Speeches 1986 - Goregoan (India)
Monday, 10 February 1986
Dear Friends, dear young people,
1. I am very pleased that my meeting with you – the youth of India – comes at this important moment, as I am about to conclude my visit to your country. I am happy to be with you, to talk to you, to listen to you and to be assembled with you in the name of Jesus. We are united with one another in him; we are one in his love. Together we are experiencing his presence, because he is here in our midst, just as he promised: "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them".
For almost two thousand years the person and teaching of Jesus have been honoured in this land. As your President recently said here in Bombay: "Christianity came to India even before it was preached in Rome". Moreover, in you who believe in him, Jesus himself has become Indian. And so today it is to this Jesus that we look to find our inspiration. In his teaching we discover the message we are looking for. And he, Jesus, tells us how to live, because he tells us why we are alive. Jesus explains to us our origin, our life, our destiny. We have been created by God, and in Jesus we are children of God; we have come forth from God’s love. We are here to know God, to love his and to serve him – to discover, embrace and minister to him in our neighbour. And our destiny is to live with him for ever. In his Gospel Jesus explains these truths to us and, in the light of these truths, he explains what is expected of us in life. He explains to us that we must serve all our brothers and sisters, we must serve the world.
In a word, Jesus explains us to ourselves. He does this by explaining to us our relationship with God and with the world. He can do this because he understands us and he understands God: he is the Son of Man and at the same time he is the Son of God – the Son of God made man. By his teaching, his grace and the power of his word, Jesus enables us to live upright lives, to live in such a way as to gain eternal life. Saint John proclaims to us God’s plan: "God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life" .
2. But in order to keep this life, we must remain united with Christ. He explains to us that all life comes from himself; we live only because of him: "I am the vine, you are the branches... If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers" . Jesus also explains to us that in order to live in God’s love we must love our neighbour: "This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you" .
To belong to Christ and to keep his commandment of love means that we are called to serve our neighbour, to make our contribution to society, and to work for the good of our country and the whole world.
Saint John urges us to be consistent in our lives. He puts it very clearly and simply: We have been loved by God and must therefore love our neighbour in return. His words are very forceful: "If any one says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen" .
3. These principles, dear young people, challenge you in your whole attitude towards life: they affect what you do at home, the way you treat your fellow men, the way you decide to contribute to the world. They confirm the fact that you cannot live your life in isolation!
The Church supports you as you face the challenges that are yours as young people in India. She wants to reflect with you on what is involved, on what is expected of you, on how you can serve best.
The Church will help you to identify the problems in the world by clarifying the purpose of life, by insisting on the dignity of man, by sharing with you her understanding of humanity. She will stand by you and encourage you at every turn. But above all she offers you Christ. She will urge you to stay united with him, to remain in his love, because in him you will discover not only the source of life but also a model of authentic human living.
4. The Church will offer you the Sacraments to sustain you and heal you and give you strength. In the Eucharist she will transmit to you the life of Christ. Through Penance she will put you in contact with the compassionate and forgiving Christ, and there will be many times, dear young people, when you will experience the need for mercy and be called upon to exercise it. The Church will explain to you everything that she has learned from Christ, beginning with the art of prayer, so that you may be in contact with Christ, in conversation with him, in union with him.
The Church will equip you to face serenely the successes and failures and aspirations of life, because she will transmit to you the life-giving and uplifting message of "Christ Jesus our hope" .
But the Church also asks something of you: she asks for your collaboration, your help in leading humanity to God. She asks you to bear witness to Christ. She asks you to serve your neighbour in the circumstances of your daily lives, here and now: in Bombay, in India, in 1986.
5. Here the challenge to you becomes specific. Each one of you is called to a specific service, and all together you are called to transform the world:
– by forgiveness and reconciliation when ill-treated by others in your individual and collective lives, knowing that to forgive is divine;
– by fraternal love and solidarity, working with all your brothers and sisters, because Jesus’ commandment of love is universal;
– by promoting peace in working for justice, beginning with your own lives;
– by loving your country and working for the advancement of all your people;
– by remaining faithful to your national heritage and your community, yet realising that you belong to the universal Church and to the world community;
– by looking to Mary the Mother of Jesus to find an example of a life dedicated to generous service – open to God and intent on serving man;
– by giving of yourselves generously, like Mary, co-operating in God’s plan for the world;
– by cultivating the virtues of simplicity, honesty and sincerity;
– by rejecting all discrimination based on race, religion, sex, social condition or language groups.
