John XXIII on the memorable day of 11 Octo-
ber 1962: “At times we have to listen, much to
our regret, to the voices of people who, though
burning with zeal, lack a sense of discretion and
measure. In this modern age they can see noth-
ing but prevarication and ruin …We feel that we
must disagree with those prophets of doom who
are always forecasting disaster, as though the end
of the world were at hand. In our times, divine
Providence is leading us to a new order of hu-
man relations which, by human effort and even
beyond all expectations, are directed to the fulfil-
ment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs,
in which everything, even human setbacks, leads
to the greater good of the Church”.
85. One of the more serious temptations
which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism
which turns us into querulous and disillusioned
pessimists, “sourpusses”. Nobody can go off
to battle unless he is fully convinced of victo-
ry beforehand. If we start without confidence,
we have already lost half the battle and we bury
our talents. While painfully aware of our own
frailties, we have to march on without giving in,
keeping in mind what the Lord said to Saint Paul:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is
made perfect in weakness” (2
12:9). Chris-
tian triumph is always a cross, yet a cross which
is at the same time a victorious banner borne
 Address for the Opening of the Second Vatican
Council (11 October 1962): 4, 2-4: AAS 54 (1962), 789.
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