Speeches 1990





Saturday, 16 June 1990

Dear Marines from the USS "Empire State",

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican. I trust that your visit to Rome, with its unique historical heritage and artistic beauty, will have a deeply personal and religious significance for each of you. Above all, may the presence in this City of so many reminders of the Christian faith, among which the tomb of Saint Peter takes pride of place, give you a better understanding of the Church and her role of service to the human family.

During my last visit to the United States, in 1987, I underlined this same aspect in relation to your country. In a speech to the President in Miami, I said: "Service to humanity has always been a special part of the vocation of America and is still relevant today" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio domino Ronald Reagan, Nationum Unitarum Americae Septemtrionalis Moderatori, 5, die 10 sept. 1987: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, X, 3 [1987] 377). You carry on that noble tradition insofar as your professional activity is ultimately at the service of the cause of peace and the common good. By serving your country and by putting aside your own personal preferences and plans, even to the extent of placing your lives at risk, you inspire and promote the cause of peace in an exemplary way. People see in you not merely young men who have undergone a strict training program but people of integrity, capable of making sacrifices and ready to offer their service for the good of their country. The Marinesí witness to loyalty, solidarity and perseverance can become a message for all young people seeking a way of life filled with higher meaning.

My dear friends: I ask the Lord to sustain you in strength so that you can respond generously to your personal and professional duties. Upon all of you here present and upon your loved ones at home, I invoke Godís abundant blessings.



Monday, 18 June 1990

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome the distinguished officials of the United Nations Organization and its associated agencies who are taking part in the Inter-Agency Meeting on Language Arrangements, Documentation and Publication being held this week in Rome. It is my hope that this gathering will assist you in your important work of coordinating communication and collaboration among the various specialized organizations within the United Nations system.

From your own experience in managing the technical aspects of communication between people of diverse languages and cultural backgrounds, you are well aware of the patience and perseverance which authentic dialogue requires. From the time of its establishment in the aftermath of the Second World War and throughout a period of history marked by unprecedented global conflict, the United Nations Organization has patiently attempted to construct channels for effective communication and dialogue within the international community. Today, at a time of rapidly changing geopolitical realities, this task remains essential to the development of that new solidarity among nations and peoples, based upon an unstinting respect for the dignity and fundamental rights of the human person, which can provide the moral foundation and sure guarantee of a just and lasting peace in our world.

Ladies and Gentlemen: in your presence I once again express my hope that "in view of its universal character, the United Nations Organization will never cease to be the forum, the high tribune, from which all manís problems are appraised in truth and justice" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio in Palatio Nationum Unitarum in urbe "New York", ad Nationum Legatos habita, 7, die 2 oct. 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, II, 2 [1979] 525). As you seek to cooperate in this noble enterprise by contributing your technical expertise, I assure you that the Church looks to the United Nations Organization with confidence and support, and with a great hope that it will play an ever more effective role in the development of a civilization of peace and respect for human rights throughout the world. Upon all of you and upon your deliberations this week, I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.




Saturday, 23 June 1990

Dear Young Friends,

I am pleased to welcome the young people taking part in the Rotary International Youth Exchange Programme. It is my hope that your time of study and travel in Europe will help you better to appreciate the spiritual and cultural values which have forged the unity of this Continent over many centuries and have contributed in no small way to the authentic progress of humanity.

As students who come from many different countries, you have been given a valuable opportunity to enter into dialogue with one another and with people from the nations you visit about their concerns, needs and aspirations. At this momentous time in the history of Europe, you are also able to observe at first hand the dramatic political and social transformations of these recent months and to realize what great hopes and challenges those changes have brought in their wake. I am confident that these experiences will give each of you a deep sense of the solidarity which must unite all members of the human family. That solidarity is ultimately "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual because we are all really responsible for all" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 38). In years to come, this moral commitment to protect the dignity and respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters must inspire the growth and development of new political and economic structures aimed at ensuring an integral development of all nations and the creation of an international order marked by authentic social and economic justice and lasting peace.

As you continue your studies and prepare to assume the responsibilities that will one day be yours, I express my hope that you will always be guided by a commitment to work for the unity of mankind and serve others, especially the poor. In these efforts, may you experience the wisdom and strength which God alone can give. Upon all of you I cordially invoke his abundant blessings and peace.
July 1990






Saturday, 7 July 1990

Dear Friends,

1. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you: students, faculty and staff of the Vatican Observatory, on this occasion of the Third Vatican Observatory Summer School in Astrophysics. It is, indeed, an exciting time to be involved in scientific research in astrophysics. Telescopes already launched or soon to be launched into space promise to expand the frontiers between the known and unknown universe beyond that even you young scientists can imagine. The mysteries of the universe which they can only begin to uncover will undoubtedly have a significant influence on the whole of your professional lives.

