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Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Visit to the Philippines

27th - 29th November 1970

Pope Paul VI was a pilgrim to the Philippines during his last apostolic voyage, on which he also visited Iran, Pakistan, West Samoa, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong & Sri Lanka (then named Ceylon).

At the welcome ceremony at Manila airport, there was an assassination attempt on Paul VI's life by a Bolivian man dressed as a priest. Pope Paul VI remained calm and went on to celebrate Mass in Manila Cathedral, before meeting with the President of the Philippines. Paolo VI then addressed the Diplomatic Corps & met with a delegation from Formosa. On Saturday 28 November 1970, the second day of his trip, the Holy Father met with the university world before addressing the Bishops of Asia, and sending an appeal for peace in Vietnam. Mass was celebrated with Priestly Ordination in Luneta Park and the day ended with a meeting with the Pontifical Representatives of Asia. Sunday 29 November began with Mass at the Quezon circle and then a radiomessage to all people of Asia. Finally, Papa Paul VI met with Catholic Laity, visited the inhabitants of a Manila suburb & addressed members of various communities before bidding a fond farewell from Manila airport.

Pope Paul VI's Address at the Welcome Ceremony
Airport of Manila, Friday 27 November - in English & Italian

"Here we are in the Philippines, in this great land so dear to Our heart. We greet it with great joy, in the name of the Lord, who sends us just as he sent Peter and the Apostles across the world. May the peace of Christ come down and dwell in it.

We offer Our respectful greeting to you, Mister President, who have had the great courtesy to come and welcome us. We thank you in the name of the Lord. For us it is an honor and a pleasure to spend a few hours in the midst of the Filipino people, whose admirable hospitality is being shown to us from this very moment in such a cordial fashion.

We greet you, venerable brothers in the episcopate, and in particular you who are the Cardinal of Manila, whose great diocese, so rich in history and virtues, offers a welcome at this first contact of a Pope with the Far East. We have come to bring you the assurance of Our fraternal affection and to manifest Our desire of communion with you in your pastoral responsibilities.

To you, the people of the Philippines, who have gathered here in such great numbers to bring us the first homage of your generous hearts, We express Our affectionate greeting, Our great joy at having been given the grace to come to you and Our deep desire to proclaim Our attachment for your people who, in the course of history, have given proof in such a wonderful way of the depth of their faith.

We come here in obedience to Our spiritual mission: We have come to take part in the deliberations of the Conference of the bishops of the whole of Eastern Asia. We wish to seek together, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, how best to proclaim the Gospel to the men of this time and of this continent. We are seeking to make an eternal and universal message an answer to the questions asked by the man of today. The Gospel is, for all men, the message of salvation.

We invoke upon you the abundance of divine grace. May God bless you and your good intentions, may he grant prosperity to the great nation of the Philippines."

Papa Paulo VI's Homily at Mass in the Cathedral of Manila
Friday 27 November - in English & Italian

"Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Sons and Daughters,
We have just arrived on Philippine soil, and We have wanted to make Our first stop here in this Cathedral, to greet you. We thank you for your affectionate and cordial welcome. From the bottom of Our heart We offer you the greeting exchanged by the followers of the same Jesus Christ. It is in his name that We have come among you: it is to glorify and thank him for the wonders accomplished in this part of Asia and in so many other countries of this great continent. It is in order that the Church may pursue with renewed zeal her work of salvation that We have desired to take part in the deliberations of this first general Conference of the bishops of Asia. To God through Jesus Christ be honor for ever and ever (Cfr. Rom. 16: 27).

Allow us, dear venerable brothers, to express all the esteem and respect that We have for you and for your heavy tasks. Vast distances often separate you from one another; immense populations demand your pastoral generosity. God grant that this fraternal meeting may strengthen you in the exercise of a divine gift bestowed on you-to watch over and serve the People of God, in power and love (Cfr. 2 Tim. 1: 7).

You We greet with fatherly affection who are the members of the clergy, diocesan and missionary, and you who are Religious. You also are Our brothers and sisters in the faith common to all of us; you are the special object of God’s goodness, which has given you the grace to serve in a special way the saving work of the Church.

A vocation to the priesthood or to practice of the evangelical counsels is in fact a sign of great love by him who has chosen you out from a large number and called you to share his friendship in a special way: «I shall not call you servants any more, said Our Lord», «because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father» (Io. 15: 15). May your hearts be ever filled with gratitude and joy for this precious gift of your vocation!

What a joy it is for the Pope to see you all gathered here in this sacred place of prayer. Our first wish is to render heartfelt homage to the generations of missionaries who, from the first beginnings, have built up this admirable Christian community of the Philippines, of which you, the priests and the Religious of this land, are the finest witness. Coming as you do from varying backgrounds, united in fraternal love in one faith and dedicated to the service of one and the same Master, you have answered love with love. One is not always able to give due recognition to the depth of your sacrifice and to the sometimes heroic perseverance which you must have to live out your lives in the service of others, and most often of the poorest. Nor is it easy to appreciate fully the deep meaning of your lives, for they are not motivated by human interest, but illuminated by faith. «It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted» (Matth. 19: 11), as Our Lord likewise tells us.

We willingly affirm aloud that the priesthood and the religious life are the best signs of the vitality of a Christian community, and its finest treasure; they are the very expression of the life and holiness of the Church (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 44).

The task which is yours is often exacting. Even though the world to which you devote yourselves manifests a surprising richness of natural virtues and a remarkable religious spirit, it demands your time, your skill and your heart, without allowing you rest. «The harvest is rich but the laborers are few» (Matth. 9: 37; Luc. 10: 2). New situations are arising, particularly with the development of towns, the increasing proportion of young people and the influence of social communications. All these demand that you give your attention to new social groups, adopting certain pastoral and teaching methods. Providentially, the universal Church has the benefit at this time of the rich doctrinal and pastoral documents of the Second Vatican Council. We urge you to draw from them the inspiration for your undertakings, in close communion with your bishops and superiors.

Take courage, dear sons and daughters. It is the Lord who has called you and who sends you out. It is his work that you are doing: «We are God’s fellow workers» (Cfr. 1 Cor. 3: 9) you can say with Saint Paul. Therefore be faithful to Jesus Christ. Nourish your gift of self at the inexhaustible fount which is the Eucharist. The more fervent your union with Christ, the richer will be the life of the Church and the more fruitful its apostolate (Cfr. Perfectae caritatis, 1). Have a solid devotion to the Mother of God, who is so honored in your land.

As a pledge of Our fatherly affection and Our encouragement, We give you with all Our heart Our Apostolic Blessing."

Pope Paul VI's Address to the President of the Philippines
Manila, Friday 27 November - in English, Italian & Spanish

"Mister President,
We are happy to present Our respectful greeting to Your Excellency as head and highest representative of the great nation of the Philippines. We wish likewise to thank you for the remarkable welcome which We received on arriving on your soil. Your offer to give us hospitality in your residence was deeply appreciated, but Our practice obliges us to stay at the Apostolic Nunciature. We feel, nevertheless, that We are fully the guest of the Filipino people, and so your guest. Thank you again.

We have been informed of the lofty and upright intentions which have inspired and still inspire the policies of your Government. We are certain that this cordial meeting between the humble successor of Peter and the holder of the highest office among the dear Filipino people - the only people in the Far East that is Christian in the greater part-will likewise be an effective spur for a new and more vigorous effort in favor of men. We are thinking of an effort to be made through a more equitable distribution of the riches of this country which has been blessed by God, a real and integral development of individuals and communities, a human advancement - especially of the most needy classes-a deeper awareness at all levels, not only of one’s rights, but still more and above all of one’s duties towards other men, other fellow human beings, and towards the whole community.

The object of Our visit to Manila is of the spiritual order; it has an apostolic character. Great would be Our joy if by Our visit the Catholic people were made firm in their faith and in the sincere and coherent expression of it. Great would it be if they were spurred on to seek a happy blending of their religious heritage with the new needs of the modern world. We would like to see strengthened their readiness to live in good understanding with all, to promote social development in the name of the charity of Christ whose witnesses they are, to prize the civic qualities of integrity, disinterestedness and equal service of all. These qualities are the basis of the prosperity of great, free and united peoples.

To your illustrious collaborators We likewise present Our respectful greeting and the assurance of Our esteem for the greatness of their functions. The Church holds in great esteem the servants of the public good who ensure its tasks for the service of all. By according recognition and respect to the rights of persons, families and groups, and by their care for fairness and for economic and social progress, they do honor to Christianity, from which these virtues derive (Cfr. Rom. 13: 7). May God bless yourselves and your families. May he reward your devotedness and your admirable hospitality with his abundant graces."

Pope Paul VI's Address to the Diplomatic Corps
Manila, Friday 27 November - in French, Italian & Spanish

Venant dans cette partie du monde pour rencontrer l’épiscopat catholique de toute l’Asie, il Nous est agréable de saisir cette occasion pour présenter Nos vœux de prospérité à vos peuples respectifs. Plusieurs d’entre eux entretiennent d’ailleurs avec le Saint-Siège des relations les plus cordiales.

