Speeches 1979 - Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington





Sunday, 7 October 1979

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

1. Our meeting today gives me great pleasure, and I thank you sincerely for your cordial welcome. My own association with the university world, and more particularly with the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Cracow and the Catholic University of Lublin, makes our encounter all the more gratifying for me. I cannot but feel at home with you. The sincere expressions with which the Chancellor and the President of The Catholic University of America have confirmed, in the name of all of you, the faithful adherence to Christ and the generous commitment to the service of truth and charity of your Catholic Associations and Institutions of higher learning are appreciated.

Ninety-two years ago Cardinal Gibbons and the American Bishops requested the foundation of The Catholic University of America, as a university "destined to provide the Church with worthy ministers for the salvation of souls and the propagation of religion and to give the republic most worthy citizens". It seems appropriate to me on this occasion to address myself not only to this great institution, so irrevocably linked to the Bishops of the United States, who have founded it and who generously support it, but also to all the Catholic universities, colleges, and academies of post-secondary learning in your land, those with formal and sometimes juridical links with the Holy See, as well as all those that are "Catholic".

2. Before doing so, though, allow me first to mention the Ecclesiastical Faculties, three of which are established here at The Catholic University of America. I greet these Faculties and all who dedicate their best talents in them. I offer my prayers for the prosperous development and the unfailing fidelity and success of these Faculties. In the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, I have dealt directly with these institutions in order to provide guidance and to ensure that they fulfill their role in meeting the needs of the Christian community in today's rapidly changing circumstances.

I also wish to address a word of praise and admiration for the men and women, especially priests and religious, who dedicate themselves to all forms of campus ministry. Their sacrifices and efforts to bring the true message of Christ to the university world, whether secular or Catholic, cannot go unnoticed.

The Church also greatly appreciates the work and witness of those of her sons and daughters whose vocation places them in non-Catholic universities in your country. I am sure that their Christian hope and Catholic patrimony bring an enriching and irreplaceable dimension to the world of higher studies.

A special word of gratitude and appreciation also goes to the parents and students who, sometimes at the price of great personal and financial sacrifice, look toward the Catholic universities and colleges for the training that unites faith and science, culture and the Gospel values.

To all engaged in administration, teaching or study in Catholic colleges and universities I would apply the words of Daniel: "They who are learned shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those that instruct many in justice as stars for all eternity" (Da 12,3). Sacrifice and generosity have accomplished heroic results in the foundation and development of these institutions. Despite immense financial strain, enrollment problems, and other obstacles, divine Providence and the commitment of the whole People of God have allowed us to see these Catholic institutions flourish and advance.

3. I would repeat here before you what I told the professors and students of the Catholic universities in Mexico when I indicated three aims that are to be pursued. A Catholic university or college must make specific contribution to the Church and to society through high-quality scientific research, in-depth study of problems, and a just sense of history, together with the concern to show the full meaning of the human person regenerated in Christ, thus favoring the complete development of the person. Furthermore, the Catholic university or college must train young men and women of outstanding knowledge who, having made a personal synthesis between faith and culture, will be both capable and willing to assume tasks in the service of the community and of society in general, and to bear witness to their faith before the world. And finally, to be what it ought to be, a Catholic college or university must set up, among its faculty and students, a real community which bears witness to a living and operative Christianity, a community where sincere commitment to scientific research and study goes together with a deep commitment to authentic Christian living.

This is your identity. This is your vocation. Every university or college is qualified by a specific mode of being. Yours is the qualification of being Catholic, of affirming God, his revelation and the Catholic Church as the guardian and interpreter of that revelation. The term "Catholic" will never be a mere label, either added or dropped according to the pressures of varying factors.

4. As one who for long years has been a university Professor, I will never tire of insisting on the eminent role of the university, which is to instruct but also to be a place of scientific research. In both these fields, its activity is closely related to the deepest and noblest aspiration of the human person : the desire to come to the knowledge of truth. No university can deserve the rightful esteem of the world of learning unless it applies the highest standards of scientific research, constantly updating its methods and working instruments, and unless it excels in seriousness, and therefore, in freedom of investigation. Truth and science are not gratuitous conquests, but the result of a surrender to objectivity and of the exploration of all aspects of nature and man. Whenever man himself becomes the object of investigation, no single method, or combination of methods, can fail to take into account, beyond any purely natural approach, the full nature of man. Because he is bound by the total truth on man, the Christian will, in his research and in his teaching, reject any partial vision of human reality, but he will let himself be enlightened by his faith in the creation of God and the Redemption of Christ.

