Pastoral Significance of the Visit ad limina Apostolorum
(cf. arts. 28-32)
That pastoral spirit, prominent in the revision of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, has also led to attaching greater significance to bishops’ visits ad limina Apostolorum, bringing a more adequate light to bear on the pastoral importance which the visits have gained in the present life of the Church.
1. These visits, as we know, take place when the bishops, joined as they are to the Apostolic See with the bond of communion and presiding in charity and service over the particular Churches throughout the world, set out at certain appointed times for Rome to visit the tombs of the Apostles.
On the one hand, these visits give the bishops an opportunity to sharpen their awareness of their responsibilities as successors of the Apostles and to feel more intensely their sense of hierarchical communion with the successor of Peter. On the other hand, the visits in some way constitute the highest and most central point in that universal ministry that the Holy Father is carrying out when he embraces his brother bishops, the pastors of the particular Churches, and takes up with them the business of sustaining their mission in the Church.
2. These ad limina visits bring into full view this movement or life-blood between the particular Churches and the Church as a whole that theologians call perichoresis. The process may be compared to the diastolic-systolic movements within the human body when the blood is carried to the outer limbs and from there flows back to the heart.
Some trace and example of a first ad limina visit is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, in which the Apostle tells the story of his conversion and the journey he undertook among the pagans. Although he knew that he had been called and instructed personally by Christ who had conquered death, he wrote these words: "[Then] did I go up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas. I stayed fifteen days with him" (Gal 1:18). "It was not until fourteen years later that I travelled up to Jerusalem again [...] I expounded the whole gospel that I preach the gentiles, to make quite sure that the efforts I was making and had already made should not be fruitless" (Gal 2: 1-2).
3. The natural result of this meeting with Peter’s successor, first guardian of the deposit of truth passed on by the Apostles, is to strengthen unity in the same faith, hope and charity, and more and more to recognize and treasure that immense heritage of spiritual and moral wealth that the whole Church, joined with the bishop of Rome by the bond of communion, has spread throughout the world.
During the ad limina visit, two men stand face to face together, namely the bishop of a certain particular Church and the bishop of Rome, who is also the successor of Peter. Both carry on their shoulders the burden of office, which they cannot relieve themselves from, but they are not at all divided one from the other, for both of them in their own way represent, and must represent, the sum total of the faithful, the whole of the Church, and the sum total of the bishops, which together constitute the only "we and us" in the body of Christ. It is in their communion that the faithful under their care communicate with one another, and likewise the universal Church and particular Churches communicate with each other.
4. For all these reasons, the ad limina visits express that pastoral solicitude which thrives in the universal Church. Here we see the meeting of the pastors of the Church, joined together in a collegial unity that is based on apostolic succession. In this College, each and every one of the bishops displays that solicitude of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, which all have received by way of inheritance.
This indeed is the highest ideal of the apostolate that has to be carried out in the Church and which concerns the bishops together with the successor of Peter. For each one of them stands at the centre of all the apostolate, in all its forms, that is carried out in each particular Church, joined at the same time in the universal dimension of the Church as a whole. All this apostolate, again in all its forms, demands and includes the work and help of all those who are building the Body of Christ in the Church, be it universal or particular: the priests, men and women religious consecrated to God, and the laypeople.
5. Now if the ad limina visits are conceived and viewed in this way, they come to be a specific moment of that communion which so profoundly determines the nature and essence of the Church, as it was admirably indicated in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, especially in chapters II and III. Given that society nowadays is moving towards a greater unification, and the Church experiences herself as "a sign and instrument [...] of communion with God and of unity among the whole of humankind," it seems utterly necessary that a permanent communication between particular Churches and the Apostolic See should be promoted and built up, especially by sharing pastoral solicitude regarding questions, experiences, problems, projects and ideas about life and action.
When pastors converge on Rome and meet together, there comes to pass a remarkable and most beautiful sharing of gifts from among all those riches in the Church, be they universal or local and particular, in accordance with that principle of catholicity by which "each part contributes its own gifts to other parts and to the whole Church, so that the whole and each of the parts are strengthened by the common sharing of all things and by the common effort to attain to fullness in unity."
Furthermore and in the same way, ad limina visits aim not only at a direct sharing of information but also and especially to an increase and strengthening of a collegial structure in the body of the Church, bringing about a remarkable unity in variety.
