Speeches 1979 - Puebla, Mexico







Monday, 29 January 1979

Beloved Children,

On coming to spend these moments in your midst, I wish to greet the directors of the Centre, all the sick boys and girls in this Children's Hospital, and all the children who are suffering in their homes, in any part of Mexico.

Sickness prevents you from playing with your friends; so another friend, the Pope, who thinks of you so often and prays for you, has desired to come and see you.

I also greet your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and all those who are concerned about your health and care for you with such attention and affection.

I now call on you to recite a Hail Mary to the Virgin of Guadalupe for you, who meet pain and sickness so early in your lives.

Beloved children, the Pope will continue to remember you and he takes with him your smiling greeting with open arms, leaving you his embrace and his Blessing.







Oaxaca, Mexico

Monday, 29 January 1979

Lord Archbishop,
Beloved Brothers and Sons,

Many thanks to you all for the cordial reception you have given me on my arrival at this land of Oaxaca. Many thanks, too, to the Lord Archbishop for his words of welcome.

I am overcome with emotion and grateful wonder at seeing with what affability, with what enthusiasm, you welcome me in your midst: a sign beyond all doubt that you have always felt very close in affection to the Vicar of Christ, the Pastor of the universal Church and, therefore, yours also.

At this first meeting with you, l wish only to express to you my deep respect and appreciation for this land of Oaxaca, rich in history, traditions, and religious spirit; the cradle, furthermore, of various peoples that are natives of this area who have left an indelible mark on Mexican history. Peoples and men who have bequeathed to you something that you cultivate as a real heritage: deep esteem for moral and. spiritual values.

I also greet very cordially those who were unable to come here, particularly the sick and the old. To all of them and to you, my fullest Blessing.





Cuilapan, Mexico

Monday, 29 January 1979

Beloved Brothers, Indios and Peasants,

I greet you with joy and I am grateful for your enthusiastic presence and the words of welcome you have addressed to me. I cannot find a better greeting to express to you the sentiments that now fill my heart than the sentence of St Peter, first Pope of the Church: "Peace to all of you that are in Christ". Peace to you, who form such a large group.

You, too, inhabitants of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Culiacán and those who have come from so many other parts, heirs to the blood and the culture of your noble ancestors—particularly the Mixtecs and the Zapotecs—were "called to be saints together with all those who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (l Cor 1:2).

The Son of God "dwelt among us" to make sons of God those who believe in his name (cf. Jn Jn 1,11 ff.); and he entrusted to the Church the continuation of this mission of salvation wherever there are men. So it is not surprising that one day, in the already distant sixteenth century, intrepid missionaries arrived here out of faithfulness to the Church, eager to assimilate your lifestyle and customs in order to reveal better, and give a living expression to the image of Christ. Let our grateful memory go to the first Bishop of Oaxaca, Juan José López de Zára—to and the many other missionaries—Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits—men whose faith and human generosity are worthy of admiration.

They were well aware how important culture is as a vehicle to transmit the faith, in order that men may progress in knowledge of God. In this there can be no distinction of race or of culture, "there cannot be Greek and Jew, ...slave, freeman, but Christ is all, and in all" (cf. Col Col 3,9-11). This is a challenge and a stimulus for the Church, since, being faithful to the genuine and complete message of the Lord, she must open up and interpret the whole human reality in order to instil the strength of the Gospel into it (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 20,40).

Beloved Brothers, my presence among you wishes to be a living and authentic sign of this universal concern of the Church. The Pope and the Church are with you and love you: they love your persons, your culture, your traditions; they admire your marvellous past, they encourage you in the present and they hope so much for the future.

But it is not just of this that I want to speak to you. Through you, Indios and peasants, there appears before me the immense multitude of the rural world, which is still the prevalent part in the Latin-American continent and a very large sector, even nowadays, in our planet.

Before this imposing spectacle reflected in my eyes, I cannot but think of the identical picture that my predecessor Paul VI contemplated, ten years ago, in his memorable visit to Colombia and, more concretely, in his meeting with the peasants.

I want to repeat with him—if it were possible in an even stronger tone of voice—that the present Pope wishes "to be in solidarity with your cause, which is the cause of humble people, of the poor" (Paul VI, Address to Peasants, 23 August 1968). The Pope is with these masses of the population that are "nearly always abandoned at an ignoble level of life and sometimes harshly treated and exploited" (ibidem).

