CHIROGRAPH OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL I
FOR THE NOMINATION OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
To Our Venerable Brother
His Eminence Cardinal Jean Villot
Titular Bishop of the Suburban See of Frascati
Called by the Lord's will, manifested to us through the agreement of the Cardinals, to guide the rudder of the barque of Peter, faced with the formidable responsibility of the pontifical ministry, we are immediately preoccupied about the choice of the one whose duty it would be to be associated more directly in the day to day cares of the Church government in the function of Secretary of State.
One's thought immediately turns to you, Venerable Brother, to whom Our Predecessor of venerated memory, Paul VI, had already confided that onerous charge, emphasising "the gifts of mind, of heart, of will, as also of pastoral awareness and wisdom" (Autograph Letter dated 2 May 1969) for which you are distinguished.
We are pleased, therefore, to entrust to you the office of our Secretary of State, in this way testifying to you in front of the Catholic Episcopate and the whole Church, the deep admiration, the sincere appreciation, and the paternal goodwill that we nourish for you personally. With this our Autograph Letter, we likewise nominate you Prefect of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican State, and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
We are certain that, thanks to the aid of him who "does not disappoint those who trust in him" (cf. Dan 3:40), you, Your Eminence, will know how to cooperate with our pastoral work, sharing with us the day to day toil of the apostolic service for building up the body of Christ, which is the Church (cf. Col 1: 24), for the well-being of all mankind.
Invoking upon you, and upon the work which awaits you, the abundance of heavenly favours, we are happy to convey to you, with the expression of our affection, our strengthening Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican Apostolic Palace, 27 August 1978, the first year of our pontificate.
IOANNES PAULUS PP. I
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