4 January 1964
We are most appreciative of your kindness in coming to welcome Us personally on Our arrival in your Kingdom.
Our visit is a spiritual one, a humble pilgrimage to the sacred places made holy by the Birth, the Life, the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, and by His glorious Resurrection and Ascension. At each of these venerable shrines, We shall pray for that peace which Jesus left to His disciples, that peace which the world cannot give, but which comes from the fulfilment of His commandment: to love one another as He loved us (cfr. Io Jn 14,27 Jn 15,12).
Your Majesty, We know, ardently desires peace and prosperity for your people, and for all the nations of the world; and We, Peter’s Successor, remember his reference to the Psalms in his first Epistle: «He who would love life, and see good days,... let him turn away from evil and do good, let him seek after peace and pursue it )» (Ps 23,13-15). Saint Peter also wrote: «( Honour all men; love the brother-hood; fear God; honour the king» (1 Petr. 11, 17).
May God grant Our prayer, and that of all men of good will, that, living together in harmony and accord, they may help one another in love and justice, and attain to universal peace in true brotherhood.
*AAS 56 (1964), p.446-447.
Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. II, p.326-327.
L’Osservatore Romano, 11-12.5.1964 p.1.
We are particularly grateful for the kind welcome you have given Us during our pilgrimage to this city, hallowed by the great mysteries of the redemption which Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ worked in it.
Our meeting has a particular significance because of the friendly ties which have developed between Us and the Armenian Church through the delegated observers who participated in the work of the Second Vatican Council. The spirit of true Christian charity and comprehension which they manifested made Us all the more certain of the fraternal welcome We would receive here from you and from your faithful. Our expectations have been more than amply fulfilled.
There is a spirit which more and more influences Christian hearts. It is the desire to carry out what the Apostle to the Nations counselled us: to forget what is past and push on to what lies ahead, with our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. This spirit has already been manifested in a concrete way in this Holy City, in the efforts being made by all Christians to work in common accord for the reverent care and fitting veneration of that hallowed place where Our Lord, triumphant on the Cross and victorious over the grave, effected the great mission of reconciliation which He had received from His Father. We salute these expressions of Christian charity which already exist, and We express the earnest desire that they may multiply and expand into every area of our common Christian endeavour.
We have corne as a prayerful pilgrim to this Holy City. In the prayers which We offer to God, our Father, and to our Saviour Jesus Christ, His Divine Son, We remember you and the flock of which you are the pastor. May divine graces and favors descend in abundance upon all of you.
The time has come for Us to take leave of this blessed land after Our unforgettable pilgrimage. We cannot depart without expressing anew and publicly Our profound gratitude to Your Majesty and to the civil authorities who have done so much to facilitate Our travels and make them fruitful.
Forever in Our heart We shall bear the consoling memories of this humble visit to the Holy Places, and of the warm welcome extended to Us by the inhabitants of this sacred land. May God reward them, may He wipe away their tears, and grant them peace, prosperity and true happiness.
In the words which the Apostle Paul used to the Christians of Epheus, in bidding them farewell, We also «commend you to God and to the word of His grace, who is able to build up, and to give the inheritance among all the sanctified» (Act. 20, 23). And, as he wrote to the same Ephesians, We exhort you: «Let all bitterness, and wrath, and indignation, and clamor, and reviling, be removed from you, along with all malice. On the contrary, be kind to one another, and merciful, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has generously forgiven you» (Ep 4,31-32).
And, repeating the apostolic salutation. «Peace be to this land, and to all those who dwell herein», We call down upon you all the richest graces from on high, imparting to you and your loved ones and to all the beloved people of Jordan Our particular fatherly Apostolic Blessing. Khatar Kum!
My dear Catholic school children.
Each year on Ash Wednesday, the Holy Father has taken the occasion to address you on the radio. We, as your new Holy Father, have this pleasure for the first time. It is a source of joy and happiness for Us to be able to speak to you in your own homes and schools, or wherever you are gathered to listen. That Our voice can reach you directly is a result of the progress of science, and one marvels at the most recent advances of modern technology which have brought so many benefits to mankind.
