians have left us as a testament of their adherence to Christ.

As I wish every success to the organizers, relators and participants of this significant event, I entrust each one to Mary, Mother of the Church, and cordially impart, as a pledge of my constant good wishes, a special Apostolic Blessing to you, venerable Brother, to the Prelates, to the scholars and to all who will be taking part in the commemorative event.

From the Vatican, 11 December 2000, memorial of Pope St Damasus.




Thursday, 14 December 2000

Your Excellencies,

1. It is with pleasure that I welcome you to the Vatican to receive the Letters of Credence by which you are accredited as the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your respective countries: Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Cyprus, India, Eritrea and Chad. I am grateful for the greetings which you bring from your countries’ Heads of State and Governments, and I ask you to convey my own good wishes and the assurance of my prayers for the peace and prosperity of your peoples.

We are approaching the end of the Year of the Great Jubilee, during which it has been my wish to awaken the consciences of Christians and all people of good will to the importance of beginning the new millennium with a fresh commitment to the construction of a transformed world, a world more solidly founded on fundamental human and moral values. We must hope that those responsible for the destiny of peoples will work untiringly for better relations between individuals, regions and countries, with special attention to the needs of the weakest families, societies and cultures. This is the only way to establish a society characterized by solidarity and the will to live together in harmony.

2. In this regard, I wish to invite the Heads of Government, civil and religious authorities, and all who are engaged in the field of education to be builders of a genuine culture of peace. As could be seen among the young people who attended the World Youth Day here in Rome in August of this year, the young especially desire to see the day when peace will reign on earth. We must not disappoint them. It is our responsibility not to leave them a world in which basic human rights are too often disregarded and tensions often turn into open conflict. An essential step in this direction is to ensure that all children and young people can receive the schooling they need in order to mature into responsible citizens. Such an education will help them to acknowledge and respect laws whose basis is found in the principles of the natural law, and to grow in an attitude of openness to others, including those who are very different in their beliefs and ways.

As the new year approaches, peace is a matter of urgent international concern. In this regard, it is appropriate to reflect on the efforts of international and supra-national institutions to find new ways of organizing economic and social realities, of promoting dialogue and agreement, of resolving conflicts, especially those conflicts which have already been going on for a long time, bringing famine, poverty, disease and the displacement of peoples. We can all rejoice in the most recent accord between the Eritrean and Ethiopian Governments, trusting that it will open the door to a new period of calm and relief in that troubled part of Africa.

3. Your experience teaches you the significance of diplomacy as a means of overcoming the crises affecting many countries across the world, and the importance of a diplomacy of proximity in support of local negotiations. Diplomacy contributes to the democratic processes which enable citizens to play a real part in the development of their own countries. It assists parties in finding the steps which lead to progress in negotiations, and gives new hope to people as they seek better standards of living for themselves and their children. Through the wise use of diplomatic skills and engagement, the aspirations of individuals are realized, and it becomes possible for them to lead full personal and family lives, and to take on their responsibilities in society. In this sense you each have a magnificent opportunity to be authentic builders of justice, peace and harmony in the world.

As you begin your duties as the diplomatic representatives of your countries to the Holy See I offer you my cordial good wishes. I ask the Almighty to bless you and the members of your families, as well as your colleagues and the peoples of the countries you represent. May the commitments you are undertaking bear fruit for the benefit of all.




Thursday, 14 December 2000

Mr Ambassador,

As you present the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Holy See I offer you good wishes and welcome you to the Vatican. This occasion, as well as the cordial meeting which I had three months ago with your President, His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, rekindle the memories of my Pastoral Visit to your country in 1998: the people of Nigeria remain dear to me and ever close to my heart. I ask you to convey to President Obasanjo my greetings and the assurance of my prayers for the nation, especially at this time when there have been tensions and fresh outbreaks of violence in different parts of the country.

Indeed, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is facing a very delicate and even critical moment in its history. The transition from military rule to a democratically elected government was made more than a year ago, yet, as Your Excellency has observed, the challenges remain daunting. The individual peoples and States continue to struggle with various problems, both old and new: ethnic rivalries and religious antagonism, erupting in violent clashes which have already claimed many lives, represent a major obstacle to the continuing development and well-being of Nigeria; corruption, sometimes rampant, at various levels of public administration further compounds the difficulties of an already preoccupying situation. These difficulties pose serious threats to progress along the path of national unity and solidarity, and the country’s social equilibrium itself is placed at risk.

The present moment therefore presents an urgent call to all Nigerians to work together to rid society of everything that offends the dignity of the human person or violates human rights. This means reconciling differences, overcoming ethnic strife, and injecting honesty, efficiency and competence into all aspects of life in society. In the Nigeria of the new millennium, there should be no place for intimidation and domination of the poor and the weak, for arbitrary exclusion of individuals and groups from political life, for the misuse of authority or the abuse of power. In fact, the key to resolving economic, political, cultural and ideological conflicts — whether in Nigeria or in Africa as a whole — is justice; and justice is not complete without commitment to a real and effective solidarity, without an attitude of humble, generous service to the common good.

