Speeches 2001 - Thursday, 23 August 2001

I note with joy that at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, as if to prolong its spirit in connection with the ancient privilege granted by St Celestine V, you have established this prize to be awarded annually to a person who has distinguished himself in promoting peace, reconciliation and solidarity. Indeed, Pietro Angelerio, the holy hermit of Morrone, was inspired by these values 700 years ago. He became Pope in a turbulent period in the Church's history, and, as one reads in the regulations for establishing this prize, he linked inseparably to the beloved Abbey of Collemaggio, the gift of a plenary indulgence, which could be enjoyed by all Christians, "respecting the simple rule of a threefold reconciliation: with the Creator, with creatures and with themselves" (art. 2).

2. The "Perdonanza" Prize contains a message in perfect harmony with the courageous commitment to spiritual renewal to which the Church is called at the beginning of the third millennium. The Indulgence, granted by Celestine V "universis Christi fidelibus", actually proposed to the Christians of that time, who were marked by deep differences, the remedy of humble and sincere conversion to Christ. Is not this also the right "treatment" for Christians of today, often troubled by equally serious disagreements?

The "Perdonanza" has not only a religious but also a cultural and social content, which the prize you have founded properly emphasizes. It reminds the people of our day, who are longing for justice and solidarity, love and peace, that without a sound reference to God it is impossible to recover those lofty moral values that are valid everywhere.

3. Therefore, in receiving this recognition, I express the wish that your initiative will help keep alive the memory of St Celestine, shedding light on his spiritual teaching with its practical social implications. May it contribute to spreading and consolidating an authentic culture of peace and solidarity, the fruit of a true and stable reconciliation "with the Creator, with creatures and with themselves".

With these wishes, as I invoke the intercession of Mary Assumed into Heaven, venerated in the basilica of Collemaggio, Aquila, of St John the Baptist and of St Celestine V, I willingly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to those present, to your loved ones and to the entire community of Aquila.




Saturday, 25 August 2001

"When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman..." (Ga 4,4). This saving mystery, in which God has assigned to the woman Mary of Nazareth, a role that cannot be replaced, is continually made present in the Eucharist. When we celebrate Mass, in our midst is Mary Mother of the Son of God and she introduces us into the mystery of His Offering of redemption. In this way she becomes Mediatrix of the graces that flow for the Church and the faithful from this Offering.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the liturgical commemoration of Our Lady of Czestochowa. My thought goes to Jasna Góra, where for centuries the Black Madonna is venerated as the Mother and Queen of the Polish people. Again I entrust to her protection our country and all its citizens.

The memory of Our Lady of Czestochowa brings to mind the personality of her devoted servant, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. This year the Church in Poland solemnly recalls the centenary of his birth. Today I will in a particular way to participate in these celebrations, thanking God for all the good I received from the extraordinary Primate of the Millennium.

I am happy to be able to offer my thanks together with the spiritual daughters of the Secular Institute of the Auxiliaries of Our Lady of the Bright Mountain, Mother of the Church. I cordially greet you and thank you because you continue the work of your father founder.

I greet everyone present and I entrust all of you to the protection of the Madonna of Jasna Góra.



Thursday 30 August 2001

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Welcome, and my cordial greetings to you! I am pleased to receive the Rectors of the Polish schools of higher education. I thank Professor Woznicki, President of the College of Academic Rectors of the Polish Schools, for his presentation and kind words.

Our meetings belong to what has now become a tradition and, in a certain way, are a sign of the dialogue that is going on between the worlds of science and faith. It seems that the times of the attempt to set them against each other are over. Thanks to the efforts sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, in many academic and theological groups, an awareness is maturing that science and faith are not opposed to each other, but, on the contrary, need and complete each other. It seems to me this growing awareness of the need for dialogue between rational intelligence and religious experience prompted the warm reception of the Encyclical Fides et ratio. We must be grateful to God for every inspiration that moves in this direction.

2. At our meetings I have brought up questions about universities, graduate schools of advanced studies and research institutes and the crucial role they play in the life of the human person, society and humanity. My constant awareness of the outstanding role of universities and graduate schools in society is the reason why I perceive the need to pay attention to their spiritual mentality, so that they may always be an influence for great good in the world and in everyone's life. Only then will the university and higher education bring true progress, rather than danger, for human beings.