In this regard, the children of today and particularly you, who live in the United States of America, have many extraordinary advantages, permitting you not only to have all that is necessary to feed you and to clothe you properly, but also to enjoy a standard of living unknown before in history.
But this is not the case with all children everywhere. And the Holy Father, Who is the common Father of all, takes special interest in those less fortunate children who are undergoing many sufferings. The Pope worries about the little ones who go to bed at night hungry, or who have not sufficient clothes to protect them against the bitter cold of the winter or the heat of a tropical sun, or who may have no parents, or no homes at all, or worse still, who may have no country to call their own. The Holy Father’s heart is further burdened with concern for those children who have recently suffered from disasters, for example, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wars.
However, We are greatly comforted knowing that your own beloved Bishops have their own organization, Catholic Relief Services, through which they give assistance to these needy children. But this worthy program of world-wide relief is very expensive, and the Bishops need the whole-hearted cooperation of their generous Catholic people in order to continue this noble work.
Therefore, We encourage you, dear Catholic school children, to make, in the spirit of Lent, your little sacrifices to bring aid and comfort to those in distress. You have been very generous in past years, so that much good has been accomplished, and We urge you once again to help your Bishops to aid these poor children of the world.
Most of you will be able to make some little contribution, even at the cost of overcoming your desire to buy something for yourselves that you may or may not really need. Some of you will not find it possible to make any offering. But, certainly all of you can join together by your prayers in asking Almighty God to further the work of your Bishops in assisting the less fortunate children of the world.
Confident that you will be ever mindful of your little friends everywhere, We invoke upon you, your good parents, your priests, the religious sisters and your teachers an abundance of heavenly blessings and, in pledge there of, We lovingly impart Our paternal Apostolic Benediction.
Beloved Sons and Daughters,
It is a source of great joy for Us to have this opportunity of addressing the people of the United States of America, a nation that is very close to Our heart. And We are particularly happy to do so at this time, when Our Venerable Brothers, the American Bishops, are making their annual appeal on behalf of the needy in other lands.
Your nation has been very sensitive to the sufferings and to the wants of the poor and the displaced of all races and creeds. For many years now, guided by the criterion of fraternal love, the Catholic Bishops have rallied support for their Relief Fund, and through their excellent organization, the Catholic Relief Services of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, they have dispersed timely assistance according to an ever expanding world-wide program.
We are well aware of all that the American people have done through their government and through numerous welfare agencies to ease the suffering of many millions of people in less fortunate areas of the world. The generosity of the American people of all faiths has won not only the gratitude of everyone but also their admiration and affection.
We shall offer Our fervent prayers to Almighty God that He will continue to bless in abundance the people of the United States of America who have been so constant in these works of mercy and love. And We extend to all of them our blessing and our fervent good wishes.
We welcome your visit with great pleasure, and We accept with grateful appreciation the Credential Letters by which the President of the Republic of Korea accredits Your Excellency as first Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Holy See.
Our ardent desire is to entertain good and loyal relations, aimed towards peace and collaboration, through Your Excellency’s good offices, with the noble Republic you represent. We thank you for your kind words concerning the Catholic Church and its contribution towards the spiritual, civil and cultural welfare fo the Korean people. That friendship continue, and We give assurance that the Catholics of Korea will ever show themselves to be loyal and industrious citizens, respectful of lawful authority and obedient to the civil legislation.
For the Republic of Korea We express only wishes of every good: efor its peace and prosperity, for the succes of its high moral, civil and spiritual mission in the Far East and among all the Nations. We ask Your Excellency kindly to convey Our cordial greetings and best wishes to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Korea, to the Government and to the beloved Korean people. The Catholic Church teaches the religion of Christ to all those who freely and willingly listen to her message; but she also intends to strive, with sincere respect for legitimate authority, for the greater good of the Korean people, having no other interest than their happiness and prosperity.
Upon Your Excellency as you undertake your high duties, upon His Excellency Chung Hee Park and his collaborators in the Government, and upon all the citizens of Korea, We invoke richest divine graces and heavenly favours.
*AAS 56 (1964), p.389-390.
Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. II, p.262-263.
We welcome Your Majesties and Your Royal Highness to Our home, and We express Our sincere gratitude for the honour of your visit. We consider it to be an historic event, and it touches Us deeply. Rome, which never forgets the happenings of the past, today feels the revival of marvellous memories: the name of Saint Ansgar, apostle of Denmark, who came to Rome in the years eight hundred and thirtyone and thirty-two, and whom Our distant predecessor Gregory IV decorated with the pallium and named as his Apostolic Legate, is always remembered and honoured here; so too is that of King Saint Knud the Great, who was canonized by Pope Alexander the Third in the year eleven hundred and seventy.
Our feeling of lively satisfaction does not arise only from the glorious past, but also from the present: if not for the same motives, at least for reasons which make your noble Land most dear and respected to Us.
Your Majesties’ people are everywhere known for their diligence and industry, which have raised them to a superior standard of living. Nevertheless, they have not omitted to provide generously for the security and assistance of children, of the aged and the sick, and are never lacking in heartfelt liberality towards refugees and those smitten by natural disasters.
In Denmark itself, as well as in Greenland and the Faeröes Islands, We are happy to note the religious freedom upheld for members of Our Church. We, in turn, can assure Your Majesties that your Catholic subjects will ever strive to be first in loyalty to you and to their country, obedient to the civil authorities, and contributing to welfare and progress in every field of social and cultural activity.
In your Royal presence, We desire to send Our paternal greet ing to all the Danish people, those living in Denmark, the many who have emigrated throughout the world, and particularly to the sailors and fishermen on the seas. Upon all, We invoke choicest divine favours and graces; We ardently ask God to protect and prosper Your Majesties and the Royal Family; and, in the words of Your Majesty’s Motto, We pray: God guard Denmark!
*AAS 56 (1964), p.390-391.
Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. II, p.268-269.
L' Osservatore Romano 24.4.1964 p.1.
It is with a grateful heart that We bid Your Mayesty a sincere welcome to Our home. Never to be erased from Our memory is the truly royal welcome you extended to Us during Our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land; and We cherish, in particular, the remembrance of the countless marks of honour with which Your Majesty surrounded Our humble Person during Our stay in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We recall with warm gratitude Your Majesty’s constant company, hovering near Us throughout Our entire journey as a pilgrim in your blessed land.
Having met and known the people of your Kingdom, having visited their homes and cities, We are confirmed and strengthened in Our affection for them, and in Our prayerful wishes for their prosperity, joy and peace.
Especially were We impressed by the great efforts being made in the cultural and educational fields, through more numerous and improved schools and institutions of learning; and also in the agricultural sector, which Your Majesty has encouraged and assisted to higher achievements and admirable progress. We are confident that these beneficent activities will continue and ever more fruitfully increase. Your Majesty may rest assured that the Catholics of Jordan will loyally do everything possible to promote their country’s advancement, sponsoring initiatives particularly in the educational field and that of socjal work; confident that they will always enjoy their civil rights and be favoured by Your Majesty’s benevolence.
To all the noble and beloved people of Jordan, We wish every heavenly grace; above all, We pray God to protect and guard Your Majesty and the Royal Family, and to bestow upon you and your Kingdom His richest and most abundant favours.
We find ourselves filled with a spirit of great joy and no little hope as We gaze out upon this select gathering—an assembly of men burdened, as you are, with the government of such venerable and distinguished religious families within the Church. We take pleasure in greeting you here and in giving expression to that extraordinary esteem and gratitude which We hold in your regard.
You have come here to Rome to conduct the General Chapter for each of your various Religious Institutes. While these Chapters primarily have relevance to your own Orders and Congregations, yet they also influence the life of the Church; for the Church, to a great extent, derives Her vigor, Her apostolic zeal, and Her fervor in seeking holiness of life, from the flourishing condition of Her Religious Institutes.
Moreover, you have presented yourselves to Us, not only to offer your obedience to the Vicar of Christ as devoted and loving sons, but also to obtain the Apostolic Blessing that it might benefit you yourselves, your Institutes, and especially those matters that are being treated of in your Chapters. We have firm confidence that out of these deliberations and decisions there will come forth beneficial fruits whereby your religious life will be lived with greater earnestness and enthusiasm.