This communication in the Church is a two-way movement. On the one hand, the bishops converge towards the centre and the visible foundation of unity. We are referring to that unity which, when it comes to full bloom, casts its benefits on their own groupings or conferences, through each pastor’s responsibilities and awareness of his functions and of their fulfilment, or through the collegial spirit of all the pastors. On the other hand, there is the commission "which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as the first of the apostles" which serves the ecclesial community and the spread of her mission, in such a way that nothing is left untried that may lead to the advancement and preservation of the unity of the faith and the common discipline of the whole Church, and all become more and more aware that the responsibility of proclaiming the Gospel everywhere throughout the world falls chiefly on the body of the pastors.
6. From all the principles established above to describe this most important process, one may deduce in what way that apostolic custom of "seeing Peter" is to be understood and put into practice.
First of all the ad limina visit has a sacred meaning in that the bishops with religious veneration pay a visit to the tombs of Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, shepherds and pillars of the Church of Rome.
Then the ad limina visit has a personal meaning because each individual bishop meets the successor of Peter and talks to him face to face.
Finally, the visit has a curial meaning, that is, a hallmark of community, because the bishops enter into conversation with the moderators of the dicasteries, councils, and offices of the Roman Curia. The Curia, after all, is a certain "community" that is closely joined with the Roman Pontiff in that area of the Petrine ministry which involves solicitude for all the Churches (cf. 2 Cor 11:28).
In the course of the ad limina visit, the access that the bishops have to the dicasteries is of a two-fold nature:
— First, it gives them access to each individual agency of the Roman Curia, especially to questions that the agencies are dealing with directly according to their competence, questions that have been referred by law to those agencies because of their expertise and experience.
— Second, bishops coming from all over the world, where each of the particular Churches can be found, are introduced to questions of common pastoral solicitude for the universal Church.
Bearing in mind this specific point of view, the Congregation for Bishops, in consultation with the other interested Congregations, is preparing a "Directory" for publication so that the ad limina visits can receive long- and short-term preparation and thus proceed smoothly.
7. Each and every bishop — by the very nature of that "ministry" that has been entrusted to him — is called and invited to visit the "tombs of the Apostles" at certain appointed times.
However, since the bishops living within each territory, nation or region, have already gathered together and now form conferences of bishops — collegial unions with an excellent, broad theoretical basis — it is highly appropriate that the ad limina visits should proceed according to this collegial principle, for that carries much significance within the Church.
The institutes of the Apostolic See, and especially the nunciatures and apostolic delegations as well as the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, are most willing to offer assistance in order to ensure that ad limina visits be made possible, are suitably prepared and proceed well.
To sum up: the institution of the ad limina visit is an instrument of the utmost value, commanding respect because it is an ancient custom and has outstanding pastoral importance. Truly, these visits express the catholicity of the Church and the unity and communion of the College of Bishops, qualities rooted in the successor of Peter and signified by those holy places where the Princes of the Apostles underwent martyrdom, qualities of a theological, pastoral, social, and religious import known to all.
This institution therefore is to be favored and promoted in every possible way, especially at this moment of the history of salvation in which the teachings and magisterium of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council shine out with ever brighter light.
The Collaborators of the Apostolic See as a Work Community
(cf. arts. 33-36)
1. The principal feature characterizing the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiæ universæ, so that it might be adapted to the needs that arose after its promulgation, was certainly to emphasize the pastoral nature of the Roman Curia. Viewed in this way, the true character of the functions fulfilled in the midst, as it were, of the Apostolic See shines bright and clear, so that they provide the Supreme Pontiff with suitable instruments to carry out the mission entrusted to him by Christ Our Lord.
Through that unique ministry which he offers to the Church, the Supreme Pontiff strengthens his brothers in the faith (Lk 22:32) — the pastors, namely, and the Christian faithful of the universal Church — looking only to nourish and guard that Church communion in which "there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions, without prejudice to the Chair of Peter which presides over the whole assembly of charity (cf. S. Ignatius M., Ad Rom., pref., Funk, I, p. 252), and protects their legitimate variety and at the same time keeps watch to ensure that individual differences, so far from being harmful to unity, actually serve its cause."
2. By constant toil, this Petrine ministry reaches out to the whole world and claims the help of persons and other means throughout the Church. Help it does receive in a direct and privileged manner from all those who are called to perform various functions in the Roman Curia and in the various institutions which compose the structure of the Holy See, be they in holy orders as bishops and priests, or men and women consecrated to God in the religious families and secular institutes, or Christian lay men and women.