I remember that when I wrote my first Encyclical Redemptor hominis more than 20 years ago, along with my main consideration, there was the awareness of the mystery of the anxiety that people sense today. It seemed right to me to emphasize one of the sources of such anxiety: the experience of being threatened by what man produces, the result of the work of his hands and, even more so, of his mind and the energies of his will. Today, at the beginning of the third millennium, it seems that such anxiety is still widespread. Indeed, it happens all too often that what man succeeds in producing, thanks to the ever new possibilities offered by scientific theory and technology, becomes the subject of "alienation" - escaping the control of its author and turning against him if not completely, at least partially (cf. Redemptor hominis RH 15). Examples of this situation abound. It is enough to mention the innovations in the fields of physics, especially nuclear physics, or information technology, the exploration of natural resources and, lastly, experimentation in the areas of genetics and biology. Unfortunately, this also concerns branches of science that are more closely associated with the development of ideas than with technology. We know the threats that were generated by the abuse of philosophy in certain kinds of ideology in the last century. We are aware of how easy it is to use discoveries in the field of psychology against the human being, his freedom and his personal integrity. Time and time again, we are reminded of the damage to the personality - especially young people's - by literature, art or music, if they are created with an inherent hostility to man.

Humanity has reached a turning point in dealing with the results of the "alienation" of the product from its producer at personal and social levels. On the one hand, it is clear that the human person is called and equipped by his Creator to create and subdue the earth. It is also clear that accomplishing this vocation has been the motor pushing forward a development in the sectors of human life where ongoing progress does serve the common good. On the other hand, humanity is afraid that the results of the creative effort can be directed against itself and can even become the means of its own destruction.

3. Keeping in mind this twofold interrogation, we all realize that universities and research institutes play a key role as groups of learned people wishing to develop every area of life. We must then ask what spiritual mindset steers the methods used by these institutions in order to continue a constant creative process whose results will not be subject to "alienation", or turned against their own creator, the human person.

It appears that concern for the human person, for his humanity, is at the root of the aspiration of the universities for such an orientation. Regardless of the area of the research, scientific or creative work, anyone who devotes his own knowledge, ability and efforts to it, must ask himself to what extent his work makes him more human, whether it renders every aspect of human life more human or more deserving of the human person; and lastly, whether in the context of the progress he has achieved, man "is becoming truly better, that is to say, more mature spiritually, more aware of his dignity as a human person, more responsible, more open to others, especially the neediest and the weakest, and readier to give and to aid all" (Redemptor hominis RH 15).

This formulation of what science should be, understood in a broad sense, discloses the property of science as a service. In fact if science is not pursued with the motive of being a service to humanity, it can easily degenerate into an efficient financial enterprise with complete indifference to the common good, or - even worse - it can be used as a tool to dominate others or to realize the totalitarian aspirations of a few individuals and social groups. This is why mature scientists and beginning students should assess whether their legitimate wish to know more about the mysteries of knowledge can be reconciled with the basic principles of justice, solidarity, social love, and respect for the rights of the individual, people or nation.

The role of service of science not only gives rise to obligations to the human person and to society, but also, or perhaps especially, to truth itself. The scientist is not a creator of truth but its explorer. It is revealed to him to the extent that he is faithful to it. Respect for the truth obliges scientists and thinkers to do their utmost to learn more about it and, as far as possible, to be careful in presenting it to others. Of course - as the Council says, creation and society are endowed with their own laws and values which man must gradually discover and, in this regard, he must recognize the demands of the method that are proper to every science and art (Gaudium et spes GS 36). Yet we realize that the only correct way to seek the truth is to proceed according to a methodological inquiry in a truly scientific way while respecting moral norms. The honest aspiration to know the truth can never ignore what belongs to its essence: the acceptance of good and evil.