C’est dans l’accomplissement de Notre mission spirituelle que Nous avons entrepris ce long voyage, qui doit Nous conduire à divers centres de l’immense Asie, et également en Australie où Nous devons rencontrer la hiérarchie catholique de ce Continent. Si donc Notre voyage n’a aucun caractère politique, il n’en demeure pas moins que c’est avec la plus grande joie que Nous saluons les populations des divers pays où Nous passons, et leur donnons l’assurance de l’affection et de la volonté de les servir qui animent l'Eglise Catholique ainsi que de la profonde estime qu’elle porte à la noblesse de leurs traditions culturelles et religieuses.

Dan la ligne même de Notre responsabilité pastorale, Nous espérons que Notre voyage se manifestera aussi comme un signe en faveur de la paix et du progrès social. Nous en avons fait l’un des grands objectifs de Notre pontificat et Notre prière instante est que les coeurs des hommes, à quelque rang de la société qu’ils appartiennent, mais surtout ceux des responsables, s’ouvrent à des sentiments de paix, de solidarité, de justice sociale, de service du bien commun. Le développement est le grand défi de cette décennie. C’est notre génération qui est interpellée et c’est elle qui doit fournir la réponse: nous serons jugés sur la générosité de notre engagement.

Vous, Messieurs, qui avez la si belle mission d’être les hommes du dialogue, soyez les artisans de la paix entre les nations, car la paix est le premier des biens: elle conditionne et perfectionne les autres. Soyez aussi auprès de vos Gouvernements les avocats de l’entr’aide internationale en faveur des peuples les moins favorisés, au nom de notre fraternité universelle. «La solidarité mondiale toujours plus efficiente, disions-Nous dans Notre encyclique Populorum progressio, doit permettre à tous les peuples de devenir eux-mêmes les artisans de leur destin . . . les peuples plus jeunes ou plus faibles demandent leur part active dans la construction d’un monde meilleur, plus respectueux des droits et de la vocation de chacun. Cet appel est légitime; à chacun de l’entendre et d’y répondre» (Populorum Progressio, 65). Ce faisant, vous aurez bien mérité de l’humanité entière et Dieu vous bénira. De grand coe ur Nous invoquons sa divine assistance sur vos personnes, sur vos familles, sur vos pays respectifs et sur vos efforts."

Papa Paulo VI's Address to a delegation from Formosa
Manila, Philippines, Friday 27 November - in English & Italian

"Dear Friends, dear Sons and Daughters,
As we come to greet your delegation, We cannot conceal Our A admiration for the spontaneous gesture which has brought you from so far away to meet the humble leader of the Catholic Church.

You have wished that your group should faithfully reflect the population of Formosa, since representatives of its great religious bodies are included in your delegation. We greet you with great joy and We express to you Our good wishes that your country may know concord and prosperity, under the protection of Almighty God. We have come to Eastern Asia as the bearer of an essentially spiritual message; Our desire is that God may be better known and better loved, for in this lies the source of the happiness of mankind.

To Our Catholic sons and daughters who - we know - have come to Manila and are grouped about Our dear brother Cardinal Yti Pin and Our brothers, the bishops of your dioceses, We wish to take the occasion to offer Our encouragement to lead a life worthy of the vocation to which they have been called (Cfr. Eph. 4: 1), in all things bearing witness to their faith, their hope and their love.

With all Our heart We bestow Our Apostolic Blessing on you and on all those whom you represent."

Papa Paulo VI's Address to the University world of the Philippines
Manila, Saturday 28 November - in English & Italian

"In you we greet the university world of the Philippines. We wish to express first of all Our great esteem for the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas which has welcomed Us today. It is a university which is one of the most renowned for the richness of its history, one of the most important in number of students and one of the most well-known for the care it devotes to education of high quality.

To you, the Professors, We express Our greetings and the respect which is due to men of learning and to educators. Are you not involved in that search for truth which is so important for man? We are well aware that it takes a great deal of wisdom to distinguish the different ways whereby one pursues the search for total truth. There is the way - to put it in a word - of human reasoning; it is the way of science, which enjoys the freedom and autonomy of natural thought. There is likewise the way of faith; it is the gift of the Spirit’s illumination and our soul’s response to God’s revealing Word. The distinction and the synthesis demand a sensitive operation, but one that is also possible, magnificent and vital. And then it calls for a certain courage to state and defend the whole truth. May Christ be your model, he who gave his life in witness to the truth (Io. 18: 37). All progress towards truth redounds to the glory of God. Does it not also lead to the encounter with him who above all others is the Teacher and whose word frees from error and lies? (Cfr. Matth. 23: 8; Io. 8: 32) In pursuing your task you respond to the expectations of your brothers.

What a great responsibility is yours, and what a valuable contribution you make to the march of mankind which, through its laborious quest of an earthly city ruled by justice and freedom, goes in search of him who called himself  «the way, the truth and the life» (Io. 14: 6).

Dear students, We greet you with the deepest loving interest and with all Our paternal affection.

Today is your hour. You are the advancing vanguard of your country. Your responsibility as intellectuals is supreme for the future of your nation. We understand your aspiration to involve yourselves more actively in the life of your people. We know that your dynamism, hand in hand with your special sensitivity, has helped your elders to gain a better grasp of the problems that must be solved.

The youth of the Philippines, like that of all Asia, is on the march. Allow Us in this regard to ask some questions: Do you know in which direction to go? Have you a clear picture of the goals you are aiming at? Are you dedicated to the search for true values? Does your wish to serve your brothers manifest itself in practical choices that prepare you to promote effectively the progress of the many? Are you convinced that one can only be truly free to the extent that one is responsible?

Your age is an age of criticism-and criticism can be very useful to society, which always falls short of perfection. Your age is also an age of generous self-giving, and this the Filipino people expect of you. What is asked of you is a balanced harmony of these two attitudes. Your considerable numbers in the universities speak for your intelligence and your thirst for culture; they also at the same time create obligations of a seriousness rarely to be found in history. The Church wishes to help you to reply to these vital questions, for your own sake and for that of your brothers. She has received the mission to spread throughout the world the Gospel of salvation. This message, which comes to us from God, is the supreme answer to man’s aspirations for total self-realization. But who will believe this Gospel, unless it is brought by convinced witnesses? Who will accept its liberating power if its heralds are not themselves liberated from self-interest, lies, from the spirit of division, from sin in all its forms?

Dear students, this Gospel is yours; will you be its bearers along with your religious leaders, your teachers, with all committed Christians, so that you may build on this earth the society of brotherhood for which the world justly yearns?

This is Our message: God is light (1 Io. 1: 5), Jesus Christ is the «light of the world»; he who follows him will not walk in darkness (Cfr. Io. 8: 12).

May God bless you, may he enlighten your minds and enable you to discover truth; may he inflame your hearts for the practice of love."

Pope Paul VI's Address to the Bishops of Asia
Manila, Saturday 28 November 1970 - in English, Italian & Portuguese

"Venerable brothers: Bishops of the Philippines, Bishops of Asia.
Greetings to you all in Christ our Lord. Greetings to you, Cardinal Rufino Santos, Archbishops of this Church of Manila, host to this extraordinary assembly. To each of you, brothers, Our greeting of faith and love. For your Churches, your countries, Our good wishes full of respect, friendship and peace.

Here we are together at last. This meeting makes Us very happy. It is something new, but it corresponds to the profound nature of the Church. The Church has always been the same; it is the family of those who believe in Christ, «composed of every nation under heaven» (Act. 2: 5). The scene at Pentecost comes to mind and from our hearts there arises and finds expression on our lips the invocation to the Holy Spirit: «Veni Sancte Spiritus». To savor this moment with you, a moment that seems to Us historic and full of mystery, We have made the long journey from Rome to Manila. We have come to meet you, dear brothers, to know you better, to pay honor to this assembly of yours, to encourage your work, to sustain your resolves. You are the reason for Our presence here today and at this moment the subject of Our words. On this Our visit to your vast continent, you are, moreover, the prime object of Our love.

Even more worthy of Our immediate attention than the novelty and singularity of this meeting are, it seems to Us, the theological meaning that it manifests and the mystery that it makes present: Christ is here.

He is here through the reality, ever repeated: a gathering in his name (Matth. 18: 20). He is here through the faith that makes him live in each one of us (Eph. 3: 17). He is here also through the coming of Our humble person, to whom, as a lowly successor of Peter, is applied in a very special way the title of Vicar of Christ. And Christ our Lord is here through the apostolic ministry entrusted to each of us (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 21), and through the collegial relationship that joins us together (Ibid., 22). We, the successors of the Apostles and the pastors of the Church of God, are invested with the power not only of representing Christ, but also of making present on earth and in time his voice (Luc. 10: 16) and his saving action (Matth. 28: 19). Christ is here. Let us take notice of this mysterious reality, with an act of faith both conscious and strong. It is true: we firmly believe that the Lord’s promise, «Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age» (Matth. 28: 20), is fulfilled now, at this moment of history, in a singular and marvelous way. Christ is with us.