Out of this diversity emerge certain quite remarkable contours and the considerable importance of these duties, which have absolutely no equivalent at any other level of civil society, with which by its very nature indeed the Roman Curia cannot be compared. On this foundation stands that leading idea of the work community constituted by all those who, being well nourished with the one and the same faith and charity and "united, heart and soul" (Acts 4:32), make up those structures of collaboration just mentioned. Therefore those who under whatever title and in any manner help in the universal mission of the Supreme Pontiff to foster the Church community, have a further call to set up a communion of purpose, of undertakings, and of rules of behaviour, that deserves the name of community more than does any other form of grouping.
3. The letter of Pope John Paul II of 20 November 1982 on the meaning of work performed for the Apostolic See, took pains to elaborate on the characteristics of this work community. The letter outlined its nature, unique and yet endowed with a variety of functions. All those who share in the "single, incessant activity of the Apostolic See," become in some way brothers. From this consideration the letter went on to conclude that those who shared in this work should be aware "of that specific character of their positions. In any case, such a consciousness has ever been the tradition and pride of those who have chosen to dedicate themselves to that noble service." The letter adds: "This consideration applies to clerics and religious and to laity as well; both to those who occupy posts of high responsibility and to office and manual workers to whom auxiliary functions are assigned."
The same letter points out the special nature of the Apostolic See, which, to preserve the exercise of spiritual freedom and its true and visible immunity, constitutes a sovereign State in its own right and yet "does not possess all ordinary characteristics of a political community," different from all others. The practical results of this condition are seen in the operation of its affairs, especially as regards its economic organization. In the Apostolic See there is a total absence of a taxation system that other states have by right, and it has no economic activity producing goods and income. The "prime basis of sustenance of the Apostolic See is the spontaneous offerings" by reason of a certain universal interdependence emanating from the Catholic family and elsewhere, which to a marvellous degree expresses that communion of charity over which the Apostolic See presides in the world and by which it lives.
From this basic condition flow certain consequences on the practical level and in the behaviour among the staff of the Holy See — "the spirit of thrift," "a readiness always to take account of the real but limited financial possibilities of the Holy See and their source," "a profound trust in Providence." And, over and beyond all these qualities, "those who work for the Holy See must therefore have the profound conviction that their work above all entails an ecclesial responsibility to live in a spirit of authentic faith, and that the juridical-administrative aspects of their relationship with the Apostolic See stand in a particular light."
4. The remuneration owed to the clerical and lay staff at the Holy See, according to their personal conditions of life, is regulated by the major principles of the social teachings of the Church, which have been made quite clear by the magisterium of the Popes from the time of the publication of Leo XIII’s Encyclical Letter Rerum novarum up to John Paul II’s Encyclicals Laborem exercens and Sollicitudo rei socialis.
While labouring under a grave lack of economic means, the Holy See makes every effort to measure up to the heavy obligations to which it is held with regard to its workers — even granting them certain benefit packages — but subject to that basic situation which is peculiar to the Apostolic See and has been explained in the Pope’s Letter, the fact, namely, that the Holy See cannot be compared to any other form of State, since it is deprived of the ordinary means of generating income, except the income that comes from universal charity. However the Holy See is conscious of the fact — and the same Apostolic Letter makes this clear — that the active cooperation of everybody, and especially of the lay members of the staff, is necessary so that regulations and interrelations may be protected, as well as those rights and duties that arise out of "social justice" when it is correctly applied to the relations between worker and employer. On this subject, the Apostolic Letter has pointed out the help that workers associations can give in this respect, like the "Associazione Dipendenti Laici Vaticani," recently founded through productive talks among the various administrative levels to promote the spirit of solicitude and justice. The Apostolic Letter however has cautioned us to beware lest this kind of group distort the leading ideal that must govern the work community of the See of Peter. The letter says: "However, a lapse of this type of organization into the field of extremist conflict and class struggle does not correspond to the Church’s social teaching. Nor should such associations have a political character or openly or covertly serve partisan interests or other interests with quite different goals."
5. At the same time the Supreme Pontiff declared his firm conviction that associations of this kind — like the one mentioned above — "set forward work problems and develop continuous and constructive dialogue with the competent organisms [and] will not fail to take account in every case of the particular character of the Apostolic See."
Now since the lay staff of Vatican City had very much at heart that there be an ever more suitable fine-tuning of working conditions and of everything touching the labour question, the Supreme Pontiff provided that "suitable executive documents" be prepared "for forthering a work community according to the principles set forth by means of suitable norms and structures."
