The Popes Speak



4. The timeliness of this proposal is evident from a number of considerations. First, the urgent need to counter a certain crisis of the Rosary, which in the present historical and theological context can risk being wrongly devalued, and therefore no longer taught to the younger generation. There are some who think that the centrality of the Liturgy, rightly stressed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, necessarily entails giving lesser importance to the Rosary. Yet, as Pope Paul VI made clear, not only does this prayer not conflict with the Liturgy, it sustains it, since it serves as an excellent introduction and a faithful echo of the Liturgy, enabling people to participate fully and interiorly in it and to reap its fruits in their daily lives. 

Perhaps too, there are some who fear that the Rosary is somehow unecumenical because of its distinctly Marian character. Yet the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological centre of the Christian faith, in such a way that “when the Mother is honoured, the Son ... is duly known, loved and glorified”. If properly revitalized, the Rosary is an aid and certainly not a hindrance to ecumenism!



33. First of all, it is against common sense, which the Church always holds in esteem, to consider the sexual instinct as the most important and the deepest of human tendencies, and to conclude from this that man cannot restrain it for his whole life without danger to his vital nervous system, and consequently without injuring the harmony of his personality.



23. To Rulers, who are those principally responsible for the common good, and who can do so much to safeguard moral customs, we say: Do not allow the morality of your peoples to be degraded; do not permit that by legal means practices contrary to the natural and divine law be introduced into that fundamental cell, the family. Quite other is the way in which public authorities can and must contribute to the solution of the demographic problem: namely, the way of a provident policy for the family, of a wise education of peoples in respect of moral law and the liberty of citizens.

We are well aware of the serious difficulties experienced by public authorities in this regard, especially in the developing countries. To their legitimate preoccupations we devoted our encyclical letter Populorum Progressio. But with our predecessor Pope John XXIII, we repeat: no solution to these difficulties is acceptable "which does violence to man's essential dignity" and is based only on an utterly materialistic conception of man himself and of his life. The only possible solution to this question is one which envisages the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole of human society, and which respects and promotes true human values. Neither can one, without grave injustice, consider divine providence to be responsible for what depends, instead, on a lack of wisdom in government, on an insufficient sense of social justice, on selfish monopolization, or again on blameworthy indolence in confronting the efforts and the sacrifices necessary to ensure the raising of living standards of a people and of all its sons.

May all responsible public authorities—as some are already doing so laudably—generously revive their efforts. And may mutual aid between all the members of the great human family never cease to grow: This is an almost limitless field which thus opens up to the activity of the great international organizations.


Pacem in Terris (St. Pope John XXIII)

35. Hence, before a society can be considered well-ordered, creative, and consonant with human dignity, it must be based on truth. St. Paul expressed this as follows: "Putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."  And so will it be, if each man acknowledges sincerely his own rights and his own duties toward others.

Human society, as We here picture it, demands that men be guided by justice, respect the rights of others and do their duty. It demands, too, that they be animated by such love as will make them feel the needs of others as their own, and induce them to share their goods with others, and to strive in the world to make all men alike heirs to the noblest of intellectual and spiritual values. Nor is this enough; for human society thrives on freedom, namely, on the use of means which are consistent with the dignity of its individual members, who, being endowed with reason, assume responsibility for their own actions .

36. And so, dearest sons and brothers, we must think of human society as being primarily a spiritual reality. By its means enlightened men can share their knowledge of the truth, can claim their rights and fulfill their duties, receive encouragement in their aspirations for the goods of the spirit, share their enjoyment of all the wholesome pleasures of the world, and strive continually to pass on to others all that is best in themselves and to make their own the spiritual riches of others. It is these spiritual values which exert a guiding influence on culture, economics, social institutions, political movements and forms, laws, and all the other components which go to make up the external community of men and its continual development.

Random Quotes:

Christianity is not a philosophical speculation.
It is not a construction of our mind. Christianity
is not our work. It is a Revelation. It is a message
that has been consigned to us, and we have no
right to reconstruct it as we like or choose. (Pope Benedict XVI)

"[The Pope] must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the
Church to obedience to God's Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it
down, and every form of opportunism. Pope John Paul II did this when, in front of all
attempts, apparently benevolent to the human person, and in the face of erroneous
interpretations of freedom, he unequivocally stressed the inviolability of the human being
and of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. The freedom to kill
is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery." -- from the
homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the Mass of Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of
Rome, Basilica of St John Lateran, Saturday, 7 May 2005

Participation in Trinitarian life takes place through the liturgy and in a special way through the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the glorified body of Christ, the seed of immortality. In divinization and particularly in the sacraments, Eastern theology attributes a very special role to the Holy Spirit: through the power of the Spirit who dwells in man deification already begins on earth; the creature is transfigured and God's kingdom inaugurated. (Blessed John Paul 2, Paragraph 6 of "The Light of the East")

But it is not only war that kills Peace. Every crime against life is a blow to Peace, especially if it strikes at the moral conduct of the people, as often happens today, with horrible and often legal ease, as in the case of the suppression of incipient life, by abortion. Reasons such as the following are brought forward to justify abortion: abortion seeks to slow down the troublesome increase of the population, to eliminate beings condemned to malformation, social dishonour, proletarian misery, and so on; it seems rather to favour Peace than to harm it. But it is not so. The suppression of an incipient life, or one that is already born, violates above all the sacrosanct moral principle to which the concept of human existence must always have reference: human life is sacred from the first moment of its conception and until the last instant of its natural survival in time. It is sacred; what does this mean? It means that life must be exempt from any arbitrary power to suppress it; it must not be touched; it is worthy of all respect, all care, all dutiful sacrifice. For those who believe in God, it is spontaneous and instinctive and indeed a duty through the law of religion. And even for those who do not have this good fortune of admitting the protecting and vindicating hand of God upon all human beings, this same sense of the sacred - that is, the untouchable and inviolable element proper to a living human existence - is and must be something sensed by virtue of human dignity. Those who have had the misfortune, the implacable guilt, the ever renewed remorse at having deliberately suppressed a life know this and feel this. The voice of innocent blood cries out with heartrending insistence in the heart of the person who killed it. Inner Peace is not possible through selfish sophistries! And even if it is, a blow at Peace - that is, at the general system that protects order, safe living in society, in a word, at Peace - has been perpetrated: the individual Life and Peace in general are always linked by an unbreakable relationship. If we wish progressive social order to be based upon intangible principles, let us not offend against it in the heart of its essential system: respect for human life. Even under this aspect Peace and Life are closely bound together at the basis of order and civilization. ("Message for the 1977 World Day of Peace", by Pope Paul VI)

The discussion can continue by reviewing the hundred forms in which offences against life seem to be becoming normal behaviour: where individual crime is organized to become collective; to ensure the silence and complicity of whole groups of citizens; to make private vendetta a vile collective duty, terrorism a phenomenon of legitimate political or social affirmation, police torture an effective means of public power no longer directed towards restoring order but towards imposing ignoble repression. It is impossible for peace to flourish where the safety of life is compromised in this way. Where violence rages, true peace ends. But where human rights are truly professed and publicly recognized and defended, Peace becomes the joyful and operative atmosphere of life in society.  ("Message for the 1977 World Day of Peace", by Pope Paul VI)

He placed the sheep upon his shoulders, for taking man’s nature upon Him he bore our sins. But having found the sheep, he returns home; for our Shepherd having restored man, returns to his heavenly kingdom. And hence it follows, And coming he collects together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. By his friends and neighbors He means the companies of Angels, who are His friends because they are keeping His will in their own steadfastness; they are also His neighbors, because by their own constant waiting upon Him they enjoy the brightness of His sight. (Gregory the Great)