The relationship to truth explains therefore the historical bond between the university and the Church. Because she herself finds her origin and her growth in the words of Christ, which are the liberating truth (cf. Jn Jn 8,32), the Church has always tried to stand by the institutions that serve, and cannot but serve the knowledge of truth. The Church can rightfully boast of being in a sense the mother of universities. The names of Bologna, Padua, Prague and Paris shine in the earliest history of intellectual endeavor and human progress. The continuity of the historic tradition in this field has come down to our day.

5. An undiminished dedication to intellectual honesty and academic excellence are seen, in a Catholic university, in the perspective of the Church's mission of evangelization and service. This is why the Church asks these institutions, your institutions, to set out, without equivocation, your Catholic nature. This is what I have desired to emphasize in my Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, where I stated: "Indeed, the Church's mission of spreading the Gospel not only demands that the Good News be preached ever more widely and to ever greater numbers of men and women, but that the very power of the Gospel should permeate thought patterns, standards of judgment, and the norms of behavior; in a word, it is necessary that the whole of human culture be steeped in the Gospel. The cultural atmosphere in which a human being lives has a great influence upon his or her way of thinking and, thus, of acting. Therefore, a division between faith and culture is more than a small impediment to evangelization, while a culture penetrated with the Christian spirit is an instrument that favors the spreading of the Good News" (Sapientia Christiana, I). The goals of Catholic higher education go beyond education for production, professional competence, technological and scientific competence; they aim at the ultimate destiny of the human person, at the full justice and holiness born of truth (cf. Eph Ep 4,24).

6. If then your universities and colleges are institutionally committed to the Christian message, and if they are part of the Catholic community of evangelization, it follows that they have an essential relationship to the hierarchy of the Church. And here I want to say a special word of gratitude, encouragement and guidance for the theologians. The Church needs her theologians, particularly in this time and age so profoundly marked by deep changes in all areas of life and society. The Bishops of the Church, to whom the Lord has entrusted the keeping of the unity of the faith and the preaching of the message—individual Bishops for their dioceses; and Bishops collegially, with the Successor of Peter, for the universal church—we all need your work, your dedication and the fruits of your reflection. We desire to listen to you and we are eager to receive the valued assistance of your responsible scholarship.

But true theological scholarship, and by the same token theological teaching, cannot exist and be fruitful without seeking its inspiration and its source in the word of God as contained in Sacred Scripture and in the Sacred Tradition of the Church, as interpreted by the authentic Magisterium throughout history (cf. Dei Verbum DV 10). True academic freedom must be seen in relation to the finality of the academic enterprise, which looks to the total truth of the human person. The theologian's contribution will be enriching for the Church only if it takes into account the proper function of the Bishops and the rights of the faithful. It devolves upon the Bishops of the Church to safeguard the Christian authenticity and unity of faith and moral teaching, in accordance with the injunction of the Apostle Paul: "Proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience ..." (2Tm 4,2). It is the right of the faithful not to be troubled by theories and hypotheses that they are not expert in judging or that are easily simplified or manipulated by public opinion for ends that are alien to the truth. On the day of his death, John Paul I stated: "Among the rights of the faithful, one of the greatest is the right to receive God's word in all its entirety and purity ..." (September 28, 1979). It behooves the theologian to be free, but with the freedom that is openness to the truth and the light that comes from faith and from fidelity to the Church.

In concluding I express to you once more my joy in being with you today. I remain very close to your work and your concerns. May the intercession of Mary, Seat of Wisdom, sustain you always in your irreplaceable service of humanity and the Church. God bless you.





Sunday, 7 October 1979

Dearly beloved in Christ,

1. I am grateful to the providence of God that permits me on my visit to the United States of America to have this meeting with other religious leaders, and to be able to join with you in prayer for the unity of all Christians.