How is this promise fulfilled at this moment? It is fulfilled in the countenance of the Church, herself the «sign and sacrament» of Christ (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 1; De Lubac, Méitation sur l’Eglise, 157 ff.). This countenance seems here to reflect with brilliant clarity the characteristic marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. This last mark, apostolicity, concerns us now in a particular way. Let us think about it for a moment.

All of us meeting here are successors of the Apostles. We have received from Christ himself the mandate, the power, his Spirit to carry on and to spread his mission. We are the heirs of the Apostles; we are Christ working in history and the world; we are the ministers of his pastoral government of the Church; we are the institutional organ, entrusted with dispensing the mysteries of God (Cfr. 1 Cor. 4 : 1; 2 Cor. 6: 4; Lumen gentium, 20).

You know that the Council has clearly proclaimed this doctrine, which forms part of the divine and unchanging constitution of the Church. You know too that there have sprung up many discussions about this doctrine; not all of them are useful for confirming and expounding it, as they should, but sometimes indeed more apt to confuse the doctrine and weaken it. This seems to us a suitable occasion for restating our firm support of the doctrine of the apostolic nature of the Church. We must realize that this doctrine establishes the permanence and the authenticity of the foundation of the Church by Christ; it marks the boundaries of ecclesial communion (Cfr. Luc. 10: 16; 11: 23; Unitatis redintegratio, 2); it qualifies our persons with a sacramental character for the ministry that is entrusted to us; it makes us members of a single Apostolic College, under the leadership of Peter, establishing between us bonds of unity, love, peace, solidarity and collaboration; it vindicates the importance and the fidelity of tradition. Besides this it demonstrates the present vitality and ever-renewed youth of the Church; it explains its organic hierarchy and the vital capacity of the Mystical Body to function; it safeguards the existence and the exercise of the ministerial powers proper to the Christian priesthood, which shares in the single priesthood of Christ; it is the prime source, authorized and responsible, of missionary activity (Cfr. Journet, L’Eglise du Verbe Incarné II, 1208, 2). The fact that it derives its authority not from «below» but from Christ does not mean that it sets up a privileged caste, but rather it makes of the Episcopate an organ for the benefit and service of all the individual churches, and of the entire Catholic Church, one which works from love, to the very point of sacrifice (Cfr. Christus Dominus, 6).

We remind you of all this, brothers, that your confidence may be great in Christ’s assistance for you and your labors, for your sufferings and your hopes. You must be aware of your vocation, the fact of your having been chosen and of your responsibility. You must ever hear re-echoing in the depths of your souls the words of Saint Paul: «Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood» (Act. 20: 28). Be strong, be patient. You have before you an immense field for your apostolate; its very geographical vastness and the enormous multitudes that inhabit it would suffice to fire your apostolic zeal.

Here we should cast our glance over that human panorama in which your ministry must be exercised, although we know that you have already had experience in theory and in practice.
You have before you an immense field for your apostolate. It is difficult to speak of Asia as a whole since more than half of mankind lives here. One can however point to a certain network of common interests, a certain identity in the way of looking at life and a certain harmony of aspirations. Young in its peoples but rich in civilizations often thousands of years old, Asia is impelled as by an irresistible desire to occupy her rightful place in the world, and her influence is effectively increasing. The attraction to change and the desire for progress are present everywhere, and Me see in them a fresh chance for the man of today.

It is certainly true that-except for certain regions such as the Philippines - the Church, in spite of a histoly which is already long, is represented in Asia only by small minorities. Yet who can say how much heroic devotion, as well as faith in the men of Asia, has guided from the first beginnings the destiny of the missions of this continent? Who could ever fully describe the journeyings - often, even up to our own times, painful and tragic - of a missionary apostolate upheld by only one support, that coming from on high! Therefore Our hope is great, based as it is upon the command of the Lord to go to all nations, and upon his promises conveyed in the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven in the dough (Luc. 13: 18-20). We shall limit Out-self to indicating a few points which seem to Us to be of capital importance for your present mission. Nothing of what We say is new to you; but We hope that you will take comfort in hearing your thoughts and intentions confirmed by Our words.

The first thing that We would propose to you is this: let us make an effort to take as our guide the teaching of the recent Ecumenical Council. This teaching sums up and ratifies the heritage of Catholic tradition and opens the way for a renewal of the Church according to the needs and possibilities of modern times. This adherence to the teachings of the Council can establish a wonderful harmony throughout the Church, and this harmony can enhance the effectiveness of our pastoral activity and preserve us from the errors and weaknesses of the present time. This is especially true in one particular field, the field of faith. It seems to Us that the defence and the spreading of the faith must take first place in our spiritual expression, and that it must be the prime object of our pastoral care. We bishops are the teachers of the faith. We are the preachers, the promoters of instruction in the faith. This is our main task and commitment. From this duty flows everything that we do to encourage study of the faith, catechesis, knowledge and meditation of the Word of God, Catholic teaching and Catholic schools, our press, the use of social communications and ecumenical dialogue. We cannot keep silent. We must not lose the truth and unity of the faith. We must strive to make the faith the fundamental driving principle of the Christian life of our communities.

To this plea for the affirmation and the orthodoxy of the faith permit Us to add a plea for prayer. In our day we are witnessing the decline of prayer, and you know the causes of this. Yet in favour of prayer we have two great - though different - resources: the first is the liturgical reform promoted by the recent Council. The Council has not only renewed the outward form of ritual, always according to certain traditional norms, but it has also given fresh life to the sources-doctrinal, sacramental, communal and pastoral - of the Church’s prayer. We must take advantage of this providential teaching, if we wish prayer always to be the living and sincere expression of the faithful and always to retain in the Church a place of honor among religious values. The second resource of prayer is the natural inclination of the Asiatic spirit. We must honor and cultivate this deep and innate religious sense, which is the hallmark of the soul of the Eastern world. We must defend the spirituality proper to these peoples and ensure that their contact with materialistic modern secular civilization does not suffocate the inner aspirations of ‘this spirituality. We are certain that the Church possesses the secret of true conversation with God; and you have the duty of opening the hearts of your people to the mysterious and true Word of God and to the intense filial expression of religious dialogue to which Christ authorized us and which the Spirit gives us the power to direct to the heavenly Father.
In this regard there arises another fundamental point, which concerns not only the language of prayer and religious instruction but the genius and style of evangelization which, as the Council says, must «be adapted to the particular way of thinking and acting» of the peoples to which it is directed (Cfr. Ad gentes, 16-18, etc.).

If, in the past, an insufficient knowledge of the hidden riches of the various civilizations hindered the spread of the Gospel message and gave the Church a certain foreign aspect, it is for you to show that the salvation brought by Jesus Christ is offered to all, without distinction of condition, without any privileged link with one race, continent or civilization. Far from wishing to stifle «the seeds of good in men’s hearts and minds or in their own rites and culture», the Gospel heals, raises and perfects them for the glory of God (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 17; Ad gentes, 22). Just as Jesus Christ shared the condition of those who were his own, so the man of Asia can be a Catholic and remain fully Asian. As We declared a year ago in Africa, if the Church must above all be Catholic, a pluralism is legitimate and even desirable in the manner of professing one common faith in the one same Jesus Christ.

And this, brothers, is also the foundation of your particular responsibility as you continue to proclaim Jesus Christ to the men of Asia. None better than an Asian can speak to an Asian. None better than he should know how to draw from the treasures of your rich cultures the elements for the building up in Asia of a Church which will be one and catholic, founded upon the Apostles and yet different in its life styles. Should We not note, to the praise of your peoples and for the strengthening of your pastoral activity, the natural disposition of the peoples of the East for this religious mystery, which seems a prophetic sign of their call to Christian revelation?

Your individual churches would certainly lack an essential aspect of maturity if missionary vocations did not develop within them. It is for the bishops of Asia, for their priests, their religious brothers and sisters and their lay people engaged in the apostolate to be the first apostles of their Asian brothers, with the cooperation of missionaries from abroad, whose merits are so great, and whose efforts-God grant-will continue and grow, in the name of the unchangeable solidarity that is the duty of the whole Church in this sphere.