We are all brothers and sisters, children of the same Father. Our riches consist not in the multiplicity of our possessions but in the fewness of our wants – in the spiritual freedom that accompanies the right attitude towards created things. Dear young people: you cannot find happiness by grasping for material things or by being dosed in on yourselves. There is no place for apathy or indifference in your lives. The Lord wishes to use your enthusiasm, ingenuity and idealism for the benefit of your neighbours, India and the world.
The dynamism of your youth must be channelled into solving the questions facing society today, into working for unity, into doing your daily work as a contribution to building a better world. You must combat inertia and persevere in the face of difficulties. You are called to love what is best in your Indian way of life.
Every day you must open your hearts to the action of the Holy Spirit, asking him to show you truth in all its fullness. And it is on the basis of truth – the truth of your being, the truth about man, the truth about humanity – that you must build society. The Church will lead you to the truth about man, but you yourselves must embrace it and apply it.
6. The Church does not claim to have easy and ready-made solutions to all the particular problems that face humanity. The Second Vatican Council made this clear by stating: "The Church guards the heritage of God’s word and draws from it religious and moral principles, without always having at hand the solution to particular problems" . At the same time the Church knows that she has been sent into the world with the message of Christ and that she is in a position to help man resolve basic problems. In regard to these difficulties the Council put it this way: "Enlightened by God’s revelation, the Church is able to give a response" .
And the youth of India are called to apply the solid principles of faith to the reality of today’s society.
For those of you who are Christians, it means applying the message of Christ to every part of life.
For all of you, whether Christians or not, it means working together in fraternal love for integral human development in India today, showing special concern for the poor and the downtrodden.
7. You do well to listen carefully to the sages of your land as they speak to you about the great power of truth that was so much a part of their own lives and that cannot help but be an inspiration to you all. For you as for them, it will involve understanding and patience, non-violence, endurance and suffering. But truth is power, the only kind of power that can change the world, and when combined with love it is a power that can totally transform the world.
The final outcome of truth is triumph and liberation. Jesus assures us explicitly: "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free". Go forward, young people of India, with the truth of God. It is liberating, uplifting and invincible. Yes, the truth of God is invincible!
8. And with you, dear young people of India, my pilgrimage to your great land comes to an end. But the values that I have seen are imperishable and will never come to an end. And India herself must go forward to fulfil, within the comity of nations, her destiny of service to humanity.
Dear people of all India: your warmth and hospitality will remain in my heart for all the days to come. I am deeply grateful to you all.
I renew the expression of my special appreciation to His Excellency the President of India and to the Prime Minister and Government. To all the religious and civic leaders who have done so much to make this pilgrimage to India possible and to all who have worked so hard for its success, I say, from the depths of my heart, "thank you". Upon all the people of India I invoke God’s blessings of peace and justice, of love and truth.
My dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Friends in Christ,
1. It is indeed a pleasure for me to be with you as you meet to discuss the ways in which the communications media can be used to share the message of God's love, to make better known the "Good News" of Christ.
Fifteen years ago, at the direction of the Second Vatican Council (Inter Mirifica IM 23), your Commission published the Pastoral Instruction Communio et Progressio on the communications media, public opinion and human progress.
This year, the theme for World Communications Day, an observance held also at the direction of the Second Vatican Council, is "Social Communications and the Christian Formation of Public Opinion".
2. This theme also seems to sum up quite well the aims of the Pontifical Commission: to promote and support through the various means of social communication the Church's activity in the world, in such a way as to educate and form the faithful and all people of good will in authentically human and Christian values.
In this important and delicate task, the Pontifical Commission is called upon to encourage, in the flrst place, initiatives aimed at spreading Christ's message and the true teaching of the Church. In particular, it will assist and support the efforts in the field of social communications made by the special Commissions set up by individual Episcopal Conference. It will likewise assist in this field the work of the International Catholic Organizations.
3. In the document prepared fifteen years ago, your Commission stated, "More than ever before, the way people live and think is profoundly affected by the means of communication" (Communio et Progressio, 1).