Adopting the line of my predecessors John XXIII and Paul VI, as well as that of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Mater et Magistra; Populorum Progressio; Gaudium et Spes GS 9,71 etc.), and in view of a situation that continues to be alarming, not often better and sometimes even worse, the Pope wishes to be your voice, the voice of those who cannot speak or who are silenced, in order to be the conscience of consciences, an invitation to action, in order to make up for lost time which is often time of prolonged suffering and unsatisfied hopes.

The depressed rural world, the worker who with his sweat waters also his affliction, cannot wait any longer for full and effective recognition of his dignity, which is not inferior to that of any other social sector. He has the right to be respected and not to be deprived, with manoeuvres which are sometimes tantamount to real spoliation, of the little that he has. He has the right to be rid of the barriers of exploitation, often made up of intolerable selfishness, against which his best efforts of advancement are shattered. He has the right to real help—which is not charity or crumbs of justice—in order that he may have access to the development that his dignity as a man and as a son of God deserves.

Therefore it is necessary to act promptly and in depth. It is necessary to carry out bold changes, which are deeply innovatory. It is necessary to undertake urgent reforms without waiting any longer (Populorum Progressio PP 32).

It cannot be forgotten that the measures to be taken must be adequate. The Church does indeed defend the legitimate right to private property, but she also teaches no less clearly that there is always a social mortgage on all private property, in order that goods may serve the general purpose that God gave them. And if the common good requires it, there should be no hesitation even at expropriation, carried out in the due form (Populorum Progressio PP 24).

The agricultural world has great importance and great dignity. It is just this world that offers society the products necessary for its nutrition. It is a task that deserves the appreciation and grateful esteem of which is a recognition of the dignity of those engaged in it.

A dignity that can and must increase with the contemplation of God, contemplation encouraged by contact with nature, reflection of the divine action which looks after the grass in the fields, makes it grow, nourishes it; which makes the land fertile, sending it rain and wind, so that it may feed also animals, which help man, as we read at the beginning of Genesis.

Work in the fields involves great difficulties because of the effort it demands, the contempt with which it is sometimes considered and the obstacles it meets with; difficulties which only a far-reaching action can solve. Otherwise, the flight from the countryside to the cities will continue, frequently creating problems of extensive and distressing proletarization, overcrowding in houses unworthy of human peoples, and so on.

An evil that is quite widespread is the tendency to individualism among rural workers, whereas a better co-ordinated and united action could be of great help. Think of this too, dear sons.

In spite of all this, the rural world possesses enviable human and religious riches: a deep-rooted love of the family; the sense of friendship; help for the needy; deep humanism; love of peace and civil society; a deep religious sense; trust and opening to God; promotion of love for the Blessed Virgin; and so many others. It is a well-deserved tribute of recognition that the Pope wishes to express to you, and for which society is indebted to you. Thank you, rural workers, for your precious contribution to social good; mankind owes you a great deal.

On your side, leaders of the peoples, powerful classes which sometimes keep unproductive lands that hide the bread that so many families lack, human conscience, the conscience of peoples, the cry of the destitute, and above all the voice of God, the voice of the Church, repeat to you with me: It is not just, it is not human, it is not Christian to continue with certain situations that are clearly unjust. It is necessary to carry out real, effective measures—at the local, national, and international level—along the broad line marked by the encyclical Mater et Magistra (part three). It is clear that those who must collaborate most in this, are those who can do most.

Beloved Brothers and Sons, work at your human elevation, but do not stop here. Make yourselves more and more worthy in the moral and religious field. Do not harbour feelings of hatred and violence, but look towards the Master and Lord of all, who gives each one the reward that his acts deserve. The Church is with you and encourages you to live your condition as sons of God, united with Christ, under the gaze of Mary, our Holy Mother.

The Pope asks you for your prayer and offers you his. And blessing all of you and your families, he takes leave of you with the words of the Apostle St Paul: "Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss". Let this be a call to hope, Amen.







Mexico City

Monday, 29 January 1979

Beloved Sons of the National Catholic Organizations of Mexico,

Blessed be the Lord who permits me also—in my stay in this beloved land of Our Lady of Guadalupe—to have the joy of a meeting with you.