One of the aspects of the present adaptation of missionary activity, which We stressed in Our last Message for Mission Sunday, is the importance it accords to the action of development. Is not the Gospel, which is the good news preached to the poor (Luc. 4: 18), the source of development? The Church, conscious of human aspirations towards dignity and well-being, pained by the unjust inequalities which still exist and often become more acute between nations and within nations, while respecting the competence of States, must offer her assistance for promoting «a fuller humanism», that is to say «the full development of the whole man and of every man» (Populorum progressio. 42). It is a logical consequence of our Christian faith. The hierarchy of the Philippines recalled it quite recently: «Christianity and democracy have one basic principle in common: the respect for the dignity and value of the human person, the respect of those means which man requires to make himself fully human» (9th July 1970). It is in the name of this principle that the Church must support as best she can the struggle against ignorance, hunger, disease and social insecurity. Taking her place in the vanguard of social action, she must bend all her efforts to support, encourage and push forward initiatives working for the full promotion of man. Since she is the witness of human conscience and of divine love for men, she must take up the defence of the poor and the weak against every form of social injustice.

We know that much has been done by you in this regard, on the level both of study and action. We are convinced that in this way you are contributing to the maintaining of peace: «Christian faith, as well as the intimate link that should exist between the promotion of human rights and the socio-economic progress of man are the true basis for authentic and lasting peace», as the Philippine episcopate likewise declared (1st May 1970).

As We utter that word «peace» how can We fail to raise up anew our heart to implore from the Lord that the peoples so painfully and for so long afflicted by war be able at last, in justice and in peace, to lead a happy and peaceful life!

Finally, We pray to Christ that he will grant that this journey may be for all the peoples of Asia a confirmation of the invitation offered them by him to accept his message, charged with truth and love, divinely conceived for them, for each of them, in his own language and in harmony with his own civilization, as it has been received and as it continues to be welcomed still by the people of the Philippines!

May Mary, Mother of the Word made flesh, Mother of the Apostles, preside still over this Pentecost."

Papa Paulo VI's Homily at Priestly Ordination
Luneta Park, Manila, Saturday 28 November - in English & Italian

"Dearly beloved Sons and Brothers, Newly ordained priests of God’s Church,
We will only say a few short words, because the ceremony is long enough already and speaks for itself; then too, you are already well informed concerning the sacrament which you have received.
We will do no more than recommend you to meditate on your ordination for the rest of your lives.

Today sees the beginning for you of a subject for thought, prayer and action, which you must always recall, examine, explore and seek to understand. It must be stamped on your consciousness, just as the sacramental character is already stamped on your souls, on your being as men, on your being as Christians. Think of it! Today you have become priests! Try to give a definition of yourselves and the words come with effort and difficulty; the reality which they try to express is still more difficult, mysterious and inexpressible. What has taken place in you makes one truly marvel; «How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?» (Ps. 115: 12) each of you can say, on feeling himself invested by the transforming action of the Holy Spirit. You be come for yourselves something to wonder at and revere. Never forget it. Though the world does not know of it, and though many seek to strip the priest’s personality of it, your “sacrality” must be kept ever present in your minds and in your conduct. It derives from a new qualifying presence of the Holy Spirit in your souls; if you are watchful in love, you will also experience it within you (Cfr. Io. 14: 17; 14: 22-23). Never doubt your priestly identity; seek rather to understand it.

You will be able to understand something of your priesthood by trying to comprehend two orders of relationships set up by it. The first order concerns the relationships with Christ which you have taken on by your priestly ordination. You know that in the religious dispensation of the New Testament there is only one true priesthood, that of Jesus Christ, the one mediator between God and mankind (1 Tim. 2: 5). But by virtue of the Sacrament of Orders you have become sharers in Christ’s priesthood, so that not only do you represent Christ, not only do you exercise his ministry, but you live Christ. Christ lives in you. Inasmuch as you are associated with him in a degree that is so high and so filled with a sharing in his mission of salvation, you can say, as Saint Paul said of himself: «I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me» (Gal. 2: 20). This is something that opens to the priest the way of ascent for his spirituality, the highest way open to man, one that reaches the summits of ascetical and mystical life. If ever some day you feel lonely, if ever some day you feel that you are weak secular men, if ever some day you are tempted to abandon the sacred commitment of your priesthood, remember that you are «through him, with him and in him»; each one of you is «another Christ».

The second order of relationships linking you from now on to the Church is that with your bishop or superior, with the People of God, with persons, and also with the world. The priest is no longer for himself; he is for the ministry of Christ’s Mystical Body. He is a servant, an instrument of the Word and of grace. The proclamation of the Gospel, the celebration of the Eucharist, the remission of sins, the exercise of pastoral activity, the life of faith and worship, and the radiation of charity and holiness are his duty, a duty that reaches the point elf self-sacrifice, of the cross, as for Jesus. It is a very heavy burden. But Jesus bears it with his chosen one and makes him feel the truth of his words: «My yoke is easy and my burden light» (Matth. 11: 30). For, as Saint Augustine teaches us, «my weight is my love» (S. AUG., Conf., 13: 9). When love of Christ becomes the single supreme principle of the life of a priest, it makes all easy, all possible, all happy.

We would like the awareness of being thus destined as a pastor to serve your neighbor never to be extinguished within you; We would like it to make you always sensitive to the ills, the needs and the sufferings which surround the life elf a priest. All classes of people seem to stretch out their hands to him and to ask for his understanding, his compassion and his assistance: children, young people, the poor, the sick, those who hunger for bread and for justice, the unfortunate, the sinners - all have need of the help of the priest. Never say that your lives are irrelevant and useless. «Who is weak», says Saint Paul, «and I am not weak?» (Cor. 11: 29). If you have this sensitivity to the physical, moral and social deficiencies of mankind, you will also find in yourselves another sensitivity, that to the potential good which is always to be found in every human being; for a priest, every life is worthy of love. This twofold sensitivity, to evil and to good in man, is the beating of Christ’s heart in that of the faithful priest. It is not without something of the miraculous, a miracle that is psychological, moral and, if you like, mystical, while at the same time being very much a social one. It is a miracle of charity in the heart of a priest.

You will experience it. That is Our wish for you on the day of your ordination to the priesthood. And with Our wish goes Our Apostolic Blessing.

And you, dear children making your first Communion today, what shall We say to you?
The most beautiful thing to say is this: stay always, for all your lives, as you are today: good, religious, innocent, and friends of Jesus who is now coming into your hearts. Maybe you know that Jesus had a very special love for children, and that he said to everyone : «Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven» (Matth. 18: 3), that is to say, unless you are like children you will never be real Christians and go to heaven. We must always be like little children. But what can we do? We grow up, and life changes.

But let one thing never change for you, dear children: always remember this day, and promise Jesus that you will always be his friends, with humility, simplicity and trust. His friends, even when you are grown up; always friends of Jesus. Will you promise that? You will see that Jesus will accept your promise, and will always be your friend, for ever.

We will pray to him together that it may be so. With Our affectionate blessing."

Papa Paolo VI's Address to the Pontifical Representatives of Asia
Manila, Saturday 28 November - in Italian & Spanish

"Venerabili Fratelli,
Desideriamo manifestarvi la Nostra gioia nel trovarci, sia pure per poco, in mezzo a voi, che siete i Nostri più vicini e fedeli collaboratori. Noi vi rivolgiamo il Nostro vivo ringraziamento per la diligenza, con la quale avete cooperato alla riuscita di questa Conferenza Panasiatica delle Conferenze Episcopali, ed intendiamo ricordare, in maniera speciale e particolarmente calorosa, il Nunzio Apostolico nelle Filippine, la cui competenza e devozione, grazie anche ai solerti collaboratori, ci ha consentito di compiere questa prima tappa del Nostro viaggio in Estremo Oriente.

Come potete costatare voi stessi, la Nostra volontà in occasione di questi trasferimenti, è innanzitutto quella di stabilire un contatto fraterno con i Vescovi, di incoraggiarli nella coordinazione del loro lavoro pastorale, nel rispetto del principio di sussidiarietà e del vincolo della collegialità episcopale, di attuare progressivamente le grandi linee direttrici dell’ultimo Concilio Ecumenico.
La funzione dei Nunzi è anche essa in evoluzione. Fino ad ora il Nunzio non era altro che il rappresentante del Papa presso i Governi e le Chiese. La sua azione presso di queste era soprattutto di ordine gerarchico e amministrativo, ed egli rimaneva, in qualche modo, come un corpo estraneo alla Chiesa locale. Oggi, invece, il Nunzio deve imprimere alla sua azione un più spiccato accento pastorale, perché anch’egli è a servizio del Regno di Dio che progredisce nel rispettivo Paese.

Se Noi abbiamo recentemente preso parte ai lavori delle grandi Assemblee episcopali regionali - come facemmo lo scorso anno a Kampala, come abbiamo fatto qui a Manila e come faremo durante il Nostro viaggio a Sydney -, è proprio per sottolineare la Nostra comunione e la Nostra solidarietà con le sollecitudini pastorali che toccano ciascuna regione del mondo. Come dicemmo, un anno fa nell’atto di aprire la seconda sessione del Sinodo dei Vescovi, la collegialità è carità e, in certa misura, corresponsabilità. E voi, come Rappresentanti Pontifici, dovete essere presso le Gerarchie locali il segno vivente di questa comunione e di questa solidarietà, condividendo, per quanto è possibile, le loro stesse preoccupazioni pastorali. Venendo dal centro della cristianità, voi siete i testimoni della cattolicità e dell’universalità del Messaggio Cristiano. Partecipando del carisma particolare di Pietro, voi rappresentate in maniera privilegiata le esigenze dell’unità nell’auspicata diversità delle espressioni della medesima fede. In forza del vostro stretto collegamento con la Sede del Capo del Collegio apostolico, voi costituite, per così dire, il «trait d’union» tra le Chiese particolari del mondo intero.

