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To His Majesty Baudouin I King of Belgium

In these days when Belgium is celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of your accession to the throne, it is particularly pleasing to us to present to Your Majesty our cordial congratulations, as also the good wishes with which this happy occasion inspires us.

You received the heavy task of guiding your country in difficult times, when Europe was painfully lifting itself from the moral and material ruins resulting from the Second World War. Today, too, what country can flatter itself that it has escaped the difficulties which are the lot of our troubled times? We greatly rejoice to see that the celebrations, which joyfully mark the twenty-fifth year of your reign, express the unanimous esteem and confidence of a whole people with regard to its Sovereign. Moreover, we are sure that such manifestations will help to strengthen still more the unity of your country and so permit it to carry out fully its role in Europe and in the world.

With good reason the wisdom of rulers puts in the first place the pursuit of public peace and concord. They are the object of your constant preoccupation, just as you add solicitude for the well-being of your fellow-citizens to concern for the just relations among peoples, which are the best guarantees of that peace. We are also happy to tell you once more of out satisfaction and gratitude for the way in which you have always welcomed the pressing appeals which we launch every year on behalf of peace in the world. We also recall with pleasure the memory of your visit of last year when, with Queen Fabiola, you gave a fine example of Christian life by participating with simplicity, like all the children of the Church, in the great Jubilee of the Holy Year. We hope that Your Majesty, for the happiness of your country, will continue for many years to devote yourself to your royal function as Head of State. We wish that you, as also Her Majesty the Queen, may receive in abundance the spiritual benefits which we implore for you from the Lord. In token of this, we send you a special Apostolic Blessing which we gladly extend to all our Belgian children.

From the Vatican, 25 June 1976.


*ORa n°31 p.8.


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