I am grateful to you for your lively demonstrations of filial affection, and I can confess to you how much I would like to stop with each of you to get to know you personally, to know more about your ecclesial service, and to dwell on so many fundamental aspects of your apostolic project. In any case, I wish, these words to be an eloquent testimony of closeness, appreciation, stimulus and guidance of your best efforts as laity—and as organized Catholic laity—on the part of him who, as the successor of Peter, has been called to the service of all servants of the Lord.

You know very well how the Second Vatican Council took up this great contemporary historical movement of the "advancement of the laity", studying it in its theological foundations, integrating it and illuminating it completely in the ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium, convoking and giving impetus to the active participation of laity in the life and mission of the Church. In the Body of Christ constituted in "plurality of ministries but unity of mission" (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 2, cf. Lumen Gentium LG 10,32 Lumen Gentium LG 10, Lumen Gentium LG 10, Lumen Gentium ), laity as Christian faithful "are by baptism made one body with Christ and are established among the People of God. They are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ". They are called to exercise their apostolate, in particular "in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations" which they carry out, and "in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life" (Lumen Gentium LG 31), in order to "penetrate and perfect the temporal sphere with the spirit of the gospel" (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 5).

In the overall framework of the conciliar teachings and especially in the light of the "Constitution on the Church", vast requirements and renewed prospects of lay action were opened in very varied fields of ecclesial and secular life. Without disparaging the individual apostolate, which is recognized as its inescapable premise, the decree Apostolicam Actuositatem also pointed out the Church's appreciation of the associative forms of the lay apostolate, congenial to the Church's community nature and to the evangelization requirements of the modern world.

You are, then, signs and protagonists of this "advancement of the laity" which has yielded so much fruit for ecclesial life in these years of the implementation of the Council. I call upon you and, through you, upon all laity and lay associations of the Latin-American Church to renew a double dimension of your lay and ecclesial commitment. On the one hand, to bear witness to Christ effectively, to confess with joy and docility your full faithfulness to the eclcesial magisterium, to ensure your filial obedience and collaboration with your Pastors, to seek the most adequate organic and dynamic integration of your apostolate in the mission of the Church and, in particular, in the apostolate of your local Churches. The Mexican laity has given and gives many and tested examples of this. And it is with joy and gratitude that I wish to recall in particular the commemoration, in this year, 1979, of the fiftieth anniversary of Mexican Catholic Action; the backbone of the organized laity in the country.

The Third General Conference of the Latin-American Episcopate is a vital moment of grace which demands personal and community conversion in order to renew your ecclesial communion, your trust in your Pastors, your vigour and renewed apostolic effort.

On the other hand, from this ecclesial perspective, I wish to call you to renew your human and Christian awareness of the other side of your commitment: participation in the necessities, aspirations, and crucial challenges with which the reality of your neighbour calls for your evangelizing action as Christian laity.

Among the vast expanse of the fields that call for the presence of the laity in the world, and which are pointed out by the apostolic Exhortation Evengelii Nuntiandi—this magna charta of evangelization—I wish to mention some fundamental and urgent spaces in the accelerated and unequal process of industrialization, urbanization, and cultural transformation in the lives of your peoples.

The safeguarding, advancement, sanctification, and apostolic projection of family life must count Catholic laity among their most decisive and consistent agents. The basic cell of the social tissue, which was considered by the Second Vatican Council as the "domestic Church", requires an evangelizing effort in order to expand its factors of human and Christian growth and overcome the obstacles that seek to harm its integrity and finality.

The emergent and complex "worlds" of intellectuals and university students, of the proletariat, technicians and executives, of the vast agricultural sectors and suburban populations subjected to the accelerated impact of economico-social and cultural changes, call for special apostolic attention, sometimes almost missionary, on the part of the Catholic laity in the pastoral projection of the Church as a whole.