It is indeed fitting that our meeting should occur just a short time before the observance of the fifteenth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Decree of Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio. Since the inception of my pontificate, almost a year ago, I have endeavored to devote myself to the service of Christian unity; for, as I stated in my first Encyclical, it is certain "that in the present historical situation of Christianity and of the world the only possibility we see of fulfilling the Church's universal mission, with regard to ecumenical questions, is that of seeking sincerely, perseveringly, humbly and also courageously the ways of drawing closer and of union" (Redemptor Hominis RH 6). On a previous occasion, I said that the problem of division within Christianity is "binding in a special way on the Bishop of the ancient Church of Rome, founded on the preaching and the testimonies of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul" (General Audience, January 17, 1979). And today I wish to reiterate before you the same conviction.

2. With great satisfaction and joy I welcome the opportunity to embrace you, in the charity of Christ, as beloved Christian brethren and fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus. It is a privilege to be able, in your presence and together with you, to give expression to the testimony of John, that "Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (1Jn 4,15), and to proclaim that "there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 ? IM 2,5).

In the united confession of faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, we feel great love for each other and great hope for all humanity. We experience immense gratitude to the Father, who has sent his Son to be our Savior, "the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world" (1Jn 2,2).

By divine grace we are united in esteem and love for Sacred Scripture, which we recognize as the inspired word of God. And it is precisely in this word of God that we learn how much he wants us to be fully one in him and in his Father. Jesus prays that his followers may be one "so that the world may believe ..." (Jn 17,21). That the credibility of evangelization should, by God's plan, depend on the unity of his followers is a subject of inexhaustible meditation for all of us.

3. I wish to pay homage here to the many splendid ecumenical initiatives that have been realized in this country through the action of the Holy Spirit. In the last fifteen years there has been a positive response to ecumenism by the Bishops of the United States. Through their committee for ecumenical and interreligious affairs, they have established a fraternal relationship with other Churches and ecclesial Communities—a relationship which, I pray, will continue to deepen in the coming years. Conversations are in progress with our brothers from the East, the Orthodox. Here I wish to note that this relationship has been strong in the United States and that soon a theological dialogue will begin on a worldwide basis in an attempt to resolve those difficulties which hinder full unity. There are also American dialogues with the Anglicans, the Lutherans, the Reformed Church, the Methodists and the Disciples of Christ—all having a counterpart on the international level. A fraternal exchange exists likewise between the S?uthern Baptists and American theologians.

My gratitude goes to all who collaborate in the matter of joint theological investigation, the aim of which is always the full evangelical and Christian dimension of truth. It is to be hoped that, through such investigation, persons who are well prepared by a solid grounding in their own traditions will contribute to a deepening of the full historical and doctrinal understanding of the issues.

The particular climate and traditions of the United States have been conducive to joint witness in the defense of the rights of the human person, in the pursuit of goals of social justice and peace, and in questions of public morality. These areas of concern must continue to benefit from creative ecumenical action, as must the fostering of esteem for the sacredness of marriage and the support of healthy family life as a major contribution to the well-being of the nation. In this context, recognition must be given to the deep division which still exists over moral and ethical matters. The moral life and the life of faith are so deeply united that it is impossible to divide them.

4. Much has been accomplished but there is still much to be done. We must go forward, however, with a spirit of hope. Even the very desire for the complete unity in faith—which is lacking between us, and which must be achieved before we can lovingly celebrate the Eucharist together in truth—is itself a gift of the Holy Spirit, for which we offer humble praise to God. We are confident that through our common prayer the Lord Jesus will lead us, at a moment dependent on the sovereign action of his Holy Spirit, to the fullness of ecclesial unity.

Faithfulness to the Holy Spirit calls for interior conversion and fervent prayer. In the words of the Second Vatican Council : "This change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement ..." (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 8) . It is important that every individual Christian search his or her heart to see what may obstruct the attainment of full union among Christians. And let us all pray that the genuine need for the patience to await God's hour will never occasion complacency in the status quo of division in faith. By divine grace may the need for patience never become a substitute for the definitive and generous response which God asks be given to his invitation to perfect unity in Christ.

And so, as we are gathered here to celebrate the love of God that is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, let us be conscious of the call to show supreme fidelity to the will of Christ. Let us together perseveringly ask the Holy Spirit to remove all division from our faith, to give us that perfect unity in truth and love for which Christ prayed, for which Christ died : "to gather together in unity the scattered children of God" (Jn 11,52).

I offer my respectful greeting of grace and peace to those whom you represent, to each of your respective congregations, to all who long for the coming of "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Tt 2,14).





