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Friday, 11 April 1969


Mr. Minister,

Many sentiments rise in Our heart on this occasion and all make a claim to take first place. We have cordial feelings of welcome for Your Excellency and the personages accompanying you. We feel gratitude for the deferential visit which you are making to Us and which We appreciate in all its significance. Finally, We feel pleasure at the sentiments that We have just heard from you, and affectionate regard for the great Argentine Nation.

With devout reference to the Magisterium of the Church and Our person, Your Excellency has been so kind as to give expression to ideas concerning organic and unified development of the peoples, and about authentic and efficacious democracy in a nation's inner life and its positive participation in the international community. It is Our ardent wish that such lofty aims may continually take the form of concrete realities, so that they may become the indispensable path to peace, that peace which presupposes great virtues and magnanimous moral and spiritual virtues in hearts. Christianity is an inexhaustible fount of such virtues.

Why is it that even, today, after all the tragic lessons of history, mankind is still divided, the social classes have not found a means of fraternal equilibrium, and coexistence is upon difficult and bloodstained roads'? Why are not the structures of the temporal city based on the indispensable principles of genuine humanism, above all on the wisdom, justice and charity of Christianity!

Can those ends, so much spoken of today, of responsible freedom, the rights of the person, of the dignity of the peoples, of respectful harmony amongst regions and countries, teach full and effective attainment while they fail to have a logical reference to the living God from whom comes the light of the moral conscience and the sentiment of brotherly solidarity'?

We well know that such are the convictions of Argentina, which is happily endowed with a precious spiritual heritage as well as material resources. We well know that your country, where so many emigrants go and where they meet with constructive hospitality, is engaged in a programme of further material cultural and moral progress and collaboration with other nations. Those are ideals that the Church favours within her spiritual mission and universal vocation and which she calls upon her children to accomplish, because, as the Second Vatican Council told us, "the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts". (Const. Gaudium et Spes, n. 1).

Mr. Minister, while We offer Our prayers for a successful conclusion to the journey that has brought you to Europe, We reply with pleasure to the greetings that you have brought to us in the name of His Excellency the President of the Catholic Argentine Nation, and We invoke the most plentiful divine blessings upon all.

*ORa n.17 p.3.


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