Although We would have most willingly granted separate audiences to each of your Capitular groups, and would have addressed each group in accordance with its proper character and current needs, yet We preferred to receive all of you together. By addressing the various Institutes all at once, We felt that We would thereby give greater weight to Our words, all the more so since this occasion provides Us with the opportunity to set forth matters of importance to all Religious, however many they may be, throughout the world.
Religious Institutes Necessary for The Church
In the first place, We wish to note the very great importance of your Religious Institutes, and to observe that your work is wholly necessary for the Church in these days. Admittedly, the doctrine of the universal vocation of all the Faithful to holiness of life (regardless of their position or social situation) has been advanced very much in modern times. This is as it should be, for it is based on the fact that all the Faithful are consecrated to God by their Baptism. Moreover, the very necessities of the times demand that the fervor of Christian life should inflame souls and radiate in the world itself. In other words, the needs of the times demand a consecration of the world and this task pertains pre-eminently to the laity. All these developments are unfolding under the counsel of Divine Providence and that is why We rejoice over such salutary undertakings.
The Religious State and Other Ways of Life
However, we must be on guard lest, for this very reason, the true notion of religious life as it has traditionally flourished in the Church, should become obscured. We must beware lest our youth, becoming confused while thinking about their choice of a state in life, should be thereby hindered in some way from having a clear and distinct vision of the special function and immutable importance of the religious state within the Church. Therefore, it has seemed good to Us to recall here the priceless importance and necessary function of religious life; for this stable way of life, which receives its proper character from profession of the evangelical vows, is a perfect way of living according to the example and teaching of Jesus Christ. It is a state of life which keeps in view the constant growth of charity leading to its final perfection. In other ways of life, though legitimate in themselves, the specific ends, advantages and functions are of a temporal character.
Religious Life: A Social and Public Witness to the Church
On the other hand, right now it is of supreme importance for the Church to bear witness socially and publicly. Such witness is proclaimed by the way of life embraced by the Religious Institutes. And the more it is stressed that the role of the laity demands that they live and advance the Christian life in the world, so much the more is it necessary for those who have truly renounced the world to let their example radiantly shine forth. In this way it will be clearly shown that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world. (Cfr. John Jn 18,36)
Meaning of Religious Vows
Hence it follows that the profession of the evangelical vows is a super-addition to that consecration which is proper to Baptism. It is indeed a special consecration which perfects the former one, inasmuch as by it, the follower of Christ totally commits and dedicates himself to God, thereby making his entire life a service to God alone.
All these observations are connected with another point which solicitously, We wish to make with a fatherly heart. It is necessary that you hold the religious vows in highest esteem and that you attach the greatest importance to their religious function and practice. Only in this manner will you be able to lead a life that is becoming and in harmony with the state you have embraced—a state that you have freely chosen and in which, consequently, you now find yourselves caught up from day to day; only in this way will your state of life efficaciously aid you to progress toward the perfection of charity; only in this way will the Faithful thereby receive from you your witness to the Christian life and be inspired to follow it.
Although human conditions have changed notably in recent years, and consequently religious life must be accommodated to these changes, yet those things which follow from the very nature of the evangelical counsels still retain all their vigor and can in no wise be diminished.
Therefore, it is supremely important to cherish diligently religious obedience in your lives.
Religious obedience is and must remain a holocaust of one's own will which is offered to God. A Religious makes this sacrifice of self with a view to humbly obeying lawful Superiors (whose authority, of course, should always be exercised within the confines of charity and with due regard for the human person), even though our times summon Religious to the performance of many and heavy burdens, and to carrying out these duties more cheerfully and more promptly.