But he allows there is more joy in heaven over the converted sinner, than over the just who remain steadfast; for the latter for the most part, not feeling themselves oppressed by the weight of their sins, stand indeed in the way of righteousness, but still do not anxiously sigh after the heavenly country, frequently being slow to perform good works, from their confidence in themselves that they have committed no grievous sins. But, on the other hand, sometimes those who remember certain iniquities that they have committed, being pricked to the heart, from their very grief grow inflamed towards the love of God; and because they consider they have wandered from God, make up for their former losses by the succeeding gains. Greater then is the joy in heaven, just as the leader in battle loves that soldier more who having turned from flight, bravely pursues the enemy, than him who never turned his back and never did a brave act. So the husbandman rather loves that land which after bearing thorns yields abundant fruit, than that which never had thorns, and never gave him a plentiful crop. But in the mean time we must be aware that there are very many just men in whose life there is so much joy, that no penitence of sinners however great can in any way be preferred to them. Whence we may gather what great joy it causes to God when the just man humbly mourns, if it produces joy in heaven when the unrighteous by his repentance condemns the evil that he has done. (Gregory the Great)

He who is signified by the shepherd, is also by the woman. For it is God Himself, God and the wisdom of God, but the Lord has formed the nature of angels and men to know Him, and has created them after His likeness. The woman then had ten pieces of silver, because there are nine orders of angels, but that the number of the elect might be filled up, man the tenth was created. (Gregory the Great)

And because there is an image impressed on the piece of silver, the woman lost the piece of silver when man (who was created after the image of God) by sinning departed from the likeness of his Creator. And this is what is added, she lose one piece, does she not light a candle. The women lighted a candle because the wisdom of God appeared in man. For the candle is a light in an earthen vessel, but the light in an earthen vessel is the Godhead in the flesh. But the candle being lit, it follows, And disturbs the house. Because verily no sooner had his Divinity shone forth through the flesh, than all our consciences were appalled. Which word of disturbance differs not from that which is read in other manuscripts, sweeps, because the corrupt mind if it be not first overthrown through fear, is not cleansed from its habitual faults. But when the house is broken up, the piece of silver is found, for it follows, And seeks diligently till she find it; for truly when the conscience of man is disturbed, the likeness of the Creator is restored in man. (Gregory the Great)

Or by Mary who sat and heard our Lord’s words, is signified the contemplative life; by Martha engaged in more outward services, the active life. Now Martha’s care is not blamed, but Mary is praised, for great are the rewards of an active life, but those of a contemplative are far better. Hence Mary’s part it is said will never be taken away from her, for the works of an active life pass away with the body, but the joys of the contemplative life the rather begin to increase from the end. (Gregory the Great)

"Nothing was conferred on the apostles apart from
Peter, but several things were conferred upon Peter
apart from the apostles."
(Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum)

"I don't believe a person can remain in mortal sin
while praying the Rosary." (Pope John XXIII)

The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights--for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture--is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. (Blessed Pope John Paul 2, Paragraph 38 of Christifideles Laici)

Like her holiness, the Church’s unity is an unfailing gift of God and a constant summons to an ever more perfect communion in faith, hope and love. "God himself is communion, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he calls all people to share in that same Trinitarian communion" (Ecclesia in America, 33). Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Risen Christ, the Church has been established as "a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Lumen Gentium, 4). As the sign and sacrament of that unity which is the calling and destiny of the whole human family, the Church lives and carries out her saving mission as "one body" (cf. 1 Cor 12:12ff.), which the Holy Spirit guides in the way of all truth, brings together in communion and in the works of ministry, directs through the variety of hierarchical and charismatic gifts, and adorns with his fruits (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4). This mystery of unity in diversity is especially evident in the Bishop’s celebration of the Eucharist, when he is surrounded by the presbyterate, ministers, religious and the whole People of God (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 41); in the Eucharist, that "holy communion" which is the very soul of the Church is both expressed and brought about (cf. Lumen Gentium, 3).  (John Paul 2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

This close relationship between the Church’s holiness and her unity is the basis for that spirituality of communion and mission which I am convinced we must foster at the dawn of this new millennium, "if we wish to be faithful to God’s plan and respond to the world’s deepest yearnings" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 43). The Bishop, as the icon of Christ the Good Shepherd, present in the midst of his holy people, has the primary duty of promoting and encouraging such a spirituality (cf. Pastores Gregis, 22). The Second Vatican Council, while insisting that the building up of Christ’s body takes place in a rich diversity of members, functions and gifts, also noted that "among these gifts, the primacy belongs to the grace of the apostles" (Lumen Gentium, 7), whose successors are called to discern and coordinate the charisms and ministries given for the building up of the Church in that work of sanctifying humanity and giving glory to God which is the goal of all her life and activity (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10).  (John Paul 2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

This spirituality of communion, which Bishops are called personally to exemplify, will naturally lead to "a pastoral style which is ever more open to collaboration with all" (Pastores Gregis, 44). It demands of you, in the first place, an ever closer relationship with your priests, who through sacramental ordination are sharers with you in the one priesthood of Christ and in the one apostolic mission entrusted to his Church (cf. Christus Dominus, 11). Through Holy Orders, Bishops and priests alike have been entrusted with a ministerial priesthood which differs from the common priesthood of all the baptized "in essence and not only in degree" (Lumen Gentium, 10). At the same time, within the communion of the Body of Christ you and your priests are called to cooperate in enabling the whole People of God to carry out the royal priesthood conferred by Baptism.  (John Paul 2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

Precisely because the members of his presbyterate are his closest cooperators in the ordained ministry, each Bishop should constantly strive to relate to them "as a father and brother who loves them, listens to them, welcomes them, corrects them, supports them, seeks their cooperation and, as much as possible, is concerned for their human, spiritual, ministerial and financial well-being" (Pastores Gregis, 47). Just as the Apostle Paul recommended Timothy to the Christian community at Thessalonica, so Bishops should be able to present each of their priests to individual parish communities, saying: "He is our brother and God’s fellow worker in preaching the Gospel of Christ, and so we sent him to strengthen and encourage you in regard to your faith" (1 Thes 3:2). As a spiritual father and brother to his priests, the Bishop should do everything in his power to encourage them in fidelity to their vocation and to the demands of leading a life worthy of the calling they have received (cf. Eph 4:1).  (John Paul 2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

Strengthening a spirituality of communion and mission will demand a constant effort to renew the bonds of fraternal unity within the presbyterate. This calls for a conscious reappropriation of and daily recommitment to the things we share as the very basis of our identity as priests: the pursuit of holiness, the practice of heartfelt intercessory prayer, a ministerial spirituality nourished by the word of God and celebration of the sacraments, the daily exercise of pastoral charity, and the life of celibate chastity as the expression of a radical commitment to follow Christ. As the spiritual values which unite priests, these should be the basis for the renewal of the priestly ministry and the promotion of unity in the apostolate, so that, under the guidance of its priests the community of disciples may truly be "of one heart and one mind" (Acts 4:32). (John Paul 2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

A spirituality of communion will naturally bear fruit in the development of a diocesan spirituality grounded in the particular gifts and charisms bestowed by the Holy Spirit for the upbuilding of each local Church. Every priest should find "precisely in his belonging to and dedication to the particular Church a wealth of meaning, criteria for discernment and action which shape both his pastoral mission and his spiritual life" (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 31). At the same time, an authentic "diocesan spirit" will also inspire and motivate the whole Christian community to a greater sense of responsibility for the fruitful carrying out of the Church’s mission through its rich network of communities, institutions and apostolates (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 10). (John Paul 2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