Ciò non può concepirsi senza un più fraterno contatto con la vita delle Chiese locali, di cui tocca a voi trovare, in ciascun caso, le modalità concrete, nello spirito di un autentico servizio e nella coscienza di essere prima di tutto il legame della carità.

In segno di paterno incoraggiamento e con l’assicurazione della Nostra profonda fiducia per il vostro delicato apostolato, impartiamo a Voi, come ai vostri collaboratori, la Nostra Benedizione Apostolica."

Pope Paul VI's Homily at Holy Mass at the 'Quezon Circle'
Manila, Sunday 29 November 1970 - in English & Italian

"I Paul, the successor of Saint Peter, charged with the pastoral mission for the whole Church, would never have come from Rome to this far-distant land, unless I had been most firmly convinced of two fundamental things: first, of Christ; and second, of your salvation.

Convinced of Christ: yes, I feel the need to proclaim him, I cannot keep silent. «Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!» (1 Cor. 9: 16). I am sent by him, by Christ himself, to do this. I am an apostle, I am a witness. The more distant the goal, the more difficult my mission the more pressing is the love that urges me to it (Cfr. 2 Cor. 5: 13). I must bear witness to his name: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matth. 16: 16). He reveals the invisible God, he is the firstborn of all creation, the foundation of everything created. He is the Teacher of mankind, and its Redeemer. He was born, he died and he rose again for us. He is the centre of history and of the world; he is the one who knows us and who loves us; he is the companion and the friend of our life. He is the man of sorrows and of hope. It is he who will come and who one day will be our judge and - we hope -the everlasting fulness of our existence, our happiness. I could never finish speaking about him: he is the light and the truth; indeed, he is «the way, the truth and the life» (Io. 14: 6). He is the bread and the spring of living water to satisfy our hunger and our thirst. He is our shepherd, our guide, our model, our comfort, our brother. Like us, and more than us, he has been little, poor, humiliated; he has been a worker; he has known misfortune and been patient. For our sake he spoke, worked miracles and founded a new kingdom where the poor are happy, where peace is the principle for living together, where the pure of heart and those who mourn are raised up and comforted, where those who hunger and thirst after justice have their fill, where sinners can be forgiven, where all are brothers.

Jesus Christ: you have heard him spoken of; indeed the greater part of you are already his: you are Christians. So, to you Christians I repeat his name, to everyone I proclaim him: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega; he is the king of the new world; he is the secret of history; he is the key to our destiny. He is the mediator, the bridge, between heaven and earth. He is more perfectly than anyone else the Son of Man, because he is the Son of God, eternal and infinite. He is the son of Mary, blessed among all women, his mother according to the flesh, and our mother through the sharing in the Spirit of his Mystical Body.

Jesus Christ is our constant preaching; it is his name that we proclaim to the ends of the earth (Cfr. Rom. 10: 18) and throughout all ages (Rom. 9: 5). Remember this and ponder on it: the Pope has come here among you and has proclaimed Jesus Christ!

In doing this I express also the second dynamic idea that brings me to you: that Jesus Christ is to be praised not only for what he is in himself; he is to be exalted and loved for what he is for us, for each one of us, for every people and for every culture. Christ is our Saviour. Christ is our greatest benefactor. Christ is our liberator. We need Christ, in order to be genuine and worthy men in the temporal order, and men saved and raised to the supernatural order.

At this point several questions present themselves. They are questions that torment our times, and I am sure that they are in your minds too. These questions are: Can Christ really be of any use to us for solving the practical and concrete problems of the present life? Did he not say that his kingdom is not of this world? What can he do for us? In other words, can Christianity give rise to a true humanism? Can the Christian view of life inspire a real renewal of society? Can that view harmonize with the demands of modern life, and favour progress and well-being of all? Can Christianity interpret peoples’s yearnings and identify with the tendencies special to your culture?

These questions are many, and we cannot answer them with one single formula which would take account of the complexity of the problems and the different needs of man, spiritual, moral, economic, political, ethnic, historical and social. Yet, as far as the positive and happy development of your social conditions is concerned, we can give a positive answer: Christianity can be salvation also on the earthly and human level. Christ multiplied the loaves also to satisfy the physical hunger of the crowds following him. And Christ continues to work this miracle for those who truly believe in him, and who take from him the principles of a dynamic social order, that is, of an order that is continually progressing and being renewed.

For example, Christ, as you know, constantly proclaims his great and supreme commandment of love. There exists no social ferment stronger and better than this. In its positive aspect it unleashes incomparable and unquenchable moral forces; in its negative aspect it denounces all forms of selfishness, inertia and forgetfulness which do harm to the needs of others. Christ proclaims the equality and brotherhood of all men: who but he has taught and can still effectively teach such principles which revolution, while benefitting from them, rejects? Who but he, we say, has revealed the fatherhood of God, the true and unassailable reason for the brotherhood of men? And whence comes the genuine and sacred freedom of man if not from human dignity, of which Christ made himself the teacher and champion? And who, if not he, has made available temporal goods, when he took from them the nature of ends in themselves and declared that they are means, means which must to some extent suffice for all, and means which are of less value than the supreme goods of the spirit? Who but Christ has planted in the hearts of his followers the talent for love and service on behalf of all man’s sufferings and needs? Who has proclaimed the law of work as a right, a duty and a means of providence? Who has proclaimed the dignity that raises it to the level of cooperation with and fulfillment of the divine plan? Who has freed it from every form of inhuman slavery, and given it its reward of justice and merit?

To you who are students and can well grasp these fundamental ideas and these higher values, I would say this: Today while you are challenging the structures of affluent society, the society that is dominated by technology and by the anxious pursuit of productivity and consumption, you are aware of the insufficiency and the deceptiveness of the economic and social materialism that marks our present progress. You are truly able to reaffirm the superiority, richness and relevance of authentic Christian sociology, based on true knowledge of man and of his destiny.

Workers, my message to you is this: While today you have become aware of your strength, take care that in the pursuit of your total rehabilitation you do not adopt formulas that are incomplete and inaccurate. These, while offering you partial victories of an economic and hedonistic nature, under the banner of a selfish and bitter struggle, may later increase the disappointment of having been deprived of the higher values of the spirit, of having been deprived of your religious personality and of your hope in the life that will not end. Let your aspirations be inspired by the vigour and wisdom that only the Gospel of the divine Worker can give you.

To you, the poor, I have this to say: remember that you have a supreme friend-Christ who called you blessed, the privileged inheritors of his kingdom. He personified himself in you, so as to turn to you every good person, every generous heart, every man who wishes to save himself by seeking in you Christ the Saviour. Yes, strive to raise yourselves: you have a right and duty to do so. Demand the help of a society that wishes to be called civilized but do not curse either your lot or those who lack sensitivity, for you know that you are rich in the values of Christian patience and redemptive suffering.

A final word, to you who are rich: remember how severe Christ was in your regard, when he saw you self-satisfied, inactive and selfish. And on the other hand remember how responsive and grateful he was when he found you thoughtful and generous; he said that not even a cup of cold water given in a Christian spirit would go unrewarded. Perhaps it is your hour: the time for you to open your eyes and hearts to a great new vision not dedicated to the struggles of self-interest, hatred and violence, but dedicated to solicitous and generous love and to true progress.

All this, dear sons and daughters, dear brothers and sisters, is part of the message of the Catholic faith. I have the happy duty to proclaim it here, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour."

Pope Paul VI's Radiomessage to all people of Asia
Manila, Sunday 29 November 1970 - in English, Italian & Portuguese

"To you the countless millions of men and women, Our brothers and sisters who live in Asia, this crossroads of cultures ancient and modern, and in a special manner to those among you who are Our own children in Christ-the blessing of God, abiding peace and fraternity.

We are happy to address these words to you on the occasion of the inauguration of Radio Veritas, to which We desire to offer Our encouragement for an ever more enlightened, generous and fruitful activity. We also express Our appreciation to Cardinal Rufino Santos, who promoted this great enterprise, and to all those who have made possible the realization of this important work. It is Our fervent wish that through it there may reach you the echo of the teachings of Christ, to raise your hearts to the God of love and truth. We hope that it will knit among you, its listeners, bonds of evangelical love, so that, made conscious of  «the joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor» (Gaudium et spes, 1), you may together undertake the construction of a more just and more united society.

