Speeches 2000 - Thursday, 7 September 2000

Mr Ambassador, I am confident that your mission will further strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation already existing between Egypt and the Holy See, and that those bonds will bear fruit in serving the great cause of peace. Upon you, your family and all the people of your beloved nation I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.



Friday, 8 September 2000

1. I welcome and greet you all with great joy dear abbots, conventual priors and administrators of the Order of St Benedict, on the occasion of your Congress which you are holding here in Rome this Jubilee Year. In expressing my gratitude to Abbot Marcel Rooney for his work in these years, I offer my congratulations to the new Abbot Primate, Dom Notker Wolf, whom I thank for his words to me on everyone's behalf. I also greet the group of abbesses, representing their sisters of every part of the world.

This meeting with the Bishop of Rome is part of your rich and intense Jubilee pilgrimage, and sheds a clear light on its spiritual and ecclesial significance. I am thinking at this time of my glorious Predecessor, St Gregory the Great, on whose anniversary your assembly began, and I thank God with you for the great gift which the sons and daughters of St Benedict were and are in the Church and for the Church.

You have passed through the Holy Door of the major basilicas, bringing your communities with you in spirit. This is, above all, a praiseworthy witness of faith on your part. At the same time it becomes a symbol of the profound meaning of your meeting: in the Holy Year 2000, the Benedictine Order throughout the world wants to pass through Christ, to enter with him and in him into the new millennium, holding tightly to the Gospel, the Word of salvation for people of every epoch and culture.

2. In East and West, monastic life is a patrimony of priceless value for the Church. In the Post-Synodal Exhortation Vita consecrata, I wrote: "In the heart of the Church ... monasteries have been and continue to be eloquent signs of communion, welcoming abodes for those seeking God and the things of the spirit, schools of faith and true places of study, dialogue and culture for the building up of the life of the Church and of the earthly city itself, in expectation of the heavenly city" (n. 6).

Western monasticism was inspired above all by St Benedict and his Rule, which has formed generations of men and women, called to leave the world to dedicate themselves entirely to God, putting the love of Christ at the centre and above all things (cf. Rule, 4, 21 and 72, 11).

With the power of this mission, the Benedictine Order has not ceased to contribute to the Church's apostolic activity. With this same power, it works for the new evangelization. This is witnessed by those young people and adults, Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers, who find in you and in your monasteries reference-points like wells from which to draw the "living water" of Christ, which alone can quench men's thirst. And how can I not stress that it is characteristic of many of your houses today to be on the "frontier of Christianity", in places where the Christian religion is a minority? Sometimes the testimony of certain members of the Benedictine Order has been crowned with martyrdom. In spite of this, you stay on in those lands, fearing neither dangers nor difficulties. In carrying out an important ecumenical activity and patient interreligious dialogue, you offer a precious service to the Gospel. Witness that God alone is enough.

3. Yes, God alone, Christ alone is "the life of the soul". These words recall the title of a well known book by your venerable confrčre, Columba Marmion, whom I had the joy of adding to the list of blesseds last Sunday. The life and deeds of the great Abbot of Maredsous left a deep mark on 20th-century spirituality, in perfect harmony with the path of authentic ecclesial renewal, crowned by the Second Vatican Council. You have chosen to set out on this path, following the shining examples of Bl. Columba Marmion, as well as of Bl. Dusmet of Catania and Bl. Schuster of Milan, faithful sons of St Benedict.

As well as being a Jubilee pilgrimage, your congress, in this regard, is an important moment for reflection and confrontation on the threshold of the new millennium. As superiors of the Order, you propose to consider the abbot's role in the community. You further intend to examine the monastery's mission in the contemporary world, through listening and in an exchange of rich and varied experiences.

4. In this respect, as Pastor of the Church in a world in which dispersive activities are increasing and there is sometimes a risk of losing the sense of living and dying, I would like to recall - knowing full well that you are masters of this - the primacy of interiority. To avoid losing his way, contemporary man needs more than ever to rediscover God and to rediscover himself in God. This is possible only when the heart listens to the Lord in silence and in prolonged contemplation, in the encounter, that is, with the "one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1Tm 2,5).

This prompts my wishes for you, which I accompany with the assurance of my special remembrance at the altar. Dear friends, be eloquent signs of the validity of monastic life for our contemporaries. This is the first form of consecrated life that appeared in the Church, and that, down the centuries, continues to remain a gift for everyone. Tirelessly contemplate the mystery of God and offer your lives "ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus".