It is precisely to foster such attitudes and to help peoples, states and nations to build a world ever more united in the bonds of friendship, brotherhood and solidarity that the Holy See is actively present in the international community. The Catholic Church, in fact, is a ready and eager partner with all Nigerians as they strive to bring about the conditions necessary for a more just and peaceful society. In fact, both the Church and the political community, though independent and self-governing, work for the personal and social well-being of the same human beings. For her part, the Church "contributes to the wider application of justice and charity within and between nations. By preaching the truth of the Gospel and shedding light on all areas of human activity through her teaching and the example of the faithful, she shows respect for the political freedom and responsibility of citizens and fosters these values" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gaudium et Spes GS 76).

Chief among these freedoms and responsibilities, and the cornerstone of all human rights, is freedom of religion. For this freedom is an irreplaceable component of the good of individuals and of society as a whole. I am pleased, therefore, to hear you reconfirm your Government’s commitment to work for tolerance, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect among the different religious traditions present in Nigeria. Indeed, the freedom of individuals in their quest for truth and in the corresponding profession of their religious faith must be specifically guaranteed within the juridical structure of society. That is to say, religious freedom must be recognized and confirmed by civil law as a personal and inalienable right and must be safeguarded from any kind of coercion by individuals, social groups or any human power (cf. Message for the 1988 World Day of Peace, 1). This right to freedom of religion is not just one human right among many others but is rather a most fundamental right. Its observance is a true measure of a society’s commitment to uphold and defend the dignity and rights of all its members.

It is this context of religious freedom which will enable the Catholic faithful in Nigeria to continue to cooperate with their fellow citizens in building the nation’s well-being, progress and peace. Not only does an environment of religious tolerance enable all citizens to be actively involved in national life, but it also allows the Church to continue her mission of service to all Nigerians, regardless of religious affiliation, especially in the areas of education, health care and social services.

Mr Ambassador, as you begin your mission I assure you of every cooperation and assistance as you fulfill your duties. I am confident that your efforts will serve to further strengthen the friendly relations which already exist between the Holy See and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Upon Your Excellency and all the people of your country I invoke the abundant blessing of Almighty God.




Thursday, 14 December 2000

Mr Ambassador,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today and to accept the Letters of Credence appointing you Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Malawi to the Holy See. I am grateful for the good wishes which you have brought from President Bakili Muluzi. Please convey to His Excellency my own cordial greetings, and assure him of my prayers to Almighty God for the peace and well-being of the nation.

You have suggested that this is a time of both promise and threat for Malawi. With the coming of democracy, society has made notable gains in many areas and that is a cause for satisfaction. Yet all Malawians recognize the need to strengthen still further the structures of democratic life, which are always more fragile than they seem. Unless a true sense of participation and of shared responsibility for the common good takes deep root in national life, there will always be a threat of division and violence, as people are tempted to choose force rather than dialogue as the way of organizing the political community. The recent elections to which you have referred are a hopeful sign that Malawi is moving in the right direction towards the integral development of all sectors of society. To follow this path does not mean uncritically to adopt modes of social organization which may be appropriate in other societies but inappropriate in Malawi. Your people must shape a democratic life which is truly African and which respects the genius of Malawi’s culture. But there are values common to every healthy society and every well-functioning democracy; and these point the way to the future for which the people of Malawi are now striving.

You have mentioned the daunting problems facing your country, and the Holy See shares your sense of concern. Some of the problems are not new. Malawi has long been troubled by endemic poverty which creates a situation of dependence upon donor countries. The causes are both internal and external, and any attempt to deal with the problem must also be both national and global.

Education is clearly a vital factor in a country’s development, since ignorance and poverty always conspire to undermine human dignity and the fabric of society. All education is inspired by a particular understanding of life and of the human condition. In this sense religious education plays a unique role in the educational process since it is never a mere imparting of knowledge about religion in general but reaches into the recesses of each individual’s conscience and engages each one’s inviolable right to freedom in this basic area of life. That is why the State is obliged to respect the choices which parents make with regard to the religious education of their children. It is the State’s duty to ensure their citizens’ freedom to make those choices and not to seek to limit or control them.

The Catholic Church has always dedicated considerable resources to the field of education, and this is also the case in Malawi, as you have graciously acknowledged. The education which the Church promotes looks to the integral development of the human person. Its purpose is to cultivate the intellect and develop the capacity for right judgement, to help young people to assimilate their cultural heritage and form a sense of moral and ethical values in readiness for their future professional, civic, family and national responsibilities (cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gravissimum Educationis GE 5). An all-round education seeks to develop every aspect of the individual – physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual. For there is an ecology of human growth which means that if any one of these elements is overlooked all the others suffer. This is the vision of education which ought to inspire Malawi’s leaders as they strive to raise educational levels.