Proper formation in chastity and celibacy remains an essential component of seminary training, together with the presentation of a solid and correct theological understanding of the Church and the priesthood, including a clear and precise identification of those positions which are not compatible with the Church’s authoritative self-understanding as expressed by the Council and the documents of the post-conciliar renewal. This is a personal responsibility that falls to you as Pastors concerned for the future of your local Churches, and one that cannot be delegated. Since priestly formation does not end with ordination, your ministry of sanctification must also include care for the ongoing spiritual life of your priests and the effectiveness of their ministry. This calls for a continuing personal formation aimed at deepening and harmonizing the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral aspects of their priestly life (cf. Directory on the Life and Ministry of Priests, 70). In this way they will grow ever more fully into "men of the Church", imbued with a truly catholic spirit and authentic missionary zeal. (JP2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

It is in major and minor seminaries that the seeds of a spirituality of communion and mission, and of a healthy priesthood are sown. I encourage you to make frequent visits to the seminary, in order to know personally those who may one day be priests in your local Churches. Such direct contacts will also help to "ensure that the seminaries form mature and balanced personalities, men capable of establishing sound human and pastoral relationships, knowledgeable in theology, solid in the spiritual life, and in love with the Church" (Pastores Gregis, 48). The challenges of ecclesial life increasingly call for the priest to be, in every sense, a "man of communion" (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 43), committed to an effective cooperation with others in the service of the ecclesial community. (JP2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

I am personally convinced that prayer is the primary force that inspires and forms priestly vocations. As I wrote in my Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, "Vocations need a vast network of people who pray fervently to ‘the Lord of the harvest’. The more the problem of vocations is confronted in the context of prayer, the more prayer will help those whom God has called to hear his voice" (No. 48). (JP2 to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Detroit and Cincinnati on their ad limina visit, May 6, 2004)

"From high on the Cross on Good Friday Jesus bequeathed us pardon as His testament: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do'. Tormented and derided, he invoked mercy on his killers. His open arms and his pierced heart thus became the universal sacrament of the paternal tenderness of God Who offers everyone pardon and reconciliation. The day of His Resurrection, the Lord, appearing to His disciples, greeted them: 'Peace unto you', and He showed them His hands and His side which bore the signs of His passion." (JP2, APR 18, 2004)

"Jesus is our peace because He is the perfect sign of Divine Mercy. He infuses in the human heart, which is an abyss always exposed to the temptation of evil, the merciful love of God." (JP2, APR 18, 2004)

"Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. The Lord invites us to bring His peace to everyone, based on His pardon and the remission of sins. This is an extraordinary gift, that He wished to link to the Sacrament of penance and reconciliation. How much mankind needs to feel the efficacy of God's mercy in these times marked by growing uncertainty and violent conflicts!" (JP2, APR 18, 2004)

The Eucharist, therefore, is a memorial in the full sense: the bread and wine, by the action of the Holy Spirit, really become the body and blood of Christ, who gives himself to be man's nourishment in his journey on earth. The same logic of love precedes the Incarnation of the Word in the womb of Mary and his making himself present in the Eucharist. It is "agape," charity, love in the most beautiful and pure sense. Jesus repeatedly requested his disciples to remain in his love (see John 15:9). (JP2 Holy Thursday homily, 2004)

To remain faithful to this request, to remain in him as shoots united to the vine, to love as he loved, it is necessary to nourish oneself with his Body and Blood. Saying to the apostles: "Do this in memory of me," the Lord has united the Church to the living memorial of his Pasch. Although he is the unique Priest of the New Covenant, he wished to have men, consecrated by the Holy Spirit, act in profound union with his Person in distributing the food of life. (JP2 Holy Thursday homily, 2004)

Because of this, while we fix our gaze on Christ who institutes the Eucharist, we have a renewed awareness of the importance of the priests in the Church and of their union with the Eucharistic sacrament. In the Letter that I wrote to priests for this holy day, I wished to repeat that the Sacrament of the altar is gift and mystery, and that the priesthood is gift and mystery, both having flowed from the Heart of Christ during the Last Supper. (JP2 Holy Thursday homily, 2004)

Only a Church in love with the Eucharist generates, in turn, holy and numerous priestly vocations. And she does so through prayer and the testimony of holiness, offered in a special way to the new generations. (JP2 Holy Thursday homily, 2004)

 In the school of Mary, "Eucharistic woman," we adore Jesus truly present in the humble signs of bread and wine. Let us pray to him so that he will not cease to call to the service of the altar priests configured to his heart. (JP2 Holy Thursday homily, 2004)

It is in embracing the universal call to holiness (cf. 1 Th 4:3) that the particular vocation to which God summons every individual is found. In this regard I am sure that your initiatives to promote a culture of vocation and to treasure the various states of ecclesial life, which exist so that "the world may believe" (Jn 17:21), will bear fruit. As for the young men who generously respond to God’s call to the priesthood, I again affirm that they must receive your every assistance as they strive for a life of simplicity, chastity and humble service, in imitation of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, of whom they are to become living icons (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis, 33). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

Dear Brothers, I am pleased to acknowledge your steadfast efforts to uphold the uniqueness of marriage as a life-long covenant based on generous mutual giving and unconditional love. The Church’s teaching on marriage and stable family life offers saving truth to individuals and a sure foundation upon which the aspirations of your nation can be anchored. Incisive and faithful explanation of Christian doctrine regarding marriage and the family is of utmost importance in order to counter the secular, pragmatic and individualistic outlook which has gained ground in the area of legislation and even a certain acceptance in the realm of public opinion (cf. Ecclesia in Oceania, 45). Of particular concern is the growing trend to equate marriage with other forms of cohabitation. This obfuscates the very nature of marriage and violates its sacred purpose in God’s plan for humanity (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 3). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

Raising families according to the splendour of Christ’s truth is a sharing in God’s work of creation. It lies at the heart of the call to promote a civilization of love. The deep-seated love of mothers and fathers for their children is also the Church’s, as is the pain experienced by parents when their children fall victim to forces and trends which draw them away from the path of truth, leaving them disorientated and confused. Bishops must continue to support parents who, despite the often bewildering social difficulties of today’s world, are in a position to exercise great influence and offer broader horizons of hope (cf. Pastores Gregis, 51). It is the Bishop’s particular task to ensure that within civil society – including the media and entertainment industry sectors – the values of marriage and family life are supported and defended (cf. ibid., 52). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004) 

To you as Bishops I suggest that as moderators of the liturgy you give pastoral priority to catechetical programmes which instruct the faithful about the true meaning of Sunday and inspire them to observe it fully. To this end I refer you to my Apostolic Letter Dies Domini. It outlines the pilgrim and eschatological character of the People of God, which can so easily be overshadowed today by shallow sociological understandings of community. As a remembrance of a past event and the celebration of the living presence of the Risen Lord amidst his people, Sunday also looks to the future glory of his return and the fullness of Christian hope and joy. ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

Intimately linked to the liturgy is the Church’s mission to evangelize. While the liturgical renewal, ardently desired by the Second Vatican Council, has rightly resulted in a more active and conscious participation of the faithful in the tasks proper to them, such involvement must not become an end in itself. The "purpose of being with Jesus is to go forth from Jesus, in his power and with his grace" (Ecclesia in Oceania, 3). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

