Speeches 1974 - Monday, 2 September 1974


Tuesday, 3 September 1974

Welcoming you here today,, we recognize at once that for most of you it is not the first time you have visited Rome and the Holy See in a fraternal spirit and in a fraternal relationship.

Many of you made your contribution of service to the Second Vatican Council, in one case as a Council Father and member of its theological commission, in other cases either as our periti or as observers on behalf of the Anglican Communion. In this way you already cemented friendships, and sowed seeds of better understanding-seeds which have taken root and flourished.

We recall too that some of you accompanied our beloved brother in Christ, Michael Ramsey, on his historic visit to this See, more than eight years ago. The memory of that visit has remained green with us, and has been many times refreshed by letters of greeting, full of his characteristic spirit of Christian love and wisdom.

It was from that meeting of nineteen hundred and sixty-six that the resolve came to embark on that “serious dialogue” which continues to bring you together, and which has already brought from you the most generous efforts, the most untiring labour.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council saw and expressed in the Decree on Ecumenism the “special place” occupied by the Anglican Communion in relation to the Catholic tradition. The dedication and the depth manifested in your work during these recent years testify to and strengthen that special relationship. This is so not only because of your own industry and achievements, but also because of the collaboration you have been able to enlist in many parts of the world, showing how widespread is the impulse towards that reconciliation in Christ which strives to perfect the unity which he wills.

You interrupt a difficult phase of your work to come to visit us. At such a moment there is no need for us to remind you of the obstacles that remain to be overcome. Let us rather dwell on hope and encouragement. What you seek to do is God’s work-an indispensable aspect in our time of the ministry of Christ, which is a ministry of reconciliation. As you do so our thoughts, our gratitude, our fervent prayers are with you. We pray that you will have the spirit of knowledge and of prophecy, and the faith that moves mountains, but remembering Saint Paul’s scale of values, we pray above all that you will have love, which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” and leads us from partial knowledge to full understanding (Cfr. 1Co 13).


Thursday, 5 September 1974

Venerable brother and dear friends,

Your visit here today is particularly gratifying to us. Only a few days ago we sent a message to your World Conference on Religion and Peace, meeting in Louvain. We assured you of our prayers and encouraged all the delegates to mobilize available energies and resources in order to build up peace. Finally we asked you to prepare the individual followers of the different religions to play their part and undertake a personal responsibility in the construction of peace.

Now that we have this most welcome opportunity of speaking with you, the representatives of our own religion, as well as of Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan, we would like to develop this call for the adequate preparation of the individual adherents of our religions to play their part in the search for peace. Peace must depend not only on the good will of religious and national leaders, but be anchored firmly and securely in the hearts of all men.

The religions represented here today, like all the great religions of the world, are rich in teaching and examples for men who sincerely seek to establish peace in their own hearts. According to the varying emphasis on our different beliefs we can find our own inner tranquillity in the contemplation of God’s beauty in the world he has created, by the mortification of our senses and the practice of asceticism and by making use of our privileged share in God’s life to overcome the legacy of Original Sin. A common emphasis is given to the need to liberate the things of the spirit and to give help to our fellow men.

May this liberation be truly a liberation from war and hate, and may we all help one another to reach mutual love and concord to attain peace on earth among all men whom God loves. In this way truly shall we all give glory to God.


Saturday, 7 September 1974

Mr Ambassador,

It is a pleasure for us to welcome you and to receive the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Malawi to the Holy See.

We are grateful to your President, His Excellency Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, for the greetings which you have kindly presented to us on his behalf. Through your good offices we extend to him in return our warm good wishes for his continued wellbeing.

In your address you have spoken in appreciative terms of the Church’s presence in Malawi. It is a source of satisfaction for us to hear your words, for it is only fitting that the Church should be a contributing factor to the progress of a nation. We are glad that the participation of the Church in the life of your country is understood to be a disinterested service. It is one motivated by the desire to liberate man from all that hampers the full expansion of his human powers. In doing this the Church seeks to help man to fulfil his supernatural destiny as a child of God. Like Christ her founder, the Church works for this end: that man may have life and have it more abundantly (Cfr. Io Jn 10 Io Jn 10).

It is our prayer that the efforts made to promote the advancement of your nation may be blessed by Almighty God. From him we invoke upon the Authorities and the beloved people of Malawi divine guidance and peace.

To yourself, Mr Ambassador, we warmly extend our good wishes for the happy accomplishment of your duties as the representative of your people.


Tuesday, 10 September 1974

Mr Ambassador,

We thank you sincerely for the kind address with which you have presented the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya to the Holy See. It is a pleasure for us to welcome you to your new assignment, which we trust will prove to be a happy one.

We are likewise honoured to receive greetings from your President, His Excellency Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. We would ask you to convey to him our cordial and prayerful good wishes.