What are the attitudes and values people draw from the communications media? How is the way they live and think so profoundly affected?
One method is through role models. The communications media make some people particularly well known. Such popularity or notoriety brings with it a certain credibility or at least a power to influence.
The leading figures in the communications media should realize the influence they have and the responsibility such influence represents. People are often led to imitate or at least to accept the conduct of the famous; and the fame brought by the communications media can be used to inspire goodness and generosity or to appear to give approval to what is selfish and sinful.
The Church has a special responsibility to encourage those who exercise such an influence over others to recall their own God-given dignity and their particular vocation to give good example, not only in the roles they select or in public utterances, but especially in their private lives which so many others consider as models or at least as justií;cation for their own activity.
A ministry to those in the communications media, therefore, should include not only an openness to provide needed information and technical advice but especially a sensitivity to the intense pressures which communicators can experience and the special need they have for moral and spiritual support and encouragement.
4. Another method in which public opinion is profoundly affected is through the selection of material to treat or the choice of matel¨al to treat or the choice of an approach to take.
Why is it, for example, that, in the often commendable reports on the violation of human rights narrated by the news media or dramatized in television or radio programmes, the right of individuals to practise and proclaim their religious faith is so often overlooked? Why is it that the right of parents not only to have children but also to educate those children according to their conscience is so often ignored?
In many instances, the determination of the agenda of modern society is profoundly influenced by the news and entertainment media, and those who choose the agenda should realize their responsibility to contribute not only to the material progress but especially to the moral and spiritual well-being of the human family.
5. In selecting role models to imitate, themes to treat and approaches to take, those in the communications media should be eager to work towards a public moral consensus, towards the construction of what some thinkers have called a "public philosophy". Such a public philosophy should certainly include a recognition of the need for personal honesty and integrity, for sound and stable family life, for responsible stewardship of personal possessions and for community awareness of and care for the weaker members of society - the sick, the handicapped, the elderly, the young, the poor and, in these days especially, the unborn, who are the weakest and most defenceless members of human society.
It has been said that newspaper columns, radio microphones and television cameras constitute a pulpit from which modern society draws much of its moral and spiritual orientation. If that is true, it is essential that the Church should not only participate in the formulation of the public philosophy which will represent the shared values of contemporary society, but that she should also be directly present in this new pulpit with her own newspapers and magazines, her own radio and television stations and programmes, her own voice of truth and love.
6. There are those who think that what is not recognized by and reported by newspapers, radio and television is not important. Thus, it is indispensable that the Church should not only work to achieve recognition of sound moral and spiritual values by the press, cinema, radio and television, but that she should proclaim the Gospel directly through the modern means of communication. If those who seek to promote commercial products and professional services consider it essential to bring their message to the attention of the public through the communications media, how can the Church fail to proclaim and share through the communications media the priceless message of the Gospel?
The Church thus has a ministry to communicators and a ministry of communication. Within the Church, this twofold ministry can foster that communion in Christ emphasized by the recent Synod of Bishops. In the world at large, this ministry can foster that community of concern so essential to the articulation of a sound public philosophy and to the achievement of true peace. It can promote the recognition of the rights and responsibilities of every person as a child of God - God who has comunicated to us life itself and his saving message through the Word made flesh, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I am deeply grateful to all of you for your partnership in the Gospel, and for all that you do through the means of social communication "that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph" (2Th 3,1).
1. I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican as participants in the Seminar sponsored by the International Right to Life Federation. You have come to Rome out of a common concern for human life, seeking to deepen your understanding of critical issues pertaining to the protection of human life from the moment of conception to natural death. In this you are urged on by a strong conviction of the great dignity and value of every human person, no matter how weak or unprotected by law. I am happy to have this occasion to offer you encouragement and prayerful support in your important efforts.
2. The work in which you are engaged requires a clear understanding of all the issues involved, as well as personal fortitude and patient perseverance. You come from a variety of backgrounds and social situations, but in your efforts to protect the right to life you have all experienced criticism and organised opposition. In numerous places around the world, the pro-life movement runs directly contrary to certain current trends in society. In such a context, the advice of Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans seems particularly relevant for you. He writes: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”.