Sunday, 7 October 1979

My dear friends of the communications media,

Here we are together again at the end of another journey—a journey which this time has brought me to Ireland, to the United Nations and to the United States of America. The purpose of this journey was to permit the Pope to exercise his function as a herald of peace, in the name of Christ, who was referred to as the Prince of Peace. This message of peace was announced especially in those places and before those audiences where the problem of war and peace is perceived with particular sensitivity and where there exist the conditions of understanding, of good will and of the means necessary to building peace and cooperation among all nations and among all peoples.

The word "peace" is a synthesis. It has many components. I have touched on several of these during this journey, and you have diligently reported on these reflections. You have commented on them: you have interpreted them: you have performed the service of stimulating people to think about how they might contribute to a firmer foundation for peace, for cooperation and for justice among all persons.

Now we find ourselves at the moment of parting, in this capital city of one of the most powerful nations in the world. The power of this country, I believe, comes not only from material wealth but from a richness of spirit.

In fact, the name of this city and of the tall monument which dominates it recalls the spirit of George Washington, the first president of the nation, who—with Thomas Jefferson, for whom an imposing memorial also exists here, and with other enlightened individuals—established this country on a foundation which was not only human but also profoundly religious.

As a consequence, the Catholic Church has been able to flourish here. The millions of faithful who belong to the Church testify to that fact, as they exercise the rights and duties which flow from their faith with full freedom. The great National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in this city testifies to that fact. The existence in this capital city of two Catholic universities—Georgetown and the Catholic University of America—testifies to that fact. I have observed that the people of the United States of America proudly and gratefully pledge allegiance to their republic as "one nation under God".

This one nation is made up of many members—members of all races, of all religions, of all conditions of life—so that it is a type of microcosm of the world community and accurately reflects the motto E pluribus unum. As this country courageously abolished the plague of slavery under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, may it never stop striving for the effective good of all the inhabitants of this one nation and for that unity which reflects its national motto. For this reason, the United States of America gives to all cause to reflect on a spirit which, if well applied, can bring beneficial results for peace in the world community.

I sincerely hope that all of you have profited from this journey, and that you have had the opportunity to reflect anew on the values which have come from Christianity to the civilization of this new continent. Most of all, however, we can draw hope for a peaceful world community from the example of persons of all races, of all nationalities, and of all religions living together in peace and in unity.

As we prepare to part, my dear friends, I am consoled by the fact that you will continue to inform and to form world public opinion with a profound consciousness of your responsibility and with the realization that so many persons depend on you.

Finally, I say good-bye to you and to America. I thank you again, and with all my heart I ask God to bless you and your families.





Sunday, 7 October 1979

Dear Knights of Columbus,

It gives me great pleasure to be with you on the occasion of my pastoral visit to the United States. I thank you most sincerely for the respect and love which you have manifested toward me as Successor of Peter, Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church.

In the person of the Supreme Knight and the Members of the Supreme Board, I greet all the Knights of Columbus: the more than 1,300,000 Catholic laymen all over the world, who display a spirit of profound attachment to their Christian faith and of loyalty to the Apostolic See.

Many times in the past, and again today, you have given expression to your solidarity with the mission of the Pope. I see in your support a further proof—if further proof were ever necessary—of your awareness that the Knights of Columbus highly value their vocation to be part of the evangelization effort of the Church. I am happy to recall here what my revered predecessor, Paul VI, said about this task in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, as he emphasized the specific role of the laity : "Their own field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complicated world of politics, society and economics, but also the world of culture, of the sciences and the arts, of international life, of the mass media. It also includes other realities which are open to evangelization, such as human love, the family, the education of children and adolescents, professional work and suffering" (no. 70) .

These words of one who never ceased to encourage you clearly indicate the road which your association must travel. I am aware of the many efforts you make to promote the use of mass media for the spreading of the Gospel and for the wider diffusion of my own messages. May the Lord reward you, and through your efforts bring forth abundant fruits of evangelization in the Church. May your dedicated activity in turn help you to realize in yourselves those interior attitudes without which no one can truly evangelize: trust in the power of the Holy Spirit, true holiness of life, deep concern for truth, and an ever increasing love for God's children.

May the Lord's blessing be upon you, upon your families and upon all the Knights of Columbus.





Sunday, 7 October 1979

Mr. Vice President,
My dear friends in America,
and my brothers and sisters in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,

As I leave this capital city of Washington, I wish to express my gratitude to the President of the United States and to all the religious and civil authorities of this country.