The autonomy of science ends at the admission of evil in the research, the product or the effect
Here we touch on the issue of the autonomy of science. Today, the principle of the unlimited freedom of scientific research is regularly asserted. On the one hand - as I have said - it is necessary to admit the right of sciences to apply their own methods of research, but, on the other, one cannot agree with the declaration that the province of research is subject to no restrictions. The fundamental distinction between good and evil sets up one boundary. This distinction is known by the human conscience. One can say that the autonomy of science ends where the honest conscience of the scientist admits evil - evil in method, product or effect. This is why it is so important that the universities and institutes for scientific research not be limited to imparting knowledge, but be groups of persons who form ethical consciences. The mystery of wisdom resides in the ethically formed conscience and not just in the breadth of knowledge. "Our age", as the Council says, "needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in danger if wiser men are not forthcoming" (Gaudium et spes GS 15).

4. Today much is said about globalization. It seems that this process also affects science and does not always entail a positive influence. One of the threats connected with globalization is unhealthy competition. It can seem to researchers, indeed to an entire scientific mindset, that in order to survive the competition of the world market, reflection, research and experimentation cannot be conducted only by applying just methods; these must be adjusted to predetermined goals and to the interests of public demand, even if this were to require the violation of inalienable human rights. In this perspective, the demands of truth give way to the so-called "law of the market-place". This can easily lead to silence on certain aspects of the truth or even to the manipulation of the truth, if only to make it more acceptable to public opinion. This acceptability in turn becomes sufficient proof for the validity of unjustifiable methods. In this situation it is difficult to maintain the routine norms of basic ethics. Therefore, even if the competition between scientific centres is profitable, it cannot exist at the cost of the truth, of the good or of the beautiful, at the cost of values such as human life from conception to natural death, or of natural resources. The universities and scientific centres, as well as transmitting knowledge, clearly have to teach how to distinguish honest methods of scientific research, and how to act with courage to reject what is scientifically feasible but not morally licit.

One can achieve this on the basis of a principle of prevision, that is, the capacity to anticipate the effects of human acts and to be responsible for man's situation, not only here and now, but also in the most remote corner of the world and in the indefinite future. Scientists and students alike should always learn to foresee the direction of progress and the effects on human persons that might ensue from the results of their scientific research.

5. Here are a few suggestions that are born of my concern for the human arrangement of our universities. It might be easier to fulfil these postulates if there were close collaboration and an exchange of experiences between representatives of the technical and the human sciences, including theology.There are many opportunities for contact within the framework of existing university structures. I think that meetings such as this can pave the way for new prospects of cooperation for the development of science and for the good of man and of entire societies.

If I am speaking of this, I do so because, "inspired by eschatological faith, the Church considers an essential, indissolubly united element of her mission this solicitude for man, for his humanity, for the future of people on earth, and the concern for the course set for the greatest part of development and progress, as an essential element of her mission. She finds the principle of this solicitude in Jesus Christ himself, as the Gospels witness. This is why she wishes to make it grow continually through her relationship with Christ, reading man's situation in the modern world in accordance with the most important signs of our time" (Redemptor hominis RH 15).

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your visit and for your strong desire for far-reaching collaboration to assure the development of science in Poland and throughout the world, which you show not only on these solemn occasions but also in your daily university life. You form a special group of experts which - I hope - will find its counterpart in the structures of a united Europe.

I ask you to convey my cordial greeting and the assurance of my constant remembrance in prayer to your colleagues, to the distinguished professors, to the scientific and administrative personnel and to your students. May the Holy Spirit enlighten the whole world of scientists, academics and people of culture in Poland! May God's blessing sustain you always!



Thursday 30 August 2001

1. I would like to express my warmest gratitude to those who have made it possible to preview this evening a work which is important for so many reasons. I congratulate first of all both the director, Mr Jerzy Kawalerowicz, and the producer, Mr Miroslaw Slowinski, for having produced a far-reaching work, which shows the timelessness of the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, written more than a century ago and earned him the Nobel Prize in 1905.

This new screen adaptation was prepared on the occasion of the year 2000. During the Great Jubilee, Christ walked again, in a new way, in the streets of Rome and of the whole world. And we repeated to Him the words of the Apostle Peter, quoted by St Ambrose (Serm. C. Auxentium, n. 13): "Domine, quo vadis? Lord, where are you going?" Jesus responds to us as he did then: "Venio iterum crucifigi. I am going to be crucified once more". I am going to renew my gift of salvation for mankind, at the dawn of the third millennium. This profound perspective helps us understand what the producer intends to do, to reflect upon Peter's question as directed to contemporary man: "Quo vadis, homo? Young man or woman, where are you going?" Are you going to meet Christ, or are you following other paths that take you far from Him and from yourself?