We have listened with interest to the remarks which you have made in your address regarding the Catholic Church’s role in the life and history of Kenya, the impact of her missionaries upon Kenyan society and the contribution she has made in the past and happily continues to make today towards your country’s development. But we are especially pleased to hear you mention the importance which Kenya attaches to the Church and to religion, since these after all provide the context within which all these social contributions find their inspiration and true meaning.

The social action of the Church has its roots in the message which she addresses to all men. The effort which man’s life demands is clearly seen: life involves a struggle against adverse forces and conditions. At one level man struggles with disease, ignorance and poverty; at another with injustice, hatred and war. Even in the inner depths of his being, man finds himself striving to improve himself and the world. It is into this situation that the Church brings an uplifting message of hope: the Good News of the Gospel, which gives the assurance that God is with man as he endeavours to work for the betterment of the world. This is the inspiration of the Church in all her activity. Animated by this message, she will ever testify to it in works that help man find his fulfilment. This task is at one and the same time human and Christian. Hence the Church will always remain committed to the advancement of the people of Kenya.

On our part, we pray that God may abundantly bless the Authorities and the entire nation which you represent.

October 1974




Thursday, 31 October 1974

Venerable and beloved Brothers,

It is with a sense of deep joy that we welcome you, Archbishops and Bishops of Alberta, ad limina Apostolorum.

We are pleased to have this significant occasion to tell you of our fraternal affection in the Lord and to express our solidarity with you in your pastoral ministry of service to God’s people.

This fraternal affection and solidarity spring forth from the great mystery of our oneness in Jesus Christ, in his priesthood and in the College of Bishops, to which the Lord has called us, in order that, acting in his Name and assisted by the power of his Holy Spirit, we may, together, fulfil our individual and particular roles for the huilding up of the Body of the Church.

And today, in the love of Christ, we celebrate and give expression to this special unity which is his precious gift and in which we find the joy and full meaning of our own lives. At the same time we realize the special responsibility that is ours to work to promote the unity of the entire Church, to strive untiringly for this end by word land example and prayer.

And on our part we wish today, as Successor of Peter, to give the assurance that we are close to each of you as you work at the service of the Gospel and fulfil your ministry (Cfr. 2Tm 4,5). The joys and sorrows, the sufferings, the hardships, the difficulties, the challenges, and the successes and hopes of your ministry are likewise ours. Know that you have our support and our love as you perform your daily tasks of giving witness to Christ and to his Kingdom.

We ask you to take our greetings to your beloved people, to assure them of our union with them and of our universal and affectionate fatherhood. In the Lord we greet your priests and seminarians, your religious, and all your laity. We are praying particularly for the sick, the suffering, the afflicted.

And as we confirm you our brethren in the faith, in accordance with our own charism of service (Cfr. Luc Lc 22,32), we bless you and all your people in the name of Christ.


Wednesday, 6 November 1974

We very willingly greet in you, this morning, the representative of the commitment assumed by the United Nations for the “International Women’s Year”, proclaimed for 1375; this meeting offers us the opportunity to express the goodwill and attention with which we wish to follow this initiative.

In fact, the initiative does not find the Church inattentive to the problem or lacking in a clear desire to solve it. On the contrary: in the contemporary effort to promote the advancement of woman in society, the Church has already recognized “a sign of the times”, and has seen in it a call of the Spirit. The Study Commission which we set up, accepting a wish expressed by the 1971 Synod, has precisely received the mandate to study, in a comparison of the aspirations of today’s world and the enlightening doctrine of the Church, the full participation of woman in the community life of the Church and of society.

The programme of International Women’s Year, well summed up in the theme “equality, development and peace”, is thus not extraneous to the most lively interest of the Church herself.

Equality can only be found in its essential foundation, which is the dignity of the human person, man and woman, in their filial relationship with God, of whom they are the visible image.

But this does not exclude the distinction, in unity, and the specific contribution of woman to the full development of society, according to her proper and personal vocation.

In this way the woman of today will be able to become more conscious of her rights and duties, and will be able to contribute not only to the elevation of herself but also to a qualitative progress of human social life, “in development and peace”.

And since the fundamental and life-giving cell of human society remains the family, according to the very plan of God, woman will preserve and develop, principally in the family community, in full co-responsibility with man, her task of welcoming, giving and raising life, in a growing development of its potential powers.