I entrust these wishes to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, whose Nativity we are celebrating today. As our good Mother, may she protect you at your every step. I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, asking you to convey it to your communities.


Saturday, 9 September 2000

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to meet you and joyfully greet you all. This meeting takes place on the day dedicated to the memory of St Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest, an apostle among the deported blacks and a model for those who today are doing their utmost to alleviate the conditions of the suffering. In the spirit of the Jubilee, his example helps us understand one of the commitments that stem from this fundamental event, attention to all who are forced by circumstances to abandon their country and suffer the outrage of those who exploit the poverty of others.

May this spirit, the true spirit of the Jubilee that we are celebrating, imbue the life of our Christian communities and enliven every activity of the diocesan Churches. Two thousand years after his birth, we are celebrating Christ and contemplating him in the mystery of his Incarnation. He appears to us as the true source of salvation for the world and for every human being. Human happenings consist in the history of the encounter of the spiritual poverty of each person with the saving greatness of a God who has boundless love for his creature.

2. The response to this love must be the witness of a life that aims to configure the disciple to his Teacher. Through the individual confession and penitential celebrations that characterize the Jubilee as well as the celebration of the other sacraments, the believer takes a path of configuration to Christ.

This path is symbolically represented by the pilgrimage and passage through the Holy Door. Rightly, therefore, "the term Jubilee speaks of joy, not just of an inner joy but a jubilation which is manifested outwardly, for the coming of God is also an outward, visible, audible and tangible event, as St John makes clear (cf. 1Jn 1,1)" (Tertio millennio adveniente TMA 16 and 32). There is also joy in the forgiveness of sins, the joy of conversion.

3. With these sentiments, I cordially welcome you, dear pilgrims from the Diocese of Lucera-Troia, accompanied by your Pastor, Bishop Francesco Zerrillok and also you, pilgrims of the Diocese of Caserta. In passing through the Holy Door, I hope that you will experience the riches that God pours out during the Jubilee celebrations so that your hearts and your communities will be open to new life which is Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters who have come from various parishes and participants in the Relay Race of Bologna Athletes, I hope that today's pilgrimage will leave in your hearts effective signs of justice and charity. In the itinerary of the Jubilee you have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation; to nourish yourselves with the Eucharist; and to visit the memorials of the Apostles. May these be intense moments of communion with God. In returning to your communities, you will feel strengthened in your faith and spurred to do good and be charitable in your state of life and in the task to which the Lord calls you.

4. I am glad to greet the group of former students of the French Seminary of Rome. Welcome, dear Brothers in the Episcopate and the priesthood! Your presence this morning is a sign of the gratitude which, young or old, you always feel for your seminary. You can witness to the quality of its human, spiritual, doctrinal and pastoral formation. I warmly encourage those in charge of the seminary to continue their mission which is so important for the life of the Church, in the hope that the French Seminary will remain, especially for the French-speaking world, a privileged place where numerous generations of priests, called to be "heralds of the Gospel" for the new millennium, will continue to flourish. I very willingly impart a most cordial Apostolic Blessing to you all.

5. I am pleased to greet the pilgrims from the Diocese of Saint Catharines in Canada, led by their Vicar General. In this year of the Great Jubilee, you have traveled far to visit these places made holy by the blood of the martyrs. I pray that your days in Rome will give you a new and deeper experience of God's mercy, so that when you return to Canada you will bear more powerful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. Through you I send affectionate greetings to Bishop O'Mara, Bishop Fulton and all the faithful of Christ in the Diocese. May the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Catherine guard you always, and may Almighty God bless you and your families abundantly with the gift of his peace.

6. Upon everyone I invoke the motherly protection of Mary Most Holy, whose Nativity we celebrated yesterday. May the Mother of the Saviour obtain peace and serenity for all. With this wish, I gladly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you all.



Saturday 9 September 2000

Dear University Teachers,

1. I am happy to meet you in this year of grace, when Christ powerfully calls us to a stronger faith and a deep renewal of life. I thank you especially for the commitment you have shown in the spiritual and cultural gatherings which have marked these days. Looking out at you, my thoughts turn to university teachers of all Nations as well as to the students entrusted to their guidance on the path of research, a path both arduous and joyful, and I send them cordial greetings. I greet also Senator Ortensio Zecchino, Minister for Universities, who is here representing the Italian Government.