The question strikes us more powerfully, when we remember that the place where we are at this moment is precisely the place where, 2,000 years ago, the facts narrated by the novel and film, Quo vadis, took place. In fact, we are in the area of Nero's Circus, where many Christians were martyred, including St Peter. A silent witness of those tragic and glorious events is the obelisk, the same obelisk which was then located in the middle of the Circus and which, in the 16th century, was erected in the middle of St Peter's Square, heart of the Catholic world. On top of the obelisk, is enthroned the Cross, to remind us that heaven and earth will pass away, with its empires and human kingdoms, but Christ will never pass away: He is the same: yesterday, today and for ever.

2. Heartfelt thanks for this special evening go to everyone present, and above all, to those who produced the film: to the director, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, to the excellent actors and to those who in any way contributed to the production of this work of art.

The critics will offer their artistic evaluation of the film. I only want to thank you for the careful way in which you produced it - you respected Sienkiewicz's masterpiece, but, above all, you respected the Christian tradition from which it is drawn. We cannot understand the way the film presents the Church and Christian spirituality if we do not return to the religious events that involved the men and women who, in their enthusiasm for the "Good News" of Jesus Christ, became his witnesses (martyrs). We must return to the drama which they experienced in their souls, in which they confronted, face to face, human fear and superhuman courage, the desire to live and the will to be faithful until death, the sense of solitude before unfeeling hatred and the experience of the power that flows from the close, invisible presence of God and of the common faith of the early Church.

We need to return to that drama so that the question can arise: does something of that drama take place in me? The film Quo vadis makes it possible for us to return to this moving tradition of persecution and helps us to find ourselves in it. Once more, I thank you all.

3. Once again, I thank those who have offered and organized this evening's premiere, and I impart to you all and to those dear to you a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.

September 2001




To my Venerable Brother
Cardinal Walter Kasper
President of the Pontifical Council
for Promoting Christian Unity

This year too, venerable Brother, I am glad to convey through you my affectionate greeting to the participants in the Seventh Inter-Christian Symposium on the theme: "Soteriological perspectives in the Eastern and Western traditions". It has been organized in the city of Reggio Calabria by the Institute for Spirituality of the Pontifical Athenaeum "Antonianum" of Rome and by the Theological Faculty of Aristotle University in Thessalonika, Greece.

I have already had occasion in the past to stress the importance of this project of two institutes, one Catholic and one Orthodox, that meet regularly to reflect on their common Christian heritage, with a view to serving the people of our time and to helping, as far as possible, with prayer, study and comparison of theologies, to make straight the way towards the full unity of believers in Christ. It is therefore particularly useful to know about one another much better, in order to verify convergences and complementarity in the field of theology and to intensify dialogue on questions of common interest, guided by Sacred Scripture and by the Tradition.

At this time, I fondly recall my meeting last May with His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. Together we declared "We firmly believe that in all their manifestations relations among Christians must be marked by honesty, prudence and knowledge of the problems" (Common Declaration, n. 2). May the Lord guide our steps on the path of Truth and Love. May there be increased opportunities for dialogue and fraternal reflection among Christians, so that we may attain as soon as possible that full unity for which the Lord prayed during the last moments of his earthly life.

The theme chosen for the symposium this year touches on an essential aspect of the Gospel proclamation: redemption, brought about by Christ with his Death and Resurrection, the redemption of man, created to share in the very life of God, as St Athanasius says in his famous words: "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God" (De Incarnatione, n. 54).

As we look towards the new millennium that has opened before us, filled with hope, how can we not be reminded of the providential reality of the immense gift of God, lavished upon us in Christ, our Redeemer? In my recent Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, I recalled that in every ecclesial activity we should "reflect an essential principle of the Christian view of life: the primacy of grace" (n. 38), that freely given favour, in other words, which God grants to men and women so that they may respond to their vocation as children of God, entering into the intimacy of Trinitarian life to participate in the life of God (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, CEC 1996-1997).

Consequently, the topic you are addressing during these days is an important one: without a doubt, deep examination of it and reflection on its evolution in the East and in the West will be a precious opportunity to grasp all its richness.

