Speeches 1976

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January 1975



Wednesday, 23 January 1975

Your Excellency,

We have a great pleasure in welcoming you to the Vatican and in receiving the Letters by which you are accredited as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uganda to the Holy See.

Uganda is particularly dear to the Catholic Church since it is one of the foremost Christian nations of Eastern Africa and one which, in its Martyrs, has given witness to the supreme values of the spirit. It is likewise especially dear to us because of our visit there some years ago: we cherish the memories of that visit and of the pilgrimage which we made to the shrine of Namugongo. You understand therefore the special welcome we have for you as the representative of your Country.

We thank you for the assurance you have given us that the Government and people of Uganda esteem and fully support our efforts to promote peace and the spiritual and moral maturity of mankind. For our part we take this occasion to reaffirm the commitment of the Church to work loyally, through her institutions, for the integral good of the entire Nation. As we said in our address to the Parliament of Uganda during our visit to the country: “There is . . . a programme of the temporal order which the Church fosters today, not her programme, but your own; and to it she intends to give her moral support and also, as far as possible, her practical support: that is, the programme of the development of peoples”.

We are very glad to hear you express satisfaction with your assignment as Ambassador to the Holy See. While we wish you every happiness and success in this post, we also assure you of our prayers for yourself and your Country.

Appreciative of the greetings which you have kindly presented to us on behalf of His Excellency the President of Uganda, we ask you to convey to him and to the other Authorities of the Nation our own good wishes for the human and spiritual progress of the beloved Ugandan people.

*AAS 67 (1975), p.111-112.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.78-79.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1975, p.34.

L'Osservatore Romano. Edition hebdomadaire en langue française, 24.1.1975, p.1.

ORa n.5 p.2.


Monday, 17 March 1975

Dear sons and daughters,

Once again we have the joy of welcoming the Knights of Columbus and their families. But this time our encounter is a very special one, for this is the Year of the Jubilee and you have come to profess your faith at the Memorials of the Apostles and to pledge before the Successor of Peter the renewal of your Christian lives. In effect, you are saying - you are telling us before the world - that you will strive, that you will endeavour, that you will try to make every effort to give an ever greater witness in today’s world to Jesus Christ and to his Coming.

We personally have known over the years the good works done by your association. We have seen firsthand the deeds of charity performed by your colleagues for those in need. We know that these actions were motivated by the love of Christ and his brethren, and we will never forget them.

And today as we express again our gratitude for what has been accomplished in the past, we wish to confirm you in your faith, in the exercise of charitable solicitude for others and in the full commitment of your Christian lives. We hope that, as a portion of the laity of Christ’s Church, you will, under the guidance of your Bishops, take an active role in the renewal and reconciliation of the world. We hope that you will always lend upright, enlightened and dynamic leadership in the communities in which you live. We hope that, as a body, you will address yourselves to the great religious and moral questions of the day: that your voice will be heard and that your witness will be effective in those issues that are decisive for mankind. May you give testimony to the sanctity of life in all its stages and to the rights of all to share in the gift of God’s creation, so that there will truly be liberty and justice for all. May your special solicitude be always for the poor, the suffering, those in need, the handicapped, the incurably ill and all those on the margin of society and who are without voice.

And may your homes be centers of love and prayer in which the new generation will learn by word and example to appreciate the gift of faith and the dignity of marriage and the family. And we hope too that, in the joy of your Christian homes, new vocations may be found for the Church of tomorrow.

In all these important issues we ask your help and the full measure of your collaboration. And be assured of our continued affection in the Lord Jesus, in whose name we bless you.

April 1975


Saturday, 5 April 1975

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We first of all wish to thank you, the worthy representatives of the British Parliament, for your courtesy in coming to visit us today.

As the elected representatives of your people you bear a great responsibility before God and man. It is within your competence to make good laws, which acknowledge the inviolability and sacredness of man’s life in all its stages and the transcendental nature of his final destiny. May you be inspired with wisdom in the accomplishment of this task, and guided by the dictates of justice and equity. In this way the laws which you make will always be in accord with the Law of God, of which the Psalmist said: «Your decrees are so wonderful my soul cannot but respect them. As your word unfolds, it gives light, and the simple understand» (Ps 118,129-130).