At the same times as these marvelous technological developments in space are taking place, here on the surface of the Earth several research centres, which have access to some of the best astronomical sites in the world, are constructing large telescopes with new technologies which will enable us to see as far out into the universe as, for instance, Hubble Space Telescope, although without the same spatial resolution.

2. While speaking of large ground-based telescopes, I wish to repeat to you what I have said already to those responsible for the construction of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope to be placed this year on Mt Graham in Arizona. I do this because I realize that in your professional careers you will be required to make wise choices in the use of the resources of our small planet Earth in the quest for deeper knowledge of our vast universe. Last year I spoke to the Founders of the Society of the Vatican Observatory thus: ďThis new telescope will be the first in a series of instruments which will enable scientists to see ten times farther into the universe than ever before. In order to function as efficiently as possible, these telescopes must be located on remote mountain sites, many of which are treasured ecological zones. I know that, as scientists, you cherish and respect nature. Hence, while striving to fathom the ultimate frontiers of the universe, you have sought to interfere as little as possible in the natural processes of the earth, that small but precious part of the universe from which you observeĒ (John Paul II, Address to the Founding Members of the Society of the Vatican Observatory, 19 June 1989).

There is a growing sensitivity in our times to preserving the harmony of mankind with the universe. This is one of the reasons why I chose as the theme for this yearís World Day of Peace: ďPeace with the Creator, Peace with his CreationĒ. I urge you, who are just beginning your professional careers in scientific research, to keep yourselves at peace with the creation that is the object of your study.

3. The successful pursuit of science depends, in the end, on the human intelligence which has not only produced the tools which you use but which must also wisely direct their use. The tools themselves are generally the privileged possession of the technologically advanced nations, but intelligence is the privileged possession of no single nation. Your presence here together is a proof of that fact. You twenty-five scholars come from twenty-two different nations scattered over the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America. You are here because you are blessed with the intelligence and with the disciplined motivation required for scientific research. Your intelligence is both a gift and a challenge, and I am happy that through the workshop organized by the Vatican Observatory you are enabled both to nurture that gift and focus the challenge.

In closing, let me express the hope that you will cherish not only what you have learned here, but also the fact that you have learned it together. I wish you much success in your noble task. Upon all who are present here today, and upon your loved ones, I invokes Godís abundant blessings.

August 1990




Tuesday, 21 August 1990

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. I am pleased to welcome you, the Bishops of the Latin Rite Dioceses of Kerala, on the occasion of your quinquennial pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Your visit today is a visible sign of your communion in the apostolic faith with the Successor of Peter, who has a special mandate from the Lord to confirm his brothers (Cfr. Luc. Lc 22,32), and to exercise a particular concern for all the Churches (Cfr. 2Co 11,28). Your presence brings to mind the whole household of God in the Spirit (Cfr. Eph. Ep 2,19), which is in Kerala and for which we must never cease to give thanks to the Father who "planned to assemble in the Church all those who would believe in Christ" (Lumen Gentium LG 2). With affection in the Lord I ask you to convey my greetings to all the clergy, religious and laity entrusted to your pastoral care.

In the fulfilment of your ministry, you are united with each other and all the members of the Episcopal College in a bond of hierarchical communion. In Kerala, this communion is lived amid a diversity of Rites, a diversity which enriches Godís people but also calls them to a particular form of charity so beautifully described by Saint Paul when he wrote "outdo one another in showing honour" (Rm 12,10), "be united in the same mind and the same judgment" (1Co 1,10). As Bishops you will want to do everything possible to strengthen unity, charity and peace, which are the signs of that ecclesial communion without which our witness to the truth of the Gospel would be weak and ineffective.

2. During my Pastoral Visit to India four years ago I was able to observe at first hand the vitality of Keralaís Catholic community. Now, your ad Limina visit has offered us the occasion to pray together again for the needs of your Dioceses, thanking God for his gifts and imploring from his mercy an increase of the sense of commitment to holiness of life on the part of the whole Catholic community. As Bishops you are fully aware of your own personal responsibility to be "salt" and "light" in the midst of Godís family. In our day when so many people show signs of a loss of genuine spirituality, the pastors of the Church must energetically promote the sense of prayer and adoration, penance, sacrifice, selfgiving, charity and justice. It is through the life of grace in souls that Godís plan for the human family is effectively realized and his kingdom of truth and love is established (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 8).