What is needed is the courage to speak the truth clearly, candidly and boldly, but never with hatred or disrespect for persons. We must be firmly convinced that the truth sets people free .It is not our own persuasive argumentation or personal eloquence, however helpful these may be, but the truth itself, which is the primary source of freedom and justice. To be pro-life then, to defend the right to life, means to stand up for the truth, especially the truth about the God-given dignity and worth of every human being. It is very encouraging to see how many people of good will throughout the world embrace the truth wholeheartedly when they are presented with facts and with convincing scientific and moral reasons.
3. I commend you in your desire to promote collaboration among all individuals and groups who are involved in the right to life movement. For it is only through co-operative efforts and effective solidarity that the desired objectives will be achieved.
Your organisation is rightly concerned with a broad range of issues related to human life. At the same time, you know the necessity of focusing on specific problems which demand urgent attention and action, such as the evils of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and contraception all of which are intimately connected with the Church’s teaching. Whatever endeavours you undertake should be a consistent expression of an integral philosophy of life based on the belief that God is the Lord and Giver of all life.
4. You know that the Church shares your concerns. She considers it an important part of her mission to work for the protection and dignity of human life and oppose the anti-life mentality which threatens the cause of all human rights. As I stated in my Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World: “The Church firmly believes that human life, even if weak and suffering, is always a splendid gift of God’s goodness. Against the pessimism and selfishness which cast a shadow over the world, the Church stands for life: in each human life she see the splendour of that ‘Yes’, that ‘Amen’, who is Christ himself. To the ‘No’ which assails and afflicts the world, she replies with this living ‘Yes’, thus defending the human person and the world from all who plot against and harm life”.
Be assured, then, of my great interest in your worthy endeavours and plans. I am convinced that the magnitude of the influence of the pro-life movement on the world and the full value of its contribution to humanity will be adequately spelled out only when the history of this generation is written. May your own vital contribution be truly blessed by God, “in whom we live and move and have our being”. May he strengthen you with his grace and love. May he bless you and your families with his peace.
1. JE SUIS TRES HEUREUX de vous retrouver ici et de vous accueillir a mon tour dans cette Maison pontificale. Symboliquement, il me semble que j’accueille avec vous tout le cher peuple canadien.
Je me souviens avec émotion et gratitude des paroles de bienvenue que Votre Excellence m’a adressés au Canada et qui reflétaient à la fois une grande délicatesse pour l’hôte que j’étais et une intuition profonde de ma mission spirituelle.
Pour ce qui est de vos compatriotes, j’ai encore devant les yeux et dans la mémoire du coeur les foules qui m’accueillaient aux diverses étapes, avec une foi religieuse, une simplicité et une confiance de rapports qui ont permis de faire de ce voyage pastoral une rencontre pleine d’intérêt et d’enrichissement mutuels. Tout en mesurant les limites de mon expérience chez vous et de mon apostolat au regard des grands problèmes quotidiens qui demeurent, j’ai acquis une nouvelle connaissance de votre pays, de ses femmes et de ses hommes, qui m’encourage a poursuivre le dialogue spirituel inhérent i ma charge de Pasteur.
2. Comment ne pas demeurer charme par la beauté des multiples paysages canadiens, des Provinces maritimes a la Colombie britannique, du Sud au Grand-Nord: plaines et collines, “Prairie” et cimes des Rocheuses, cotes et estuaires, lacs et immensités, lacées. La nature, au rythme des saisons, donne aux arbres et aux paysages dés couleurs chatoyantes que les rayons obliques du soleil tempèrent de douceur.
Au milieu de ces vastes horizons ou des cites populeuses surgies dans un récent passe, nous rencontrons un peuple attachant, laborieux – car il a du et il doit travailler souvent dans un rude climat, pour exploiter le bois, la terre et le sous-sol sur un territoire très étendu –; un peuple dynamique, entreprenant, tourne vers l’avenir et confiant dans les immenses possibilités qui s’ouvrent à lui. Le Canada est devenu en quelques siècles un creuset humain prodigieux ou les populations les plus diverses – autochtones, descendants des peuples fondateurs et immigres des cinq continents – ont trouve leur place et leurs responsabilités pour bâtir ensemble un monde nouveau dont ils sont Sers, un monde respectueux des différences culturelles et spirituelles, et conscient du bien commun a promouvoir. Quels qu’aient été les tâtonnements, les difficultés et les épreuves, ce respect des régions et des populations comme cette nécessaire solidarité ont été facilites et sont garantis par les institutions, fédérales et provinciales, que le Canada s’est données. Le peuple canadien demeure attache a la liberté et de même ci la recherche d’un monde toujours plus juste et p]us humain. Nous apprécions son hospitalité, le réalisme et le bon sens de ses analyses, la simplicité et la franchise de ses rapports ou le coeur a sa part.