The distinguished Professors who have just spoken have allowed me to see how rich and articulate your reflection has been. I thank them most sincerely. This Jubilee gathering has been for each of you a timely moment to consider just how well the great event which we are celebrating, the Incarnation of the Word of God, has been accepted as a life-giving principle informing and transforming the whole of life.

Yes, for Christ is not a symbol of some vague religious reality, rather he is the concrete point where, in the person of the Son, God makes our humanity completely his own.With Christ, "the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face" (Fides et Ratio FR 12). This "self-emptying" of God, even to the "scandal" of the Cross (cf. Phil Ph 2,7), can seem foolishness to that reason which is enamoured of itself. In fact, this self-emptying is "the power and the wisdom of God" (1Co 1,23-24) for those who are open to the unexpectedness of his love. You are here to give witness to that.

2. The basic theme which you have considered – The University for a New Humanism – fits well with the Jubilee’s rediscovery of the centrality of Christ. In fact, the event of the Incarnation touches the very depths of humanity, it illuminates our origin and destiny and it opens us to the hope which does not disappoint. As men and women of learning, you never cease to enquire into the value of the human person. Each of you could say, with the ancient philosopher: "I am searching for man"!

Among the many responses given to this fundamental quest, you have accepted that given by Christ, a response which emerges from his words but which is seen even before shining brightly on his face. Ecce homo: Behold the man! (Jn 19,5) In showing Christ’s battered face to the frenzied crowd, Pilate did not imagine that he would, in a sense, speak a word of revelation. Unwittingly, he pointed out to the world the One in whom all human beings can recognize their origin, and in whom all can hope to find their salvation. Redemptor hominis: this is the image of Christ which, from my first Encyclical, I have sought to "shout" to the world, and which this Jubilee year seeks to propose anew to human minds and hearts.

3. Drawing your inspiration from Christ, who reveals man to himself (cf. Gaudium et Spes GS 22), you have chosen in the meetings of these days to reaffirm the need for a university culture which is genuinely "humanistic", in the sense — primarily — that culture must correspond to the human person and overcome the temptation to a knowledge which yields to pragmatism or which loses itself in the endless meanderings of erudition. Such knowledge is incapable of giving meaning to life.

That is why you have emphasized that there is no contradiction, but rather a logical connection, between freedom of research and recognition of truth. It is to truth that all research looks, albeit with the limitations and fatigue of human thought. This is an aspect which needs to be underlined, lest we succumb to the climate of relativism to which a large part of today’s culture falls prey. The reality is that if culture is not directed towards truth, which must be sought both humbly and confidently, it is doomed to disappear into the ephemeral, losing itself to the instability of opinion, and perhaps giving itself over to the domineering will — though often disguised — of the strongest.

A culture without truth does not safeguard freedom but puts it at risk. I have said this on a number of occasions: "The demands of truth and morality neither degrade nor abolish our freedom, but on the contrary enable freedom to exist and liberate it from its own inherent threats" (Discorso al Convegno ecclesiale di Palermo, in Insegnamenti, XVIII, 2, 1995, p. 1198). In this sense, the words of Christ remain decisive: "The truth will set you free" (Jn 8,32).

4. Rooted in the perspective of truth, Christian humanism implies first of all an openness to the Transcendent. It is here that we find the truth and the grandeur of the human person, the only creature in the visible world capable of self-awareness and recognizing that he is surrounded by that supreme Mystery which both reason and faith call God. What is needed is a humanism in which the perspectives of science and faith no longer seem to be in conflict.

Yet we cannot be satisfied with an ambiguous reconciliation of the kind favoured by a culture which doubts the very ability of reason to arrive at the truth. This path runs the risk of misconstruing faith by reducing it to a feeling, to emotion, to art: in the end stripping faith of all critical foundation. But this would not be Christian faith, which demands instead a reasonable and responsible acceptance of all that God has revealed in Christ. Faith does not sprout from the ashes of reason! I strongly encourage all of you, men and women of the University, to spare no effort in rebuilding that aspect of learning which is open to Truth and the Absolute.

