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Manila, Philippines
Saturday, 28 November 1970


In you we greet the university world of the Philippines. We wish to express first of all Our great esteem for the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas which has welcomed Us today. It is a university which is one of the most renowned for the richness of its history, one of the most important in number of students and one of the most well-known for the care it devotes to education of high quality.

To you, the Professors, We express Our greetings and the respect which is due to men of learning and to educators. Are you not involved in that search for truth which is so important for man? We are well aware that it takes a great deal of wisdom to distinguish the different ways whereby one pursues the search for total truth. There is the way - to put it in a word - of human reasoning; it is the way of science, which enjoys the freedom and autonomy of natural thought. There is likewise the way of faith; it is the gift of the Spirit’s illumination and our soul’s response to God’s revealing Word. The distinction and the synthesis demand a sensitive operation, but one that is also possible, magnificent and vital. And then it calls for a certain courage to state and defend the whole truth. May Christ be your model, he who gave his life in witness to the truth (Io. 18: 37). All progress towards truth redounds to the glory of God. Does it not also lead to the encounter with him who above all others is the Teacher and whose word frees from error and lies? (Cfr. Matth. 23: 8; Io. 8: 32) In pursuing your task you respond to the expectations of your brothers.

What a great responsibility is yours, and what a valuable contribution you make to the march of mankind which, through its laborious quest of an earthly city ruled by justice and freedom, goes in search of him who called himself  «the way, the truth and the life» (Io. 14: 6).

Dear students, We greet you with the deepest loving interest and with all Our paternal affection.

Today is your hour. You are the advancing vanguard of your country. Your responsibility as intellectuals is supreme for the future of your nation. We understand your aspiration to involve yourselves more actively in the life of your people. We know that your dynamism, hand in hand with your special sensitivity, has helped your elders to gain a better grasp of the problems that must be solved.

The youth of the Philippines, like that of all Asia, is on the march. Allow Us in this regard to ask some questions: Do you know in which direction to go? Have you a clear picture of the goals you are aiming at? Are you dedicated to the search for true values? Does your wish to serve your brothers manifest itself in practical choices that prepare you to promote effectively the progress of the many? Are you convinced that one can only be truly free to the extent that one is responsible?

Your age is an age of criticism-and criticism can be very useful to society, which always falls short of perfection. Your age is also an age of generous self-giving, and this the Filipino people expect of you. What is asked of you is a balanced harmony of these two attitudes. Your considerable numbers in the universities speak for your intelligence and your thirst for culture; they also at the same time create obligations of a seriousness rarely to be found in history. The Church wishes to help you to reply to these vital questions, for your own sake and for that of your brothers. She has received the mission to spread throughout the world the Gospel of salvation. This message, which comes to us from God, is the supreme answer to man’s aspirations for total self-realization. But who will believe this Gospel, unless it is brought by convinced witnesses? Who will accept its liberating power if its heralds are not themselves liberated from self-interest, lies, from the spirit of division, from sin in all its forms?

Dear students, this Gospel is yours; will you be its bearers along with your religious leaders, your teachers, with all committed Christians, so that you may build on this earth the society of brotherhood for which the world justly yearns?

This is Our message: God is light (1 Io. 1: 5), Jesus Christ is the «light of the world»; he who follows him will not walk in darkness (Cfr. Io. 8: 12).

May God bless you, may he enlighten your minds and enable you to discover truth; may he inflame your hearts for the practice of love.


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