We hope that your visit to Rome in this Holy Year may be a memorable one for you, and we gladly assure you of our prayers for yourselves, for your families and for the noble work to which you have been called. God bless you all.



Monday, 7 April 1975

Dear Friends,

It is with special joy that we have acceded to your wish to be received by us in audience during the Cardinal Newman Academic Symposium now taking place here in Rome and of which you are the expert participants. We greet you cordially and extend to you a warm welcome.

Your Symposium, which is carrying on the tradition of the previous International Congresses held in Luxembourg, has been organized in Rome to coincide with the Holy Year. As students of the great Cardinal, you have come together to deepen your knowledge of Newman’s life and thought, and to draw from his powerful example and teachings practical conclusions and responses to the many religious problems of the present day. The echo that your worthy initiative has had among the many admirers of Cardinal Newman throughout the world and the presence among you of many young people are unmistakable signs of the great attraction to Newman and of the relevance that he enjoys today - indeed today perhaps more than at any previous time. We offer a warm greeting to those among you who are members of the Anglican clergy and who by your participation in the Symposium emphasize the great ecumenical importance of the figure and work of Newman at the present time.

He who was convinced of being faithful throughout his life, with all his heart devoted to the light of truth, today becomes an ever brighter beacon for all who are seeking an informed orientation and sure guidance amid the uncertainties of the modern world - a world which he himself prophetically foresaw. Many of the problems which he treated with wisdom - although he himself was frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted in his own time - were the subjects of the discussion and study of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, as for example the question of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and the world, the emphasis on the role of the laity in the Church and the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions. Not only this Council but also the present time can be considered in a special way as Newman’s hour, in which, with confidence in divine providence, he placed his great hopes and expectations: “Perhaps my name is to be turned to account as a sanction and outset by which others who agree with me in opinion should write and publish instead of me, and thus begin the transmission of views in religious and intellectual matters congenial with my own, to the generation after me” (Cfr. W. WARD, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman, London 1912, vol. 2P 202). And it is precisely the present moment that suggests, in a particularly pressing and persuasive way, the study and diffusion of Newman’s thought.

This is not the time for a detailed description of the wide programme that the needs of the present moment place before you, the expert scholars and friends of Newman. The very theme of your Symposium, “Newman’s Realisation of Christian Life”, is related to the central purpose of the Council and of the Holy Year.

The “realisation” of the Christian ideal in Newman’s sense is but another name for a continual effort for the renewal of personal and community life in the spirit of the Gospel and in accordance with the just demands of the present moment of history. “Realising” our Christian vocation means, in Newman’s view, making the truths of our faith a living reality, full of practical consequences for daily life; it means becoming true followers of Christ. And, in the lofty and arduous task to which this Holy Year urgently calls us, the thought and example of John Henry Newman bring a precious light and a great incitement. May his prayer become ours too: “Enale me to believe as if I saw; let me have Thee always before me as if Thou wert always bodily and sensibly present. Let me ever hold communion with Thee, my hidden, but my living God” (Meditations and Devotions).

It is our hope that your Symposium on Newman’s life and thought will bear abundant fruit and offer its own specific and valuable contribution to the Holy Year, for a profound renewal in the life of the Church. We accompany your work with our prayers, invoking upon you all light and strength from the Lord.



Saturday, 19 April 1975

As we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery and its special re-enactment in the days ahead, we turn our thoughts to an event that will take place next year: the Forty-first International Eucharistic Congress.

By its very international nature, this Eucharistic Congress is an event of worldwide importance.

From many parts of the world men and women will assemble to honor the mystery of Christ in his Eucharistic Sacrifice and presence, and to proclaim his Lordship. At the same time they will open their hearts, with new sensitivity and fresh concern, to the many urgent needs of their brethren - the just aspirations and legitimate anxieties of mankind. And to all these hungers of the human family, the Eucharistic Congress will offer, with confidence and loving faith, the only - the perfect - solution: Jesus himself, who said: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry and he who believes in me will never thirst” (Jn 6,35).