5. Let it be clear, however, that this "vertical" dimension of learning does not imply any kind of closing in on itself; on the contrary, by its very nature it opens out to the dimensions of all creation. And how could it be otherwise? In acknowledging the Creator, mankind recognizes the value of creatures. In opening themselves to the Word made flesh, people also accept all the things that have been made in him (cf. Jn Jn 1,3) and that have been redeemed by him. We must, therefore, rediscover the original and eschatological meaning of Creation, respecting all its intrinsic requirements, but also enjoying it in terms of freedom, responsibility, creativity, joy, "rest" and contemplation. As a splendid passage from the Second Vatican Council reminds us, "enjoying creatures in poverty and freedom of spirit, [man] is led to possess the world in truth, as if at one and the same time he has nothing and possesses everything. ‘All is yours: but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God’ (1Co 3,22-23)" (Gaudium et Spes GS 37).

Today the most attentive epistemological reflection recognizes the need for the human and natural sciences to enter into dialogue once again, so that learning may recover the sense of a profoundly unified inspiration. Scientific and technological progress in our day puts into human hands possibilities which are both magnificent and frightening. A recognition of the limits of science, in the consideration of moral demands, is not obscurantism but is the guarantee that research will be worthy of the human person and put at the service of life.

You, my dear friends who are involved in scientific research, must make universities "cultural laboratories" in which theology, philosophy, human sciences and natural sciences may engage in constructive dialogue, looking to the moral law as an intrinsic requirement of research and a condition for its full value in seeking out the truth.

6. Knowledge enlightened by faith, far from abandoning areas of daily life, invests them with all the strength of hope and prophecy. The humanism which we desire advocates a vision of society centred on the human person and his inalienable rights, on the values of justice and peace, on a correct relationship between individuals, society and the State, on the logic of solidarity and subsidiarity. It is a humanism capable of giving a soul to economic progress itself, so that it may be directed to "the promotion of each individual and of the whole person" (cf. Populorum Progressio PP 14 and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 30).

In particular, it is urgent for us to work to ensure that the true sense of democracy, an authentic achievement of culture, is fully safeguarded. In this regard, worrisome trends have emerged, as when democracy is reduced to a purely procedural matter, or when it is thought that the will of the majority is sufficient of itself to determine the moral acceptability of a law. In reality, "the value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes . . . The basis of these values cannot be provisional and changeable ‘majority’ opinions, but only the acknowledgement of an objective moral law which, as the ‘natural law’ written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself" (Evangelium Vitae EV 70).

7. Dear friends, the University too, no less than other institutions, is experiencing the trials of the present time. Nevertheless it makes an irreplaceable contribution to culture, provided that it does not lose its original character of being an institution dedicated to research and at the same time to a vital formative — I would even say "educational" — function for the benefit especially of young generations. This function must be placed at the centre of reforms and adaptations which may prove necessary for this ancient institution to remain in step with the times.

With its humanistic aspects, Christian faith can make an original contribution to the life of the University and to its educational task, to the extent that Christian witness is borne by energetic thought and coherency of life, in a critical and constructive dialogue with those who promote a different vision. It is my hope that this perspective will be further developed in the worldwide meetings which will soon see the involvement of rectors, administrative directors of universities, university chaplains, and students themselves in their international "forum".

8. Distinguished teachers! On the Gospel is founded an understanding of the world and of the human person which does not cease to unleash cultural, humanistic and ethical values for a correct vision of life and of history. Be profoundly convinced of this, and make it a gauge of your commitment.

The Church, which historically has played a primary role in the actual birth of Universities, continues to look upon them with deep fondness, and from you she expects a decisive contribution so that this institution will enter into the new Millennium having fully rediscovered itself as a place in which openness to knowledge, passion for truth, and interest in the future of humanity may develop in a noteworthy way. May this Jubilee meeting place its indelible mark within each of you and inspire you with new strength for this demanding task.

With this desire, in the name of Christ, the Lord of history and the Redeemer of mankind, I bless you all with great affection.


Monday, 11 September 2000

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend a cordial welcome to all of you during the celebrations in Rome of the Jubilee of Universities, who represent - in such a numerous group - the community of the Jagiellonian University. I greet the distinguished professors led by the rector. I also greet the students and representatives of the administrative staff present.

