Speeches 1985

                                                               January 1985



Monday, 7 January 1985

Dear Brothers in Christ,

It is a great joy for me to welcome you to Rome today, the Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox Bishops in Finland. It is a particular joy because you have come together to this city in a spirit of true ecumenical fellowship, and the purpose of your visit reflects your appreciation of the fact that prayer must lie at the very heart of all endeavours to reestablish that unity for which Christ prayed.

At the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva you are to inaugurate a place of prayer for your countrymen here in this city. In so doing you are looking back to your common roots as Christians and as Finns. Your country is one in which Western and Eastern Christians live side by side; and you join in revering the memory of Saint Henry, the first Western Bishop in your country. You also express your common roots by joining in the recitation of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in its original form. This recitation of the Creed provides a solid foundation for our hope of achieving full unity among Christians. On the occasion of the Sixteenth Centenary of the Council of Constantinople I wrote: “The teaching of the First Council of Constantinople is still the expression of the one common faith of the whole of Christianity. As we confess this faith – as we do every time that we recite the Creed – . . . we wish to emphasize the things which unite us with all our brothers, notwithstanding the divisions that have occurred in the course of the centuries” (IOANNIS PAULI II Epistula ad universos Ecclesiae Episcopos volvente anno MCD a Concilio Costantinopolitano I necnon MDL a Concilio Ephesino, I, 1, die 25 mar. 1981: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, IV, 1 (1981) 816).

At the international level, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation are all committed to and engaged in the ecumenical dialogue. Our dialogues are making progress, through God’s grace, but it is important that they not remain remote from the life of the Christian people in the local Churches. By your present initiative you are giving vivid expression to the progress already made, and you are doing so in a way that will, I hope, encourage the people you serve to work and pray ever more zealously for the great cause of unity.

Thus your initiative is a striking form of common witness. The fact that you come here together is itself a witness to the importance of efforts for unity. The fact that you pray together is a witness to our belief that only through the grace of God can that unity be achieved. The fact that you recite the Creed together is a witness to “the one common faith of the whole of Christianity” (Ibid.).

Dear Brothers in Christ: I thank you for this visit; I pray for you in your pastoral responsibilities; I pray for your beloved country. May your visit, through the prayers of Saint Henry, lead us all nearer to the great day of perfect unity in Christ our Saviour, manifested in the flesh, . . . preached among the nations, believed on in the world” (1Tm 3,16).



Monday, 7 January 1985

Mr Ambassador,

I am pleased to accept from Your Excellency the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I extend to you a cordial welcome and I thank you for conveying the greetings of your President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari. I reciprocate his good wishes, and at the same time I give the assurance of my highest regard for all the citizens of your nation.

I am grateful for your reference to my Pastoral Visit to your country. For me this was a joyous occasion, and I still vividly remember the kind hospitality which was shown to me throughout my stay with you. At that time I had the opportunity of expressing my appreciation for the many ways in which the Nigerian people, since independence, have contributed to progress within the nation itself, to the building up of a more unified African continent, and to international efforts aimed at creating a more peaceful world.

These accomplishments, as you have noted, were not arrived at without sacrifice, effort and, at times, suffering. Even today the attainment of a stable economic order and the maintenance of a high standard of public morality are areas that demand the constant energies and the creative leadership of the members of the Government.

You have also referred to the vision of hope that the Holy See brings to the poor and the oppressed of the world. Following the mission entrusted to her by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, on both the universal and local levels, identifies with the helpless of society and on their behalf raises her voice in the cause of promoting human dignity. In this regard, the Holy See takes particular interest in every aspect of the well-being of the human person, especially where there is suffering, and in situations where human rights are denied.

For this reason I am happy to hear the reaffirmation of your country’s commitment to the pursuit of justice and peace. To this endeavour the Nigerian people bring a deep reverence for God and a respect for spiritual values. Hence, theirs is indeed a worthy contribution to the establishment of a more harmonious world order.

Your Excellency, your presence here today symbolizes the bond of friendship between Nigeria and the Holy See. I trust that the period of your mission will be a fruitful one; be assured that you will receive the full cooperation of the Holy See in fulfilling it. Upon yourself and upon the beloved country which you represent I ask Almighty God to bestow his abundant blessings.



Friday, 11 January 1985

Mr Ambassador,

I am happy to accept the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See. I thank you for the good wishes which you have expressed on behalf of His Excellency President Chun Doo Hwan and I would ask you kindly to convey to him my cordial greetings.

Your presence here in the Vatican only a few months after my unforgettable visit to your country brings to my mind – among the many striking memories of those days – my meeting with the Diplomatic Corps in Seoul. I was pleased to avail myself of that occasion to express my solidarity with the Korean people in their major concerns. At that time I stated: “The aspirations to peace, security and national unity, which are everywhere more and more felt today, are especially perceptible among the Korean people, and my visit is meant to indicate that these profoundly noble longings are shared by me and by the Church”.

From among these concerns, you have referred to the hopes of millions of your fellow citizens that members of families separated by tragic events of the past may at last be found and reunited in peace and family harmony. I pray to Almighty God that this goal ill be achieved. May he bless the endeavours of all those who, in recent times, have been working to overcome difficulties and obstacles and are seeking to pave the way to mutual openness and understanding. The joy of those who have found one another and the sorrow of those who are still searching for their loved ones is an incentive to the sense of responsibility of all those who serve the common good of the nation and have their people at heart.

The humanitarian dimension of the vast problem of reuniting families is a clear example of the manner in which political decisions, and the events and forces that lead to them, deeply affect the lives of entire peoples, not in the abstract, but on the level of the individuals who make up those peoples, and their real opportunity for a life worthy of their true human dignity. In the service of human dignity the Church and all men and women of good will can find wide areas of mutual understanding and collaboration.

The Catholic Church is beginning the third century of her presence in Korea. In fidelity to the mission entrusted to her by her divine Founder Jesus Christ, she is committed to making a spiritual, cultural and social contribution to the life of the nation, and in particular to fostering civil and moral progress. It is my prayer that the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and the climate of respect and tolerance which characterize your country’s public life will enable this collaboration to grow and develop for the good of all.

One of the vivid impressions which I retain of my visit to your country, Mr. Ambassador, is the very high proportion of young people. This year, in concomitance with International Youth Year, I have dedicated the World Day of Peace Message to the young, with the theme “Peace and Youth Go Forward Together”. In this message I have written that “it is essential for every human being to have a sense of participating, of being a part of the decisions and endeavours that shape the destiny of the world” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius scripto datus ob diem I ianuarii MCMLXXXV paci inter nations fovendae dicatum, 9, die 8 dec. 1984: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII, 2 (1984) 1559). This is especially true of the young.

One of the challenges facing the leaders of nations is that of ensuring such participation in ways that are truly just and effective. One of the challenges facing youth is to acquire a new awareness of their responsibility and a fresh sensitivity to the needs of their fellow human beings, avoiding the siren calls of self-interest, heeding first the values of life and then moving with confidence to put those values into practice (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius scripto datus ob diem I ianuarii MCMLXXXV paci inter nations fovendae dicatum, 3 et 7, die 8 dec. 1984: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII, 2 (1984) 1553 s. et 1557 s.). May Almighty God enlighten all of us to respond to these urgent demands of our times with wisdom and farsightedness!

Mr. Ambassador, your mission as the representative of your country to the Holy See has a special character corresponding to the eminently spiritual and moral nature of the Holy See’s presence and activity in the sphere of international relations. I would assure you of the fullest collaboration of the departments of the Roman Curia, and I wish you every happiness in the fulfillment of your duties. Again I give the assurance of my deep affection for the people of Korea, and I invoke God’s blessings of peace and wellbeing upon them and upon their leaders.



Friday, 18 January 1985

Dear Friends,

It is a pleasure to welcome the members of the sixty-fifth class of the NATO Defense College. You have come to Rome to engage in a course of study which includes the examination of the military, political, economic, technological, geographical, sociological and psychological problems and factors which are of special relevance to NATO. During the course of these studies, you have desired to come to the Vatican for this audience with the Pope. And I am very pleased to receive you today because I recognize that your request for this audience is a sign of your convictions about the importance of moral and spiritual values, not only for one’s personal life but also for the work in which you are engaged.

Moral and spiritual values are indeed of vital importance for human life: for directing the decisions of individual persons and for shaping the relations between peoples and nations. Without the integration of these values into our lives and into society, we cannot hope to measure up to the full stature of our human dignity. And without attempting to bring them to bear upon the decisions affecting public life and international relations, we can never have a secure and lasting peace.

Your course of study in Rome brings you in contact with people from many nations. You study and discuss together. You are in an excellent position to grow in mutual understanding and respect for one another and for the various cultures and countries which you represent. May this experience of international brotherhood strengthen your conviction about the possibility of achieving harmony and brotherhood among all the nations of the world. And may it deepen your commitment to work for the realization of this greatly desired goal.

I pray that the Lord will sustain you in these worthy endeavours.

May God bless you all.


Friday, 18 January 1985

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ,

I am very pleased to welcome you to the Vatican and to have this opportunity to share your joy in the celebration of the thirty-third anniversary of your ordination to the priesthood. My greetings and congratulations to Bishop Kim and to all of you! My visit to your country last year, and the memorable experience of meeting so many of your people, have left me with a great hope that the seed of faith planted by your Martyrs, your forefathers, will bear ever greater fruit in Christian living and in genuine service to the well-being of all Koreans. May the fidelity of the Martyrs live on in you as a precious heritage!

At the Mass of Ordination in Taegu I had the opportunity to peak of the need for the priest to be where Christ is. This means hat we must be with him not only in our ministry to others but also in our own participation in the sacraments, in our own meditation on his word, and in opening ourselves to the gifts of grace which are abundantly bestowed on each one of us. I know that this union with Christ has been the strength of your priesthood throughout the years since your ordination. I pray that you will continue to find complete joy and strength in that closeness to the divine Master.

On all of you, on your families, and on the people you serve, I invoke abundant heavenly graces and I gladly impart to you my Apostolic Blessing. May God bless Korea!

                                                                 February 1985






Tuesday, 5 February 1985

Mr President,
Archbishop Pantin,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. With profound gratitude to God for being able to set foot on the soil of this nation, Trinidad and Tobago, I offer warmest greetings of love and peace to you all. And I thank you for your most cordial welcome.

In the course of this pastoral journey which has taken me to Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, I am pleased that it has been possible to include this visit to you. I come in a spirit of brotherhood and friendship, and I wish to assure you of my deep respect and esteem for you all. I am in a special way grateful to God that I shall have the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist with my brothers and sisters of the Catholic Church. With joyful hearts, we shall offer praise and glory to the Most Holy Trinity, and our faith will be strengthened by the word of God and Eucharistic Communion.

2. I want to tell you of my admiration for the way in which people of different races, religions and traditions live together in harmony in your country. While so many places in the world suffer tragic conflicts due to bigotry and prejudice, you are a sign of hope. Your fraternal understanding makes possible fruitful cooperation between greatly diverse groups, and this cooperation is mutually enriching. I commend you highly for insisting on the recognition of the equal human dignity of each man, woman and child.

3. Permit me to say a few words to the youth of Trinidad and Tobago. When I think of you and of all the other young people round the world, I feel a deep sense of gratitude and hope. I see in your eyes the bright promise of tomorrow, for the future of society belongs to you. And you begin to shape that future now, by the choices you make, by the attitudes you form, by the values you choose to live by - or to ignore. As you step forward to assume responsibility, let your hearts be brave. Put your confidence in God who made you and who loves you. Dare to reach out to others in hope and in trust, and, joining hands and hearts in friendship, help to build a better world.

4. I also want to take this opportunity to extend a very special word of greeting to those living on the island of Tobago. While the limitations of time do not enable me to come to you as I would like, be assured that I am with you in spirit and in prayer.

Upon all the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago I invoke God's gifts of peace and joy. May the Lord bless you all.





Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago)

Tuesday, 5 February 1985

Dear People of Trinidad and Tobago, dear Friends,

1. all too quickly, it seems, the time has come to say goodbye. A I would gladly stay with you longer so as to journey to the other communities, to visit the sick and the old, to meet the youth, to get to know all of you better. But the call of duty summons me away, and I must return to Rome to continue there my pastoral ministry. Before I go, however, I wish to thank you for your most cordial welcome and warm hospitality. I am grateful to His Excellency President Clarke, to the Government, to the security services - all those who have ensured the success and smooth running of these festivities. I extend a special word of thanks to all those who have worked so hard to prepare for my pastoral visit. May the Lord reward you for your generous service.

2. Historians tell us that, when the explorer Christopher Columbus first saw this island's three mountain peaks, he was reminded of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of the three persons in one God.

And thus he named the island Trinidad. Nearly five hundred years later, I too have had the joy of coming to these shores. While I readily acknowledge the beauty of your country, what most reminds me of the mystery of the Holy Trinity is not your majestic mountains but your cheerful faces, which reflect the glory of God. At the very beginning of the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, we are told: «God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them» (Gn 1,27). Every human person is made in God's image, from the oldest among us to the unborn child in its mother's womb. Though this image of God can be darkened by sins such as prejudice and hatred, greed and pride, yet it shines forth brightly when the heart is filled with love and good will, when men and women reach out to their neighbours in friendship and service, with generosity and concern. It is these qualities above all which remind us of the mystery of God, of the Most Holy Trinity. May they always flourish in your country. May they be fostered in your homes and be passed on from one generation to the next.

3. I am now leaving you, but part of you will go with me and part of me will stay with you. I shall not forget the fresh enthusiasm of this young nation: the rich variety of your culture, the vigour of your youth, your spirit of openness and genuine hospitality. I am grateful for having been received so warmly by people of all religions, and I especially treasure the joy of having celebrated the Eucharist with my brothers and sisters of the Catholic Church.

I promise you my prayers for your future.

«May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace» (1 Nu. 6, 24-26).


                                                                         March 1985


Monday, 4 March 1985

Dear Friends,

This is ideed a particularly significant meeting. It is the continuation, as it were, of a centuries-old dialogue between your City and the Holy See. Your native City of Sendai in the Prefecture of Miyagi is celebrating the 350th Anniversary of the death of Lord Date Masamune, who founded the city in a part of Japan that is rightly proud of its great natural beauty.

In 1613, Lord Masamune sent his personal envoy, Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga, to my Predecessor Pope Paul V. After a long and adventurous journey, Hasekura was received by Pope in 1615. The uniqueness of that event can only be measured against the background of those times. It was a meeting of two worlds that seemed to be so far apart.

Once again, almost fifty years ago, other representatives of Sendai came to Rome and met Pope Pius XI.

Now you have come to strengthen further the bonds between us. You young people, accompanied by members of your families and other citizens, and by the Bishop of Sendai, Bishop Sato, have come to Rome - in the footsteps of Hasekura - to meet the Pope. You have brought messages from the Mayor of Sendai, Mr. Ishii, and from the Governor of the Prefecture of Miyagi, Mr. Yamamoto. I thank you and I ask you to take them my greetings and the assurance of my esteem and prayers for all your fellow-citizens.

I am very happy to welcome you today to the Vatican and to have this opportunity to continue the dialogue that Lord Masamune sought to initiate.

Much has changed in the world since that time. Yet the need for openness and contact between peoples of different cultures and beliefs is as urgent now as it was then. When such contacts are fostered in mutual respect, we realize how widespread and sincere are the aspirations of all peoples to achieve a world of peace: peace that is not merely the absence of conflict but the practice of genuine justice at the service of the integral development of every human being and of all peoples.

When you return to Sendai your young friends and the citizens of your city may ask you: What did the Pope say? What message did he given you?

Tell them that it is a message of hope in young people and of trust in the future. Tell them that he believes that the future can be shaped by those who have the courage to choose good over evil, peace over violence, and brotherly love over every injustice. Tell them that he encourages them to work hard and wisely for a better world where understanding, justice, peace and love will be the heritage of every member of the human family.

For this I pray every day to Almighty God, our heavenly Father. And I know that you share this hope with me.



Thursday, 7 March 1985

Dear Brother Bishops,
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

IT IS A GREAT joy to be with you at this meeting in which you are assembling for the first time with your new President Archbishop John Foley. “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Twenty years ago, the Second Vatican Council declared that among the marvels of technology which God has destined human genius to discover in his creation, those which have a powerful effect on human minds are the ones which interest the Church most.

This week, you have come to Rome to reflect the Church’s intense interest in the means of social communication which have such a profound influence on human minds, on human aspirations and on human conduct.

First, if the means of social communication are used well, people can come to know the truth and they can be freed from ignorance, from prejudice, from isolation and from that violation of human dignity which comes about when the communications media are manipulated in order to control and to restrict human thought.

This is a moment when you are supremely conscious of Jesus’ words: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”. Ontological truth consists in the conformity of every existing thing to the exemplary idea in the mind of the Creator; in this sense, every being is true and every rational being is free. Logical truth consists in the conformity of mental concepts to actual reality, and it is here where the unscrupulous have sought to portray through the communications media a false reality so that human minds might be deceived and hence controlled – so that human thought might reflect not the world as it is but a vision of the world which a minority might wish to impose.

Thus, the Church must continue to declare the right of the human family to the truth – a truth which is not limited to material reality but acknowledges also divine transcendence. Faith is the acceptance of a truth communicated but not directly experienced – a truth revealed by God in the world he has made and in the Word he has sent.

Deception is a deprivation of human dignity and a distraction from human destiny; it has its origin in the father of lies. God, on the other hand, is the author of truth – and it is the right and the responsibility of the Church to be not only the communicator of truth but also its defender. The Church must be an exemplar of truth if she is to be faithful to her vocation, and she must be a herald of truth – of the Good News of Jesus Christ – if she is to be faithful to her mission. Saint Paul reminds us: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth”.

If the truth is liberating and if the Good News of Jesus Christ is both saving and uplifting, then the means of communication can truly be an expression of human aspiration and an incentive to Christian hope.

The freedom which comes from truth can give the human family a vision of what it can be, of what it should be – and it can give to every human being awareness of the destiny God has prepared for us because of the dignity he has conferred upon us. Where the means of social communication do not reflect truth, they take away hope. And human beings experience oppression, enslavement and despair.

The means of social communication must offer to the human family hope – the hope to realize their dignity as sons and daughters of a loving Father who has called them to a life of holiness here, and who has destined them for a life of eternal happiness hereafter.

The so-called entertainment media offer special opportunities for the communication of hope through stories which encourage, through models which inspire and through shared experiences which console and comfort. The means of social communication can indeed comfort the afflicted and renew hope.

Perhaps the effects of social communication most easily seen, however, are those expressed in human conduct. We know that words transmitted over radio or written in newspapers can incite anger; we know that images projected in films or on television can unleash passion. These are certainly dangers which must be avoided; temptations which should be resisted.

What is often not so readily recalled, however, is that the communications media – as their name implies – can be a catalyst for unity and an invitation to charity.

The news media recently focused the attention of the world on the plight of those in danger of starvation in Africa – and the outpouring of assistance from those moved by the plight of their brothers and sisters in need was most gratifying.

The news media have played this role of evoking sympathetic response in time of need over and over again – and they have helped to bind the human family more closely through practical charity. May they continue to do so wherever there is need!

Through sensitive dramatic presentations in film or on television, individuals can also deepen their insight into a full range of human needs and can be disposed to respond with love and understanding to the troubled, to the lonely, to the sick and to the needy. One of the signs of love, moreover, is presence. God is present to all the things he has made. Otherwise they would not continue to exist: he has called us into being because of love, and he sustains us in being because of love. What unites us as members of the human family – what makes us present to one another – should, therefore, remind us that we are all children of one Father.

The modern communications media make such unity possible through the shared experience of what is reported or even through simultaneous presence at one event through electronic links which span the globe and reach even into space.

We can be moved together by the shared experience of one tragedy; we can be inspired together through a shared experience of human triumph. We can, in brief, be united through the modern means of communication – united in the truth of a shared experience, united in the articulation of a common aspiration, united in a shared response to human need, or in shared admiration of human heroism. We can, perhaps as never before, be one in faith, hope and charity.

Yes, your activities as members of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications are extremely important. You reflect the Church’s intense desire not only to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ through the communications media but also to promote unity and charity in our still divided world. Through the marvels that man has discovered in the world God created, you are seeking to communicate the light of Christ’s liberating truth and the warmth of his saving love.



Saturday, 16 March 1985

Dear Brothers in Christ,

1. It is a joy to come together, in the name of “Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession”, in order to celebrate the unity of the Episcopate. As the Successor of Peter, called by Christ to continue a special ministry of service to the universal Church and to all the Bishops, I offer you today the full measure of my fraternal encouragement. I want you to know that I am close to you in all the strenuous efforts you are making to coordinate the pastoral activities of the Church in Pakistan. Within the one Body of Christ’s Church, I assure you of my support as you strive to protect and develop Christian life in the dioceses entrusted to your care.

Christian life in Pakistan is in fact a great witness to the love of Jesus Christ “who went about doing good”. The vast network of charitable and social organizations, including hospitals, dispensaries and orphanages, express a vital and authentic Christian spirit and is part of the total Christian contribution to your country. Last Christmas your President paid a warm tribute to the Christians of your land, mentioning “their spirit of dedication in furthering the cause of Pakistan and contributing towards its progress and prosperity”. I am very grateful to him for this tribute as well as for stating Pakistan’s commitment to safeguard the “religious rights of minorities” (Message of the President of Pakistan, His Excellency General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq).

I know all the efforts you have made in the extremely important field of education, as well as the many difficulties you have encountered. I praise your strong and persevering desire to transmit the life giving Gospel message, so uplifting for all humanity. I shall follow this matter with you very closely, and for everything that has already been accomplished through your ministry I offer thanks to God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

2. I am likewise deeply grateful for the generous dedication of all the priests and religious who are your co-workers in the Gospel. The names of the missionaries of the past are forever enshrined in the religious history of your people. Through love, they have made possible the great development of the Church, which is attested to by the fact that all the Ordinaries of your country are now Pakistani. United with you and working side by side, the local priests and the missionaries of today are called to continue their ministry, expending themselves in the work of evangelization, in every way possible. With uncertainty as to the results of their labours, with trust in the Providence of God, your priests and religious have a special role to play in living the virtue of Christian hope. Each one is invited to proclaim daily with the Psalmist: “My trust is in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’. In your hands is my destiny”.

3. I wish to express my admiration for the faith of your people. I know that it is lived in evangelical simplicity, in poverty and in fidelity to the communion of the universal Church. Your people live this faith with concern for their fellow human beings, including brothers and sisters who have come from outside the borders of your nation. On this occasion I repeat the sentiments that I expressed on my arrival in Karachi four years ago, regarding the refugees. I renew my gratitude for all the many efforts made to assist them, and I pray that these efforts will continue as long as the need persists.

4. The faith of your people is also manifested in an apostolic zeal which impels them to transmit it. This apostolic zeal explains the dedication of your catechists and of all those who work to communicate the Gospel of Christ. In a very specific way the transmission of the faith is a mission incumbent on Christian families. My appeal today is that everything possible be done both to confirm Christian families in a realization of the importance of their ministry of evangelization and also to assist them to fulfil it. Here we should recall the words of Paul VI: “The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighbourhood of which it forms a part”. The vocation of our families is truly a vocation of Christian living, Christian service and Christian witness. And in this way is actuated the mystery of Christ’s Church.

5. In your pastoral solicitude for preparing the Church of God for the next millennium, you rightly place great hope in the youth. In your country they are in a very special way the embodiment of the Church’s hope. At every level they deserve all the pastoral care possible. The Church has confidence in all the categories of young people, but she seeks a particular collaboration from the university students. She asks them to exercise their leadership roles as worthy followers of Jesus Christ.

At the heart of ministry to youth, we must not forget to foster consecrated religious life. And because all the activity of the Church is related to the question of priestly vocation - for without priests the Church cannot be built up through the Eucharist - I encourage you in your zealous initiative. I support you not only as you promote and foster vocations but also as you strive to ensure the proper doctrinal and spiritual preparation of all your seminarians. May Mary, the Mother of Christ the High Priest, assist you in your hopes and plans and efforts.

6. Another area that deeply affects your lives and ministry is your relationship with your Muslim brethren. During the Second Vatican Council, the Church explicitly expressed her esteem for Muslims, and on my departure from Karachi I prayed that “mutual understanding and respect between Christians and Muslims, and indeed between all religions, will continue and grow deeper, and that we will find still better ways of cooperation and collaboration for the good of all”.

As examples of common endeavours, the Council listed “safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom”. Undoubtedly these categories offer numerous possibilities. I know that you have been trying to do much in this regard.

7. Dear brother Bishops: each one of you is the pastor of a particular Church that is indeed a pusillus grex. Each of your particular Churches is faced with limited possibilities and with pastoral problems. And yet, by the grace of God, each ecclesial community can live to the full its vocation to holiness as a hymn of praise to the God of holiness. Notwithstanding your limited resources, the Church in Pakistan has an immense contribution to make to the universal Church. You are called to fulfil your vocation to holiness through the concern of charity - the charity that you do indeed exercise so well in the name of Christ.

It is good to know that, among your many activities, you have seen fit to give special attention to the Bible apostolate and to relate it to the vital duty and privilege of prayer. The word of God is truly the strength of your people, as is its supreme sacramental proclamation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In my homily in Karachi I strove to emphasize the Eucharist as the centre of your lives and the source of your joy and holiness.

8. Because every call to holiness is a call to ecclesial unity, I encourage your priests, religious and laity to do everything possible, with you, to proclaim in faith and charity your Catholic unity among yourselves and with the universal Church. At the same time we must all work and pray for the full unity of all Christ’s followers: “So that the world may believe”.

And finally let me add - for this too must be said - that it is only in joyful hope that the Church in Pakistan will fulfil her great calling. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”.

As I entrust you and your local Churches to the love of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, I also send my greetings of fraternal respect and esteem to the authorities of your country and to all your fellow-citizens. Upon all the people of Pakistan I invoke the blessings of the Almighty and Merciful God.

Dear Brothers: be assured of my love in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Speeches 1985