It is precisely this dynamic that the Prayer after Communion and the Concluding Rite of the Mass articulate (cf. Dies Domini, 45). Sent by the Lord himself into the vineyard – the home, the workplace, schools, civic organizations – disciples of Christ find no room for "standing idle in the marketplace" (Mt 20:3) nor can they be so deeply immersed in the internal organization of parish life, that they are distracted from the command to evangelize others actively (cf. Christifideles Laici, 2). Renewed by the strength of the Risen Lord and his Spirit, Christ’s followers must return to their "vineyard" burning with a desire to "speak" of Christ and to "show" him to the world (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 16). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

The communio that exists between a Bishop and his priests demands that the well-being of the presbyterate be close to every Bishop’s heart. The 1998 Statement of Conclusions (Interdicasterial Meeting with a representation of the Australian Bishops) noted, with good reason, the great dedication of the priests serving the Church in Australia (cf. No. 19). In expressing my own appreciation of their tireless and unassuming service, I encourage you always to listen to your priests, as a father would listen to a son. In a secular context such as yours it is of particular importance that you help your priests to appreciate that their spiritual identity must consciously shape all their pastoral activity. The priest is never a manager or mere defender of a particular point of view. In imitation of the Good Shepherd, he is a disciple seeking to transcend his own personal limitations and rejoice in a life of intimacy with Christ. A relationship of deep communion and friendship with Jesus, in which the priest habitually talks "heart to heart with the Lord" (Instruction The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community, 27), will nurture his quest for holiness, enriching not only himself but the entire community he serves. ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)

 "[Penance] is also a gift for us priests who, called to exercise the sacramental ministry, also ask to have our sins pardoned. The joy of pardoning and being pardoned go hand in hand." (JP2 talking about Penance, VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2004)

"All confessors, have the great responsibility to exercise this ministry with benevolence, wisdom and courage. Their duty is to make lovable and desirable this encounter which purifies and renews us on the path to Christian perfection and on our pilgrimage to our home." (JP2 talking about Penance, VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2004)

In the face of such challenges, when the winds are against us (cf. Mk 6:48), the Lord himself calls out: "Courage! It is I! Have no fear" (Mk 6:50). Remaining firm in trust, you too can dispel apprehension and fear. Especially within a culture of the "here and now", Bishops must stand out as fearless prophets, witnesses and servants of the hope of Christ (cf. Pastores Gregis, 3). In proclaiming this hope, which springs from the Cross, I am confident that you will lead men and women from the shadows of moral confusion and ambiguous thinking into the radiance of Christ’s truth and love. Indeed, it is only by understanding humanity’s final destination – eternal life in heaven – that the multitude of daily joys and sorrows can be explained, enabling people to embrace the mystery of their own life with confidence (cf. Fides et Ratio, 81). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

The Church’s witness to the hope that she holds (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) is especially powerful when she gathers together for worship. Sunday Mass, because of its special solemnity, the obligatory presence of the faithful, and its celebration on the day when Christ conquered death, expresses with great emphasis the Eucharist’s inherent ecclesial dimension: the mystery of the Church is made present in a most tangible way (cf. Dies Domini, 34). Consequently Sunday is the "supreme day of faith", "an indispensable day", "the day of Christian hope!" ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004)  

Any weakening in the Sunday observance of Holy Mass weakens Christian discipleship and dims the light of witness to Christ’s presence in our world. When Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes subordinate to a secular concept of "weekend" dominated by such things as entertainment and sport, people stay locked within a horizon so narrow that they can no longer see the heavens (cf. Dies Domini, 4). Rather than being truly satisfied or revitalized, they remain entrapped in a senseless pursuit of the novel and deprived of the perennial freshness of Christ’s "living water" (Jn 4:11). Though the secularization of the Lord’s day understandably causes you much worry you can, however, draw comfort from the faithfulness of the Lord himself who continues to beckon his people with a love which challenges and calls (cf. Ecclesia in Oceania, 3). In urging the dear faithful of Australia – and in a special way the young people – to remain faithful to the celebration of Sunday Mass, I make my own the words found in the Letter to the Hebrews: "hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, ... not neglecting to meet together ... but encouraging one another" (Heb 10:23-25). ("JP2 address to the Bishops of Australia", VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2004) 

"the fruit of this sacrament [Penance] is not only the remission of sins, necessary for who has sinned. It also performs an authentic "spiritual resurrection', restores the dignity and the good of the life of the children of God, the most precious of which is friendship with God. It would be illusory to desire to reach holiness, according to the vocation that each one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and sanctification," that, together with the Eucharist, "accompanies the path of the Christian towards perfection." (JP2 talking about Penance, VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2004)

"Penance, by its nature, involves purification, in both the acts of the penitent who lays bare his conscience because of the deep need to be pardoned and reborn, and in the effusion of sacramental grace that purifies and renews."  (JP2 talking about Penance, VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2004)

"Penance is a sacrament of enlightenment. . Those who go to confession frequently and do so with the desire to make progress, know they have received in this sacrament, through pardon from God and grace from the Spirit, a precious light for the path of perfection." (JP2 talking about Penance, VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2004)

"Finally, the Sacrament of Penance achieves a 'unifying encounter with Christ'. Progressively, from confession to confession, the faithful feel an ever deeper communion with the merciful Lord - up to fully identifying with Him - that one has in that perfect 'life of Christ' in which true holiness consists." (JP2 talking about Penance, VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2004)

The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in the wake of the epochal events of September 11, 2001, rightly noted that the Bishop is called to be a prophet, witness and servant of hope to the world (cf. Pastores Gregis, 3), not only because he proclaims to all the basis of our Christian hope (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) but also because he makes that hope present through his pastoral ministry, centered as it is on the three munera of sanctifying, teaching and governing. The exercise of this prophetic witness in contemporary American society has, as many of you have pointed out, been made increasingly difficult by the aftermath of the recent scandal and the outspoken hostility to the Gospel in certain sectors of public opinion, yet it cannot be evaded or delegated to others. Precisely because American society is confronted by a disturbing loss of the sense of the transcendent and the affirmation of a culture of the material and the ephemeral, it desperately needs such a witness of hope. It is in hope that we have been saved (cf. Rom 8:24); the Gospel of hope enables us to discern the consoling presence of God’s Kingdom in the midst of this world and offers confidence, serenity and direction in place of that hopelessness which inevitably spawns fear, hostility and violence in the hearts of individuals and in society as a whole. ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

Ecclesia sancta simul et semper purificanda. The Council’s urgent summons to pray, work and hope that the image of Christ may shine ever more brightly on the face of the Church (cf. Lumen Gentium, 15) calls for a constant reaffirmation of faith’s assent to God’s revealed word and a return to the sole source of all authentic ecclesial renewal: the Scriptures and the Apostolic Tradition as authoritatively interpreted by the Church’s Magisterium. Indeed, the Council’s vision, which found expression in the great Constitutions Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, remains "a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 57). ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

Dear Brothers, at the start of these meetings of the Successor of Peter with the Bishops of the United States, I wish to reaffirm my confidence in the Church in America, my appreciation of the deep faith of America’s Catholics and my gratitude for their many contributions to American society and to the life of the Church throughout the world. Viewed with the eyes of faith, the present moment of difficulty is also a moment of hope, that hope which "does not disappoint" (Rom 5:5), because it is rooted in the Holy Spirit, who constantly raises up new energies, callings and missions within the Body of Christ. ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