To all those collaborating in the preparation of International Women’s Year in the most worthy purpose of strengthening ever more the dignity and mission of woman, we indicate as a solid point of reference the figure of the Blessed Virgin. As we stated in our recent Exhortation Marialis Cultus, our age is called upon to verify and to “compare its anthropological ideas and the problems springing therefrom with the figure of the Virgin Mary as presented by the Gospel. The reading of the divine Scriptures, carried out under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and with the discoveries of the human sciences and the different situations in the world today being taken into account, will help us to see how Mary can be considered a mirror of the expectations of the men and women of our time . . . (she) offers them the perfect model of the disciple of the Lord: the disciple who builds up the earthly and temporal city while being a diligent pilgrim towards the heavenly and eternal city, the disciple who works for that justice which sets free the oppressed and for that charity which assists the needy; but above all, the disciple who is the active witness of that love which builds up Christ in people’s hearts” (Marialis Cultus, 3 7).

And with this bright vision before our eyes, we wish the undertaking harmonious and profitable work, upon which we invoke the intercession of the Mother of God and the fullness of divine blessings.

*Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XII, p.1054-1055;

OR 7.11.1974, p.1;

Paths to Peace p.380-381.




Monday, 18 November 1974

Mr Ambassador,

We are happy to receive the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines. Please be assured of our gratitude for the kind sentiments which you have expressed. At the same time we would ask you to convey to His Excellency President Ferdinand E. Marcos both our thanks for the greetings which you have brought to us in his name and the assurance of our prayerful good wishes.

It is with particular joy that we recall once again our visit to the Philippines, to which you have so courteously alluded. This personal experience serves to heighten even more our lively interest in the well-being of the beloved Filipinos, and in a particular way of the members of the communities which we visited at the University of Santo Tomas and in the more modest districts of the City of Manila. Through your good offices we send a special word of affectionate greeting to all whom we met during that historic visit, and we renew to them our gratitude for the reception which they accorded us.

While in Manila we gave an Address to the Peoples of Asia, and, as we said at the time, we gave it very willingly from the land of the Philippines, in which for centuries the Catholic Church has been fully at home (Cfr. Address to the Peoples of Asia, 20 November 1970: AAS 63, 1971, p. 38). We look therefore with confidence to the Philippines to exercise an important measure of responsibility in regard to the rest of Asia, by exemplifying the Gospel and by promoting those fruits of true Christianity which are social equality, freedom from oppression, justice, truth and peace. It is with a deep sense of satisfaction that we hear today from Your Excellency that your people are indeed resolved to participate in the Church’s program of Evangelization by seeking to foster reverence for the Christian dignity of man. Very recently we ourself told the Synodal Fathers: “There is no opposition or separation . . . but a complementary relationship between Evangelization and human progress . . . each calls for the other by reason of their convergence to the same end: the salvation of man” (Address to the Synod of Bishops, 27 September 1974).

May God then bless the people of the Philippines for their noble collaboration in this work of the advancement of the whole man, and for their efforts to ensure that individuals may live on earth in conditions which reflect their sublime dignity as sons of God. Here is true Christianity.

In assuring Your Excellency of a most warm personal welcome we pledge to you the help and cooperation of the Holy See in carrying out your mission. May your stay here in the service of your country be a successful one, bringing you spiritual and cultural satisfaction. Welcome to the Holy See, and welcome to our home.

December 1974


Thursday, 19 December 1974

Mr Ambassador,

It is a pleasure for us to welcome you this morning and to receive the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ireland to the Holy See.

You have kindly expressed the Irish Government’s appreciation of the Holy See’s role in international life and of its efforts to promote justice and peace among men. This activity of the Church is indeed a part of her mission. It is true that the Church’s primary concern is to enable her members to live as Christians; at the same time, she cannot fail to point out to all the path humanity must take if it is to develop and advance with harmony. Amid the tensions that mark society today, the Church endeavours to affirm and uphold the laws of God that must prevail in the common life of men. We are pleased to note the commitment of your country’s Government to those same moral demands, the fulfilment of which alone can lead to the achievement of justice and peace.

As we approach the Holy Year, our thoughts turn to the people of Ireland: we know how great their attachment is to their religious faith and also to this Apostolic See. It is our hope that, in celebrating the Jubilee, they may be spiritually renewed as a Christian people. In our deep pastoral affection and solicitude we likewise express our union with all those who, in your country as elsewhere, earnestly desire a just and peaceful solution to the sad situation in Northern Ireland. As you have mentioned, we intend in the coming year to canonize Blessed Oliver Plunkett.

We shall thereby present him to the universal Church and to the world as a saintly model of steadfast belief, courage and generous fidelity to the faith. May this joyful event uplift the hearts of all with renewed confidence, inspiration and spiritual conviction.

We earnestly pray that God will sustain and guide the Authorities and the beloved people of your land, and in this Holy Year of grace confirm them all as promoters of reconciliation and peace.

We send our good wishes to the newly-appointed President of Ireland for the successful and happy fulfilment of his office, and to Your Excellency we extend our best wishes for the fruitful accomplishment of your own mission.

Speeches 1974 - Monday, 2 September 1974