I am sure that intense prayer will accompany the work of the symposium and will help you in your research, along with a sincere will for understanding and reciprocal fraternal charity.
I, for my part, assure you of my remembrance in prayer as with affection I invoke the Lord's Blessing upon the organizers, the presenters and all the participants.

From Castel Gandolfo, 10 August 2001.






To Cardinal Roger Etchegaray

President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Through you, I am pleased to address my cordial greeting to the distinguished representatives of the great world religions who this year are meeting in Barcelona for the 15th International Meeting of Prayers for Peace on the theme: "On the frontiers of dialogue: religions and cultures in the new century".

The meeting is an important landmark, not only because this is its 15th celebration, but because with it you would like to point out the way into this new time. Not only the discussions and reflections that you have had during these days but above all your presence is showing the world how good it is to start the 21st century not with disagreements but with a shared vision: the dream of the unity of the human family.

I made this dream my own in October 1986, when I invited my Christian brethren and the leaders of the great world religions to Assisi to pray for peace: together and no longer against one another. Indeed, I wanted everyone, young and old, women and men, in a world still divided into two blocs and conditioned by the fear of nuclear war, to feel called to build a future of peace and prosperity. I had as it were a great vision before my eyes: all the peoples of the world walking from different parts of the earth to gather before the one God as a single family. On that memorable evening, in the town of St Francis' birth, my dream came true: it was the first time that representatives of the world's different religions had gathered together.

Fifteen years have passed since then. I make the most of this opportunity to express deep gratitude to the Community of Sant'Egidio for supporting that initiative and for following it up, promoting it with hope, year after year, so that efforts for peace may be pursued without weakening even in the midst of great misfortunes. These days are spent in an atmosphere of brotherhood which I chose to call the "spirit of Assisi". In recent years a deep friendship has developed that has spread to many parts of the world and produced abundant fruits of peace. Through prayer and reflection, many religious figures have joined those who were the first to come here. Even non-believers, honestly seeking the truth, participated with dialogue at those meetings and found them a great help.

I thank God, who is rich in mercy and grace, for the headway we have made in these years. I congratulate you all on this project. The men and women of the world see how you have learned to be together and to pray, each of you in accordance with his own religious tradition, without confusion and in mutual respect, keeping your own beliefs sound and intact. In a society in which people of different religions live side by side, this meeting is a sign of peace. Everyone can see how, in this spirit, peace among peoples is no longer a distant utopia.

I then dare to state that these meetings have come to be a "sign of the times", as Bl. John XXIII, of venerable memory, would have said. A fitting sign for the 21st century and for the third millennium, increasingly marked by cultural and religious pluralism, so that from the very first their future may be enlightened by fraternal dialogue and thus open to peaceful encounter. You visibly demonstrate how to overcome one of the most sensitive and urgent boundaries of our time. It is obvious that interreligious dialogue is not only important in "warding off the dread spectre of those wars of religion which have so often bloodied human history"(Novo Millennio ineunte, NM 55), but also and above all it establishes a sure basis for peace. All of us, as believers, have a serious and exciting task: "The name of the one God must become increasingly what it is: a name of peace and a summons to peace" (ibid.).

You have gathered in this Catalonian city that is so dear to me, which looks out over the Mediterranean and beyond, towards wider horizons. On this occasion I extend a fraternal greeting to the Archidocese of Barcelona and to its distinguished Archbishop, Cardinal María Carles Gordň, for taking part in the organization of this meeting. I likewise offer my respectful greeting to the Generalitat of Catalonia, and to its President, to the municipality of Barcelona and to its mayor, wo have made this praiseworthy initiative possible.

Together, dear brothers and sisters, "we must put out into the deep" in ecumenical dialogue. May the third millennium be the one of unity around the one Lord: Jesus Christ. We can no longer tolerate the scandal of division: it is a repeated "no" to God's love. Let us give voice to the strength of the love he has shown us, so that we may dare to walk together.

With you, dear representatives of the great world religions, we must also "put out into the deep", into the great ocean of this world, to help everyone to look up and direct their gaze to the one God and Father of all the earth's peoples. Let us recognize that differences do not drive us to conflict but to respect, loyal collaboration and the building of peace. We must stake everything on dialogue and love as the only paths that will enable us to respect the rights of each person and face the great challenges of the new millennium.