The outcome of the Pope’s concern is now "The Labour Office of the Apostolic See" (L.A.A.S.), which is established by an Apostolic Letter given motu proprio together with the document specifying in detail the membership of the Labour Office, its authority, its functions, its regulatory and advisory organs as well as its proper norms to facilitate a fair, rapid, and efficient process; furthermore, as it has been just newly set up, this Office needs a reasonable period of time to operate ad experimentum so that its regulations and procedures may be confirmed and its true and objective importance reviewed. This motu proprio and the regulations of the new Labour Office are being published at the same time, together with the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution on the renewal of the Roman Curia.
6. The chief purpose of the Labour Office — apart from the practical ends for which it was brought into existence — is to promote and preserve a work community among the various levels of staff of the Apostolic See, especially the laypeople. The spirit of this community should be characteristic of all who have been called to the privilege and responsibility of serving the Petrine ministry.
Again and again it is to be explained that these workers are in duty bound to foster and cultivate within themselves a special awareness of the Church, an awareness making them ever more fitted to fulfill the functions entrusted to them, no matter what these may be. These functions are not mere give and take arrangements — a certain labour given and a certain wage received —, as may happen in institutions in civil society; they constitute rather a service offered to Christ himself "who came not to be served but to serve" (Mt 20:28).
Therefore all the workers of the Holy See, clergy and laity, out of a sense of honour and sincerely conscious of their own duty before God and themselves, must resolve that their lives as priests and lay faithful shall be lived at an exemplary level, as is proposed by God’s commandments, by the laws of the Church and by the pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council, especially in Lumen gentium, Presbyterorum ordinis, and Apostolicam actuositatem. However, this is a free decision, by which with full awareness certain responsibilities are taken on, the force of which is felt not only on the individuals but also on their families and even on the actual work community composed of all the collaborators of the Holy See.
Well may we be asked "of whose spirit we are" (cf. Lk 9:55 Vulg.): thus the Pope writes at the end of the Apostolic Letter. So each and all, in searching their own sincerity as human beings and as Christians, are bound to be faithful to those promises, and to keep those bonds that they freely accepted when they were chosen to labour at the Holy See.
7. To keep in view the principles and norms indicated by the Pope in the afore-mentioned Apostolic Letter to the cardinal secretary of state, the full text is printed below. In fact, this document must be considered as the foundation and sign of the whole pattern of interdependence in order to maintain full cooperation and understanding within the work community at the service of the Apostolic See.
Apostolic Letter Apostolica Sedes by John Paul II
on the meaning of work performed for the Apostolic See
1. The Apostolic See, in exercising its mission, has recourse to the valid and precious work of the particular community made up of those men and women, priests, religious and laity who devote their efforts in their dicasteries and offices to the service of the universal Church.
Charges and duties are assigned to the members of this community; each of those charges and duties has its own purpose and dignity, in consideration both of the objective content and value of the work done and of the person who accomplishes it.
This concept of community, applied to those who aid the bishop of Rome in his ministry as pastor of the universal Church, permits us first of all to define the unitary character of functions which are nonetheless diverse among themselves. All persons called to perform them really participate in the single, incessant activity of the Apostolic See; that is, in that "concern for all the Churches" (cf. 2 Cor. 11:28) which enlivened the apostles’ service from the earliest times and is the prerogative today in outstanding measure of the successors of St. Peter in the Roman See. It is very important that those who are associated in any way with the Apostolic See’s activity should have a consciousness of that specific character of their positions. In any case, such a consciousness has ever been the tradition and pride of those who have chosen to dedicate themselves to that noble service.
This consideration applies to clerics and religious and to laity as well, both to those who hold posts of high responsibility, and to office and manual workers to whom auxiliary functions are assigned. It applies to persons attached to the service of the same Apostolic See more directly, inasmuch as they work in those organisms which are altogether known in fact under the name of "Holy See;" and it applies to those who are in the service of the Vatican City State, which is so closely linked with the Apostolic See.
In the recent Encyclical Laborem exercens, I recalled the principal truths of the "gospel of labour" and Catholic doctrine on human work, a doctrine always alive in the Church’s tradition. There is need for the life of that singular community which operates sub umbra Petri — in Peter’s shadow —, in such immediate contact with the Apostolic See, to conform itself to these truths.
