Address of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II
to the Members of the Vatican Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice”


Saturday, September 24, 1994

1. Thank you, Cardinal, for the amiable words with which you have expressed the sentiments of the founding members and members of the “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” Foundation, and you have shown me the activity and prospects. To each of them, and to the family members who accompany them, I extend a cordial greeting: your presence, dear friends, is a source of joy for me.

2. Particularly comforting was the expression of my adhesion to my commitment for peace. Yes, peace is a primary commitment of the Pope: because God makes himself invoked with the name of Father; because Christ, “Prince of Peace”, has given new dimensions to the commandment of love and has left us that peace that the world cannot give; and because the Holy Spirit, who infuses the love of God into our hearts, has peace among its most precious fruits – with charity and joy – (Gal 5:22).

In this action in the service of peace, I know that I am fulfilling the will of God, who is Love; and in every moment I feel supported and, so to speak, as if driven by the deep desire and ardent prayer of the whole Church. For this I now say to you my heartfelt thanks for your adhesion.

3. As Cardinal Castillo Lara has already mentioned, the realization of social justice is one of the essential preconditions for building authentic and stable peace. Indeed, in the current context of “globalization of the economy”, to which the Encyclical Centesimus Annus also refers (cf. n. 58), it appears increasingly evident that there can be no peace, if with economic progress they are not combined also integral human development and social solidarity.

The “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” Foundation has, among the purposes that characterize it, the knowledge, diffusion and realization of the Church’s doctrine in social matters. It is therefore spontaneous for me, in the very interest of the contribution that may derive for the supreme good of peace, to encourage you to operate with renewed impetus according to the objectives established in your Statute.

What the Foundation will be able to do, according to its aims, in a very delicate economic and political context, is worthy of praise. I am delighted that new initiatives are being studied to increase membership and to expand and intensify the activity of the Foundation.

4. In Italy, in every Italian region, there are many morally healthy entrepreneurial and financial forces, rich in creativity, eager to be able to express themselves according to their best potential; and this not only to obtain a legitimate profit, but also to dutifully put their talents to good use and expand in a solidarity participation.

For them, your Foundation could be a suitable environment for reflection and the elaboration of ideas and resolutions.

According to a well-defined purpose enshrined in your Statute, the Foundation, among other things, “favors initiatives to develop the presence and operation of the Church in the various spheres of contemporary society” (Statute, art. 3, letter b). This clause opens up a vast field for making the most of your recognized experience and your inventive skills, and may find application not only within the borders of Italy, but also in other countries where the need is greater, starting from those prostrated by nefarious wars, as soon as conditions of peace allow it.

5. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude for the funds raised by the Foundation in 1993, the first year of its activity, and made available to the Holy See. They are an important testimony of your generosity. You know that, in the eyes of the Lord, nothing is lost of what you give for the support of his Church.

6. In your commitment in favor of the “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” Foundation, as well as in daily occupations, the apostolic blessing which I impart to you accompanies you, willingly extending it to your dear ones, to your collaborators and to all your employees.

© Copyright 1994 – Vatican Publishing House