We pray that the nature of this ecclesial event will be readily understood and esteemed by all in the dignity of its purpose and in the simplicity and reverence due to its fulfillment. May Mary the Mother of Jesus and Mother of his Church obtain the grate for all men to recognize that her Son, who is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16,16) is indeed the true Bread of Life who alone can satisfy the hungers of the human family.

May 1975


Friday, 9 May 1975

We are happy once more to greet pilgrims from Kenya, and we extend our warm welcome to all of you who make up the National Holy Year Pilgrimage. Just two days ago we welcomed other groups from your country. On that occasion we stated: “You all know our love for your homeland, out deep interest in your people and in your entire continent of Africa”. And again today we express the same solicitude and affection. It is our hope that the Church in Kenya will always be strong in faith, and dynamic and exemplary in Christian living. In particular we pray that there will be many generous young people who will accept the call of Christ to preach his Gospel and to life fully the evangelical counsels. Our thoughts turn likewise to all the people of your land. And upon all of you we invoke in abundance “God’s own peace which is beyond understanding” (Ph 4 Ph 7). God bless Kenya!

June 1975


Tuesday, 3 June 1975

Mr President,

We deeply appreciated the desire you manifested to visit us, at the end of the rapid journey that has brought you for the first time to some of the countries of Europe. We are certain that this desire emphasizes the importance that you attribute to the moral aspects of the problems that have been the subject of the intense round of meetings which you have been having in these last few days with many of the leaders in whose hands is the destiny of large sections of the world, and particularly of Europe and the Middle East.

In these meetings you have been occupied in examining difficult questions, not only of political but also of military import, which, at least from the declared point of view of defense, cannot be ignored by those responsible for public life. You knew that from us you would hear only exhortations and words of peace and of sincere and generous collaboration for the advantage of all.

This is our mission. It constrains us to strive to ensure that people never forget the primacy of spiritual and moral values, which direct social living no less - indeed more - than economic and military interests and preoccupations.

We do not shut our eyes to the reality of relationships of power that almost inevitably arise between nations and their blocs, and which continually pose problems of balance and imbalance. But we must raise our voice to remind people that it is not upon power that a peaceful and humane international order can be based, but upon the criterion of justice, upon respect and understanding of the rights and needs of others, and upon a spirit of generous cooperation of the strongest with the weakest, for their mutual advantage.

Under this aspect we are glad to be able to give the support of our counsel and our humble collaboration to the solving of the knots that mean so much suffering and peril for peoples that are ever most dear to us, to the setting up of systems of international relationships that will better guarantee the exigencies of harmony and peace, in security and justice, and to an intensified exchange of services and goods between peoples and continents.

May this convince you, Mr President, of the pleasure with which we have received your visit and of the interest with which we have availed ourself of the conversation that we have been able to have with you, the Head of a nation upon which rest such tremendous responsibilities.

We commend to God the efforts of all men of good will and upon yourself, Mr President, and upon the people whom you represent we invoke the blessings of the Lord.

*Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.591-592.

ORa n.24 p.9.



Monday, 9 June 1975

Mr Ambassador,

We are pleased to welcome you as the first Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Holy See. In thanking you for your kind words we also wish to express our sincere appreciation of the greetings which His Excellency the President has sent to us in his own name and in that of the Government and people of your country. We would ask Your Excellency to inform him that we gratefully and willingly reciprocate these greetings.

You have spoken of our very brief stop in your country, and we are happy to assure you that the memory of that occasion is always in our thoughts, just as the needs and legitimate aspirations of the beloved people of Bangladesh are always in our prayers.

Although the Catholic Church has only very limited material means at her disposal she will always continue to do her best to help people in need, whatever their religious beliefs, and we rejoice to hear from you of the beneficial effects of this help in your land.

However, the Church can draw upon unlimited resources in fulfilling her spiritual mission. Thus, while continuing to contribute in whatever way possible to the establishment of a worthy standard of material prosperity for everyone, she will strive always and everywhere to promote among all people a knowledge and appreciation of spiritual truths together with a strong and invincible love for one another.

