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Sunday, 30 September 1973


We are happy to welcome Your Holiness today, at the beginning of your first journey to countries in this part of the world. You come to us from Asia, the cradle of ancient religions and human traditions which are rightly held in deep veneration.

The Catholic Church sincerely respects those ways of conduct and those teachings of other religions which mirror the ray of eternal truth enlightening all men (Cfr. Nostra Aetate, 2). Since the Second Vatican Council our Secretariat for Non-Christians has been specially charged with fostering relations with followers of other religions. The beneficial effects of our greater contact and cooperation can serve to strengthen the brotherhood of all the human race.

We remember with joy our own visit to Asia and the Southern Hemisphere three years ago, and the wonderful welcome we received in all the different countries, both those which are predominantly Christian and those which mainly profess other great religions, We trust that Your Holiness’s visit here and to other countries will be for you an occasion of spiritual satisfaction, and that it will contribute to the furtherance of mutual love and respect among the adherents of different creeds. We earnestly pray that all men may live peaceably with one another (Cfr. Rom. 12, 18) and may ever seek the true and living God.

We thank you for your most courteous gesture in coming to see us, and we assure you that you will be in our thoughts as you continue your travels.


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