2. In order to apply these principles to reality, their objective significance must be borne in mind, together with the specific nature of the Apostolic See. This latter does not have the general form of true states even though, as I noted above, the entity described as the Vatican City State is closely linked with it; for true states are subjects of the political sovereignty of particular societies. On the other hand, the Vatican City State is sovereign, yet does not possess all ordinary characteristics of a political community. It is an atypical state. It exists as a fitting means of guaranteeing the exercise of the spiritual liberty of the Apostolic See; that is, as the means of assuring real and visible independence of the same in its activity of government for the sake of the universal Church, as well as of its pastoral work directed toward the whole human race. It does not possess a proper society for the service of which it was established nor does it base itself upon forms of social action which usually determine the structure and organization of every other state. Furthermore, the persons who aid the Apostolic See or even cooperate in government of the Vatican City State are with few exceptions not citizens of this state. Nor, consequently, do they have the rights and duties (those to do with taxation in particular) which ordinarily arise from belonging to a state.
The Apostolic See does not develop nor can it develop economic activity proper to a state, since it transcends the narrow confines of the Vatican City State in a much more important respect and extends its mission to the whole of the earth. Production of economic goods and enrichment by way of revenues are foreign to its institutional purposes. Besides the revenues of the Vatican City State and the limited income afforded by what remains of the funds obtained on the occasion of the Lateran Pacts as indemnity for the Papal States. and ecclesiastical goods passed to the Italian State, the prime basis of sustenance of the Apostolic See is the spontaneous offerings provided by Catholics throughout the world and by other men of good will. This corresponds to a tradition having its origin in the Gospel and the teachings of the apostles. This tradition has taken on various forms over the centuries in relation to the economic structures prevailing in various eras. In conformity with that tradition it must be affirmed that the Apostolic See may and ought to make use of the spontaneous contributions of the faithful and other people of good will, without having recourse to other means which might appear to be less respectful of the character proper to the Apostolic See.
3.The above-mentioned material contributions are the expression of a constant and moving solidarity with the Apostolic See and the activity carried out by it. My profound gratitude goes out to such great solidarity. It ought to be with a sense of responsibility commensurate with the nature of the contributions on the part of the Apostolic See itself, its individual organs and the persons working in them. That is to say that the contributions are to be used solely and always according to the dispositions and will of those offering them: for the general intention which is maintenance of the Apostolic See and the generality of its activities or for particular purposes (missionary, charitable, etc.), when these have been expressly mentioned.
Responsibility and loyalty toward those who show their solidarity with the Apostolic See through their aid and share its pastoral concern in some way are expressed in scrupulous fidelity to all tasks and duties assigned, as well as in the zeal, hard work and professional spirit which ought to distinguish whoever participates in the same Apostolic See’s activities. Right intention must likewise be always cultivated, so as to exert watchful administration — in terms of their purposes — over both material goods which are offered and over what is acquired or conserved by means of such goods. This includes safeguarding and enhancing the See of Peter’s precious inheritance in the religious-cultural and artistic fields.
In making use of means allocated for these ends, the Apostolic See and those directly collaborating with it must be distinguished not only by a spirit of thrift, but also by readiness always to take account of the real but limited financial possibilities of the Holy See and their source. Obviously such interior dispositions of mind ought to be well assimilated, becoming ingrained in the minds of religious and clerics through their training. But neither should they be lacking from the minds of laity who through their free choice accept working for and with the Apostolic See.
Moreover, all those who have particular responsibilities in running organisms, offices and services of the Apostolic See, as well as those employed in various functions, will know how to join this spirit of thrift with constant application to making the various activities ever more effective. This can be done through organization of work based, on the one hand, on full respect for persons and the valid contribution made by each according to his proper abilities and functions and, on the other hand, upon use of appropriate structures and technical means, so that the activity engaged in corresponds more and more to the demands of service to the universal Church. Recourse shall be had to everything that experience, science and technology teach; efforts will be made in this way to use human and financial resources with greater effectiveness by avoiding waste, self-interest and pursuit of unjustified privileges, and at the same time by promoting good human relations in every sector and the true and rightful interests of the Apostolic See.
Along with such commitment should go a profound trust in Providence, which, through the offerings of good people, will not allow a lack of the means to pursue the Apostolic See’s proper ends. Should a lack of means impede accomplishment of some fundamental objective, a special appeal may be made to the generosity of the people of God, informing them of needs which are not sufficiently well known. In the normal way, however, it is fitting to be content with what bishops, priests, religious institutes and faithful offer spontaneously, since they themselves can see or discern rightful needs.