3. Un profond sens religieux a imprègne le peuple canadien depuis ses origines. Les diverses communautés, catholiques ou protestantes, le manifestent toujours, malgré la notable mutation culturelle des dernières décennies. Comment pourraient-elles oublier la foi profonde des grands fondateurs, et l’exemple de tant de saints, connus ou inconnus, qui ont établi une symbiose entre les vertus chrétiennes et l’exaltante entreprise humaine qui forgeait un nouveau pays? C’est dire que la foi actuelle a des racines profondes. Certes, le choc de la modernité, les nouvelles découvertes et expériences dans tous les domaines, le pluralisme des idées, le souci d’adaptation nécessitent, de la part des chrétiens, un engagement a frais nouveaux, pour inspirer, dans un climat de liberté, une civilisation ou soient réexprimées les valeurs morales et spirituelles, comme je le soulignais à Québec auprès de l’Universités Laval.
Je suis convaincu que le terrain prépare et laboure par les générations précédentes le permet, tant que l’on continue a rechercher la sagesse. C’est ce que j’ai cru observer lorsque, avec mes frères et soeurs catholiques, nous avons eu le bonheur de célébrer ensemble notre foi.
Je dois ajouter que le climat de liberté religieuse, qui fait partie de la tradition de votre pays et qui est garanti par les institutions, permet cette éclosion de la vie religieuse des diverses communautés dans le respect des autres. Mais il revient a chacun, avec l’aide de Dieu, de faire jaillir la sève.
4. Of course, one has to be clear-sighted. I do not forget the problems which your fellow citizens are having to face in order to safeguard or recover progress. Your country, despite its manifold resources and the resourcefulness of its inhabitants, experiences at different times and in various sectors – often as a result of the international situation – economic crises, unemployment, and other difficulties, not to mention political tensions. It is for civil leaders to try to solve these problems in a harmonious way. The Church, for her part, is attentive to them. She is especially sensitive to the moral and spiritual dimensions. She knows that many people, especially among the younger generation, no longer have a clear grasp of the meaning of life. Some are driven to despair, and a growing number no longer dare to believe in the stability and permanence of human love, or else they are afraid of the generosity entailed in the gift of life. Some allow themselves to be dominated by the consumer mentality. They are not willing to think about their eternal destiny, and they forget God even though he is always near to them. If these people are not given the means based upon moral and religious values, there is a real risk of seeing, not progress, but a dispersal and waste of all that has formed the spirit of this civilisation. The Church is glad to offer her own contribution, for love of those men and women, those helpless adults and those young people whose good will I admired in both Montreal and Vancouver. It is in this sense that when I was with you E often stressed the primacy of the spirit over matter, the primacy of the person over things, the primacy of love and of the gift of self over egoism, the primacy of God over the modern idols, and the primacy of hope over doubt.
And I know that one finds among many Canadians a sincere concern for generosity, for sharing, and for true relations between people and with God. Permit me to say, Madame, that your own witness in this regard has a profound effect.
5. Within their own country and in their openness to other countries, the people of Canada often distinguish themselves by their social initiatives. Through these initiatives they seek to correct the real deprivations or injustices affecting this or that category of citizens, to solve the problems which result either from inertia in regard to long-standing situations or from abrupt changes or uprooting. This social concern is indeed commendable. And I know that for their part the Catholic bishops do much in order to lead their fellow citizens to reflect on their responsibilities, to encourage the necessary changes in ways of living, and to invite people to take courageous action.
There is one area among many others in which the spirit of openness and solidarity has produced admirable results, as I in fact emphasised when speaking in Ottawa to the politicians. I am thinking of the integration of the many waves of immigrants who have come among you looking for work and a new way of life. And I am thinking even more of the aid which you have extended to refugees, aid which has ensured their daily existence and sometimes their survival. Many have been grateful to find among you a haven of peace, a new home.