My thoughts turn likewise to all the American people: to all Catholics, Protestants and Jews, and to all men and women of good will; to people of every ethnic origin, and in particular to the descendants of the first inhabitants of this land, the American Indians; to all of you whom I have greeted personally; those who have been close to me through the providential media of press, radio and television; those who have opened their hearts to me in so many ways. Your hospitality has been warm and filled with love, and I am grateful for all your kindnesses.

I believe strongly in the message of hope that I have held up to you, in the justice and love and truth that I have extolled, and in the peace that I have asked the Lord to give to all of you.

And now I must leave the United States and return to Rome. But all of you will constantly be remembered in my prayers, which I look upon as the best expression of my loyalty and friendship.

Today, therefore, my final prayer is this : that God will bless America, so that she may increasingly become—and truly be—and long remain—"One Nation, under God, indivisible. With liberty and justice for all".

God bless America! God bless America!



Tuesday, 23 October 1979

Dear Brothers in Christ,

1. WITH DEEP FRATERNAL affection I welcome you to the See of Peter, and I greet you with the words of Paul: "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ"[1].

It is a great joy for me to embrace in you all the faithful of the two nations that you represent: Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Through you I send greetings to every community that is found throughout the geographical expanses that you are called to traverse in the name of Christ and for the cause of his uplifting Gospel of salvation.

It is particularly satisfying to note the presence of autochthonous Bishops in your midst, knowing well that the Church’s life by its nature is directed to the full flowering of the local ecclesial communities.

It is indeed a special moment in evangelization when Christ, through his Church, calls to the Episcopacy a son of the people to whom he has communicated his saving word.

And so it is right for me to render homage to all of you, and to all the missionaries who throughout generations have expended themselves to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of your vast areas. The history of that evangelization of which you are the present-day heralds is a record of God’s grace infused into hearts; it is a record of the mirabilia Dei taking place in human history, despite multiple obstacles and setbacks.

The universal Church today expresses deep thanks for what has been accomplished for the building up of the Kingdom of God in your regions; through me the universal Church gives expression to a debt of gratitude owed to you and your predecessors – to all who have planted the Church – for your generosity of faith and love.

2. Our meeting today has a deep meaning because it manifests the nature of Christ’s Church and of the College of Bishops. Assembled with the Bishop of Rome, and through him united with all your brother Bishops throughout the world, you find a dimension of your own unity that has important consequences for your apostolate. Above all you have come to celebrate the mystery of the Church and to be confirmed by Peter in the faith of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am sure that this profound ecclesial dimension of our unity will continue to be a source of strength and joy for your ministry in the years ahead.

Your contacts, moreover, with the Roman Curia are useful in assisting it to render ever more effective service, in my name, to your local Churches. I am confident that by divine grace the exchanges of experiences will bear fruit in furthering worthy pastoral initiatives for the good of God’s people.

But apart from every practical consideration, your meeting in Rome gives expression to the deep mystery of ecclesial solidarity, and, in particular, to the pastoral responsibility for the local Churches that belongs to the entire College of Bishops, and to its head, the Bishop of Rome. As we acknowledge and celebrate together our unity in the apostolate, we know that this unity has a supernatural effectiveness in regard to your ministry at home.

3. I would not let this opportunity pass by without extolling, amid the many achievements of the Church in your lands, the great witness of Christian love that has been given by the missionaries. This witness has been manifested for generations through personal and concerted activity in the Church, through loving attention to the material needs of the people, through educational endeavours, through medical and health care initiatives, and through a multiplicity of services freely rendered to the cause of human dignity.

Above all, this witness of love has been evidenced in a burning desire to bring the Gospel of Christ into the heart of every individual and community, to fulfil the Church’s fundamental function, which is: "to direct man’s gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity towards the mystery of God, to help all men to be familiar with the profundity of the Redemption taking place in Christ Jesus"[2]. And may this witness of love go on for ever in Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands.

4. It is evident that missionary service will be useful and necessary for the future of the apostolate in your countries. The great initial phase has been accomplished, and it remains a triumph of God’s grace. But the consolidation and development of each local Church must continue.