The renewal of the Church is thus closely linked to the renewal of the episcopal office. Since the Bishop is called in a unique way to be an alter Christus, a vicar of Christ in and for his local Church, he must be the first to conform his life to Christ in holiness and constant conversion. Only by himself putting on the mind of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5) and acquiring "a fresh, spiritual way of thinking" (Eph 4:23), will he be able to carry out effectively his role as a successor of the Apostles, the guide of the faith community, and the coordinator of those charisms and missions which the Holy Spirit constantly pours out upon the Church. ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

The recent Synod of Bishops and the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis have spoken insistently of the need to appropriate an ecclesiology of communion and mission, which must be "our fundamental point of reference" for understanding and exercising the episcopal ministry (Pastores Gregis, 2). In doing so, they have taken up the core vision of the Second Vatican Council, which called for a renewed appreciation of the mystery of the Church, grounded in the trinitarian life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (cf. Ad Gentes, 2; Lumen Gentium, 2-4), as the basis of a reaffirmation of her inner unity and her missionary outreach to the world. ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

This appeal of the Council is as valid today as ever. A return to the heart of the Church, a recovery of faith’s vision of the nature and purpose of the Church in God’s plan, and a clearer understanding of her relation to the world must be an essential part of that constant conversion to God’s revealed word which is demanded of every member of the Body of Christ, reborn in Baptism and called to work for the spread of God’s Kingdom on earth (cf. Lumen Gentium, 36). ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

The ordained ministry, which may never be reduced to its merely functional aspect since it belongs on the level of “being”, enables the priest to act in persona Christi and culminates in the moment when he consecrates the bread and wine, repeating the actions and words of Jesus during the Last Supper. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Before this extraordinary reality we find ourselves amazed and overwhelmed, so deep is the humility by which God “stoops” in order to unite himself with man! If we feel moved before the Christmas crib, when we contemplate the Incarnation of the Word, what must we feel before the altar where, by the poor hands of the priest, Christ makes his Sacrifice present in time? We can only fall to our knees and silently adore this supreme mystery of faith. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Our meetings are taking place at a difficult time in the history of the Church in the United States. Many of you have already spoken to me of the pain caused by the sexual abuse scandal of the past two years and the urgent need for rebuilding confidence and promoting healing between Bishops, priests and the laity in your country. I am confident that the willingness which you have shown in acknowledging and addressing past mistakes and failures, while at the same time seeking to learn from them, will contribute greatly to this work of reconciliation and renewal. This time of purification will, by God’s grace, lead to "a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate and a holier Church" (Address to American Cardinals and Bishops, 23 April 2002, 4), a Church ever more convinced of the truth of the Christian message, the redemptive power of the Cross of Christ, and the need for unity, fidelity and conviction in bearing witness to the Gospel before the world. ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

The history of the Church demonstrates that there can be no effective reform without interior renewal. This is true not only of individuals, but also of every group and institution in the Church. In the life of every Bishop the challenge of interior renewal must involve an integral understanding of his service as pastor gregis, entrusted by Christ’s will with a specific ministry of pastoral governance in the Church and the responsibility and apostolic power which accompany that ministry. To be an effective pastor gregis, however, the Bishop must also strive constantly to be forma gregis (cf. 1 Pet 5:3); his apostolic authority must be seen first and foremost as a religious witness to the Risen Lord, to the truth of the Gospel and to the mystery of salvation present and at work in the Church. The Tenth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops recalled that "the Bishop’s life is to be completely submitted to the word of God in his daily commitment of preaching the Gospel in all patience and sound doctrine" (Pastores Gregis, 28; cf. 2 Tim 4:2). ("Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit", by JP2, April 2, 2004)

As he pronounced the words “Do this...” Jesus' thoughts extended to the successors of the Apostles, to those who would continue their mission by distributing the food of life to the very ends of the earth. In some way, then, dear brother priests, in the Upper Room we too were called personally, each one of us, “with brotherly love” (Preface of the Chrism Mass), to receive from the Lord's sacred hands the Eucharistic Bread and to break it as food for the People of God on their pilgrim way through time towards our heavenly homeland. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

We were born from the Eucharist. If we can truly say that the whole Church lives from the Eucharist (“Ecclesia de Eucharistia vivit”), as I reaffirmed in my recent Encyclical, we can say the same thing about the ministerial priesthood: it is born, lives, works and bears fruit “de Eucharistia”(cf. Council of Trent, Sess. XXII, canon 2: DS 1752). “There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood, just as there can be no priesthood without the Eucharist” (cf. Gift and Mystery. On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination, New York, 1996, pp.77-78). (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Quite rightly, then, the Christian people gives thanks to God for the gift of the Eucharist and the priesthood, while praying unceasingly that priests will never be lacking in the Church. The number of priests is never sufficient to meet the constantly increasing demands of evangelization and the pastoral care of the faithful. In some places of the world the shortage of priests is all the more urgently felt since today the number of priests is dwindling without sufficient replacements from the younger generation. In other places, thank God, we see a promising spring-time of vocations. There is also a growing awareness among the People of God of the need to pray and work actively to promote vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Mysterium fidei”, the priest proclaims after the consecration. The Eucharist is a mystery of faith, yet the priesthood itself, by reflection, is also a mystery of faith (cf. ibid., p.78). The same mystery of sanctification and love, the work of the Holy Spirit, which makes the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, is at work in the person of the minister at the moment of priestly ordination. There is a particular interplay between the Eucharist and the priesthood, an interplay which goes back to the Upper Room: these two Sacraments were born together and their destiny is indissolubly linked until the end of the world. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Here we touch on what I have called the “apostolicity of the Eucharist” (cf. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 26-33). The sacrament of the Eucharist—like the sacrament of Reconciliation—was entrusted by Christ to the Apostles and has been passed down by them and their successors in every generation. At the beginning of his public life, the Messiah called the Twelve, appointed them “to be with him” and sent them out on mission (cf. Mk 3:14-15). At the Last Supper, this “being with” Jesus on the part of the Apostles reached its culmination. By celebrating the Passover meal and instituting the Eucharist, the divine Master brought their vocation to its fulfilment. By saying “Do this in memory of me”, he put a Eucharistic seal on their mission and, by uniting them to himself in sacramental communion, he charged them to perpetuate that most holy act in his memory. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Vocations are indeed a gift from God for which we must pray unceasingly. Following the invitation of Jesus, we need to pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest (cf. Mt 9:37). Prayer, enriched by the silent offering of suffering, remains the first and most effective means of pastoral work for vocations. To pray means to keep our gaze fixed on Christ, confident that from him, the one High Priest, and from his divine oblation, there will be an abundant growth, by the work of the Holy Spirit, of the seeds of those vocations needed in every age for the Church's life and mission. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

The Eucharist, like the priesthood, is a gift from God “which radically transcends the power of the assembly” and which the assembly “receives through episcopal succession going back to the Apostles” (Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 29). The Second Vatican Council teaches that “the ministerial priest, by the sacred power that he enjoys ... effects the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the person of Christ and offers it to God in the name of all the people” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 10). The assembly of the faithful, united in faith and in the Spirit and enriched by a variety of gifts, even though it is the place where Christ “is present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations (Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7), is not by itself able to celebrate the Eucharist or to provide the ordained minister. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Dear brother priests, your particular mission in the Church requires that you be “friends” of Christ, constantly contemplating his face with docility at the school of Mary Most Holy. Pray unceasingly, as the Apostle exhorts (cf. 1Th 5:17), and encourage the faithful to pray for vocations, for the perseverance of those called to the priestly life and for the sanctification of all priests. Help your communities to love ever more fully that unique “gift and mystery” which is the ministerial priesthood. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