As I think of the Jagiellonian University, my mind is stirred by memories - far off, even from before the war, and recent ones, such as, for example, the memory of our meeting at the Collegiate Church of St Anne and the Collegium Maius in 1997. The faces of the professors and students, who formed and form this university's past and present history, flash before my eyes. This reminiscing is especially justified by the fact that we are still living the spirit of the celebrations for the 600th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University and of the renewal of the Alma Mater of Kraków.

Today, however, as we meet in the context of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, it is necessary - preserving a vivid memory of this 600-year-old history - to reflect on the present in the perspective of the future. It seems a favourable moment - between the two millennia - to think about the role and tasks of this university, which has always given tone to the growth of knowledge and culture in Poland.

To a certain extent, I already attempted a reflection of this kind at our meeting in 1997. Starting precisely with the name Alma Mater, I said then that the duty of an academic institution is in a certain sense: to give birth to souls for the sake of knowledge and wisdom, to shape minds and hearts. This task cannot be achieved other than through a generous service to the truth - revealing it and passing it on to others. I also said that this service to the truth is carried out in the social dimension as a service of thought, that is, the effort at an analysis of the reality of this world, which always refers to the supreme ideal of truth, goodness and beauty, and through which it can become the voice of a critical conscience with regard to all that threatens or belittles man. Of course, this mission entails special responsibility and demands an extraordinary ethical sensitivity on behalf of scholars.

Today I return to my reflection three years ago to recall the principles to which the generations which have succeeded one another at the Jagiellonian University referred. In every circumstance, and first of all in periods of danger for the homeland and the nation, these principles constituted its basis and were an inspiration in the great work of the development of this shining heritage which we remember with pride today. These norms are still timely. If the university is to be not only a place in which knowledge is transmitted but above all a temple of knowledge, we cannot abandon them.

In this context, taking into account the future of Poland and of Europe, I would like to point out the very concrete task presented to the academic institutions in Poland and to the Jagiellonian University in particular. It is to form a healthy spirit of patriotism in the nation. The Alma Mater of Kraków has always been an environment in which broad openness to the world was in harmony with a deep sense of the national identity. Here there has always been a lively knowledge that our homeland is a patrimony which does not only include a certain reserve of material goods in a given territory but, above all, is a treasure, the only one of its kind, of values and spiritual content, that is, of all that constitutes the nation's culture. One after another, generations of teachers, professors and students of the university have safeguarded this treasure and helped to build it up, even at the price of great sacrifices. In this very way they learned patriotism, that is, love of what belongs to the homeland, of what is the fruit of their forebears' genius and of what distinguishes one people from the others and, at the same time, is a place of encounter and creative exchange in the dimension of the human race.

Today it seems that while we observe the process of unification of the nations of Europe, which gives rise to hope but is not without danger, the Jagiellonian University should assume this tradition with particular zeal. As an exceptional environment where the nation's culture is formed, may it be a place for the formation of a patriotic spirit - of love for the homeland, which safeguards its welfare but does not close its doors; rather, may it build bridges to increase this good by sharing it with others. Poland needs enlightened patriots who are capable of sacrifices for love of their homeland and, at the same time, prepared for a creative exchange of spiritual goods with the nations of a Europe in the process of unification.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you have come here as pilgrims of the Jubilee Year, as those who believe in the infinite love of God, who for us and for our salvation became man, died and rose again. I pray to God that your stay in the Eternal City will be a special time of consolidation in this faith. May his light lead you and inspire you in your efforts to seek the truth, to increase goodness and to create beauty.

With this prayer, I also embrace the representatives of the Catholic University of Lublin. I am pleased that you have come here and, with your presence, may you confer an intercollegiate character on this meeting. It is true that my speech was directly addressed to the Jagiellonian University, but in its essential content it can also refer to the Catholic University of Lublin and to all of Poland's academic institutions. I ask you to take back to them my cordial greeting. God bless you all.



Thursday, 14 September 2000

1. "Rejoice, Holy Church, for today Christ, King of heaven, has crowned you with his Cross and adorned your walls with the splendour of his glory".

Your liturgy sings these words on many occasions, dear brothers and sisters of the Armenian people who have come here to celebrate your Jubilee. The Bishop of Rome extends his cordial greeting to you all and gives you a fatherly embrace.

I exchange a holy kiss of brotherhood with His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia for Armenian Catholics, and the Bishops who accompany him. On this happy occasion, I express my best wishes for the Synod which in a few days will begin in this city of Rome. I greet the priests, the religious and all the lay people who have come for this meeting and for today's celebration.