How could we fail to mention also the presence, within this challenging multitude, of youth with its restless hopes, rebellions, and frustrations, its unlimited desires, sometimes utopian, its religious sensitivity and quests, as well as its temptations from consumer or ideological idols! The young expect clear, consistent, and joyful testimonies of ecclesial faith which will help them to restructure and canalize their own open and generous energies in solid options of personal and collective life. Let charity, the vital sap of ecclesial life, be manifested also by means of Christian laity in brotherly solidarity before the situations of indigence, oppression, helplessness or solitude of the poorest, the favourites of the liberating and redeeming Lord.

How could we forget the whole world of teaching, where the men of tomorrow are forged; even the field of politics, in order that it may always respond to criteria of the common good; the field of international organizations, in order that they may be schools of justice, hope and understanding among peoples; the world of medicine and of the health service where so many interventions are possible which very closely concern the moral order; the field of culture and art, fertile grounds to contribute to making man worthy on the human and on the spiritual plane?

In this twofold effort of renewed Christian commitment, your ecclesial faithfulness, gathering and strengthening the tradition of the Mexican laity, will set you going again with. new energies to operate as a ferment, creating wider perspectives of social life.

The task is an immense one. You are called to take part in it, assuming and continuing the best of the experience of ecclesial and secular participation in recent years; gradually leaving aside crises of identity, sterile contestations, and ideologies extraneous to the Gospel.

One of the phenomena of recent years which has manifested with ever increasing vigour the dynamism of the laity in Latin America and elsewhere has been that of the so-called grass-roots communities (communautés de base), which have arisen coincidently with the crisis of the movement towards groupings among Catholics.

The grass-roots communities can be a valid instrument of formation and of religious life within a new environment of Christian impulse, and they can be useful, among other things, for a widespread penetration of the Gospel in society.

But that this may be possible it is necessary that they bear well in mind the criteria so clearly expressed by the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (n. 58), so that they may be nourished by the word of God in prayer, and remain united, not separated, and still less in opposition to the Church, to the Pastors and to other ecclesial groups or associations.

As up to today, and increasingly better, may your associations form Christians with a vocation of holiness, staunch in their faith, certain in the doctrine proposed by the authentic Magisterium, firm and active in the Church, united in a deep spiritual life, nourished by frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and of the Eucharist, persevering in testimony and evangelical action, consistent and effective in their temporal commitments, constant promoters of peace and justice against all violence and oppression, acute in critical discernment of situations and ideologies in the light of the social teachings of the Church, trusting in the hope of the Lord.

Let my Apostolic Blessing go to you, to all the laity of your associations, to your ecclesiastical assistants, and to the Mexican laity as a whole; and also to the millions of Latin-American laity who are raising their prayer and putting their hopes in Puebla. I entrust you all to the motherly protection of the Blessed Mary, in her title of Guadalupe







Tuesday, 30 January 1979

Dear Young People,

I am happy to be able to meet you today in this Catholic school, the "Miguel Angel" institute. You form a large group of all ages, both you who study in this institute and you who come from other Catholic schools. I see and feel to be present in your youth all the students of the country. I greet you all with special affection, because I see in you the promising hope of the Church and of the Mexican nation of the future.

I also wish to greet affectionately your teachers, the representatives of the institutes of formation and of fathers of a family. You all deserve my respect because you are all engaged in forming the new generations.

1. The difficulties that Catholic schools in Mexico have been able to overcome in carrying out their mission is another reason for my gratitude to the Lord and, at the same time it is a stimulus for your responsibility, in order that the Catholic school may complete the integral formation of future citizens on a really human and Christian basis.

"The Church, as regards her specific mission, must promote and impart Christian education, to which all the baptized are entitled so that they may reach the maturity of faith. As the servant of all men, the Church tries to collaborate through her members, especially laity, in tasks of human cultural advancement, in all forms that interest society." (Medellín. Education, n. 9.)

2. The Church contemplates youth with optimism and deep hope. You, the young, represent the majority of the Mexican population, fifty per cent of which are under twenty years of age. In the most difficult moments of Christianity in Mexican history, the young have borne witness heroically and generously.

The Church sees in youth an enormous innovatory force, which our predecessor John XXIII considered a symbol of the Church herself, called to a constant renewal of herself, that is, to an incessant rejuvenation.

Prepare for life with seriousness and diligence. At this moment of youth, so important for the full maturing of your personality, always give an adequate place to the religious element in your formation, the one that brings man to attainment of his full dignity, which is that of being a son of God. Always remember that only if one builds, as St Paul says, on the one foundation which is Jesus Christ (cf. 1Co 3,11), will one be able to construct something really great and lasting.