The practice in Bangladesh of moral virtues in the atmosphere of religious freedom, to which you have referred, can indeed be a powerful aid to the strengthening of a loving brotherhood among men. God, to whom it is so pleasing to see brothers dwelling peaceably together, will indeed come to the help of a people where men and women love their neighbours as themselves.

The very first words we spoke to the Bengalees at Dacca were to tell them that we had come “as a friend among friends, as a brother among brothers” (27 Nov. 1970). Mr Ambassador, in assuring you of our continuing prayerful understanding for Bangladesh, for its Authorities and for all its people, we do so truly as one who is proud to have been and to remain a friend and a brother to you all.

*AAS 67 (1975), p.380-381.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.611-612.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1975, p.201.

L'Osservatore Romano, 9-10.6.1975, p.1.

ORa n.25 p.2.


Monday, 9 June 1975

It is a great joy for us this morning to receive the Queen of the Maoris. In you we greet the representative of an ancient and revered people, the first inhabitants of the land of New Zealand. In you we honour respected traditions and age-old customs which have become the object of admiration beyond the limits of your native land and beyond the cultural circle of your people.

We render homage to the joyous acceptance given by your people to the Christian message - an acceptance which has been for them a fruitful source of enrichment, inspiration and brotherhood. And this brotherhood has meant so much in your history and in the development of the entire country of New Zealand.

On your return we would ask you to take our greetings to all the beloved Maori people and to assure them of our esteem and our benevolence. We would likewise ask you to tell them that they have a special place in our heart and in our prayers. Upon all we invoke the choicest blessings of Almighty God.



Friday, 13 June 1975

Beloved sons and daughters from Uganda,

What profound meaning, what happy memories your visit has for us today! Your visit is one of ecclesial communion. The Church in Uganda is one with the Church in Rome and with the Church throughout the World. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

And your presence recalls our visit to your country, the many personal encounters we had, and the many addresses we made. We now renew all the sentiments we expressed on that joyous occasion.

We are, moreover, thinking of the recent ceremonies at Namugongo, and of all the parishes and dioceses in Uganda. With great affection we impart again to each of you and to all the Church in your country our special Apostolic Blessing.



Thursday, 19 June 1975

Mr Minister,

We have much pleasure in receiving from you the Letters whereby Her Britannic Majesty accredits you as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Holy See. We extend to you a warm and sincere welcome. The kind expression of the Queen’s friendship and goodwill finds a ready echo in our own heart, and we would ask you to assure Her Majesty of our prayerful good wishes for herself and for all the members of the Royal Family.

Your generous appreciation of the Church’s contribution to harmony and justice throughout the world is greatly appreciated, and we are particularly happy that the development of ecumenical relations between Churches, in a climate of friendliness, respect and prayer, is setting a worthy example for men in other fields to follow.

You have alluded to the recent confirmation of the British people’s decision to continue close links with other European countries. We pray that the wider scope thus offered for mutual friendship and shared concern for the needs of the less fortunate may prove to be a valuable spur to the strengthening of brotherhood among men and stability and peace among nations.

The difficulties you have mentioned which impede full understanding and cooperation in Northern Ireland are an anxious burden for us too. We recall to everyone that violence and hatred are heinous offences in the eyes of God, and that mutual love and respect are the best and the most effective contributions to a just peace. We bless the efforts of all those who are truly seeking a solution by means which are within the framework of God’s Law and for the benefit of all citizens without distinction. Your Excellency, as we assure you that in the accomplishment of your mission you can be confident of the Holy See’s cooperation, we gladly commend to Almighty God yourself and your family and the authorities and people of your beloved country.

*AAS 67 (1975), p.445-446.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.650-651.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1975, p.212-213.

L'Osservatore Romano, 20.6.1974, p.1.

ORa n.27 p.2.