Finally, never forget that you yourselves are the first “Apostles” of Jesus the High Priest. Your own witness counts more than anything else. Altar servers see you at the regular Sunday and weekday celebrations; in your hands they see the Eucharist “take place”, on your face they see its mystery reflected, and in your heart they sense the summons of a greater love. May you be for them fathers, teachers and witnesses of Eucharistic piety and holiness of life! (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

In the light of this, dear brother priests, I would ask you, among other initiatives, to show special care for altar servers, who represent a kind of “garden” of priestly vocations. The group of altar servers, under your guidance as part of the parish community, can be given a valuable experience of Christian education and become a kind of pre-seminary. Help the parish, as a family made up of families, to look upon the altar servers as their own children, like “olive shoots around the table” of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life (cf. Ps. 127:3). (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

With the help of the families most involved and catechists, be particularly concerned for the group of servers so that, through their service at the altar, each of them will learn to grow in love for the Lord Jesus, to recognize him truly present in the Eucharist and to experience the beauty of the liturgy. Initiatives for altar servers on the diocesan or local level should be promoted and encouraged, with attention to the different age groups. During my years of episcopal ministry in Krakow I was able to see the great benefits which can accrue from a concern for their human, spiritual and liturgical training. When children and young people serve at the altar with joy and enthusiasm, they offer their peers an eloquent witness to the importance and beauty of the Eucharist. Thanks to their own lively imagination and the explanations and example given by priests and their older friends, even very young children can grow in faith and develop a love for spiritual realities. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

From the Upper Room Christ tirelessly seeks and calls. Here we find the origin and the perennial source of an authentic pastoral promotion of priestly vocations. Let us consider ourselves, my brothers, the first ones responsible in this area, ready to help all those whom Christ wishes to associate to his priesthood to respond generously to his call. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

First, however, and more than any other effort on behalf of vocations, our personal fidelity is indispensable. What counts is our personal commitment to Christ, our love for the Eucharist, our fervour in celebrating it, our devotion in adoring it and our zeal in offering it to our brothers and sisters, especially to the sick. Jesus the High Priest continues personally to call new workers for his vineyard, but he wishes from the first to count on our active cooperation. Priests in love with the Eucharist are capable of communicating to children and young people that “Eucharistic amazement” which I have sought to rekindle with my Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (cf. No. 6). Generally these are the priests who lead them to the path of the priesthood, as the history of our own vocations might easily show. (JP2 Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2004)

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease. (John Paul II, Dominicae cenae, 3)

"Jesus dies on the cross for each one of us. The cross, therefore, is the greatest and most eloquent sign of His merciful love, the unique sign of salvation for each generation and for all of humanity." (JP2 Palm Sunday Homily, 2004)

"Certainly the message that the Cross communicates is not easy to understand in our age in which material well-being and comforts are proposed and sought after as important values. But for you, dear young people, do not be afraid to proclaim the Gospel of the Cross in every circumstance! Do not be afraid to go against the current!" (JP2 Palm Sunday Homily, 2004)

"chastity in celibacy has an inestimable value. It constitutes an important key for the spiritual life of priests, for their commitment in the mission, and for their appropriate pastoral relation with the faithful, which should not be based on emotional aspects, but on the responsibility of his ministry." (Pope John Paul II, JAN. 26, 2004)

"Christianity is not simply a doctrine: it is an encounter in faith with God made present in our history through the incarnation of Jesus." ("Message for the 19th World Youth Day", April 4, 2004, by Pope John Paul II)

“Every human being, even the infant in the mother’s womb, has the right to life immediately from God, not from the parent or any human society or authority. Therefore there is no man, no human authority, no science, no medical, eugenic , social, economic or moral “indication” that can show or give valid juridical title for direct deliberate disposition concerning an innocent human life - which is to say, a disposition that aims at its destruction either as an end in itself or as the means of attaining another end that is perhaps in no way illicit in itself. Thus, for example, to save the life of the mother is a most noble end, but the direct killing of the child as a means to this end is not licit...” (Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Italian Midwives, 10/29/51)

"This truth of faith which is deeply linked to the feast of Christmas is particularly clear in the liturgy of the first day of the year, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Mary is the mother of the Redeemer; she is the woman chosen by God to carry out the project of salvation centered on the mystery of the Incarnation of the divine Word." ("Wednesday Audience" by John Paul II, JAN 7, 2004)

"Mary's entire life is closely tied to Jesus' life. At Christmas it is she who offers Jesus to mankind. On the cross, at the supreme moment of carrying out the mission of redemption, it will be Jesus to make a gift for every human being of His mother, such a precious heritage of redemption. The words of the Lord on the cross to the faithful disciple John are His testament. He entrust His mother to John and at the same time He entrusts the apostle and all believers to the love of Mary." ("Wednesday Audience" by John Paul II, JAN 7, 2004)

"At the end of Christmas season, let us stop to contemplate in the manger the silent presence of Our Lady beside the Child Jesus. The same love, the same care that she had for Her divine Son, she reserves for us. Therefore, let us allow her to guide our steps in the new year." ("Wednesday Audience" by John Paul II, JAN 7, 2004)

For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time... of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non- vernacular. (Pope Pius XI, Officiorum Omnium, 1922)

“At the center of all prayer initiatives is the Eucharist. The sacrament of the Altar has a decisive value for the birth of vocations and for their perseverance, because those who are called can draw the strength to dedicate themselves completely to the proclaiming the Gospel from the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. It is good that the celebration of the Eucharist is united to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.” (Pope John Paul II, "41st World Day of Prayer for Vocations", November 23, 2003)

“the special value of prayer united to sacrifice and suffering. … So many sick people in every part of the world unite their sorrows to the cross of Jesus in order to implore holy vocations! They also accompany me spiritually in the petrine ministry that God entrusted to me and they make an inestimable contribution to the cause of the Gospel, although it is often never seen.”  (Pope John Paul II, "41st World Day of Prayer for Vocations", November 23, 2003)

The use of the Latin language prevailing in a great part of the Church affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruption of true doctrine. (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 1947)

The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic and non-vernacular. (Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, 1962)

"Let us go forward in hope! A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work." (Paragraph 58 of Novo Millennio Ineunte by Pope John Paul II)

"There is no better use of your time than spent in fervent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." (Pope Paul VI)

"The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic worship. Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love. May our adoration never cease." (Pope John Paul II)

"Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development…. Be not afraid!"  (On October 22, 1978, Pope John Paul II stepped out on to the balcony in St. Peters Square and signaled his mission to cheering throngs of the faithful gathered in St. Peter's square.)