3. As a memory of this meeting, so cordial and joyful, I wish to leave you a concrete consideration.

With the vivacity that is characteristic of your age, with the generous enthusiasm of your young hearts, walk towards Christ. He alone is the solution to all your problems. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life; he alone is the real salvation of the world; he alone is the hope of mankind.

Seek Jesus; endeavouring to acquire a deep personal faith that will inform and direct your whole life. But, above all, let it be your commitment and your programme to love Jesus, with a sincere, authentic, and personal love. He must be your friend and your support along the path of life. He alone has words of eternal life (cf. Jn Jn 6,68).

Your thirst for the absolute cannot be quenched with ideological substitutes that lead to hatred, violence, and despair. Christ alone, sought and loved with sincere love, is a source of joy, serenity, and peace.

But after having met Christ, after having discovered who he is, you cannot fail to feel the necessity of proclaiming him. Be real witnesses of Christ; live and proclaim your faith with deeds and with words.

You, beloved young people, must have the concern and the desire to be bearers of Christ to this modern society, which needs him more than ever, which is more than ever in search of him, in spite of the fact that appearances sometimes induce us to believe the contrary.

"Young people who are well trained in faith and prayer", wrote my predecessor Paul VI in the exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, "must become more and more the apostles of youth." (n. 72.) Each of you has the stirring task of being a proclaimer of Christ among your schoolmates and playmates. Each of you must have in your heart the desire to be an apostle among those around you.

4. I now wish to confide in you a problem that is very near my heart. The Church is aware of the underdevelopment that exists in many areas of the Latin American continent and your country. My predecessor Paul VI, in his encyclical Populorum Progressio affirmed: "...basic education is the primary object of any plan of development" (n. 35).

In the accelerated dynamics of change, characteristic of modern society, it is necessary and sometimes urgent for us to be able to create an atmosphere of human and Christian solidarity round the difficult problem of schooling. The Council already recalled this in its Document on Education: "All men of whatever race, condition or age, in virtue of their dignity as human persons, have an inalienable right to education" (Gravissimum Educationis GE 1).

It is not possible to remain indifferent before the serious problem of illiteracy or semi-illiteracy.

At one of the decisive moments for the future of Latin America, I make strong appeal in Christ's name to all men and, particularly, to you young people, to give, today and tomorrow, your help, service, and collaboration, in this task of schooling. My voice, my fatherly supplication, goes also to Christian educators in order that, with their contribution, they may promote literacy campaigns and "culturalization" with a complete view of man. Let us not forget that "an illiterate is a person with an undernourished mind" (Populorum Progressio PP 35).

I trust in the collaboration of all to help to solve this problem which regards such an essential right of the human being.

Young people! Commit yourselves as men and Christians to things that deserve effort, disinterestedness, and generosity. The Church expects it from you and trusts you!

5. Let us place this intention at the feet of Mary, whom Mexicans invoke as Our Lady of Guadalupe. She was closely associated with the mystery of Christ and is an example of generous love and dedication to the service of others. Her life of deep faith is the way to strengthen our faith and it teaches us to meet God in the deep recesses of our being.

Youth Associations and groups of friends, on returning home, tell everyone that the Pope counts on the young. Say that the young are the strength and the consolation of the Pope, who wishes to be with them so that they may hear his voice of encouragement amid all the difficulties that integration in society involves.

May the apostolic blessing which I willingly impart to you, to your dear ones, and to all those dedicated to your formation, help you and stimulate you to carry out your resolutions.






Tuesday, 30 January 1979

Lord Cardinal, Beloved Brothers and Sons,

I warmly thank the Archbishop of Guadalajara for the greeting he kindly addressed to me at the moment of my arrival in this beloved archdiocese. The Pope feels moved by the welcome, so human, so Christian and so familiar. I feel as if I were among my own people, at home.

In the history of this great country, you the inhabitants of this state and this city have always distinguished yourselves by your spirit of religion and of work. You have known how to unite the spiritual and the material in a synthesis that is based on real experience of the message of the Son of God.