From the Vatican, 28 August, the Feast of St Augustine




Monday 3 September 2001

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. With great joy I welcome you, collaborators of MISSIO Aachen, who in these days are making your pilgrimage to Rome. I especially greet your President, Fr Hermann Schalück, who accompanied you in this spiritual journey to the Eternal City. Seeing you, I think of the great merits of the Pontifical Mission Society in Germany. In greeting you, I gladly make my own the words of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, to the Thessalonians: "We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Th 1,2). Yes, faith, hope and charity have made MISSIO Aachen, in the course of her history, a major contributor to the missionary Church.

2. It is clear from the program of your pilgrimage-visit to the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles that you are first of all seeking spiritual encouragement for your future work. So I take the occasion, in view of your ecclesial mission, to "remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have" (II PT 1,12).

In the modern world man runs the risk of limiting progress to the horizontal dimension. But what becomes of man if he does not also lift his mind towards the Absolute? A "new humanity" without God is destined to end quickly, as the blood-stained footprints left by the history of the ideologies and totalitarian regimes of the last century show us.

For this reason, the Christians of the third millennium, more than ever have the "wonderful and demanding task of becoming its "reflection'. This is a daunting task if we consider our human weakness, which so often renders us opaque and full of shadows. But it is a task which we can accomplish if we turn to the light of Christ and open ourselves to the grace which makes us a new creation" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 54).

3. Looking toward this horizon, toward Christ, the sun of our salvation, gives new light to discover new contours in the "signs of the times" that should be reread and evaluated: the Church has a missionary task among the peoples that she cannot renounce. Among the more urgent tasks of the missio ad gentes, belongs in fact the proclamation that the human person who is in search of freedom and meaning will find the fullness of life in the Mysterium (the Mystery) of Jesus Christ, who is the "way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14,6).

Therefore, the mission cannot be conceived only as a contribution to development, but it must, first of all, be the proclamation of the Gospel by word and deed. I express my appreciation and esteem for you, representatives of MISSIO Aachen, for always having considered your activity to be directed to spreading the faith and for wanting to keep this orientation for the future.

Certainly, the missionary Church is active on many fronts, dedicating itself to meeting material needs and freeing the oppressed, to the just defence of the goods of the earth and the defence of human rights. Nonetheless, her principal duty is another: the poor hunger not just for bread and freedom, but most of all they are starved for God. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt 4,4).

4. Thanks to the generosity of numberless faithful, the directors of MISSIO Aachen have succeeded in meeting a variety of spiritual and material needs in various missionary areas throughout the world. You have funded projects not only for the building and furnishing of churches, schools and dwellings, but also for the promotion of charity, of education and formation in order to confirm the personal dignity of all, especially of children and women. So it is important in the field of material support to pay attention to the spirit with which one gives. The generosity of the gift should always be inspired by faith and measured with the measure of love. Only then will giving be more blessed than receiving.

To collaborate in the missions means being able not just to give but to receive as well. The history of your institution shows that the Missio (the mission) succeeds if it is rooted in Communio. All the member Churches, the younger and the older, are called to give and receive in carrying out their vast mission. The Church as Communio is truly a community, that lives from the mutual exchange of its gifts, as the Second Vatican Council carefully explained: "In virtue of this catholicity each part contributes its own gifts to other parts and to the whole Church, so that the whole and each of the parts are strengthened by the common sharing of all things and by the common effort to attain to fullness in unity" (Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen gentium LG 13).

5. The number of people who have not yet heard of Jesus is even now enormous. The cultures that the mysterium of salvation has not yet renewed are vast and call for the communio of the Church with all her powers. At the beginning of the third millennium, the Church's mission is to nourish her apostolic zeal to bring the light and joy of the Good News to all who do not yet know the love of God, manifested in Jesus Christ to save all people (cf. Ti Tt 2,11 Tt 3,4).

MISSIO Aachen offers a generous and precious contribution to this ecclesial mission. Thanking God for having given us this institution, I entrust all who are linked to it by their activity, donations and prayers to the Virgin Mary that she may grant them her maternal protection. I gladly impart to you my Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 2001 - Thursday, 23 August 2001