Even the difficult social and political circumstances in which you carry out your pastoral ministry do not change the fact that you and your priests are called to be above all heralds of Godís word, ministers of his sacraments and sure guides on the path of Christian living. Your configuration to Christ in the priesthood - the very source of your mission in the Church - impels you to look to him for inspiration and example. Like Saint Paul, your message is not one of worldly wisdom (Cfr. 1Co 3,19), but the proclamation of the Saviour, and indeed of the paradox of the Cross (Cfr. ibid. 1, 18-25). I wish to encourage you therefore to continue to foster in every way the spiritual life of your communities, including the proper practice of popular devotion.

3. Only if each particular Church and local community is strong in faith and filled with evangelical love can it respond to a basic requirement of its very nature, the challenge of evangelization from which no individual and no group in the Church is exempt. My recent Letter to the Fifth Plenary Assembly of Asian Bishopsí Conferences, held last month in Indonesia, sought to draw attention to the need for first evangelization. In gratefully acknowledging all the praiseworthy efforts that you are making in this respect, I would ask you to ensure that the whole Catholic community be clear about the fact that "it is a contradiction of the Gospel and of the Churchís very nature to assert, as some do, that the Church is only one way of salvation among many, and that her mission towards the followers of other religions should be nothing more than to help them be better followers of those religions" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius scripto datus Praesulibus qui interfuerunt V plenario coetui conferentiarum episcoporum ab omni Asia missus, 4, die 23 iun. 1990: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XIII, 1 [1990] 1654).

Naturally, the Churchís proclamation of Christ must be made with respect for the freedom of conscience of all. The norms of dialogue must be observed, wherein prudence and charity reign, and the spiritual, moral and cultural values present in other traditions are recognized, preserved and promoted (Cfr. Nostra Aetate NAE 2). I can only encourage you, the Bishops, to continue to offer your wise guidance and leadership in these matters.

4. In your reports on the state of your Dioceses many questions have been touched upon which will continue to occupy your attention. There is however one important aspect of the Churchís mission to which some reference is suitable here, namely, her social teaching. Over the years, the faith of Keralaís Catholics has borne rich fruit in a lively concern for the well-being of others, especially the sick and those whom society relegates to unspeakable poverty and indignity. Both in her institutions and in the lives of individual believers, "the Church in Kerala with her tradition of service in the educational, medical, social, developmental and charitable fields, gives a bright witness to the Gospel message" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Homilia in loco v.d. "Cochin" habita, 3, die 7 febr. 1986: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, IX, 1 [1986] 362).

At the same time it is very important that proper training in the social doctrine of the Church be an integral part of the catechesis that I know you are striving to impart in Kerala, especially to the young and to families. I wish to commend you for your vigilant support of catechists, as well as family groups and parish associations involved in efforts to spread knowledge of the faith among Catholics themselves as well as outside of the Catholic community. The Churchís social teaching emphasizes the inseparable bond that exists between the faith as it is professed and as it is lived. In the formation of Christian consciences, social doctrine "gives rise to a Ďcommitment to justiceí according to each individualís role, vocation and circumstances" (Eiusdem Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 41).

Formation in the Churchís social teaching is especially important for the laity of your Dioceses, since they have a specific calling to transform temporal realities from within. A solid knowledge of social doctrine will assist them in penetrating and perfecting the temporal sphere through the spirit of the Gospel (Cfr. Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 2), and bearing witness to "those human and Gospel values that are intimately connected with political activity itself, such as liberty and justice, solidarity, faithful and unselfish dedication for the good of all, a simple life-style and a preferential love for the poor and the least" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Christifideles Laici CL 42). Drawing upon their faith in Christ as they confront the ills plaguing society, Keralaís lay faithful will also be able to offer responsible alternatives to political theories and programmes inspired by ideologies of class struggle or by an insufficient respect for the human dignity of all citizens, regardless of their religion or social condition.

A proper initiation in the Churchís social teaching must also be part of the formation of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life. I am pleased to note the progress of the Pontifical Interritual Seminary of St. Joseph at Alwaye, which has rendered an excellent service to the sense of communion and mission among Keralaís future priests, and I urge you to ensure that sound instruction in the Churchís social teaching be an integral part of the Seminaryís curriculum. The large number of vocations in Kerala has made it possible for priests and religious from your region to work throughout India. You are aware from experience that for such collaboration with the Church in other regions to be truly fruitful these priests and religious need to be well grounded in the universality and openness characteristic of successful missionaries in every age of the Churchís life.

5. Dear brothers, in concluding, I wish to join you in giving thanks to God for his many graces and blessings, notwithstanding the many challenges and difficulties that are part of your ministry in Kerala. I am confident that your witness to the hope and consolation offered by the Gospel will always find expression in a selfless desire to promote the common good and practical solidarity with the needy. The example of your concern for the least of your brothers and sisters will greatly advance the Churchís continuing mission of evangelization among the peoples of India.