My beloved friends: my greeting goes to those present here, and particularly to the priests, religious, and all those who work in the construction of the kingdom of God in this archdiocese, rich in testimony of Christian faith which is manifested in so many ways, especially in vocations to religious life.

Thank you for the opportunity which you offer your Father to be with you, my sons, on this visit.

May the Lord bless you.






Guadalajara, Mexico

Tuesday, 30 January 1979

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I keenly desired this meeting, inhabitants of the district of Santa Cecilia, because I feel solidarity with you and because, being poor, you are entitled to my particular concern.

I tell you the reason at once: the Pope loves you because you are God's favourites. He himself, on founding his family, the Church, kept poor and needy humanity in mind. To redeem it, he sent precisely his Son, who was born poor and lived among the poor in order to make us rich with his poverty (cf. 2Co 8,9).

As a consequence of this redemption. carried out in him who became one of us, we are now no longer poor servants, we are sons, who can call God "Father" (cf. Gal Ga 4,4-6). We are no longer abandoned, since, if we are sons of God, we are also heirs to the goods he offers abundantly to those who love him (Mt 11,28). Could we doubt that a father gives good things to his children? (cf. Mt Mt 7,7 ff.). Jesus himself, our Saviour, waits for us in order to relieve us when we are weary (cf. Mt Mt 11,28). At the same time, he counts on our personal collaboration to make us more and more worthy, being the architects of our own human and moral elevation.

At the same time, faced with your overwhelming situation, I call with all my strength on those who have means and who feel they are Christians, to renew their minds and their hearts in order that, promoting greater justice and even giving something of their own, no one will lack proper food, clothing, housing, culture and work; all that gives dignity to the human person. The image of Christ on the Cross, the price of the redemption of humanity, is a pressing appeal to spend our lives in putting ourselves in the service of the needy, in harmony with charity, which is generous and which does not sympathize with injustice, but with truth (cf. 1Co 13,2 ff.).

I bless you all, asking the Lord always to illuminate your hearts and your actions.






Tuesday, 30 January 1979

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Workers,

I arrive here in the magnificent setting of Guadalajara, where we meet in the name of him who wished to be known as the carpenter's son.

I come to you, having before my eyes and in my soul the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, your patron saint, for whom you profess a filial love that I have been able to see not only in her sanctuary but also passing through the streets and cities of Mexico. Where there is a Mexican, there is the Mother of Guadalupe. A gentleman told me that ninety-six per cent of Mexican are Catholics, but one hundred per cent are Guadalupans.

I wished to come and visit you, working-class families of Guadalajara and of other localities in this archdiocese, which is distinguished by its adherence to the faith, its family unity and its efforts to meet, in God's name, the great human and Christian requirements of justice, peace, and progress.

I present myself to you as a brother, joyfully and lovingly, after having had the opportunity to travel through the streets of Mexico and to witness the love that is professed here for Christ, for the Blessed Virgin, and for the Pope—a pilgrim and messenger of faith, hope, and union among men;

I wish to express to you, right away, how happy the Pope is that this is a meeting with workers, with working-class families, with Christian families which, from their places of work, know how to be agents of social welfare, respect, love of God, in the workshop, in the factory, in any house or place.

I think of you, boys and girls, young people of working-class families; there comes into my mind the figure of him who was born in an artisan's family, who grew in age, wisdom, and grace, who learned from his Mother human ways, and who had his teacher in life and in daily work in the just man that God gave him as father. The Church venerates this Mother and this man; this holy worker, model of a man and, at the same time, of a worker.

Our Lord Jesus Christ received the caresses of his strong worker's hands, hands hardened by work, but open to kindness and to needy brothers. Allow me to enter your homes; yes, you want to have the Pope as your guest and friend, and to give him the consolation of seeing in your homes the union and the family love which gives rest, after a hard day's work, in this relationship of mutual affection that reigned in the Holy Family. It shows me, dear children and young people, that you are preparing seriously for the future; I repeat to you, you are the hope of the Pope.

Do not deny me the joy of seeing you walk along paths that lead you to be real followers of good, and friends of Christ. Do not deny me the joy of your sense of responsibility in studies, activities, and amusements. You are called to be bearers of generosity and honesty, to fight against immorality, to prepare a more just; healthier, and happier Mexico for the sons of God and sons of our mother Mary.

