ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Fornebu International Airport, Oslo
Madam Prime Minister,
1. My visit to Norway has begun in Oslo and now takes me to Trondheim, where I will participate in an ecumenical prayer service at the tomb of Saint Olav. At Trondheim and Tromsų, I will also meet the pastors and people of the Catholic communities there.
In leaving Oslo, I express my gratitude to both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities for their kind help in making this visit possible. In a particular way, I thank His Majesty King Olav and you, Madam Prime Minister. It is my earnest hope that the good relations which exist between Norway and the Holy See will continue and grow stronger in the service of world peace achieved through greater understanding between all peoples. Peace and understanding are causes close to the hearts of all Norwegians, and have their source in the highest aspirations of the human spirit. By your nation’s generosity and commitment to help those in need, and through your membership of the appropriate international organizations, you have displayed a striking determination to work for a better world. May God bless you in your efforts to share the many blessings you have received.
2. The warmth and kindness of the Norwegian people were nowhere more evident than in yesterday’s Mass and subsequent ecumenical meeting. This response was particularly gratifying to me, because my ministry as Pope commits me to strengthening the bonds which unite all who believe in Christ. It is my hope that all Christians here in Norway, by deepening their faith and cooperating with one another, will foster the virtues and values that have stood as the basis of your country’s character and way of life for a thousand years. I am deeply grateful for the freedom with which the Catholic Church can proclaim her teachings, and for the generous support which Catholics receive from Norway’s educational system, which encourages them in their efforts to educate their children in the knowledge of their faith and the service of all that is good.
3. Norway’s Catholics, despite their small numbers, are an important part of the universal Catholic Church and are very close to my heart. Their faith, rooted in the truths of the Gospel message, has much to offer Norway as it faces the future. A significant role in the Catholic Church in Norway is played by people from elsewhere who have made this country their new home. These Catholics bring many gifts to both their Church and their adopted land. I thank all of you for the concern and help that you have given to these immigrants, especially to those who have come here in the hope of beginning a new life in freedom and peace.
4. Dear friends: in today’s world, there is a great thirst for true peace and harmony based upon justice for all people and on respect for the world we live in. Today more than ever we sense the interdependence of all individuals and nations. In my Encyclical “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis”, I used the term “solidarity” to describe the moral response which is now being demanded of us. Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit ourselves to the common good, the good of all and of each individual, based upon our responsibility to and for each other (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38). I expressed the conviction that this solidarity is the path to peace and genuine development (Ibid. 39). Among the nations, Norway has played an important diplomatic and humanitarian role in strengthening the bonds of international cooperation. The Catholic Church, which seeks the authentic development of man and of society, a development which respects and promotes all the dimensions of the human person, is grateful for your efforts. As I leave your capital city, I pray that Norwegian society will continue to grow in the ways of peace and in accordance with the best of your traditions.
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in all ways”. God bless Norway! God bless you all!
Gud velsigne Norge! (God bless Norway).
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