I commend you and your clergy, religious and laity to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of the Church, praying that, "being rooted and grounded in love" (Ep 3,17), you will be ever strengthened in "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (2Co 13,14).





Saturday, 25 August 1990

Your Eminence,
Dear Brother Bishops,

1. With deep spiritual joy I greet you, Pastors of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches, on the occasion of your visit ad limina Apostolorum, through which, in addition to your privileged moments of prayer at the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles, you once again bear witness to the unity, charity and peace which link you with one another and with the Roman Pontiff in the fullness of Catholic Communion. Truly it may be said that, through you, your father in the faith, Thomas, meets Peter and exchanges with him the "holy kiss" (2Co 13,12), so as to be comforted and confirmed in the service of the Gospel.

In you I greet and embrace the priests and religious who collaborate with you in building up the Church, "the household of God" (1Tm 3,15), whose members, while enjoying the rightful freedom of the children of God (Cfr, Rm 8 Rm 21), are united in the bonds of faith and love. In you I also greet the faithful whom Christ "the chief Shepherd" (1 Petr. 5, 4), has entrusted to your care and for whom you are to be vigilant guides, not only by word but also by your living example (Cfr. ibid. 5, 3).

2. Among the tasks of your episcopal ministry you have a special responsibility for building up and safeguarding the unity and harmony of the Church of God. This unity must shine forth in the life of each particular Church, as well as among Bishops themselves who, as members of the Episcopal College and Successors of the Apostles, are called by Christís command to be solicitous for the whole Church (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 23). It is important to remember that "the individual Bishop is the visible principle and foundation of unity in his particular Church, fashioned after the model of the universal Church" (Ibid). At the same time, the effectiveness of your Gospel witness, of your apostolic action and missionary thrust will not be compromised but enhanced by your fraternal communion and collaboration. Seek always to strengthen this unity, for this reflects deeply on the life of your faithful. Be exemplary in your personal witness and in your adherence to those directives that are offered to you with the desire and intent of building up the edifice of Christís Church in the fullness of its catholicity.

This bond of charity is manifested in many ways, but it is the Liturgy that manifests and actualizes it in an eminent way. Precisely because liturgical actions are not private functions but celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity" (Sacrosanctum Concilium SC 26), it is necessary that all the faithful be thoroughly penetrated with the spirit and power of the Liturgy (Ibid. 14); and in this too you are called to be models for them.

I am gratified to learn, dear Brothers, that you regularly prepare for your solemn assemblies by several days of annual retreat and common prayer. As I invoke Godís blessings on all you are doing to give practical application to the bonds of ecclesial charity and union, I renew my prayer on your behalf: "May the centre of all your pastoral solicitude be the Churchís unity and communion" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Epistula ad Episcopos Indiae, die 28 maii 1987). This unity is Godís gift to you and, through you, Godís gift to the world, especially your Indian Motherland with its bright pattern of ethnic and cultural diversity.

3. In my memorable Apostolic Visit to India in 1986, it was a great joy for me to inaugurate the restored Holy Liturgy or Qurbana of the Syro-Malabar Church and to beatify Blessed Kuriakose Elias and Blessed Alphonsa. On that occasion I was able to perceive the force of that spirit of faith which animates the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches. This past quinquennium will also be remembered in SyroMalabar chronicles for the celebration of the centenary of the establishment of the two Apostolic Vicariates which marked the rebirth of your Apostolic Church and are the basis of your present ecclesial structure. With you I give thanks to God for the two new Eparchies of Thamarasserry and Kalyan, created in the period since your last ad Limina Visit.

4. Reflecting on the marvellous mystery of the universal Church and of the Churches or Rites which make up her variety in unity, I cannot fail to express the earnest hope that the precious heritage with which you have been invested will be handed on with renewed fidelity and deep commitment to the rising generations that include both old and new Christians. Today more than ever, in the face of a growing secularization of life which absolutizes worldly achievement and ephemeral success, it becomes all the more necessary to underline the originality, uniqueness and transcendence of the Christian message. None of this can now be simply taken for granted. The faithful, under their Bishops, guidance, need to be continually enlightened, catechized, and firmly rooted in the truth that is already theirs (Cfr. 2 Petr. 1, 12).