4. Many of those working with the Apostolic See are clerics. Since they live in celibacy, they have no families to their charge. They deserve remuneration proportional to the tasks performed and capable of assuring them a decent manner of living and means to carry out the duties of their state, including responsibilities which they may have in certain cases toward parents or other family members dependent on them. Nor should the demands of orderly social relationships be neglected, particularly and above all their obligation to assist the needy. This obligation is more impelling for clerics and religious than for the laity, by reason of their evangelical vocation.
Remuneration of the lay employees of the Apostolic See should also correspond to the tasks performed, taking into consideration at the same time their responsibility to support their families. Study should therefore be devoted, in a spirit of lively concern and justice, to ascertaining their objective material needs and those of their families, including needs regarding education of their children and suitable provision for old age, so as to meet those needs properly. The fundamental guidelines in this sector are to be found in Catholic teaching on remuneration for work. Immediate indications for the evaluation of circumstances can be obtained from examining experiences and programs of the society — in particular, the Italian society — to which almost all lay employees of the Apostolic See belong and in which they at any rate live.
A valid collaborative function may be performed by workers’ associations such as the Association of Vatican Lay Employees, which recently came into existence, in promoting that spirit of concern and justice, through representing those working within the Apostolic See. Such associations take on a specific character within the Apostolic See. They are an initiative in conformity with the Church’s social teaching, for the Church sees them as one instrument for better assuring social justice in relations between worker and employer. However, a lapse of this type of organization into the field of extremist conflict and class struggle does not correspond to the Church’s social teaching. Nor should such associations have a political or openly or covertly serve partisan interests or other interests with quite different goals.
I express confidence that associations such as that now existing and just mentioned will perform a useful function in the work community, operating in solid harmony with the Apostolic See, by taking inspiration from the principles of the Church’s social teaching. I am likewise certain that as they set forward work problems and develop continuous and constructive dialogue with the competent organisms they will not fail to take account in every case of the particular character of the Apostolic See, as pointed out in the initial part of this letter.
In relation to what has been expounded, Your Eminence will wish to prepare suitable executive documents for furthering a work community according to the principles set forth by means of suitable norms and structures.
5. I emphasized in the Encyclical Laborem exercens that the worker’s personal dignity requires expression in a particular relationship with the work entrusted to him. This relationship is objectively realizable in various ways according to the kind of work undertaken. It is realized subjectively when the worker lives it as "his own," even though he is working "for wages." Since the work in question here is performed within the Apostolic See and is therefore marked by the characteristics already mentioned, such a relationship calls for heartfelt sharing in that "concern for all the Churches" which is proper to the Chair of Peter.
Those who work for the Holy See must therefore have the profound conviction that their work above all entails an ecclesial responsibility to live in a spirit of authentic faith, and that the juridical-administrative aspects of their relationship with the Apostolic See stand in a particular light.
The Second Vatican Council provided us with copious teaching on the way in which all Christians, clerics, religious and laity can and ought to make such ecclesial concern their own.
So it seems necessary for all, especially those working with the Apostolic See, to deepen personal consciousness above all of the universal apostolic commitment of Christians and that arising from each one’s specific vocation: that of the bishop, of the priest, of religious, of the laity. The answers to the present difficulties in the field of human labor are to be sought in the sphere of social justice. But they must also be sought in the area of an interior relationship with the work that each is called upon to perform. It seems evident that work — of whatever kind — carried out in the employment of the Apostolic See requires this in a quite special measure.
Besides the deepened interior relationship, this work calls for reciprocal respect, if it is to be advantageous and serene, based on human and Christian brotherhood by all and for all concerned. Only when it is allied with such brotherhood (that is, with love of man in truth), can justice manifest itself as true justice. We must try to find "of what spirit we are" (cf. Lk. 9:55, Vulg.).
These latter questions have hardly been touched on here. They cannot be adequately formulated in administrative-juridical terms. This does not exempt us, however, from the search and effort necessary for making operative precisely within the circle of the Apostolic See that spirit of human work which comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.
As I entrust these thoughts, Most Reverend Cardinal, to your attentive consideration, I call down an abundance of the gifts of divine assistance upon the future commitment which putting them into practice requires. At the same time I impart my benediction to you from my heart and willingly extend it to all those who offer their meritorious service to the Apostolic See.
JOHN PAUL II
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