Saturday, 21 June 1975

Dear sons and daughters,

Once again joy for us to welcome a group of Holy Year pilgrims from Uganda, this time from the northern part of the country. We know that you have made a great effort to come to Rome, to take your place here with your brothers and sisters from other parts of the world, and thus to show forth the wonderful universality of the Church of God. We have had the occasion recently to renew all our love and affection for the Ugandan people, and we do so again today on this happy occasion.

May the Lord Jesus increase your faith and love here in Rome; may he fill you with joy-abundant and overflowing. Take our greetings back to Africa. Repeat our message to your families and all your dear ones: the Pope loves Uganda.

July 1975



Wednesday, 2 July 1975

It is with profound joy that we greet the Nigerian National Holy Year Pilgrimage. Welcome to all of you, venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, beloved sons and daughters.

You have answered our call with diligence and fidelity, and in the spirit of renewal and reconciliation you have come as pilgrims to the Memorials of the Apostles.

In you we see represented all the Catholics of your land. We see in miniature the Church in Nigeria: the hierarchy, the clergy, religious and laity - all the charisms of the Christian people. We greet the young and the old - all of you striving in the lofty and ardent task of Christian renewal land reconciliation. With sincere respect and friendship we likewise greet the members of other Churches.

Yes, for you and for us: “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 117,24). And as you pursue your Christian goals, know that you are one with the Church of Rome and the universal Church.

And on our part, we are confident that the Christ whom we represent sand “who began a good work in you will bring it to completion ” (Ph 1 Ph 6). To all Nigeria: grace and peace in the Lord.



Thursday, 3 July 1975

Your Eminence and dear brothers of the Russian Orthodox Church,

To all of you we say: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co 1,3).

We cordially welcome you after the completion of the fourth encounter in a series of providential meetings between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. We know that you have dedicated yourselves with diligence and fidelity to the examination of the theme: “The Christian Proclamation of salvation in a world of transformation”. We realize what an important and complex subject that you have treated, in a spirit of sincere effort to be better equipped to bring the liberating and uplifting message of salvation to the men and women of our time. We know that your method has been persevering and that the meetings have not lost sight of the final goal of Christianity and of its supernatural and transcendent aims. At the same time your solicitude has been directed to apostolic effectiveness, in order “that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph” (2Th 3,1).

It is our ardent prayer that these joint efforts may bear lasting fruit. We pray that the divisions of centuries will be overcome in the truth and charity of Christ, and that the Holy Spirit will bring to completion a work that has been begun under his inspiration - a work that is indeed manifested among the signs of the times.

It is the world that is awaiting with anxiety to enjoy in its fullness the liberating and salvific message of the Lord. We must go forward, dear friends and brothers, intent on rendering this service in the name of Jesus to those who await his Coming.

We thank you sincerely for this visit, and as we renew the expression of our own esteem in the Lord, we invoke abundant blessings upon you and all the beloved people of your venerable Church. And we ask you kindly to convey our best wishes to His Holiness the Patriarch.



Friday, 11 July 1975

Mr Ambassador,

Your excellency’s accreditation as Ambassador of New Zealand happily demonstrates once again the mutual desire of your Government and of the Holy See to work together for the betterment of situations that demand our common interest land concern.

We are pleased to hear you reiterate the commitment of New Zealand to the recognition of human rights for all people, and to the task of meeting the urgent needs of developing nations today.

From complementary standpoints, we both approach this responsibility with-as Your Excellency has said-common principles and objectives. We likewise appreciate the acknowledgement you have made, not only of our own efforts for peace in international life, but also of the fact that the Church contributes in a special way to peace by offering men an understanding of the moral imperatives that must guide them in seeking it. This approach alone, we believe, can secure peace, in a way that no purely pragmatic assessment of temporal and immediate political interests could ever ensure.

Indeed your remarks regarding the Church’s presence in your country are a source of satisfaction to us. Our pledge and in fact our only wish is that the Church will ever show herself as present to serve, as having at heart the true interests of all people and as being motivated by that disinterested love for all which is the love of the Creator himself for mankind. It is our sincere hope, therefore, that as New Zealand advances to new stages of prosperity and well-being, her growth as a nation may be spiritually enriched and enhanced by the presence of the Church.

