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


Saturday, November 25, 1995

Dear Cardinal,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

Ladies and Gentlemen!

1. I am happy to extend my welcome to each of you. First of all, I greet Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara and thank him for the amiable words he has just addressed to me on your behalf. I then greet the Pro-President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, Mons. Lorenzo Antonetti, the Secretary Monsignor Giovanni Lajolo, as well as the President, the Council of Administration and all of you, Members of the Foundation who together with your family members, you kindly wanted to visit me on the occasion of your annual study conference.

This year you have chosen the doctrine of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae in relation to the social and pastoral orientations of the Centesimus Annus as the theme to which to reflect. In reality, God’s love for man, from which the dignity of the person and respect for the life of every human being flows, is an integral part of the Gospel that the Church must tirelessly announce and witness to the world. In fact, it has as its commitment “the care and responsibility for man, entrusted to her by Christ himself, for this man who, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is the only creature on earth that God willed for himself and for whom God has his plan, that is, participation in eternal salvation” (Centesimus Annus, 53).

2. Your Foundation has made adherence to the mission of the Church the foundation that supports and guides the Christian testimony of its members in the context of the business reality in which they operate. At the basis of your Statute is the commendable commitment to “collaborate in the diffusion of human, ethical, moral and Christian values, as set out in particular in the Encyclical Centesimus Annus” (art. 3).

While I thank you for this commendable availability, I hope that the statutory commitment, accepted by you also as a personal choice, will lead you to the continuous research and concrete support of those values, which, as a strong spiritual structure, must constitute the sure orientation of the your action as Christian entrepreneurs. You will thus certainly be able to contribute to building on them, as on solid pillars, a truly free and supportive society, where the dignity of the person is fully promoted and life is respected from conception to its natural sunset.

In the Encyclicals Centesimus Annus and Evangelium Vitae, as in the other pronouncements on social issues, I had the opportunity to point out various situations, larvae or blatant, which threaten the life and dignity of the human being. In a sense, they characterize that “culture of death” which, in the name of a fallacious progress and on the basis of a false concept of freedom, is spread by those who, powerful and rich, violate the rights of the weak and the poor. This happens, for example, when a newly conceived life is eliminated, or when a population is induced to behave in contrast with the fundamental ethical principles.

These attitudes – with the related cultural assumptions, which ultimately lead to the practical negation of a Creator God and the natural law carved by him in the heart of the person – not only are not harbingers of well-being, but ultimately threaten the very survival of the society. It is therefore urgent that all men of goodwill take courageous and constant action to unmask similar widespread pseudo-values ​​and instead promote authentic ethical values, aimed at safeguarding human, individual and social life.

3. I am therefore very comforted to know that you, members of the “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice” Foundation, work to deepen the social teaching of the Church and strive to translate it into practice not only in the context of your businesses, but also how far your professional and Christian action goes.

Continue on that demanding mission; always remain united to the Church and support, especially with your prayer, the Supreme Pontiff in the arduous task of proclaiming – “opportune et importune” – the Gospel of Christ.

Your business and social activities put you in close contact with the world of work and production, and therefore with the man who manages the goods, the result of his effort and his genius. May the Lord help you to spread the spirit of solidarity and respect for every human life. You will thus be able to contribute to affirm the authentic “civilization of love” in the world.

4. I cannot conclude this meeting without expressing my gratitude for the resources that the Foundation has made available to the Holy See, also in the past year. They are a tangible sign of support for the great and multiple needs which the Supreme Pontiff must provide by virtue of his universal mission. God reward you abundantly.

With these sentiments, I impart to you here the Apostolic Blessing, which I gladly extend to your loved ones and to all your collaborators.

© Copyright 1995 – Vatican Publishing House