You know very well that the work of your parents is present in the common effort of growth of this nation and in everything that contributes to bring the benefits of modern civilization to all Mexicans. Be proud of your parents, and collaborate with them in your formation as honoured and Christian young people; my affection and my encouragement accompany you.

The Pope's affection also goes to the working mothers and brides present, and to all those listening to my words by means of the media of social communication. Remember that Virgin Mary who knew how to be a cause of joy for her husband and a solicitous guide for her son in moments of difficulty and hardship. When there are worries and limitations, remember that God chose a poor mother and that she succeeded in remaining firm in good, even in the hardest hours.

Many of you also work in one of the multiple activities that are opening to women's capacities today; many of you are also bread-winners for a good many homes, and a continual help in order that family life may be more and more dignified. Be present with your creativity in the transformation of this society. The modern way of life offers more and more important opportunities and posts for women; enlightened by your religious sense, make your contribution to all your fellow citizens, and even to the highest authorities.

Friends, worker brothers, there is a Christian conception of work, of family and social life. It contains great values, and demands moral criteria and norms in order to direct those who believe in God and in Jesus Christ; in order that work may be carried out as a real vocation to change the world, in a spirit of service and of love for brothers; in order that the human person may reach fulfilment here and contribute to the growing humanization of the world and its structures.

Work is not a curse, it is a blessing from God who calls man to rule the earth and transform it, in order that the divine work of creation may continue with man's intelligence and effort. I want to tell you with all my soul and with all my might that I suffer at the lack of work, I suffer at the ideologies of hate and of violence that are not evangelical and that cause so many wounds in mankind today.

It is not enough for the Christian to denounce injustices, he is asked to be a real witness and promoter of justice; he who works has rights that he must defend legally, but he also has duties which he must carry out generously. As Christians you are called to be architects of justice and of real freedom as well as forgers of social charity. Modern technique creates a whole set of new problems and sometimes produces unemployment. But it also opens great possibilities that ask of the worker increasing qualifications, as also the contribution of his human capacities and his creative imagination. For this reason, work must not be a mere necessity, but it must be considered a real vocation, a call from God to build a new world in which justice and brotherhood dwell, a foretaste of the Kingdom of God, in which there will certainly not be shortages or limitations.

Work must be the means in order that the whole of creation will be subjected to the dignity of the human being and son of God. Work offers the opportunity to commit oneself with the whole community without resentment, without bitterness, without hatred, but with the universal love of Christ that excludes no one and embraces everyone.

Christ proclaimed to us the Gospel from which we know that God is love, that he is the Father of all, and that we are all brothers.

The central mystery of our Christian life, the paschal mystery, makes us look to the New Heaven and to the New Earth. This paschal mystery must exist in work. Through it, sacrifices and efforts are accepted with Christian impetus in order to bring about that the new order willed by the Lord may shine forth more clearly, and to construct a world that will correspond to God's goodness in harmony, peace and love.

Beloved Sons and Daughters, I pray to the Lord for all of you and your families. I pray to the Lord for the unity and stability of your marriages, and that your home life will always be full and joyful. Christian faith must be stronger in the presence of all the factors of the modern crisis. The Church, as the Council taught us affectionately, must be a large family in which lives the dynamic of unity, life, joy, and love, which is the Holy Trinity.

The same Council called the family a "little Church"; in the Christian family the evangelizing action of the Church begins. Families are the first schools of education to the faith, and only if this Christian unity is preserved will it be possible for the Church to carry out her mission in society and in the Church herself.

Friends and Brothers, thank you for having offered me the possibility of taking part in this great meeting with the world of workers, with whom I always feel so much at ease. You are friends and companions for the Pope. Thank you.

This city of Guadalajara has distinguished itself in the whole of Mexico for the impetus given to sports activities which bestow on the family physical and spiritual development, and the joy of a healthy mind in a healthy body. The group of footballers that accompanies us gives our great meeting a new colour. The Pope gives his blessing to one and all of you. May it encourage you in your apostolic commitment with generous brotherly dedication, and with the certainty that God is working with you in order that you may construct a world that is more beautiful, kind, just, human and Christian. Amen.

Speeches 1979 - Puebla, Mexico