To the civil authorities of New Zealand we warmly extend our respectful good wishes and we invoke upon them and all New Zealanders the abundant blessings of Almighty God. Finally, we wish Your Excellency every success and happiness in the accomplishment of your mission.

*AAS 67 (1975), p.491-492.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIII, p.764-765.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1975, p. 250.

L'Osservatore Romano, 12.7.1975, p.1.

ORa n.30 p.5.



Friday, 11 July 1975

In this Jubilee Year, it is our duty to be especially aware of all forms of suffering and misery, both individual and collective. We have already had the occasion to mention some of these in the course of our talks, notably the cases of suffering caused by war and its aftermath. Today we wish to draw attention to a natural disaster, one that has been talked about in recent years but which no longer seems to attract the interest that it previously had: we mean the disaster of drought, and particularly the drought that has struck Africa. Whole regions have been severely affected by this disaster - from Somalia and Ethiopia in the east to the Cape Verde Islands in the west. There are still arriving today horrifying accounts similar to those which previously so greatly moved the Charity and solidarity of peoples - both Christians and non-Christians. The Sahel too, if it does not experience more favourable climatic conditions, is not yet at the end of its trials, and the work of consolidating the struggle against the advance of the desert is still as urgent as ever. To all men of good will we propose these pressing needs of Africa.


Friday, 11 July 1975

Dear Sons and Daughters,

During this Holy Year we are always delighted to receive pilgrims from Africa, but we reserve a special welcome for those coming from Uganda, since it is the country on your continent which we out-self visited during our pontificate. Today we are happy to have with us Bishop Asili from the Diocese of Lira. We know that some of you have come from other Dioceses as well: we greet all of you with deep affection in the Lord Jesus.

It is always a source of pleasure for us to witness the joyful spirit of enthusiasm with which you express your faith. We hope that your pilgrimage to Rome and to the places of early Christianity may bring renewed depth and vigour to your belief and give you an ever greater love for the Church.

Upon all of you, and upon your country, which is ever so dear to us and which, as you can well appreciate, is especially in our thoughts in these days, we now invoke God’s loving protection and grace, and we cordially impart our Apostolic Blessing to each of you and also to your families and friends at home.




Saturday, 12 July 1975

Dear friends,

Once again it is a pleasure for us to welcome the members of the American Justinian Society of Jurists.

You have come to Rome to mark the tenth anniversary of your foundation and to find new inspiration to carry out the aims of your association. In particular, you have gathered to study the theme: “The function and figure of the Judge”.

On our part we are greatly pleased to see the solicitude that you have for the administration of justice. We are confident that your discussions on this important topic will be fruitful and that your reflections in this regard will draw inspiration from the great expressions of our Judeo-Christian tradition.

You undoubtedly know what responsibility the Sacred Scriptures assign to the Judge, and how they extol the dignity of his mission. May all of you have an acute awareness of this lofty role at the service of justice and therefore of mankind. We exhort you especially to safeguard the rights of the destitute, and to each of you and your esteemed colleagues we repeat the inspired words: «Open your mouth, decree what is just; defend the needy and the poor» (Pr 31,9).

And in the privileged role you play to defend the rights of your fellowmen, we hope that you will indeed exercise the full measure of leadership that is yours as judges and therefore as distinguished citizens of your country and of the world community. You are specially qualified by your training and your experience to make your voice heard-individually and collectively-on the great legal issues that touch the very moral fabric of mankind and all civilization.

With a sense of even greater urgency we repeat today the words we spoke to you on a former visit: «We hope the deliberations for which you have come to Rome will strengthen you in your commitment to uphold human dignity with liberty and justice for all. And it is our prayer that in your work you will always be effective defenders of the sacredness of human life and of man’s inalienable right to life. . . . In particular, may your efforts be successful in ensuring for the unborn child the due protection of the law» (Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XI, 1973, p. 728).

And as we encourage you in this role of leadership for the good of humanity, and remind you of the singular contribution that you are able to make, we once again invoke upon you all the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit.

September 1975

Speeches 1976