This progress has two dimensions: Each local Church has its own identity as an individual ecclesial community, with its distinctive gifts of nature and grace, situated within the variety and unity of all God’s people. Each local Church is therefore a special offering of Christ to his Father; it gives unique expression to one aspect of Christ’s fullness. At the same time, each local Church is authentic precisely to the extent that it exemplifies in miniature the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church of Christ.

For the universal Church there is but one holiness and justice, and it is that which is born of truth[3]. And this truth is the everlasting truth of God’s word. For this reason, dear Brothers, we find abundant energy to continue our apostolic preaching, despite all obstacles, with great patience and love, but with great fidelity to the deposit of God’s word as proclaimed by the universal Church.

The perfect identity of the local Churches is found in complete openness to the universal Church; it is nurtured by an awareness of Catholic unity.

5. In every effort which we must make to bring the Gospel to our people and into every aspect of their lives – and this is indeed our calling – we must ensure that the message which we preach remains the unchanged word of God.

Let us never fear that the challenge is too great for our people: they were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; they are his people. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ vindicates to himself the final responsibility for the acceptance of his word and for the growth of his Church. It is he, Jesus Christ, who will continue to give the grace to his people to meet the requirements of his word, despite all difficulties, despite all weaknesses.

And it is up to us to continue to proclaim the message of salvation in its entirety and purity, with patience, compassion and the conviction that what is impossible with man is possible with God. We ourselves are only part of one generation in salvation history, but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever"[4]. He is indeed able to sustain us as we recognize the strength of his grace, the power of his word and the efficacy of his merits.

6. Our great strength is found in our ecclesial unity, which in turn is fostered by prayer. And it is prayer that constitutes our master programme of the apostolate: Actiones nostras, quaesumus, Domine, aspirando praeveni et adiuvando prosequere! Through the prayer that unites us ever more closely with Christ’s design for his Church, we can plan more effectively and confidently for the future.

In this way, Brethren, devote your best efforts to those great issues that confront all of you: the question of vocations, the importance of social communications, the role of catechists, and the general promotion of the laity – not only as a practical means of sharing responsibility for the Gospel, but as a fulfilment of the divine will to associate the laity in the Church’s mission of salvation. In prayer you will find the strength and insights to continue on the path of evangelization, being confident of the power of the word of God to uplift and transform all human cultures, bringing to them the original and incomparable contribution that comes directly from Jesus Christ, who embodies the fullness of humanity.

7. I would ask you to devote special attention to fostering the holiness of Christian marriage and to proclaiming the fullness of God’s design for the family. This task is indeed great: human knowledge and sensitivity will assist you, but only divine wisdom will enlighten you sufficiently for this ministry. And remember always that, by the power of Christ’s word and in the unity of God’s Church, you will be enabled to lead your people "in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake"[5].

8. My thoughts today go out to all your collaborators in the Gospel – to the men and women religious who assist in building up the Church by word and deed. Their reward will be immense in heaven.

In a special way I am thinking of your priests, to whom God’s providence reserves such an important role in the proclamation of the Gospel. In this regard permit me to address to you the words I recently spoke to the Bishops of Ireland: "Our relationship with Jesus will be the fruitful basis of our relationship with our priests, as we strive to be their brother, father, friend and guide. In the charity of Christ we are called to listen to and to understand them; to exchange views regarding evangelization and the pastoral mission they share with us as co-workers with the Order of Bishops. For the entire Church – but especially for the priests – we must be a human sign of the love of Christ and the fidelity of the Church. Thus we sustain our priests with the Gospel message, supporting them by the certainty of the Magisterium, and fortifying them against the pressures that they must resist. By word and example we must constantly invite our priests to prayer"[6].

9. And for all your local Churches I pray that they will enjoy peace and progress, and that they will be filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Brothers in Christ: Let us go forward together, under the protection of our Blessed Mother Mary, in our common responsibility, for the glory of Christ’s name, proclaiming the Good News of salvation – the "Good News of a great joy which will come to all the people". And to all your clergy, religious and laity I send my Apostolic Blessing, in the love of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world.

[1] Eph. 1, 2.

[2] Ioannis Pauli PP. II Redemptor Hominis, 10.

[3] Cfr. Eph. 4, 24.

[4] Hebr. 13, 8.

[5] Ps. 23, 3.

[6] Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad Episcopos Hiberniae, die 30 sept. 1979.

                                                                     November 1979

Speeches 1979 - Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington