Speeches 1987 - Convention Centre (Phoenix)

3. All concern for the sick and suffering is part of the Church’s life and mission. The Church has always understood herself to be charged by Christ with the care of the poor, the weak, the defenceless, the suffering and those who mourn. This means that, as you alleviate suffering and seek to heal, you also bear witness to the Christian view of suffering and to the meaning of life and death as taught by your Christian faith.

In the complex world of modern health care in industrialized society, this witness must be given in a variety of ways. First, it requires continual efforts to ensure that everyone has access to health care. I know that you have already examined this question in the report of your Task Force on Health Care of the Poor. In seeking to treat patients equally, regardless of social and economic status, you proclaim to your fellow citizens and to the world Christ’s special love for the neglected and powerless. This particular challenge is a consequence of your Christian dedication and conviction, and it calls for great courage on the part of Catholic bodies and institutions operating in the field of health care. It is a great credit to your zeal and efficiency when, despite formidable costs, you still succeed in preventing the economic factor from being the determinant factor in human and Christian service.

Similarly, the love with which Catholic health care is performed and its professional excellence have the value of a sign testifying to the Christian view of the human person. The inalienable dignity of every human being is, of course, fundamental to all Catholic health care. All who come to you for help are worthy of respect and love, for all have been created in the image and likeness of God. All have been redeemed by Christ and, in their sufferings, bear his Cross. It is fitting that our meeting is taking place on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Christ took upon himself the whole of human suffering and radically transformed it through the Paschal Mystery of his Passion, Death and Resurrection. The Triumph of the Cross gives human suffering a new dimension, a redemptive value (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Salvifici Doloris, 30). It is your privilege to bear constant witness to this profound truth in so many ways.

The structural changes which have been taking place within Catholic health care in recent years have increased the challenge of preserving and even strengthening the Catholic identity of the institutions and the spiritual quality of the services given.The presence of dedicated women and men religious in hospitals and nursing homes has ensured in the past, and continues to ensure in the present, that spiritual dimension so characteristic of Catholic health care centres. The reduced number of religious and new forms of ownership and management should not lead to a loss of a spiritual atmosphere, or to a loss of a sense of vocation in caring for the sick. This is an area in which the Catholic laity, at all levels of health care, have an opportunity to manifest the depth of their faith and to play their own specific part in the Church’s mission of evangelization and service.

4. As I have said, Catholic health care must always be carried out within the framework of the Church’s saving mission. This mission she has received from her divine Founder, and she has accomplished it down through the ages with the help of the Holy Spirit who guides her into the fullness of truth (Cfr. Io Jn 16,13 Lumen Gentium LG 4). Your ministry therefore must also reflect the mission of the Church as the teacher of moral truth, especially in regard to the new frontiers of scientific research and technological achievement. Here too you face great challenges and opportunities.

Many times in recent years the Church has addressed issues related to the advances of biomedical technology. She does so not in order to discourage scientific progress or to judge harshly those who seek to extend the frontiers of human knowledge and skill, but in order to affirm the moral truths which must guide the application of this knowledge and skill. Ultimately, the purpose of the Church’s teaching in this field is to defend the innate dignity and fundamental rights of the human person. In this regard the Church cannot fail to emphasize the need to safeguard the life and integrity of the human embryo and foetus.

5. The human person is a unique composite - a unity of spirit and matter, soul and body, fashioned in the image of God and destined to live forever. Every human life is sacred, because every human person is sacred. It is in the light of this fundamental truth that the Church constantly proclaims and defends the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. It is also in the light of this fundamental truth that we see the great evil of abortion and euthanasia.

Not long ago, in its "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation", the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith once more dealt with certain vital questions concerning the human person. Once more it defended the sanctity of innocent human life from the moment of conception onward. Once again it affirmed the sacred and inviolable character of the transmission of human life of the procreative act within marriage. It explained that new technologies may afford new means of procreation, but "what is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible" (Congr. Pro Doctr. Fidei Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, Introd. 4). To place new human knowledge at the service of the integral well-being of human persons does not inhibit true scientific progress but liberates it. The Church encourages all genuine advances in knowledge, but she also insists on the sacredness of human life at every stage and in every condition. The cause she serves is the cause of human life and human dignity.

6. In the exercise of your professional activities you have a magnificent opportunity, by your constant witness to moral truth, to contribute to the formation of society’s moral vision. As you give the best of yourselves in fulfilling your Christian responsibilities, you will also be aware of the important contribution you must make to building a society based on truth and justice. Your service to the sick enables you with great credibility to proclaim to the world the demands and values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to foster hope and renewal of heart. In this respect, your concern with the Catholic identity of your work and of your institutions is not only timely and commendable, it is essential for the success of your ecclesial mission.

You must always see yourselves and your work as part of the Church’s life and mission. You are indeed a very special part of the People of God. You and your institutions have precise responsibilities towards the ecclesial community, just as that community has responsibilities towards you. It is important at every level - national, state and local - that there be close and harmonious links between you and the bishops, who "preside in place of God over the flock whose shepherds they are, as teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship and officers of good order" (Lumen Gentium LG 20). They for their part wish to support you in your witness and service.

7. I have come here today to encourage you in your splendid work and to confirm you in your vital apostolate. Dear brothers and sisters: for your dedication to meeting the health care needs of all people, especially the poor, I heartily congratulate you. You embody the legacy of those pioneering women and men religious who selflessly responded to the health care needs of a young and rapidly expanding country by developing an extensive network of clinics, hospitals and nursing homes.

Today you are faced with new challenges, new needs One of these is the present crisis of immense proportions which is that of AIDS and AIDS-Related Complex (ARC) Besides your professional contribution and your human sensitivities towards all affected by this disease, you are called to show the love and compassion of Christ and his Church As you courageously affirm and implement your moral obligation and social responsibility to help those who suffer, you are, individually and collectively, living out the parable of the Good Samaritan (Cfr. Luc Lc 10,30-32).

The Good Samaritan of the parable showed compassion to the injured man By taking him to the inn and giving of his own material means, he truly gave of himself. This action, a universal symbol of human concern, has become one of the essential elements of moral culture and civilization How beautifully the Lord speaks of the Samaritan! He "was neighbour to the man who fell in with the robbers" (Ibid.10, 36). To be "neighbour" is to express love, solidarity and service, and to exclude selfishness, discrimination and neglect The message of the parable of the Good Samaritan echoes a reality connected with today’s Feast of the Triumph of the Cross: “the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs, in hope, of eternal life” (Tt 3,4-7). In the changing world of health care, it is up to you to ensure that this "kindness and love of God our Saviour" remains the heart and soul of Catholic health services.

Through prayer and with God’s help, may you persevere in your commitment, providing professional assistance and selfless personal care to those who need your services. I pray that your activities and your whole lives will inspire and help all the people of America, working together, to make this society a place of full and absolute respect for the dignity of every person, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. And may God, in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Act. 17, 28), sustain you by his grace. God bless you and your families and your contribution to America!






Monday, 14 September 1987

Dear Bishop O’Brien,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. It is a joy for me to come to the Cathedral of Saints Simon and Jude, and to be with you who make up this local Church in Phoenix. This house of prayer and worship, this mother church of the diocese, is named after two of the twelve Apostles, two men of courageous faith who personally received from our Risen Saviour the mandate to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus said to them and the rest of the twelve: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you" (Mt 28,19-20).

Simon and Jude responded wholeheartedly to this summons and spent the rest of their lives seeking "to open up for all people a free and sure path to full participation in the mystery of Christ" (Ad Gentes AGD 5).

The Church, built as she is on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Cfr. Eph Ep 2,20), has inherited the same mission that Jesus first entrusted to the Twelve. The Church is by her very nature missionary, "for it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she takes her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father" (Ad Gentes AGD 2). She has the honour and privilege, and also the obligation, of bringing the Good News of salvation to all nations, to every person. As the bishops of the United States stated last November in their Pastoral Statement on World Mission: "We are faithful to the nature of the Church to the degree that we love and sincerely promote her missionary activity" (To the Ends of the Earth, 2).

2. The Church in Phoenix, like every other local Church in the world, is the fruit of evangelization.The Gospel was first brought to Arizona three hundred years ago by the renowned Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Kino, also known as the "Apostle of Sonora and Arizona". At great personal sacrifice, Father Kino worked tirelessly to establish missions throughout this area so that the Good News concerning our Lord Jesus Christ might take root among the people living here.

And the Gospel did take root, and numerous other missionaries came after Father Kino to continue the evangelizing effort. Perhaps the most zealous among these was the Franciscan, Francisco Garces. With particular love for the Indian people, he sought to present the Gospel to them in a way adapted to their culture; at the same time he also encouraged them to live in harmony and peace among themselves. So completely was his life patterned on that of our Lord, that he ended his labours here by shedding his blood for the Gospel.

The missionary efforts continued down through the years, and the Church became firmly established in Arizona. The rich fruit of this evangelization is clearly evident today in this quickly growing Diocese of Phoenix and in the expanding dioceses of the surrounding area. The Gospel has truly taken root here and has brought forth fruit in abundance.

3. And yet, the work of evangelization is not over. On earth it will never be over. Indeed, so much remains to be done. Let us not forget the words of the Second Vatican Council which said that missionary activity is "a supremely great and sacred task of the Church" (Ad Gentes AGD 29). The duty of carrying forward this work rests on the whole Church and on every member of the Church.

The Church, at the close of the twentieth century, has need of many more missionaries with the zeal of Father Kino and Father Garces, persons of heroic faith like Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint John Neumann and Saint Frances Cabrini, who are willing to leave their own homeland to bring the message of salvation to people in other lands, especially to those who have never heard the word of God.

Who will meet this need? The Gospel message has still not been heard by two-thirds of the world’s population. Who will respond to God’s missionary call at the end of the twentieth century? Jesus says: "Whoever loves father or mother, son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Mt 10,37). We must be worthy of Christ.

Not everyone is asked to leave home and loved ones for this task, but all are called to bear the burden, to do their part. As the American bishops have said so well: "Jesus’ great commission to the first disciples is now addressed to us... This mission to the people of all nations must involve all of us personally in our parishes and at the diocesan and universal levels of the Church" (To the Ends of the Earth, 3).

Missionaries in foreign countries deserve our prayerful support and material help. American Catholics have been especially generous in the past, a generosity and interest that show your genuine missionary spirit. The practice of " twinning" between American parishes and dioceses and those of Africa and Asia has been of great benefit. With gratitude I commend you, and in the name of the universal Church I ask your continued help and prayers. Great assistance has been given to the missions by mission aid societies such as the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Association of the Holy Childhood. Nor can we ever forget the generous missionary work that has been carried out for decades by religious institutes and missionary societies of the United States, and also by generous Fidei Donum’ priests and by lay missionaries. The reward of those who have sacrificed everything to spread the Gospel will be great in heaven

4. Dear brothers and sisters: the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that God the Father considered it fitting to make Christ, our leader in the work of salvation, " perfect through suffering" (Hebr. 2, 10). In a similar way, he led the Apostles Simon and Jude through the suffering of martyrdom to perfection in eternity. In every age of the Church, God makes his chosen ones "perfect through suffering", bringing them to the fullness of life and happiness by giving them on earth a share in the Cross of Christ.

It is easy to understand that God’s plan for us passes along the way of the holy Cross, because it was so for Jesus and l is apostles. Brothers and sisters: never be surprised to find yourselves passing under the shadow of the Cross. Christian life find Is its whole meaning in love, but love does not exist for us without effort, discipline and sacrifice in every aspect of our life. We are willing to give in proportion as we love, and when love is perfect the sacrifice is complete. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, and the Son so loved us that he gave his life for our salvation.

On this day when Catholics around the world celebrate the Triumph of the Cross, the Church invites us to look once again at the meaning of our Christian discipleship, to understand the sacrifices it involves, and place all our hope in our crucified and Risen Saviour.

O triumphant Cross of Christ, inspire us to continue the task of evangelization!
O glorious Cross of Christ, strengthen us to proclaim and live the Gospel of salvation!
O victorious Cross of Christ, our only hope, lead us to the joy and peace of the Resurrection and eternal life!






Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix

Monday, 14 September 1987

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I have greatly looked forward to this visit with you, the original peoples of this vast country. I greet you with love and respect. And as I greet you, I wish to tell you how pleased I am to find among you one of your sons raised to the episcopate - Bishop Pelotte. I thank you for inviting me to be with you and for sharing with me some aspects of your rich and ancient culture.

I have listened to your concerns and hopes. As your representatives spoke, I traced in my heart the history of your tribes and nations. I was able to see you as the noble descendants of countless generations of inhabitants of this land, whose ways were marked by great respect for the natural resources of land and rivers, of forest and plain and desert. Here your forefathers cherished and sought to pass on to each new generation their customs and traditions, their history and way of life. Here they worshipped the Creator and thanked him for his gifts. In contact with the forces of nature they learned the value of prayer, of silence and fasting, of patience and courage in the face of pain and disappointment.

2. The early encounter between your traditional cultures and the European way of life was an event of such significance and change that it profoundly influences your collective life even today. That encounter was a harsh and painful reality for your peoples. The cultural oppression, the injustices, the disruption of your life and of your traditional societies must be acknowledged.

At the same time, in order to be objective, history must record the deeply positive aspects of your people’s encounter with the culture that came from Europe. Among these positive aspects I wish to recall the work of the many missionaries who strenuously defended the rights of the original inhabitants of this land. They established missions throughout this southwestern part of the United States. They worked to improve living conditions and set up educational systems, learning your languages in order to do so. Above all, they proclaimed the Good News of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, an essential part of which is that all men and women are equally children of God and must be respected and loved as such. This Gospel of Jesus Christ is today, and will remain forever, the greatest pride and possession of your people.

3. One priest who deserves special mention among the missionaries is the beloved Fray Junipero Serra, who travelled throughout Lower and Upper California. He had frequent clashes with the civil authorities over the treatment of Indians. In 1773 he presented to the Viceroy in Mexico City a Representación, which is sometimes termed a "Bill of Rights" for Indians. The Church had long been convinced of the need to protect them from exploitation. Already in 1537, my predecessor Pope Paul III proclaimed the dignity and rights of the native peoples of the Americas by insisting that they not be deprived of their freedom or the possession of their property (Pauli III, Pastorale Officium, 29 maggio 1537: Denz.-S. 1495). In Spain the Dominican priest, Francisco de Vitoria, became the staunch advocate of the rights of the Indians and formulated the basis for international law regarding the rights of peoples.

Unfortunately not all the members of the Church lived up to their Christian responsibilities. But let us not dwell excessively on mistakes and wrongs, even as we commit ourselves to overcoming their present effects. Let us also be grateful to those who came to this land, faithful to the teachings of Jesus, witnesses of his new commandment of love. These men and women, with good hearts and good minds, shared knowledge and skills from their own cultures and shared their most precious heritage, the faith, as well. Now, we are called to learn from the mistakes of the past and we must work together for reconciliation and healing, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

4. It is time to think of the present and of the future. Today, people are realizing more and more clearly that we all belong to the one human family, and are meant to walk and work together in mutual respect, understanding, trust and love. Within this family each people preserves and expresses its own identity and enriches others with its gifts of culture, tradition, customs, stories, song, dance, art and skills.

From the very beginning, the Creator bestowed his gifts on each people. It is clear that stereotyping. prejudice, bigotry and racism demean the human dignity which comes from the hand of the Creator and which is seen in variety and diversity. I encourage you, as native people belonging to the different tribes and nations in the East, South, West and North, to preserve and keep alive your cultures, your languages, the values and customs which have served you well in the past and which provide a solid foundation for the future. Your customs that mark the various stages of life, your love for the extended family, your respect for the dignity and worth of every human being, from the unborn to the aged, and your stewardship and care of the earth: these things benefit not only yourselves but the entire human family.

Your gifts can also be expressed even more fully in the Christian way of life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is at home in every people. It enriches, uplifts and purifies every culture. All of us together make up the People of God, the Body of Christ, the Church. We should all be grateful for the growing unity, presence, voice and leadership of Catholic Native Americans in the Church today.

Jesus speaks of the word of God as the seed which falls on good ground and produces abundant fruit (Cfr. Matth Mt 13, 4ss.). The seed has long since been planted in the hearts of many of you. And it has already produced the fruits which show its transforming power - the fruits of holiness. The best known witness of Christian holiness among the native people of North America is Kateri Tekakwitha, whom I had the privilege, seven years ago, of declaring "Blessed" and of holding up to the whole Church and the world as an outstanding example of Christian life. Even when she dedicated herself fully to Jesus Christ, to the point of taking the prophetic step of making a vow of perpetual virginity, she always remained what she was, a true daughter of her people, following her tribe in the hunting seasons and continuing her devotions in the environment most suited to her way of life, before a rough cross carved by herself in the forest. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the great gift of God’s love, is never in contrast with what is noble and pure in the life of any tribe or nation, since all good things are his gifts.

5. I would like to repeat what I said at my meeting with native peoples at the Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré during my visit to Canada in 1984: "Your encounter with the Gospel has not only enriched you; it has enriched the Church. We are well aware that this has not taken place without its difficulties and, occasionally, its blunders. However, and you are experiencing this today, the Gospel does not destroy what is best in you. On the contrary, it enriches, as it were from within, the spiritual qualities and gifts that are distinctive of your cultures" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Allocutio ad indigenas populationes Canadenses, 3, die 10 sept. 1984: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII/2 [1984] 407). The American Bishops’ Statement on Native Americans rightly attests that our Catholic faith is capable of thriving " within each culture, within each nation, within each race, while remaining the prisoner of none" (Statement of 4 May 1977).

Here too I wish to urge the local Churches to be truly "catholic" in their outreach to native peoples, and to show respect and honour for their culture and all their worthy traditions. From your ranks have come a bishop, a number of priests, many permanent deacons, men and women religious and lay leaders. To all of you who have an active part in the Church’s ministry I wish to express my gratitude and support. But the Church has some special needs at this time. And for this reason I directly appeal to you, especially to you young Native Americans, to discover if Jesus is calling you to the priesthood or to the religious life.Hear him and follow him! He will never let you down! He will lead you, in the Church, to serve your own peoples and others in the best way possible, in love and apostolic generosity.

At the same time I call upon your native Catholic communities to work together to share their faith and their gifts, to work together on behalf of all your peoples. There is much to be done in solving common problems of unemployment, inadequate health care, alcoholism and chemical dependency. You have endured much over hundreds of years and your difficulties are not yet at an end. Continue taking steps towards true human progress and towards reconciliation within your families and your communities, and among your tribes and nations.

6. One day Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10,10).

Surely, the times has come for the native peoples of America to have a new life in Jesus Christ - the new life of adopted children of God, with all its consequences:

A life in justice and full human dignity!

A life of pride in their own good traditions, and of fraternal solidarity among themselves and with all their brothers and sisters in America!

A deeper life in charity and grace, leading to the fullness of eternal life in heaven!

All consciences must be challenged. There are real injustices to be addressed and biased attitudes to be changed. But the greatest challenge is to you yourselves, as Native Americans. You must continue to grow in respect for your own inalienable human dignity, for the gifts of Creation and Redemption as they touch your lives and the lives of your peoples. You must unyieldingly pursue your spiritual and moral goals. You must trust in your own future.

As Catholic Native Americans, you are called to become instruments of the healing power of Christ’s love, instruments of his peace. May the Church in your midst - your own community of faith and fellowship - truly bear witness to the new life that comes from the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.





Los Angeles

Tuesday, 15 September 1987

Dear Archbishop Mahony, dear Cardinal Manning,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I greet you today in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through his love and mercy we are gathered together in the Church to offer praise and thanksgiving to our heavenly Father. Grace and peace be to all of you - the clergy, religious and laity of this city named in honour of Our Lady of the Angels. May she continue to assist you in praising God both now and forever with the angels, the patroness of this cathedral - Saint Vibiana - and ail the saints.

I wish to join my voice to the chorus of praise offered to God in the name of Jesus in so many languages and by people of different races and ethnic origins in this great metropolis. It is his name above all that unites us in one household of faith, hope and love. It is the name of Jesus that transcends every division and heals every antagonism within the human family.

As the Successor of Peter, I come to you today in the name of Jesus. It cannot be otherwise, since every true minister of the Gospel preaches not himself nor any message of human origin, but he preaches Jesus Christ as Lord (Cfr. 2Cor 2Co 4-5). To the fears, doubts and struggles of individuals and nations, the Church seeks to apply the healing power of that name which belongs to him who alone is the Word of God (Cfr. Apoc Ap 19,13).

2. In a world filled with competing ideologies and so many false and empty promises, the name of Jesus Christ brings salvation and life. The Hebrew word "Jesus" means "Saviour", as the angel said to Joseph in his dream: "You are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1,21). At the very beginning of the Church’s mission, Saint Peter proclaims that "there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name in the whole world given to men by which they are to be saved" (Act. 4, 12). This name is a source of life for those who believe (Cfr. Io Jn 20,31); it delivers us from evil and leads us to the truth that alone can set us free (Cfr. ibid.8, 32).

The name of Jesus is therefore a cry of deliverance for all humanity. It has the power to comfort and heal the sick (Cfr. Act. 3, 6; Iac. 5, 14-15), to cast out demons (Cfr. Marc. 16, 17; Lc 10,17 Act Lc 16,18), and to work every kind of miracle (Cfr. Matth Mt 7,22 Act Mt 4,30). Most importantly it is in the name of Jesus and through his power that our sins are forgiven (Cfr. 1Io. 2, 12).

The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian worship in this cathedral and in every church throughout the world: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt 18,20). The name of Jesus is at the heart of all Christian prayer: "All you ask the Father in my name he will give you" (Jn 15,16). It is a motivation for charity because as Jesus himself explained, “whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward” (Marc. 9, 41). It calls forth the gift of the Holy Spirit, “the Paraclete, whom the Father will send in my name” (Jn 14,26).

3. My dear brothers and sisters: we are called Christians, and therefore the name of Jesus Christ is also our name. At the baptismal font we received a "Christian name" which symbolizes our communion with Christ and his saints. Our identification with him is reflected in the rule of life which Saint Paul proposes in the Letter to the Colossians: “Whatever you don whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3,17). We are obliged not only to give thanks, but also to speak and act in the name of Jesus, even at the risk of being ill-treated, persecuted and hated "for the sake of the Name" as Jesus foretold (Act. 5, 41; cfr. etiam Marc. 13, 13; Lc 21,12).

As citizens of the United States, you must give thanks to God for the religious liberty which you enjoy under your Constitution, now in its two hundredth year. However, freedom to follow your Catholic faith does not automatically mean that it will be easy to "speak and act" in the name of the Lord Jesus with a conscience formed by the word of God authentically interpreted by the Church’s teaching (Cfr. Dei Verbum, 9s.). In a secularized world, to speak and act in the name of Jesus can bring opposition and even ridicule. It often means being out of step with majority opinion. Yet if we look at the New Testament, we find encouragement everywhere for perseverance in this testing of our faith. As the First Letter of Saint Peter tells us: "If anyone suffers for being a Christian... he ought not to be ashamed. He should rather glorify God in virtue of that name" (1Petr.4, 6). And Jesus himself says, "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (Jn 16,33).

Is not this message extremely important for young people who are trying to live a responsible moral life in the face of a tide of popular culture and peer pressure that is indifferent, if not hostile, to Christian morality. And for their parents, who face daily pressures in the conduct of both their private and public life? And for the clergy and religious who may sometimes find it difficult to speak the full truth of the Church’s teaching because it is a "hard saying" that many will not readily accept?

Dear brothers and sisters: the name of Jesus, like the Word of God that he is, is a two-edged sword (Cfr. Hebr. 4- 12). It is a name that means salvation and life; it is a name that means a struggle and a cross, just as it did for him. But it is also the name in which we find strength to proclaim and live the truth of the Gospel: not with arrogance, but with confident joy; not with self-righteousness, but with humble repentance before God; never with enmity, and always with charity.

Dear people of this great Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with its many problems, its enormous challenges, and its immense possibilities for good: the name of Jesus is your life and your salvation. It is your pride and joy, and the pride and joy of your families and your parishes. In this name you find strength for your weaknesses and energy for daily Christian living. In your struggle against evil and the Evil One, and in your striving for holiness, the name of Jesus is the source of your hope, because in the name of Jesus you are invincible!

Continue, then, dear Catholic people of Los Angeles, to invoke this holy name of Jesus in your joys and your sorrows; continue to teach this name to your children, so that they in turn can teach it to their children, until the Lord Jesus himself comes in glory to judge the living and the dead!

Speeches 1987 - Convention Centre (Phoenix)