Do not fail to inculcate a love for poverty, concerning which there is much discussion going on in the Church today. Religious must surpass all others by their example of true evangelical poverty. Therefore, they must love that poverty to which they have spontaneously committed themselves. It is not enough for Religious to depend merely on the Superior's decision with regard to their use of material things. Let the Religious, of their own will, be content with the things that are needed for properly fulfilling their way of life, shunning those conveniences and luxuries by which religious life is devitalized. Moreover, in addition to that poverty which should characterize the life of the individual Religious, we must not fail to take into account that poverty by which the family or whole body of Religious should be distinguished. Therefore let the Religious Institutes avoid a too exquisite style and ornamentation in their buildings and in carrying out their functions, as well as anything else that savors of luxury, always bearing in mind the social condition of the people among whom they live. Let them also refrain from excessive concern in gathering funds; rather let them be preoccupied with using the temporal goods which Divine Providence has bestowed upon them to minister to the genuine necessities of needy brethren, whether those in need of assistance be their fellow countrymen or those who live in other parts of the world.
With singular care, Religious should preserve chastity as a treasured gem. Everyone knows that in the present condition of human society the practice of perfect chastity is made difficult, not only because of the prevalence of depraved morality but also on account of false teachings which glamorize excessively the merely natural condition of man, thereby pouring poison into his soul. An awareness of these facts should impel Religious to stir up their faith more energetically—that same faith by which we believe the declarations of Christ when He proclaims the supernatural value of chastity that is sought for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is this same faith which assures us beyond doubt that, with the help of divine grace, we can preserve unsullied, the flower of chastity.
To obtain this blessed objective, it is, of course, necessary to practice Christian mortification with more courageous zeal, and also to guard the senses with more diligent care. Therefore, the life of the Religious should find no place for books, periodicals or shows which are unbecoming or indecent, not even under the pretext of a desire to learn things useful to know or to broaden one's education, except possibly the case, duly ascertained by the Religious Superior, where there is proven necessity for the study of such things. In a world pervaded by so many sordid forms of vice, no one can adequately reckon the powerful effectiveness of the sacred ministry of one whose life is radiant with the light of a chastity consecrated to God and from which he draws his strength.
Structure and Government of Religious Institutes
So much for these observations. And now We wish to speak very briefly about something which pertains to the structure and government of the Religious Institutes. For it is also in such matters that the General Chapters are currently engaged.
The Founder's Spirit and Rule of Life
It is quite evident that the proper way of living religious life requires discipline. There must be laws and suitable conditions for observing them. Therefore, the principal task of the General Chapter is, as time goes on, to keep intact those norms of the Religious family which were set up by its Founder and Lawgiver. Therefore, it is your responsibility to firmly shut the door against all those modes of conduct which gradually devitalize the strength of religious discipline, namely, practices which are dangerous to religious life, unnecessary dispensations, and privileges not properly approved. You must likewise be wholly on guard against any relaxation of discipline which is urged, not by true necessity, but which rather arises from arrogance of spirit, or aversion to obedience, or love of worldly things. Moreover, with respect to undertaking new projects or activities, you should refrain from taking on those which do not entirely correspond to the principal work of your Institute or to the mind of your Founder. For Religious Institutes will flourish and prosper so long as the integral spirit of their Founder continues to inspire their rule of life and apostolic works, as well as the actions and lives of their members.
Religious Communities, inasmuch as they resemble living bodies, rightly desire to experience continual growth. However, this growth of the Institute must be based firmly on the more diligent observance of your rules rather than on the number of members or the making of new laws. Multiplicity of laws is not always accompanied by progress in religious life. It often happens that the more rules there are, the less people pay attention to them. Therefore, let the General Chapters always use their right to make laws moderately and prudently.
Norms for Accommodating the Rule to the Times
The most important work of the General Chapters is the studied accommodation of the rules of their Institute to the changed conditions of the times. This, however, must be done in such a way that the proper nature and discipline of the Institute is kept intact. Every Religious family has its proper function and it must remain faithful to this role. The fruitfulness of the Institute's life is based on this fidelity to its specific purpose, and in this matter an abundance of heavenly graces will never be lacking. Therefore, no renovation of discipline is to be introduced which is incompatible with the nature of the Order or Congregation and which, in any way, departs from the mind of the Founder. Moreover, this renovation of discipline demands that it proceed only from competent authority. Therefore, until this accommodation of discipline is duly processed and brought into juridic effect, let the Religious members not introduce anything new on their own initiative, nor relax the restraints of discipline nor give way to censorious criticism. Let them act in such a way that they might rather help and more promptly effect this work of renewal by their fidelity and obedience. If the desired renovation takes place in this way, then the letter will have changed, but the spirit will have remained the same, in all its integrity.