Brethren, this is the first time the head of the Catholic Church has come to this part of your continent, and providence has decreed that it should be in Our humble person. We are grateful, for We regard Asia with love and reverence for the venerable antiquity and richness of its millennial culture. This immense land is the source of great civilizations, the birthplace of world religions, the treasurehouse of ancient wisdom. We are now in a region where the cultural currents of the East and the more recent ones from the West have merged in mutual enrichment.

2. As We address Our words to you, We cannot omit mention of a consideration which is as obvious as it is worthy of being kept constantly in mind, Your continent, stretching from the limits of ancient Europe and Africa to the Pacific and covering very nearly a third of the lands given to man for his home, is inhabited by more than a half of all mankind. This fact alone gives some idea of the magnitude of the problems that face your people. At the same time it shows the importance-We might say the weight-that Asia has for the present, and, even more so, for the future of the entire world. This double aspect We regard with great interest, and with respect for those whose task it is to ensure with far-sighted wisdom, that development takes place with the necessary speed and care, not with clamorous and dangerous disorder, but in a beneficial and rational way. Our interest also goes hand in hand with Our good wishes and with Our willingness to contribute all that We can to this end. Our interest is mingled too with great hope.

No one more than Ourself sincerely wishes to see you take your rightful place in the world and receive your legitimate share in the means and opportunities of economic and social welfare. No one more than Ourself is aware of and deplores the situations of incomplete development or of unequal distribution that still exist among you, in the relations of one nation with another or among citizens of one and the same nation. No one more than Ourself - because of justice and out of affection for your peoples, without distinction or preference except for the weakest and the most needy, through the very interest We have in peaceful coexistence and in good and fruitful cooperation within your countries, throughout your vast regions and also outside and beyond them -expresses the fervent wish that such situations may be eliminated at the earliest possible moment and as completely as possible, in conformity with the natural rights of individuals, of the various social groups and of all peoples.

We are aware that the difficulties are many, also in the technical sphere. These difficulties cannot be bypassed without worldwide cooperation and mutual and disinterested assistance. Happily the consciousness of this necessity is gaining ground and the realization of the duty of solidarity is growing among the nations of the world. We exhort you to act generously in this great movement. We exhort also those outside the continent of Asia who have the ability and the duty to do so, to offer ever more generous cooperation for the integral development of all.

In like manner We feel the pressing duty to exhort all those in positions of responsibility to deal decisively with injustices in situations and in relations among various social groups, wherever such injustices are found. We exhort them further to give an ever stronger impulse, with open minds and hearts and with a firm hand, to the human betterment of all citizens, giving particular attention to the needs and rights of the most impoverished and abandoned among those citizens: from the workers who aspire to just wages to those who work on the land, where there is often a crying need for wise agrarian reform.

3. As We utter these exhortations We are sustained by a great hope. This hope We would like you to know, is based not only on the help of God and on the responsible commitment of all of you -from the most humble to the most exalted in your respective functions-but also on an awareness of the virtues and natural qualities which, in spite of the countless differences between one people and another, are common to all your peoples and of which certain ones constitute for those peoples a characteristic mark.

In fact, contemplating the past history elf your nations, brethren, We are impressed most of all by the sense of spiritual values dominating the thoughts of your sages and the lives of your vast multitudes. The discipline of your ascetics, the deep religious spirit of your peoples, your filial piety and attachment to the family, your veneration of ancestors-all of these point to the primacy of the spirit; all reveal your interminable quest for God, your hunger for the supernatural.

These characteristics are not of value for your spiritual life alone. Taken together, they not only do not constitute an obstacle to the attainment of that technical, economic and social progress to which your numberless peoples rightly aspire; but indeed, they offer a foundation of incalculable value to favour full progress in such a way so as not to sacrifice those deepest and most precious values which constitute man as the being that is directed by the influence of the spiritual - the master, at least potentially, of the cosmos and of its forces, and likewise the subduer of himself.

Science and technology are proof of the conquest of the material order by the spirit of man. And yet it is under the shadow of these achievements that materialism has taken shelter. Wherever technology is introduced on a large scale, there materialism also tries to insinuate itself. With your traditional spiritual outlook, however, your sense of discipline and morality, and the integrity of your family life, you must be able to counter materialism and even help Western civilization to overcome the dangers that its very progress brings in its wake.

4. But materialism with all its negative consequences is only the outward symptom of a deeper malaise now afflicting large sections of the human family: a weakening of faith in God, or even the total loss of it. And when atheism turns militant and aggressive, as it has done, it becomes immensely more dangerous to individuals and nations. All the God - fearing peoples of your continent and their religious leaders have to face this common danger. Asia, where great world religions were born, must not succumb to godlessness. We pray, and invite you all to pray with us, that God’s light and love may preserve your peoples from such a danger.

5. Here it is Our duty to say a word about the presence and action of the Catholic Church in your midst. We do so all the more willingly from this land of the Philippines, in which the Catholic Church has for centuries been fully at home. The Church feels at home not only here but in all your nations. What she has to bring to you also, that is the message of Christ, is not imposed upon its hearers but rather proclaimed in open and friendly words. It is offered for your instruction and meditation, and it is not such as in any way to cancel out or lessen the cultural and spiritual values that constitute your priceless heritages.

Christ is light and truth and life. And We proclaim him to you as he appears to our unshakeable faith. We are obedient to his charge, his command: Go, preach to all nations the good, the happy news, instructing them in my teaching of love and life. This We do, brothers and sisters, with humble love for you, with deep respect for yourselves and for your ancient and venerable traditions.

In fact, the Church, by virtue of her essential catholicity, cannot be alien to any country or people; she is bound to make herself native to every clime, culture and race. Wherever she is, she must strike her roots deep into the spiritual and cultural ground of the place and assimilate all that is of genuine value.

Our predecessors, the Second Vatican Council, and We Ourself, have not only encouraged this movement but also furnished the necessary guidelines for it. Thus, while preserving the cultural excellence and individuality of each nation, the Catholic Church will be able to communicate what is of universal value in each of them to all the others, for their mutual enrichment.

Christ and his message certainly have a divine charm which the deeply religious East can appreciate. Your faith and love, overflowing into your daily life and activity, can make this message, and Christ himself, visible and acceptable to your countrymen as no preaching can do.

6. This mission of bringing Christ and his Church close to the men and women of Asia belongs not only to the hierarchy, the priests and the religious brothers and sisters, but to each one of you, Our dear Catholic sons and daughters of the different nations which We are now addressing.

Together you make up the People of God. Together you must show forth Christ to others. In imitation of Jesus Christ who went about doing good (Cfr. Act. 10: 39), Christians are the best friends of their fellowmen. Their faith ,must impel them to work for the sanctification of the world (Cfr. Lumen gentium, 31) and to take the lead in that indispensable movement of brotherly solidarity. It is this which must satisfy all men in their hunger for bread, employment, shelter and education; this movement must bring a response to men’s yearnings for responsibility, freedom, justice, the moral virtues, and in a word, a «complete humanism» (Populorum progressio, 42).

7. We cannot bring Our words to a close without directing a heartfelt and particularly affectionate greeting to those peoples of your continent who are still oppressed by the tragedy of war. Our heart is heavy at the thought of the thousands of victims of the conflicts now taking place, at the thought of the orphans and widows abandoned, of the homes and villages destroyed, at the thought of the hate which is ‘spread abroad and which often explodes, even today, in acts of war and terrorism, affecting also many innocent and defenceless people. We have not ceased - nor shall We cease - in urgent appeals, both in public and in Our meetings with leaders, that an unflagging search be carried out, with wise and persistent goodwill, for the means to suspend hostilities and to reach at last a just and honourable peace, which will ensure for all the peoples involved freedom from disturbance, liberty and the chance for a serene and fitting existence. This appeal, this fervent plea, We wish solemnly to renew here and now. And to all those who are suffering, to all those who are seeking to alleviate their sufferings and to all those who are working for peace We send Our most sincere good wishes.

8. At the same time We renew from Our heart the expression of Our profound sharing in the bitter grief that in these recent weeks has struck a great and dear land, Pakistan, which has been the victim of a natural disaster the like of which probably does not exist in human memory.

9. Upon everyone, finally, upon all the peoples of Asia, upon their heads of state and rulers, whom We greet with respect, We invoke from on high wisdom and the will and sufficient strength to ensure the happy and rapid development of their respective nations throughout this entire continent.

To the heads of the religions of Asia and to their faithful We express Our esteem for the religious sense which they foster with such great concern for the well-being of their brothers. To Our dear Catholic sons and daughters, whom We once more recall with paternal affection, We extend Our good wishes and impart Our blessing.."

Pope Paul VI's Address to the Catholic Laity
Manila, Sunday 29 November 1970 - in English & Italian

"In order to have a special meeting with you it was Our wish to devote for you a few moments, in spite of quite a heavy programme. Because of your diverse activities in the apostolate, you are the object of the Church’s particular consideration. Animated by the grace of baptism, of confirmation and, for some of you, of marriage, you have responded to the call of God who asks each Christian to be «at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself» (Lumen gentium, 33).  May God be thanked for this great grace, that your hearts are encouraged to persevere in your commitment to burn with the spirit of Christ and to exercise your apostolate in the world as a kind of leaven (Cfr. Apostolicam actuositatem, 2).