In the international domain, your fellow citizens have not remained indifferent to the plight of the starving, the deprived, the ill-treated, the victims of climatic conditions, wars or political regimes. Canadians willingly witness to and work for respect of human rights and freedom. They make a generous contribution to the cause of development by providing and promoting mutual aid. The Holy See rejoices in this solidarity, which it heartily encourages.
The Canadian Government integrates this perspective into its projects, in the same way as it seeks to strengthen or restore peace, through its counsels of moderation and at times through its valued meditation. Everyone is aware of its doubts regarding the arms race and the enormous waste which this involves. The Holy See hopes that Canada will make an ever greater contribution to the climate of dialogue, understanding, peace, justice and solidarity in international relations. May Canada unite with those who are truly concerned about the future of underdeveloped nations; may she support solutions which respect the ethical dimensions underlying the problems of society and which promote moral values, without which human happiness, peace and progress are fragile and illusory.
In expressing, these thoughts to you, Madame Governor-General, it has been my wish not only to manifest the convictions which my spiritual mission obliges me to recall to the world, but at the same time to affirm the Holy See’s esteem for your great nation and my own sentiments of affection for all of your people, and for each of the ethnic, cultural and religious groups which contribute to the rich Canadian heritage. God bless Canada!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I extend a very warm welcome to all of you who have gathered in Rome this week for the Twentieth Assembly of the United States Conference of Vicars for Religious. It is a pleasure to be with you today. It is not my intention to speak to you at great length about the nature of religious life or about the special problems which religious are encountering today. Rather I wish to take this occasion to offer you encouragement in your delicate and important task.
1. It goes without saying that religious life is a vital part of the life of the Church, of her witness to holiness, her service to the poor and needy, her task of promoting reconciliation, her efforts to proclaim the Gospel of salvation. As Vicars and Delegates for Religious in your respective Dioceses, you are in a position which gives you the privilege of seeing more clearly the ecclesial dimension of religious life, and the opportunity of helping others to appreciate this truth.
You assist the Bishop in this ministry of service to the men and women religious of the Diocese. You keep him informed of particular needs and concerns; you assist him in solving problems which arise or in ordinating the activities for religious in the Diocese. Through your work, and even more by your own personal love for religious life, you help the Bishop in his serious responsibility of fostering and strengthening religious life in the Church.
2. In the Final Report of the recent Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, we find an observation that seems particularly relevant for religious life. It states: "Today, in fact, there are signs of a new hunger and thirst for the transcendent and divine. In order to favor this return to the sacred and to overcome secularism we must open the way to the dimension of the ‘divine’ or of mystery and offer the preambles of faith to mankind today" .
Who is in a position better to meet this challenge of the Synod than men and women religious? The radical commitment to Christ which is implied in the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience expresses boldly and profoundly the belief of religious in a transcendent reality, their absolute trust in the love of God. It bears witness before the world of the value of living for God alone, especially when their lives are marked by joyful trust and generous service.
3. Religious consecration manifests in a concrete and eloquent way a preferential love for Christ – for Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, for Christ as he lives today in the poor and sick, in the elderly and in children, in families and in persons from broken homes. By the same token, a preferential love for Christ means a preference for what Christ loves, a desire to have the same attitude as Christ himself , a longing to see God’s "kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven".
In this context, it is good to recall the words of Saint Paul who wrote: "Christ loved the Church. He gave himself up for her to make her holy, purifying her in the bath of water by the power of the word, to present to himself a glorious Church, holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort". It is immensely significant in our day to emphasise again the love of Christ for the Church, and thus the call to all of us in the Church, and especially to religious by reason of the public nature of their vocation, to have an informed and zealous love for the Church.
4. Dear Brothers and Sisters, you are aware of the special interest which I have shown for religious life in the United States, of the various initiatives which I have undertaken to confirm my brother Bishops in their role of pastoral service to religious, and of my ardent desire to extend to religious directly my deep concern for each of them. You can be sure then that I pray in a special way for you, the Episcopal Vicars and Delegates for Religious. Never doubt the importance of your pastoral service in the Church. For in fostering religious life you are drawing near to "the very holiness of God".
May the Lord be your consolation and strength. May Christ fill you with his deep and abiding peace.
Speeches 1986 - Goregoan (India)