Relationship of Interior Life to Apostolate
In bringing about this renewal of your Institutes, your primary concern must always be the spiritual life of your members. Wherefore, among yourselves and among all other Religious whose duty it is to devote themselves to works of the sacred apostolate, We would be entirely opposed to see anyone espousing that false opinion which claims that primary concern must be given to external works and only secondary attention devoted to the interior life of perfection, as though this were demanded by the spirit of the times and the needs of the Church.
Zealous activity and the cultivation of one's interior life should not bring any harm to each other; indeed, they require the closest union, in order that both may ever proceed with equal pace and progress. Therefore, let zeal for prayer, the beauty of a pure conscience, patience in adversities, active and vibrant charity devoted to the salvation of souls, increase in union with fervent works. When these virtues are neglected, not only will apostolic labor lack vigor and fruitfulness, but the spirit also will gradually lose fervor. As a consequence, the Religious will not be able to avoid, for long, the dangers which lie hidden in the very performance of the sacred ministry.
Adaptation of Apostolate to Contemporary Conditions
With respect to that portion of the apostolate which is entrusted to the care of the Religious, We wish to make some further observations. Religious Institutes should sedulously adapt the work proper to their apostolates to modern conditions and circumstances. The younger Religious, particularly, are to be instructed and educated properly in this matter, in such a way, however, that the apostolic zeal with which they must be inflamed, does not remain circumscribed exclusively by the boundaries of one's own Order but rather opens outwardly toward the great spiritual necessities of our times. Nor is this enough. For while being educated along the lines We have indicated, they should also cultivate an exquisite sensitivity to their duties by force of which, both in words and deeds, they will constantly show themselves as true ministers of God, distinguished by soundness of doctrine and recommended to the people by holiness of life. However, in these matters, let not the Religious be left solely to their own initiative, since their work must always be subject to the vigilance of Superiors, especially if it is a matter of work that has notable relevance to civil life.
Relation of Religious Institutes to Holy See and Hierarchy
It is of the greatest concern to Us that the work of the members of Religious Institutes should go along harmoniously with the norms established by the Sacred Hierarchy. As a matter of fact, the exemption of Religious Orders is in no conflict whatsoever with the divinely given Constitution of the Church, by force of which every priest, particularly in the performance of the sacred ministry, must obey the Sacred Hierarchy. For the members of these Religious Institutes are, at all times and in all places, subject principally to the Roman Pontiff, as to their highest Superior (Canon 499, par. 1). For this reason, the Religious Institutes are at the service of the Roman Pontiff in those works which pertain to the welfare of the universal Church. With regard to the exercise of the sacred apostolate in various dioceses, Religious are also under the jurisdiction of Bishops, to whom they are bound to give assistance, always without prejudice to the nature of their proper apostolate and the things that are necessary for their religious life. From all this, it is quite evident how much the allied and auxiliary ministry of the Religious given to the diocesan clergy conduces to the good of the Church, when their united forces result in more vigorous and more effective action.
Now, my dearly beloved sons, from these brief observations, you know Our mind as to what We consider as greatly contributing to the growth of religious life in our times. May all these remarks show you with what solicitude We view and esteem the religious life and what great hope We put in your helpful work. The road which We pointed out to you is certainly difficult and laborious. But lift up your soul in hope, for the cause is not ours but that of Jesus Christ. Christ is our strength, our hope, our power. He will be with us always. Continue to diffuse the good odor of Christ as widely as possible by the integrity of your faith, by the holiness of your life, by your great zeal for all the virtues. Meanwhile, as We thank you for your obedience, We pray God through the intercession of the Most Sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the maternal nurse of religious virtues, that your Institutes may continue to grow daily and bear ever richer and more salutary fruits.