14. Beloved sons and daughters! I have been kept fully informed of the careful preparations, spread over many months, which have preceded my pastoral visit to Scotland. With admiration and satisfaction I have followed the intense programme proposed by the Bishops for a spiritual renewal of the Catholic community, to ensure that the effects of my visit produce fruits that will endure.
From the depths of my heart I thank each and every one of you for the prayers that have accompanied this preparation, for every effort that has been made to guarantee its success. “This is the day made memorable by the Lord: what immense joy for us!” (Psalm 118, 24). I commend you all, Bishops, clergy, religious and laity to the maternal intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
15. Before concluding, I wish to address for a few moments that larger community of believers in Christ, who share with my Catholic brothers and sisters the privilege of being Scots, sons and daughters alike of this ancient nation. I know of the veneration in which you hold the Sacred Scriptures, accepting them for what they are, the word of God, and not of man. I have reserved until now and should like to read to you the remaining words from that passage of Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “There is one body, one Spirit, just as you were all called. There is one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all” (Ephesians 4, 5-6).
This passage clearly reveals the will of God for mankind, a plan human wills may oppose but cannot thwart. It is God’s plan for all of us, “for there is no eternal city for us in this life but we look for one in the life to come” (Hebrews 13, 15). We are only pilgrims on this earth, making our way towards that heavenly Kingdom promised to us as God’s children. Beloved brethren in Christ, for the future, can we not make that pilgrimage together hand-in-hand, “bearing with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience,” doing all we can “to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds us together”? (Ephesians 4, 2-3) This would surely bring down upon us the blessing of God our Father on our pilgrim way.
As we now proceed to celebrate Christ’s Eucharistic sacrifice, let us remember all those - on both sides - who are affected by the conflict in the South Atlantic. In the joy of our celebration today we cannot permit ourselves to forget the victims of war, both the dead men and the wounded, as well as the broken hearts of many families.
Let us beseech the God of mercy to give us peace in this our day - the peace of Christ our Lord.
16. Beloved People of Scotland, in conclusion I wish you and all who are dear to you, wherever they may be, the abundance of God’s blessings, so that your families may prosper and peace and harmony may reign in your homes. May the prayers of the blessed Apostles Peter and Andrew obtain this for you!
And for your dearly beloved Scottish homeland I wish to adapt and make my own the words familiar to many of you: “Lord, let Scotland flourish through the preaching of Thy word and the praising of Thy name!” Amen.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
29 September 2012
3. I think with profound distress of those areas of the world afflicted by endless wars and hostilities, by endemic hunger and by terrible diseases. Many of you share my concern for this state of affairs which, from a Christian and a human point of view, represents the most serious sin of injustice found in the modern world. It must therefore deeply disturb the conscience of Christians today, especially those who, since they guide the political, economic and financial mechanisms of the world, are in a position to determine - for better or for worse - the destiny of peoples.
Truly there needs to be a greater spirit of solidarity in the world, as a means of overcoming the selfishness of individuals and nations. Only in this way will it be possible to curb the pursuit of political power and economic wealth with no reference to other values. In a now globalized world, in which the market, which of itself has a positive influence on human freedom and creativity in the economic sector (cf. Centesimus Annus, 42), nonetheless tends to be severed from all moral considerations and to take as its sole norm the law of maximum profit, those Christians who feel themselves called by God to political life have the duty - quite difficult yet very necessary - to conform the laws of the "unbridled" market to the laws of justice and solidarity. Only in this way can we ensure a peaceful future for our world and remove the root causes of conflicts and wars: peace is the fruit of justice.
1 October 2012
JUBILEE OF GOVERNMENT LEADERS,
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II*
Saturday, 4 November 2000
1. I am most happy to welcome you, distinguished Government Leaders, Members of Parliament and men and women responsible for public life who have come to Rome for the Jubilee. I greet you and I thank Senator Nicola Mancino for the kind words he has spoken on your behalf. My grateful thoughts turn to Senator Francesco Cossiga, who has actively promoted the proclamation of Saint Thomas More as Patron of Statesmen and Politicians. My greeting also goes to the other distinguished leaders, including Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, who have spoken in this assembly. I offer a special word of welcome to the Heads of State present.
Our meeting gives me the opportunity to reflect together with you, in the light of the motions just presented, on the nature of the mission which God, in his Providence, has entrusted to you, and on the responsibilities inherent in that mission. Yours can well be deemed a true and genuine vocation to politics, which in practice means the governance of nations, the formulation of laws and the administration of public affairs at every level. We ought then to inquire as to the nature, the demands and the aims of politics, in order to act as Christians and as persons conscious of the excellence and, at the same time, the difficulties and risks which politics entails.
2. Politics is the use of legitimate authority in order to attain the common good of society: a common good which, as the Second Vatican Council declares, embraces "the sum of those conditions of social life by which individuals, families and groups can achieve complete and efficacious fulfillment" (Gaudium et Spes, 74). Political activity ought therefore to be carried out in a spirit of service. My predecessor Pope Paul VI rightly affirmed that "politics is a demanding way of living the Christian commitment to serve others" (Octogesima Adveniens, 46).
Hence, Christians who engage in politics - and who wish to do so as Christians - must act selflessly, not seeking their own advantage, or that of their group or party, but the good of one and all, and consequently, in the first place, that of the less fortunate members of society. In the struggles of life, which can at times be merciless and cruel, not a few are "crushed" and are inevitably cast aside. Among these I cannot fail to mention those who are imprisoned. On 9 July last I visited some of them for the celebration of their Jubilee. On that occasion, following a custom of earlier Jubilee Years, I asked the leaders of countries to make "a gesture of clemency towards all those in prison" which would be "a clear sign of sensitivity to their condition". Moved by the many appeals that come to me from throughout the world, I renew today that appeal, in the conviction that such a gesture would be an encouragement to prisoners on their path of personal renewal and an incentive to their sincere acceptance of the values of justice.
Justice must indeed be the fundamental concern of political leaders: a justice which is not content to apportion to each his own, but one which aims at creating conditions of equal opportunity among citizens, and therefore favouring those who, for reasons of social status or education or health, risk being left behind or relegated to the lowest places in society, without possibility of deliverance.