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Lay Apostolate, which you all know and which today forms in a sense the charter of the whole lay apostolate, insists on the spirit with which that apostolate must be lived. «The apostolate is carried on through the faith, hope and charity which the Holy Spirit diffuses in the hearts of all members of the Church» (Ibid.).


The temptation would be to place our faith merely in the carrying out of certain religious acts. We know how fond the Christians of the Philippines are of external demonstrations of their faith-and rightly so. You are not unaware that you must go further: your faith must be enlightened by study of the Sacred Scriptures, of the Church’s teaching, and in particular of the decisions of the recent Council. To be a witness capable of drawing men to God, your faith must find expression in your life. Because they are Christians, lay people engaged in the apostolate must be the best citizens, the most honest ones and those most concerned for the common good. «Neither family concerns nor secular affairs should be excluded from their religious programme of life» (Apostolicam actuositatem, 4).


Asia, the most populous continent of our globe - Asia is on the move. Millions and millions of men aspire today to better conditions of life and to the satisfaction of their profound religious restlessness, which is a thirsting for God. The immense obstacles that slow down or impede their advance towards this integral development carry the risk of causing feelings of despair. «The laity must take on the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation», declares the Council. «As citizens they must cooperate with other citizens, using their own particular skills and acting on their own responsibility. Everywhere and in all things they must seek the justice characteristic of God’s kingdom» (Ibid.). How could they reach that goal, if they were not impelled by hope, by the assurance which is founded on God’s strength and help. Delays, difficulties or failures do not unsettle or overcome a person who is animated by this God-given certitude.


Jesus Christ teaches us that love of God cannot be separated from love of one’s neighbour. The apostle must seek a charity that is ever more real, ever more universal. His love for his brothers, especially the weakest and poorest, will have its root in the love which God has for all, particularly for the least of those who are his (Cfr. Matth. 25: 40). Love for God is not something for oneself alone; it must be shared. The committed layman will be urged on by charity to study the concrete situations of his brothers; he will display imagination in the application of solutions to problems and he will show concern for the unfolding of the real values of his people’s culture, whether the values be artistic, intellectual or religious. Having assimilated the Church’s teaching, he will be faithful to the aim of every authentic social apostolate: a humanism open to the values of the spirit and to God, who is their source (Cfr. Populorum progressio, 42). He will keep before his mind «that the new command of love is the basic law of human perfection and hence of the world’s transformation» (Gaudium et spes, 38). You live in a relationship of trust with the hierarchy. Adding your collaboration to their apostolate, in docility and dialogue, you make use of your special experience and your own responsibility, and you are aware of having a vocation to sanctify the world in the very exercise of the duties of your state. You will thus work with men of goodwill to build a city based on brotherhood, where a man will be respected for his unique dignity as being one created «in the likeness of God», and where personal, family and social life can be orientated to Jesus Christ, «the goal of human history» (Gaudium et spes, 45; cfr. Apostolicam actuositatem, 20; Gaudium et spes, 40-45).

We commend your generosity to the Virgin Mary, who is so much loved here. The Mother of God, whose glory comes entirely from her Son, will guard your commitment and will pray that your apostolate may respond to the deep hope of men, and thus cause this great land, with its deeply religious soul, to shine with the brightness of the good news-the source of justice, truth, liberty and love."

Pope Paul VI's words to the inhabitants of a Manila suburb
Manila, Sunday 29 November 1970 - in Italian

"Io ringrazio coloro che mi hanno guidato fino a questo quartiere, perché io qua sono mandato; io qua devo venire, perché devo fare mia la missione di Gesù Cristo, il Quale da Dio, dal Padre che sta nei cieli, è stato mandato, come Egli ci ha detto, a portare ai Poveri la buona novella, il Vangelo (Luc. 4, 18).
Venendo fra voi io prendo coscienza della mia missione; e perciò anche voi io ringrazio, che mi accogliete, e che ascoltate, per un istante, la mia parola.
Vengo fra voi come inviato da Cristo. Perciò come un Pastore al suo gregge, come un amico, come un fratello. Sono capo e ministro della Chiesa cattolica; e sento il dovere di proclamare qui, davanti a voi, che la Chiesa vi ama; ama voi, Poveri!
Che cosa vuol dire che la Chiesa vi ama?
1. Vuol dire che la Chiesa riconosce innanzitutto la vostra dignità, di uomini, di figli di Dio; la vostra eguaglianza a tutti gli altri uomini; la preferenza, che a voi è dovuta, perché avete molti bisogni, per dare alla vostra vita sufficienza e benessere, sia materiale, che spirituale. Io sento l’obbligo di professare, qui più che altrove, i «diritti dell’uomo», per voi e per tutti i Poveri del mondo.
2. Perciò devo anche dire che la Chiesa deve amarvi, assistervi, aiutarvi, anche con mezzi pratici e con suo generoso servizio; e deve favorire la vostra liberazione economica e sociale, ricordando a sé e alla società civile di riconoscere effettivamente i vostri fondamentali diritti umani, e di promuovere in ogni campo la vostra possibilità di raggiungere, per le vie dignitose dell’assistenza (che noi chiamiamo carità), poi dell’onesto lavoro e dell’ordine civile, lo sviluppo e il benessere della vita moderna.
3. E vi devo anche ricordare, in virtù del mio ministero apostolico, che, oltre il pane materiale, oltre il benessere temporale, a cui legittimamente aspirate, e al cui raggiungimento tutti devono esservi solidali, voi avete, come ogni vero uomo, altri e superiori bisogni, perché, come ha insegnato Gesù Cristo, «la vita di un uomo non dipende dall’abbondanza dei beni, che egli possiede» (Luc. 12, 15). È questa la grande illusione del nostro tempo, la quale fa credere che lo scopo supremo della vita consista nella lotta e nella conquista dei beni economici e sociali, dei beni temporali ed esteriori. Voi siete creati per un bene superiore, per un «regno dei cieli», nel quale soltanto si può avere la pienezza della vita, presente e futura, come appunto Gesù ci insegnò. Siete anche voi chiamati ad essere cristiani, con la fede, con la grazia, con l’onestà della vita, con l’appartenenza alla Chiesa cattolica. Non è questa una fantasia vana; è la verità. E voi, come tutti i Poveri, i sofferenti, i desiderosi di giustizia e di pace, voi siete i primi, i veri chiamati a questo destino di redenzione e di felicità.
Lasciate allora che io qui, come umile Vicario di Cristo, faccia risuonare per voi e per il mondo, il suo umano e divino messaggio: «Beati i Poveri, secondo lo spirito, perché di essi è il regno dei cieli» (Matth. 5, 3).
Ecco: «venendo a voi, nell’abbondanza della benedizione di Cristo» (Rom. 15, 25) io sono venuto."

Pope Paul VI's words to members of various communities
Manila, Sunday 29 November 1970 - in English & Italian

"In spite of Our great desire, it was not possible for Us to accept the pressing invitation which your Cardinal extended to Us in your name. We do have, however, the pleasure of meeting here a delegation from your island, and it is with particular affection that we greet you. We thank Cardinal Rosales and all who made it possible for you to come here to Manila.

Tell your fellow-citizens that the Pope loves them, that he gives his blessing to the clergy, the religious, the laity - to all the families and to all the people of the island. The message We give you for them is the very one Jesus Christ gave to his apostles before he left them : «Love one another». That is the sign by which to tell the true disciples of the one who came to save all men of every rate and language and country (Cfr. Io. 13: 34-35).

With deep sentiments of fatherly affection in Our heart We bestow on you Our Apostolic Blessing.

On the occasion of Our passing through Manila We are greatly gratified to bless these new houses.
Our ministry is that of the Gospel. The aim of Our journey to Asia is therefore of the spiritual order: it is to proclaim the infinite riches of Christ, the hope that comes to us from his resurrection and which cannot be confounded (Cfr. Eph. 3). Our mission is to see to it that by his grace this seed of the Word should grow and multiply in hearts, that this hope should begin now to be realized in the lives of men of today in the course of their pilgrimage on earth. We too must share with all, especially with those who are poor or in any way afflicted, their joys and hopes, their griefs and anxieties (Gaudium et spes, preface). This is the meaning of Our presence here.

We know the serious housing problem which affects so many thousands of families in your capital, as happens in the greater part of the large cities throughout the world. The growth of population and the flight from the land towards metropolitan centres complicate extremely the activity of those in charge. Besides, it seems to Us not to be enough to expect everything from the competence of the public authorities: it is a social problem of so broad a scope and of such deep seriousness that every conscience should be touched by it. Lack of housing or the absence of the minimum to make it livable is one of the chief causes of the degradation of family life and of the evil temptation to violence.