The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety... we must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers which were your glory for centuries. (Pope Paul VI, Sacrificium Laudis, 1966)

"The best, the surest and most effective way of establishing everlasting peace on the face of the earth is through the power of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." (Pope John Paul II)

In a technological world threatened by an eclipse of the sacred, in a society that takes pleasure in a certain self-sufficiency, the witness of the man of prayer is like a ray of light in the darkness. ("Meditation on Psalm 116(117)" by Pope John Paul II, February 5, 2003)


Hence, between heaven and earth a sort of channel of communication is established in which the action of the Lord and the song of praise of the faithful meet. The liturgy unites the two sanctuaries, the earthly temple and the infinite heavens, God and man, time and eternity. ("Meditation on Psalm 150" by Pope John Paul II, February 26, 2003)

During the prayer we begin a kind of ascent toward the divine light and at the same time we experience a descent of God who adapts himself to our limitation to hear us and speak to us, to meet us and save us. The Psalmist immediately offers us aids for this prayerful meeting: recourse to musical instruments of the orchestra of the temple of Jerusalem, such as the trumpet, harp, lute, strings, pipe and cymbals. Moving in procession was also part of the Jerusalem rite (see Psalm 117[118]:27). The very same appeal echoes in Psalm 46:8: "play masterfully." ("Meditation on Psalm 150" by Pope John Paul II, February 26, 2003)


Hence, it is necessary, to constantly discover and live the beauty of prayer and of the liturgy. One must pray to God not only with theologically precise formulas, but also in a beautiful and dignified way. ("Meditation on Psalm 150" by Pope John Paul II, February 26, 2003)

In this connection, the Christian community must make an examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and song will return increasingly to the liturgy. It is necessary to purify worship of deformations, of careless forms of expression, of ill-prepared music and texts, which are not very suited to the grandeur of the act being celebrated. ("Meditation on Psalm 150" by Pope John Paul II, February 26, 2003)


The highest music, therefore, is the one that arises from our hearts. It is precisely this harmony that God wants to hear in our liturgies. ("Meditation on Psalm 150" by Pope John Paul II, February, 26, 2003)


When singing the "Gloria" in the Easter Vigil, the splendor of our destiny will be revealed: to constitute a new humanity, redeemed by Christ, who died and rose for us. ("Paschal Triduum Is "Fulfillment of Human History"" by Pope John Paul II, March 27, 2002)

When on the day of Easter in the Churches in every corner of the earth is sung "Dux vitae mortuus regnat vivus," "the Lord of life was dead; but now, alive, he triumphs" (Sequence), we will be able to understand and love the cross of Christ to the end: On it Christ has vanquished sin and death forever! ("Paschal Triduum Is "Fulfillment of Human History"" by Pope John Paul II, March 27, 2002)


In the Paschal Triduum we will fix our gaze more intensely on the face of Christ, a suffering and agonizing face, which enables us to understand better the dramatic nature of the events and situations that also in these days afflict humanity. A face resplendent with light, which gives renewed hope to our existence. ("Paschal Triduum Is "Fulfillment of Human History"" by Pope John Paul II, March 27, 2002)


In the apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte," I wrote: "Two thousand years after these events, the Church relives them as if they had happened today. Gazing on the face of Christ, the Bride contemplates her treasure and her joy. ´Dulcis Iesus memoria, dans vera cordis gaudia´: how sweet is the memory of Jesus, the source of the heart´s true joy!" (No. 28). ("Paschal Triduum Is "Fulfillment of Human History"" by Pope John Paul II, March 27, 2002)

And here We think it opportune, Venerable Brothers, to expose more fully and to explain more carefully why the love of Christ moves generous souls to abstain from marriage, and what is the mystical connection between virginity and the perfection of Christian charity. From our Lord's words referred to above, it has already been implied that this complete renunciation of marriage frees men from its grave duties and obligations. Writing by divine inspiration, the Apostle of the Gentiles proposes the reason for this freedom in these words: "And I would have you to be without solicitude… But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided." Here however it must be noted that the Apostle is not reproving men because they are concerned about their wives, nor does he reprehend wives because they seek to please their husbands; rather is he asserting clearly that their hearts are divided between love of God and love of their spouse, and beset by gnawing cares, and so by reason of the duties of their married state they can hardly be free to contemplate the divine. For the duty of the married life to which they are bound clearly demands: "They shall be two in one flesh." For spouses are to be bound to each other by mutual bonds both in joy and in sorrow. It is easy to see, therefore, why persons who desire to consecrate themselves to God's service embrace the state of virginity as a liberation, in order to be more entirely at God's disposition and devoted to the good of their neighbor. How, for example, could a missionary such as the wonderful St. Francis Xavier, a father of the poor such as the merciful St. Vincent de Paul, a zealous educator of youth like St. John Bosco, a tireless "mother of emigrants" like St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, have accomplished such gigantic and painful labors, if each had to look after the corporal and spiritual needs of a wife or husband and children?  ("SACRA VIRGINITAS", by Pope Pius 12)

Finally, virginity consecrated to Christ is in itself such an evidence of faith in the kingdom of heaven, such a proof of love for our Divine Redeemer, that there is little wonder if it bears abundant fruits of sanctity. Innumerable are the virgins and apostles vowed to perfect chastity who are the honor of the Church by the lofty sanctity of their lives. In truth, virginity gives souls a force of spirit capable of leading them even to martyrdom, if needs be: such is the clear lesson of history which proposes a whole host of virgins to our admiration, from Agnes of Rome to Maria Goretti. ("SACRA VIRGINITAS", by Pope Pius 12)

"The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease."  ("Dominicae Cenae", by Pope John Paul II)

The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's history.  (Spoken by Pope John Paul II)

As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.  (Spoken by Pope John Paul II)

The twentieth century often tried to do without that cornerstone, and attempted to build the city of man without reference to Him. It ended by actually building that city against man! Christians know that it is not possible to reject or ignore God without demeaning man.  ("World youth day, 2002 prayer vigil" by Pope John Paul II)

Salt is used to preserve and keep. As apostles for the Third Millennium, your task is to preserve and keep alive the awareness of the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, the memorial of his saving death and glorious resurrection. You must keep alive the memory of the words of life which he spoke, the marvellous works of mercy and goodness which he performed. You must constantly remind the world of the "power of the Gospel to save" (Rom 1:16)!  ("World youth day, 2002 homily" by Pope John Paul II)

With the profound intuition that characterized him, John XXIII identified the essential conditions for peace in four precise requirements of the human spirit: truth, justice, love and freedom (cf. ibid., I: l.c., 265-266). Truth will build peace if every individual sincerely acknowledges not only his rights, but also his own duties towards others. Justice will build peace if in practice everyone respects the rights of others and actually fulfils his duties towards them. Love will build peace if people feel the needs of others as their own and share what they have with others, especially the values of mind and spirit which they possess. Freedom will build peace and make it thrive if, in the choice of the means to that end, people act according to reason and assume responsibility for their own actions.  ("Message for the world day of peace, 2003" by Pope John Paul II)

Discover your Christian roots, learn about the Church’s history, deepen your knowledge of the spiritual heritage which has been passed on to you, follow in the footsteps of the witnesses and teachers who have gone before you! Only by staying faithful to God’s commandments, to the Covenant which Christ sealed with his blood poured out on the Cross, will you be the apostles and witnesses of the new millennium. ("Message of preparation for the XVII World Youth Day" by Pope John Paul II)

Perhaps you will not have to shed your blood, but you will certainly be asked to be faithful to Christ! A faithfulness to be lived in the circumstances of everyday life: I am thinking of how difficult it is in today's world for engaged couples to be faithful to purity before marriage. I think of how the mutual fidelity of young married couples is put to the test. I think of friendships and how easily the temptation to be disloyal creeps in. ("world youth day, 2000 prayer vigil" by Pope John Paul II)

You can all sense in yourselves the process of questions and answers that we have just been talking about. You can all measure the difficulties you have in believing, and even feel the temptation not to believe. But at the same time you can also experience a slowly maturing sense and conviction of your commitment in faith. In fact, there is always a meeting between God and the human person in this wonderful school of the human spirit, the school of faith. The Risen Christ always enters the Upper Roam of our life and allows each of us to experience his presence and to declare: You, O Christ, you are "my Lord and my God".  ("World youth day, 2000 prayer vigil" by Pope John Paul II)