"Today Christ has crowned you with his Cross". Supreme shame, ignoble torture, the cross of the condemned has become a crown of glory. We exalt and venerate what was the despicable sign of abandonment and shame for everyone. How is this paradox possible? The hymn you will sing in this evening's Office explains it to us: "You were hung on this holy Cross, O God, and you spilled your precious blood upon it". Our salvation originates in Christ's total humiliation.

"I, when I am lifted up from the earth", he said, "I will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12,32).

The power that triumphs over death is born of the inexpressible pain of love, and the Spirit, sent into the world by the crucified One, restores the rich foliage of the earthly paradise to the withered tree of humanity.

Humanity is astounded by this mystery; it can only kneel and adore the divine plan of our liberation.

2. Brothers and sisters, a few months ago the celebrations of the 1,700th anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian people began. With this act, accomplished by your ancestors, the holy waters of redemption have brought forth new seeds of life and prosperity among the thorns and thistles that the earth had produced as a consequence of our first parents' sin. This Jubilee of the universal Church opens your Jubilee, in a wonderful continuity of spirit and theological content: from the Cross, from the side of the crucified Lord, flowed the water of your Baptism. May this anniversary be the opportunity for a precious renewal, for rediscovered hope, and for deep communion among all believers in Christ.

The Armenian people know the Cross well: they bear it engraved upon their hearts. It is the symbol of their identity, of the tragedies of their history and of the glory of their recovery after every adverse event. In all epochs, the blood of your martyrs has mingled with that of the crucified One.

Whole generations of Armenians have not hesitated to give their lives in order not to deny the faith which, as one of your historians says, belongs to you as the colour belongs to your skin.

The crosses with which your land is strewn are of bare stone, just as human pain is bare; at the same time they are carved with elegant volutes, to show that the whole world is sanctified by the Cross, that pain is redeemed. This evening you will bless the four cardinal points with the Cross, to recall that this poor instrument of torture has become the measure of the world's judgement, a cosmic symbol of the blessing of God, which sanctifies all things and makes all things fruitful.

3. May this blessing reach your regions and bring them serenity and trust! I pray to the crucified One first of all for your communities in Armenia: there, new and serious forms of poverty are putting your brothers and sisters to the test, giving rise to the temptation of new exoduses to seek elsewhere the means to live and assure safety to their families. Your people are asking for bread and justice, asking politics to be what they should be by their profound vocation: the honest and disinterested service of the common good, the struggle to enable the poorest and the most forsaken, always clothed in spite of all in the indelible dignity of every child of God, to live a dignified and human life. Do not abandon your suffering brethren: today, more than ever, may Armenians across the world who, through their hard work, have achieved financial and social security, take charge of their compatriots in a common effort for rebirth!

Today the Pope wants to carry with you the cross of those who suffer. He reminds you that in privations and daily suffering your gaze must be raised to the Cross, from which salvation continues to come. The Gospel is not only a comfort, it is also an incitement to live to the full the values which restore dignity to civil life, uprooting from the depths of the human heart the temptation of violence and injustice, of the exploitation of the lowly and the poor by the powerful and the rich. It is only by putting Christ the Lord at the centre of life that society will be just and that the selfishness of the few will give way to the good of all.

In addition to the Catholics, my remembrance and my greeting are extended to the children of the Armenian Apostolic Church: may they rest assured that the Pope of Rome is following with concern their efforts to be "the salt of the earth and the light of the world", so that the world will believe and find the strength to hope and to fight. The Catholic Church intends to uphold this effort as though it were her own, in the love which unites us all in Christ.

4. Dear friends, I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you here, upon all your loved ones, upon the entire Armenian people and particularly upon the sick, the elderly and all who are suffering in body and in soul.

Today I will be with you in spirit during your pilgrimage of faith which is a fundamental dimension of the Jubilee. The pilgrimage reminds us that our being is on the way towards the fullness of the kingdom, which will be given to us when, with grateful wonder, we will see the Lord of the ages come again in glory, still bearing on his Body the marks of the Passion: "per Crucem ad gloriam".

Do not forget to pray for me too, so that the Lord will guide my steps on the path of peace!
I cordially impart my Blessing to everyone!

Speeches 2000 - Thursday, 7 September 2000