Continued from Page 7 that by now it would seem that men of themselves are inclined to condemn them, particularly those ways of life which despise God and His law, excessive confidence in technical progress, and wellbeing based exclusively on the comforts of life.
They are ever more deeply convinced of the paramount dignity of the human person and of his perfcctioning. as well as the duties that .that implies. Even more important, experience has taught men that violence inflicted on others, the might of arms and political domination, are of no help at all in finding a happy solution to the grave problems which afflict them. That being so. the Catholic Church. raising the torch of religious truth by means of this Ecumenical Council. desires to show herself to be the loving mother of all. benign, patient. full of mercy and goodness towards the children separated from her. To the human race, oppressed by so many difficulties, she says like Peter of old to the poor man who begged altns from him : " silver and gold have I none. but what I have I will give thee : in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk " (Acts 3. 6). In other words, the Church does not offer to men of today riches that pass, nor 'atomise them a merely earthly happiness; but she distributes to them the goods of divine grace which, raising men to the dignity of sons of God, are most efficacious safeguards, and aids towards a more human life; she opens the fountain of her lifegiving doctrine which allows men, enlightened by the light of Christ. to understand well what they really arc, what is their lofty dignity and their purpose; and finally. through her children, she spreads everywhere the fullness of Christian charity, than which nothing is more effective in eradicating the seeds of discord. nothing more efficacious in promoting concord, just peace and the brotherly unity of all.
PROMOTION OF UNITY
The Church's solicitude to forward and defend truth derives from the fact that, according to the plan of God, "Who wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth " (I Tim. 2, 4), men without the assistance of the whole of revealed doctrine cannot reach a complete and firm unity of minds, with which are associated true peace and eternal salvation.
Unfortunately, the entire Christian family has not yet fully attained to this visible unity in truth.
The Catholic Church, therefore, considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity, which Jesus Christ evoked with fervent prayer from His heavenly Father on the eve of His sacrifice. She rejoices in peace, knowing well that she is intimately associated with that prayer; and then exults greatly at seeing that invocation extend its efficacy. with salutary fruit even among those who arc outside her fold.
Indeed, if one considers well this same unity which Christ implored for His church, it seems to shine, as it were. with a triple ray of beneficent supernal light: namely, the unity of Catholics among themselves, which must always be kept exemplary and most firm; the unity of prayers and ardent desires with which those Christians separated from this Apostolic See aspire to he united with us; and the unity in esteem and respect for the Catholic Church which animates those who follow non-Christian religions. In this regard, it is a source of considerable sorrow to see that the greater part of the human race— although all men who are horn were redeemed by the blood of Christ—does not yet participate in those souracs of divine grace which exist in the Catholic Church. Hence the church. whose light illumines all, whose strength of supernatural unity redounds ;to the advantage of all humanity, is rightly described in these beautiful words of St. Cyprian
"The church surrounded by divine light. spreads her rays over
the entire earth: this light, however, is one and unique, and shines everywhere without causing any separation in the unity of the body. She extends her branches over the whole world by her fruitfulness; she sends ever farther afield her rivulets; nevertheless, the Head is always one, the origin one, for She is the one mother. abundantly fruitful; we are born of Her, are nourished by Her milk, we live of Her spirit (De Catholicae Eccles. Unitale. 5). Venerable Brothers: such is the aim of the Second Vatican Wellmenical Council, which, while bringing together the Church's best energies and striving to have men welcome more favourably the good tidings of salvation, prepares. as it were. and consolidates the path towards that unity of mankind which is required as a necessary foundation in order that the earthly city may be brought to the resern Wave of that heavenly City "where truth reigns, charity is the law, and whose extent is eternity" (Cfr. St. Augustine, Epistle 138, 3).
IT IS NOW ONLY DAWN...
Now, "Our voice is directed to you" 12 Cor. 6, 11). Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate. Behold We are gathered together in this Vatican Basilica, upon which hinges the history of the Church; where heaven and earth are closely joined, here near the tomb of Peter and near so many of the tombs of Our holy Predecessors, whose ashes in this solemn hour seem to thrill in mystic exultation. The Council now beginning rises in the Church like the day-break, a fore-runner of most splendid light. It is now only dawn: and already, at this first announcement of the rising day. how much sweetness fills Our heart. Everything here breathes sanctity and arouses great joy. Let us contemplate the stars, which with their brightness augment the majesty of this temple. These stars, according to the testimony of the Apostle John (Apoc. I, 20), you are; and with you We see shining around the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, the golden candlelabra, that is, the Churches confided to you. (MA We see here with you the important personalities, present in an attitude of great respect and cordial expectation, having come together in Rome from the five continents to represent the Nations of the world.
We might say that heaven and earth are united in the celebration of the Council: the Saints of heaven, to protect Our work; the faithful of the earth. continuing in prayer to the Lord: and you, seconding the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in order that the work of all may correspond to the modern expectations and needs of the various peoples of the world. This requires of you serenity of mind, brotherly concord, moderation in proposals, dignity in discussion and wisdom of deliberation. God grant that your labours and your work, to which look the eyes of all peoples and also the hopes of the entire world. may abundantly fulfil the aspirations of all.
Almighty God! In Thee we place all our confidence, not trusting in our own strength. Look down benignly upon these Pastors of Thy Church, May the light of Thy supernal grace aid us in taking decisions. and in making laws; and graciously hear the prayers which we pour forth to Thee in unanimity of faith, of voice and of mind.
0 Mary. Help of Christians, Help of Bishops, of whose love We have recently had particular proof in Thy Temple of Loreto, where we venerated the mystery of the Incarnation, dispose all things for a happy and propitious outcome and, with Thy Spouse Saint Joseph. the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, intercede for us to God.
To Jesus Christ, our,most amiable Redeemer, Immortal King of peoples and of times, he love, power and glory for ever and ever. Amen!