Dear friends, to believe in Jesus today, to follow Jesus as Peter, Thomas, and the first Apostles and witnesses did, demands of us, just as it did in the post, that we take a stand for him, almost to the point at times of a new martyrdom: the martyrdom of those who, today as yesterday, are called to go against the tide in order to follow t he divine Master, to follow "the Lamb wherever he goes" (Rev 14:4). It is not by chance, dear young people, that I wanted the witnesses to the faith in the twentieth century to be remembered at the Colosseum during this Holy Year.  ("World youth day, 2000 prayer vigil by Pope John Paul II)

Even a tiny flame lifts the heavy lid of night. How much more light will you make, all together, if you bond as one in the communion of the Church! If you love Jesus, love the Church! Do not be discouraged by the sins and failings of some of her members. The harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame. But think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests and religious whose only wish is to serve and do good! There are many priests, seminarians and consecrated persons here today; be close to them and support them! And if, in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the Cross! At difficult moments in the Church’s life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent. And holiness is not a question of age; it is a matter of living in the Holy Spirit, just as Kateri Tekakwitha and so many other young people have done.  ("World youth day, 2002 homily" by Pope John Paul II)

The abuse of the young is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the Church but society as a whole. It is a deep-seated crisis of sexual morality, even of human relationships, and its prime victims are the family and the young. In addressing the problem of abuse with clarity and determination, the Church will help society to understand and deal with the crisis in its midst.  ("HOLY FATHER TO AMERICAN CARDINALS AND BISHOPS" by Pope John Paul II)

It must be absolutely clear to the Catholic faithful, and to the wider community, that Bishops and superiors are concerned, above all else, with the spiritual good of souls. People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young. They must know that Bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life. ("HOLY FATHER TO AMERICAN CARDINALS AND BISHOPS" by Pope John Paul II)

We must be confident that this time of trial will bring a purification of the entire Catholic community, a purification that is urgently needed if the Church is to preach more effectively the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its liberating force. Now you must ensure that where sin increased, grace will all the more abound (cf. Rom 5:20). So much pain, so much sorrow must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church. ("HOLY FATHER TO AMERICAN CARDINALS AND BISHOPS" by Pope John Paul II)

God alone is the source of holiness, and it is to him above all that we must turn for forgiveness, for healing and for the grace to meet this challenge with uncompromising courage and harmony of purpose. Like the Good Shepherd of last Sunday's Gospel, Pastors must go among their priests and people as men who inspire deep trust and lead them to restful waters (cf. Ps 22:2). ("HOLY FATHER TO AMERICAN CARDINALS AND BISHOPS" by Pope John Paul II)

I beg the Lord to give the Bishops of the United States the strength to build their response to the present crisis upon the solid foundations of faith and upon genuine pastoral charity for the victims, as well as for the priests and the entire Catholic community in your country. And I ask Catholics to stay close to their priests and Bishops, and to support them with their prayers at this difficult time. ("HOLY FATHER TO AMERICAN CARDINALS AND BISHOPS" by Pope John Paul II)

The Rosary, precisely because it starts with Mary's own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning, as Pope Paul VI clearly pointed out: “Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ: 'In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words' (Mt 6:7). By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are disclosed”.14("ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE" by Pope John Paul II)

Mary's contemplation is above all a remembering. We need to understand this word in the biblical sense of remembrance (zakar) as a making present of the works brought about by God in the history of salvation. The Bible is an account of saving events culminating in Christ himself. These events not only belong to “yesterday”; they are also part of the “today” of salvation. This making present comes about above all in the Liturgy: what God accomplished centuries ago did not only affect the direct witnesses of those events; it continues to affect people in every age with its gift of grace. To some extent this is also true of every other devout approach to those events: to “remember” them in a spirit of faith and love is to be open to the grace which Christ won for us by the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection. ("ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE" by Pope John Paul II)

Even now, amid the joyful songs of the heavenly Jerusalem, the reasons for her thanksgiving and praise remain unchanged. They inspire her maternal concern for the pilgrim Church, in which she continues to relate her personal account of the Gospel. Mary constantly sets before the faithful the “mysteries” of her Son, with the desire that the contemplation of those mysteries will release all their saving power. In the recitation of the Rosary, the Christian community enters into contact with the memories and the contemplative gaze of Mary. ("ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE" by Pope John Paul II)

Consequently, while it must be reaffirmed with the Second Vatican Council that the Liturgy, as the exercise of the priestly office of Christ and an act of public worship, is “the summit to which the activity of the Church is directed and the font from which all its power flows”,15 it is also necessary to recall that the spiritual life “is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. Christians, while they are called to prayer in common, must also go to their own rooms to pray to their Father in secret (cf. Mt 6:6); indeed, according to the teaching of the Apostle, they must pray without ceasing (cf.1Thes 5:17)”.16 The Rosary, in its own particular way, is part of this varied panorama of “ceaseless” prayer. If the Liturgy, as the activity of Christ and the Church, is a saving action par excellence, the Rosary too, as a “meditation” with Mary on Christ, is a salutary contemplation. By immersing us in the mysteries of the Redeemer's life, it ensures that what he has done and what the liturgy makes present is profoundly assimilated and shapes our existence. ("ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE" by Pope John Paul II)

"O Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I would like to be filled with love for You; keep me closely united with You, may my heart be near to Yours. I want to be to You like the apostle John. O Mary of the Rosary, keep me recollected when I say these prayers of yours; bind me forever, with your rosary, to Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament. Blessed be Jesus, my love..," (St. Pope John XXIII, Journal of a Soul)

"The faith of the Church is this: That one and identical is the Word of God and the Son of Mary, Who suffered on the Cross, Who is present in the Eucharist, and Who rules in Heaven," (Pope Pius XII)

"The faith of the Church is this: That one and identical is the Word of God and the Son of Mary, Who suffered on the Cross, Who is present in the Eucharist, and Who rules in Heaven," (Pope Pius XII)

In the Eucharist, Christ is truly present and alive, working through his Spirit; yet, as Saint Thomas said so well, "what you neither see nor grasp, faith confirms for you, leaving nature far behind; a sign it is that now appears, hiding in mystery realities sublime".(16) He is echoed by the philosopher Pascal: "Just as Jesus Christ went unrecognized among men, so does his truth appear without external difference among common modes of thought. So too does the Eucharist remain among common bread."(17)
(From #13 of Pope John Paul II's encyclical, “Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio)”)

"When we go before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament we represent the one in the world who is in most need of God’s Mercy." We "Stand in behalf of the one in the world who does not know Christ and who is farthest away from God and we bring down upon their soul the Precious Blood of The Lamb." (St. Pope John Paul II)

"Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Living Heart of each of our parishes," (Pope Paul VI)

"To keep me from sin and straying from Him, God has used devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. My life vows destined to be spent in the light irradiating from the tabernacle, and it is to the Heart of Jesus that I dare go for the solution of all my problems," (St. Pope John XXIII)

Today too, children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a “diagnostic” sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy and the world is more human. (Pope Francis Homily in Bethlehem, 2014)

The Child of Bethlehem is frail, like all newborn children. He cannot speak and yet he is the Word made flesh who came to transform the hearts and lives of all men and women. This Child, like every other child, is vulnerable; he needs to be accepted and protected. Today too, children need to be welcomed and defended, from the moment of their conception. (Pope Francis Homily in Bethlehem, 2014)