From the Quinquennial Reports you have submitted I gather how great is your concern to maintain and intensify your rich heritage of Christian life by ensuring appropriate religious formation and by encouraging the study of the Word of God and active participation in the Sacred Liturgy. This contact with the always fresh sources of the Christian life enables you to meet the challenges, difficulties and opportunities of the present time and to carry on Christís work for the salvation of mankind and of each individual person, "whole and entire, body and soul, heart and conscience, mind and will" (Gaudium et Spes GS 3). Most warmly therefore I encourage you, as Pastors of Christís flock, to continue along the path of authentic renewal which the Holy Spirit, through the Second Vatican Council, has marked out for the whole People of God and for the Oriental Catholic Churches in particular.

5. I cannot fail to note with profound satisfaction, as I have done on other occasions, the grace that the Lord bestows upon the "Christians of Saint Thomas": the blessing of numerous vocations to the priesthood, to the religious life and to other forms of consecrated life. This is a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work among you, especially by touching the hearts of your young people and leading them to venture on the path of total self-giving and single-minded service of Godís kingdom in a way of life based on the radical demands of the Gospel. These sons and daughters of the Apostle of India are involved in the Churchís work, not only in your own Eparchies in Kerala and in other regions of your country, but also in Dioceses of the Latin Rite in India and abroad. Some serve the Lord within the monastic enclosure, imparting by constant prayer and sacrifice a hidden apostolic fruitfulness to Christís Mystical Body (Cfr. Perfectae Caritatis PC 7). Others, more numerous, are engaged in direct ministry in parishes and in mission areas, in centres of education, health-care and social activity, all manifesting in some way the unfathomable riches of that charity which is a reflection of the love that is God himself (Cfr. 1 Io. 4, 8).

The Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the St Thomas Apostolic Seminary which fell during this quinquennium serves to remind us of the responsibility of Bishops in the field of priestly formation. The Holy See has issued important documents on this vital question which merit particular attention on your part, including those published by the Congregation for Catholic Education on Interritual Studies, on Patristic Studies and on the Study of the Churchís Social Doctrine. I am confident that you will continue to be vigilant regarding the state of priestly formation in your Seminaries and in religious houses in the areas of your jurisdiction, working with each other in a spirit of brotherly understanding and with the sole aim of serving the good of the Church. Your contribution to the forthcoming Session of the Synod of Bishops on the subject will certainly be of interest to the Church at large.

6. The spiritual life of your communities would not be as fruitful as it is if Christian ideals were not practiced and inculcated from the earliest age in the primary social unit, the family, which the Second Vatican Council has called the "domestic Church" (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 11). It is your heritage of strong family life and Church-centred existence that has safeguarded and favoured the growth of your faith throughout the centuries and has permitted you to continue to shine "with that tradition which was handed down from the Apostles through the Fathers and which forms part of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church" (Orientalium Ecclesiarum OE 1). Today this same grace enables you - indeed, "drives" you (Cfr. 2Co 5,14), - to cast your nets farther away from your familiar shores and to assume an ever increasing range of apostolic responsibilities within the Catholic Communion, whose centre is the Chair of Peter.

Your concern to provide for the pastoral care of the faithful who have settled in other parts of the Indian sub-continent has been crowned by the establishment of the Eparchy of Kalyan which, although still in a pioneer stage, is growing vigorously thanks to the zeal of its Bishop and clergy, the support of the Bishopsí Conference, the cooperation of the Latin Rite Ordinaries, and the response of the faithful themselves. I am confident that it will be your constant concern to develop further the missionary thrust of your Churches, acting always to uphold and strengthen harmony and cooperation between the various Rites, as a divine imperative and the only attitude worthy of your condition as Pastors.

7. There is no doubt that the great task before the Church today is the perennial one of proclaiming the Gospel to all mankind. The Church is "to show forth in the world the mystery of the Lord in a faithful though shadowed way, until at the last it will be revealed in total splendour" (Lumen Gentium LG 8). This prospect I entrust to your ecclesial conscience in the present decade of years preceding the third Christian millennium. Likewise, we should not forget that, in the present dispensation, the Church cannot evangelize unless she herself is willing to be constantly evangelized and converted, and to be repeatedly recalled to the significance of her vocation and mission for "the Church, embracing sinners in her bosom, is at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, and incessantly pursues the path of penance and renewal" (Ibid).

Dear Brother Bishops of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Rites, I commend you for your dedicated efforts in fostering the authentic traditions of your ecclesial communities, with due pastoral concern and with attention to present-day conditions. I encourage you in promoting the apostolate of the laity and in the support you give to Religious Institutes. Be not afraid of difficulties or of the scarcity of your resources. The Lord comes to the aid of your weakness and sustains you. Persevere, for "when the Chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory" (1 Petr. 5, 4). May Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, intercede for you and for your beloved Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† September 1990

Speeches 1990