Excerpt from the Address of His Excellency, Most Reverend Gabriel
Montalvo, Papal Nuncio to the United States of America
to the Catholic Bishops of the United States at their semi-annual meeting,
June 2000, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Last February, the Pope - having received an invitation extended to him
by a group of legislators, addressed a
special message to the
Fiftieth National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Congress of the United
States. It was the honor and the privilege of the Papal Nuncio to bring the
message of the Pope to those assembled for the breakfast.
Despite the fact this is a document with rich doctrinal contents and, I would
say, of national interests -even though it was directed specifically to the U.S.
legislators, it received little attention beyond the scope of that breakfast. I
would think it useful to share with you some of the ideas that were proposed by
His Holiness in this address, with an expectation that the contents of this
document might present a true program of direction for the whole of society in
your great country.
Reflecting on the celebration of the "New Millennium" - a moment to which he
has looked forward since the beginning of his Pontificate - John Paul II
stressed that the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 obliges Christians to renew our
faith in Christ, the Key, the Center and the Goal of all history. He then
pointed out that "this great vision of faith has an authentically public
dimension: for the deeper understanding of the truth about human nature and
human fulfillment given to us by faith naturally inspires efforts to build a
more human world."
The Pope then evokes the immense sufferings caused by economic and political
systems that have not respected the full truth about the human person and the
need for transcendent values in the human quest for Truth and liberty!
The Holy Father asserted also that the building of a world that is more
worthy of the human person can not set aside moral responsibility- which
according to him can never be considered "a purely private matter. The spread of
a purely utilitarian approach to the great moral issues of public life points to
the urgent discourse about the moral norms that are the foundation of any just
In a tone that is both prophetic and somewhat moving the Pope paid homage to
America for all that she has done in favor of freedom in the world - especially
during the darkest days of the Twentieth Century. He then posed this most
serious question: "Will America continue to inspire people to build a truly
better world, a world in which freedom is ordered to truth and goodness? Or will
America offer the example of a pseudo-freedom which, detached from the moral
norms that give life direction and fruitfulness, turns in practice into a narrow
and ultimately inhuman selfenslavement, one which smothers people's spirits and
dissolves the foundations of social life? These questions pose themselves in a
particularly sharp way when we confront the urgent issue of protecting every
human being's inalienable right to life from conception until natural death."
These forthright words of the Supreme Pontiff offer all of us some new
encouragement in our not so easy task to lead the society in which we are living
to a vision and a way of life that is more consistent with Truth and true
For quite some time, dear bishops, you have been carrying out a
providential, wise and untiring work in defense of Life. May the
Lord strengthen and bless all of your initiatives which are directed towards the
building of a society that is more humane and more in accord with the
plan of Almighty God.