You have also mentioned the health problems now facing your nation, as HIV/AIDS casts a heavy shadow upon the land. The world is looking to medical research to provide an answer to the lethal virus, and there are signs of hope on this front. But in the meantime there are vast challenges for countries like yours: to tend the sick; to care for those who survive, especially the orphans; to increase general awareness of the nature and extent of the problem; to resist the moral erosion which favours the spread of the disease; to stand guard against life-styles which aggravate that erosion; to strengthen the family in every possible way, recognizing that it is the basic unit of human society and the place where moral virtue and the culture of life must first take root. In these tasks, Malawi will always find in the Catholic Church a reliable partner. Catholic health-care has been, as you say, part of your history; and it will be no less a part of your future. Both the needs of your people and the demands of the Gospel impose this duty upon us.

Mr Ambassador, I am confident that as you fulfil your mission the cordial relations which exist between the Republic of Malawi and the Holy See will be further strengthened and enriched. I offer you my best wishes and assure you that the offices of the Holy See will always be ready to assist you. Upon Your Excellency and all the citizens of your beloved nation I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.




Thursday, 14 December 2000

Mr Ambassador,

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters of Credence by which His Excellency President Daniel T. Arap Moi has appointed you Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya to the Holy See. I am grateful for the President’s good wishes and ask you kindly to assure him of my continued prayers for the progress, peace and prosperity of your country.

You have referred to the Holy See’s efforts to promote justice and peace in the world, and it is precisely this endeavour which characterizes the Holy See’s presence in the international community. In fact, the fruitful and friendly relations existing between us are inspired by the shared conviction that the dignity and rights of the human person must be upheld and defended at all times and under all circumstances.

Your presence here today, Mr Ambassador, is a sign of your Government’s readiness to work for that justice and peace for which the peoples of Kenya — and all of Africa — so ardently long. A real commitment to these ideals is in fact a necessary prerequisite for authentic development and true progress. Thus I renew today the hope which I expressed five years ago while standing on Kenyan soil: may every citizen of your country, regardless of religion, ethnic background or social class, live in freedom and help to build a society based on unwavering respect for human dignity and human rights (cf. Address at Departure from Nairobi, 20 September 1995, 2). This is the only sure path for promoting justice and development, for combatting unemployment, for giving hope to the poor and the suffering, for resolving conflicts through dialogue, and for establishing a true and lasting solidarity between all sectors of society.

Both in Africa and throughout the world the Catholic Church is deeply committed to the struggle for integral human development, and the Holy See is very much involved in efforts to increase understanding and harmony between peoples and nations. Making world leaders ever more aware of their responsibilities in these areas and of the priorities that they must set for themselves and for their countries’ institutions is an essential element in this undertaking. Chief among these priorities is deepening people’s understanding of their personal rights and responsibilities. This is not merely a question of making knowledge and information available; it is also a matter of imparting a keen sense of responsibility for the common good, an attitude which prepares the way for enlightened participation in public affairs on the part of all sectors of society. This is the soul of social progress, the key to the future, the necessary element for truly effective programmes of development.

As is made clear by the unresolved and even increasing difficulties being experienced in many parts of Africa, not least of all in your own region of the Continent, progress is not a simple, automatic and limitless process, as though societies were able to advance endlessly towards some sort of perfection (cf. Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 27). While social and political development are necessary for achieving and maintaining peace and security within and among nations, they cannot be authentically attained without respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Each country’s good governance and development can only be the result of concerted action, especially in what concerns the defense of human dignity, the protection of human rights and the administration of justice. In the last analysis, all basic problems of justice have as their main cause the fact that the person is not sufficiently respected, taken into consideration or loved for what he or she is. People must learn or learn anew to look at one another, to listen to one another, to walk together (cf. Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 16 January 1993, 6).

In this context I wish to express once more my hope that the international community will show an ever greater preparedness to address the imbalances and injustices which are built into the structures of the global economy and which have serious repercussions for the peoples of Africa. One initiative which I have sought to bring before world opinion in this year of the Great Jubilee has been debt relief for countries such as yours; but this cannot be an isolated gesture. It must be accompanied by a more comprehensive reassessment of the ways in which the world economy functions, especially at a time when the forces of globalization are becoming increasingly powerful. The globalization process brings a promise of greater cohesion and prosperity. But there is also a danger that it will aggravate economic imbalances, leaving developing countries like your own still more seriously disadvantaged. I assure you, Mr Ambassador, that the Holy See intends to continue to do all that it can to convince world leaders and institutions that economic globalization must be accompanied and "humanized" by "the globalization of solidarity". Without this it is unlikely that we shall succeed in building a future worthy of humanity.

In all these various undertakings, of course, Kenya’s Catholics are eager to lend their support and make their contribution to the nation’s life and development. This in fact is part of the spiritual mission which has been entrusted to the Church by her Divine Founder, and in fidelity to this mission she seeks to serve all people, especially those most in need. Their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ impels Christians to respond to the cry of the uneducated, the sick, the suffering and the marginalized. In cooperation with their fellow citizens, the members of the Catholic community will continue their efforts in the service of the common good, and I thank Your Excellency for your recognition of the work of the Catholic Church in Kenya and of her positive influence on society.

Speeches 2000 - Saturday, 9 December 2000