It is a world-wide problem, and a particularly crucial one in developing countries. If it is to be resolved, it calls for the readiness of all to give proof of imagination, social solidarity and generosity. That is why We extend Our warm felicitations to the individuals and organizations who have made the execution of this project possible; We publicly express the wish that their example may be followed for the greater well-being of all.

We pray Almighty God to bless them and their families, to bless the families about to occupy these dwellings and to comfort those who are waiting to have the joy of living in such conditions.

Dear brothers,
We greet you in the love of Christ as members and representatives of various Christian communions. Although your communities and the Catholic Church are not as yet linked in bonds of full unity, nevertheless we are brothers (Cfr. Unitatis redintegratio, 3). We share the faith which makes us subject to one Lord. We acknowledge one Baptism. The «written word of God, the life of grace, faith, hope and charity and many other gifts of the Holy Spirit» (Ibid.) are the common heritage bestowed on us by the Father because of the merits of the saving sacrifice of his beloved Son.

At this moment one cannot but think of the important calling of the peoples of the Philippine Islands. This land has a special vocation to be the city set on the hill, the lamp standing on high (Cfr. Matth. 5: 14-16) giving shining witness amid the ancient and noble cultures of Asia. Both as individuals and as a nation you are to show forth the light of Christ by the quality of your lives.

In the first place this calls for a living unity in charity and truth. Our Savior asked that for us of his Father when he prayed that his followers might be one, united by the very life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit «so that the world may believe it was you who sent me» (Io. 17: 21).

We are all painfully aware that this unity is not yet perfect among us. But we are heartened because our Lord has prayed for his followers «that they may become perfectly one» (Io. 17: 23).

And indeed it is in God’s goodness that we have become aware again in these times of the very real bonds already existing between us. We have rediscovered what is common in our heritage and therefore now we are able to pray together. Now we are able to engage in dialogue and in study of theological problems.

Moreover, in a way that is particularly needed at this time, we can now pledge ourselves to work together to promote justice for all, in our own lands as well as among the family of nations. And you have many opportunities to do this here in the Philippine Islands.

There is the boundless desire of your young people to achieve a society in which honesty and integrity are paramount. There is the desire of Christians, both of the Catholic Church and of the communions to which you belong, to be the new leaven that will help purge out all corruption (Cfr. 1 Cor. 5: 7-8) in particular that which proliferates when all the concern of men’s hearts is set on power and wealth. And in this happy moment of encounter We would like to stress what We have already said: «We are sure that all Christians, our brethren, will wish to expand their common cooperative effort in order to help mankind vanquish selfishness, pride and rivalries, to overcome ambitions and injustices, to open up to all the road to a more human life, where each man will be loved and helped as his brother, as his neighbor» (Populorum progressio, 82).

This is the direction to which the Catholic Church is committed. The task of assisting the whole development of human beings is to be served by Catholics working together with their fellow Christians, and indeed with all men of good will.

As you thus proclaim the Good News of Christ by the quality of your lives and by the integrity of your social order, may it also become increasingly possible for you and for the sons of the Catholic Church «to make together before the nations a common profession of faith in God and in Jesus Christ» (Ad gentes, 15).

Dear friends, We thank you for the gracious courtesy of your visit to us and We pray that Our presence with you at this time may serve the cause of  «him whose name unites us» (Ibid.).

We were pleased to know that Jewish people in the Philippines expressed joy and expectation when they learned about Our desire to visit this country. Now that We have come, We wish them to know that Our heart responds to theirs with joy. We hope that the feeling of expectation will be replaced with one of spiritual fulfilment, both in their hearts and in ours, as they and We together recall on this occasion what the Second Vatican Council called «the spiritual bond linking the people of the New Covenant with Abraham’s stock» (Nostra aetate, 4).

We are grateful for the gift of these specially inscribed copies of the Gospel of Mark presented to us by the Philippine Bible Society, a member of that worldwide organization, the United Bible Societies, with which the Catholic Church now shares many fruitful cooperative programs.
We know that, with the approval of the bishops, there are interconfessional translations of the Bible in five of the languages of this country, made in accordance with the guidelines approved by Us and by the authorities of the United Bible Societies.

It is a pleasure to have in Our hands today the firstfruits of that work in the Philippines, the Gospel of Mark in Tagalog and Ilocano.

We fervently hope that deeper acquaintance with Christ through the word of God will bring about better and ever more widespread witness to Christ in the Philippines.

Your desire that We should also speak to you who represent all the religions practised in this beautiful archipelago coincided with our own desire. It is with joy that We have found the occasion for this meeting.

Placed as We are at the head of a Church that is called Catholic and experiences catholicity - that is to say, universality - Our thoughts and Our concern cannot be halted by any barrier of place, people or religion; they extend to all men. With all the more reason We feel Ourself close to those who have in common with Us the momentous search for the divine and a trusting submission to the laws of heaven, those who look to religion for answers to the great problems which confront and torment mankind and who also find therein their strength and their hope.

You are certainly aware that in these days the Church has wished to open herself still more to fraternal contact with all peoples of all civilizations and all religions. She respects and admires the treasures bestowed on all people, and she invites them to join with he wherever collaboration is possible for a more perfect and universal reign of justice and peace, and for the eradication of the great misfortunes or miseries afflicting so many millions of our brothers. It is always a joy to find such unitedness as is the case in your country. We pray God to preserve it and increase it, for his honour and service, and for your welfare and that of the whole world.

Dear friends,

There would be something missing during Our visit to Manila if We did not have a moment to say a word to the representatives of the press - to those to whom gales the merit of publicizing Our journey by means of the marvels of mass media.

These marvels have today attained a rare degree of perfection. The registering of events and their transmission are absolutely prodigious. It seems to Us that this is accompanied by a notable increase of fatigue on the part of those who are involved in this difficult mission.

We appreciate the fact that you must be constantly attentive, that you must concentrate on making summaries which are at the same time rapid and exact. Often the external conditions under which you work are unfavourable. Besides all this there is the necessary work involved in completing your articles and stories. Be assured that We are conscious of how trying your work can be. We acknowledge its great merit and the debt of gratitude due to you from those who benefit from your labours.

We are Ourself one of those beneficiaries and We are pleased to state Our thankfulness and to give public expression to it in this Our meeting.

Your activity is a difficult one - as We have said - but let Us now add that it is an exalted one. You know that the greatness of a mission is measured in relation to the ideal which it serves and by the quality of the services that it renders. The ideal which you are serving is the truth itself. You must yourselves reflect this truth: it is up to you to accept it and to transmit it to others. And may this challenge, dear friends, never leave you.

Never disfigure the truth: never deceive those who read your reporting and look to you with confidence. How great is the good that journalists can do just by the way in which they present the news. What a difference there is between objective presentation and tendentious presentation. Your conscience judges this, and We pray that it may always be upright and intent on serving truth. We repeat with deep conviction: your mission is a great one: only you can do it. The World depends on you.

As We conclude, We would make one last remark. For those of you who are making an extensive following of Our trip, necessitating your absence from home, Me express Our appreciation also for the sacrifice and the inconvenience. When you return home, We would request you to convey Our greetings to your families.

Upon all of you We invoke in abundance the blessings of God."

Pope Paul VI's Address at the Farewell Ceremony
Airport of Manila, Sunday 29 November 1970 - in English & Italian

"This brief stay in the Philippines has been a very great joy for Us. We have lived through these days surrounded by the affection and the inexhaustible kindness of the Filipino people. It has been Our good fortune to experience their spirit of hospitality and the fervor of their religious faith, and also to catch a glimpse of their dynamism. We bid them good-bye with emotion and an inexpressible gratitude.

Our thanks go to all those who have made this visit possible. First of all to His Excellency the President of the Republic, who has had the kindness to come to meet Us together with the members of his Government. Then also to the civic authorities of the city of Manila, who have prepared and organized Our stay remarkably well. We thank Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila, and the episcopate of the Philippines, whose fraternal affection has made Our being among them so pleasant.

We shall never forget the country of the Philippines. We shall pray for it. May God sustain all those who hold authority in the land, both in the civil and the religious spheres, to assure this worthy people the benefits of civilization and of economic and social progress, as well as the graces of a clearsighted and generous Christian life. May they all, each in the sphere of his proper competence and yet in close collaboration for the common good, remain full of courage and hope in spite of the dimensions of their task.

We are continuing Our journey, comforted by this first stage which will ever remain imprinted on Our memory. The bond of love which links Rome-the mother and head and still more the friend and servant of al1 the Churches-to the Churches of Asia has been wonderfully reinforced. We see in this a pledge of the divine blessing upon Our spiritual and apostolic mission. May God bless the Philippines. May his blessing extend to all those who live in this immense archipelago, to the most farflung of its islands.

Nawla’y manatili sa inyo ang Pag-ibig at awang Diyos!
May the mercy and love of God be always with you!

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Long live the Philippines!"