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Saturday, 30 January 1971


You did not wish to leave Rome – at the end of the 37th session of the NATO-Defence-College – without coming to visit its Bishop, in order to pay him your deferential respects, hear what he has to say, and receive his blessing.

We have acceded very gladly to your request – you may be sure – for We are happy to meet you briefly in order to tell you how much We appreciate your courteous visit and to wish each of you and your families the happiness and prosperity which you so rightly desire.

During these past months you have been able to get to know one another, and the wealth of your personal and national diversity, in common dedication to one same good for all of you: the security of your countries. This is something that can really be assured and guaranteed only by peace. You know how much We have such search for peace at heart. We have instituted a World Day of Peace, and We have tried on all occasions to attract men's attention to this precious good. We tirelessly endeavour to awaken consciences – sometimes indeed we must re-awaken them. So you will not be surprised when We express the wish that all the knowledge you have gained, all the relationship which you have formed, and all your resources of heart and mind may be devoted to establishing, consolidating, and affirming-peace, throughout your lives, and wherever you may be.

Your Institution is described as a Defence College. May it never serve anything but peace! May the training which it gives serve for use not of military weapons – however much they may be justified for defence of rights and civilization – but of political weapons, not to foment divisions among peoples; but to foster union.

May your work be that of "servants of the security and the liberty of the peoples”, as the Council taught us (Gaudium et Spes, 79, 5). May it not only defend peace, may it also give rise to peace. May this peace not be reserved for a few privileged peoples, but may it become the common good of the great human family, according to the prayer of the Prophet: “Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders!' (cf. Isaiah, 60, 18). May each one of you, may all men make this ardent prayer of the Psalmist their own: “For my brethren and companions sake I will say: Peace be within your”. For the sake of the house of the Lord God, I will seek your good” (Ps. 122, 8-9).

Such is Our desire, such is Our prayer. In pledge of abundance divine graces “from the God of love and peace” (2 Cor. 13, 11), We accompany it with Our Apostolic Blessing, for your intentions and the intentions of your dear ones. “May the God of peace be with you all. Amen” (Rm 15, 33).

*ORa n.6 p.2.


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