This is the statement by John Paul II to the editors of Communio at the special audience granted to them on Friday morning, May 29. The occasion was a public symposium held at the Gregorian University in Rome in May of 1992, commemorating the 20th anniversary of Communio. John Paul II has shown a personal interest in the founding of the Polish language edition.
Dear Cardinal and My Dear Friends,
I thank Cardinal Ratzinger for having presented me with copies of the review Communio, to which he himself has amply contributed. It is with pleasure that I greet you as you take part in an international gathering representing the various editions of your review. On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Communio, you have desired to hold your annual meeting in Rome. In this way you emphasize your attachment to the successor of Peter and your communion with the universal Church.
The idea of a consortium of "International Catholic Reviews" was born right here in Rome. And we recall with gratitude the memory of two of the initiators of this consortium, two eminent theologians of catholicity, Cardinal Henri de Lubac and Father Hans Urs von Balthasar.
In the aticle that is published at the front of each new edition incorporated in to Communio, an article that constitutes the framework which the review has established for itself, Father Balthasar drew up a charter from which all the reviews in the group are bound to take their inspiration in order to promote ecclesial communion. To render their work constructive, he recalls that the absolute requirement is that of love, love for Christ and love for his Church, love for the other person, with whom it is necessary to be in solidarity and to enter into dialogue, although without compromise, for there exists no such thing as a two-fold truth. The founders of the review, basing themselves on their intimate encounter with the Lord, knew how to harmonize culture and faith in order to announce the Gospel. They united the audacity of creative thought with the most filial and most humble fidelity to the Church and her living tradition.
All those who collaborate in producing your review live in this spirit of communion in chairty on which the Church is built, at once one and diverse, in a word, catholic. Ecclesiastics, religious, and laypeople, men and women that you are, you come from more than fifteen nations and are a sign of this catholicity. Among yourselves, you experience dialogue in order to work at a common task. In your communion in the same faith and in the same Lord, with your ardent desire to facilitate the penetration of the gospel into the cultures of our time, you prompt a demanding confrontation with your contemporaries by a rational approach that favors the discovery of divine mystery and accompanies adherence to the faith, which alone permits a personal encounter with the Lord of history.
May this spirit of communion remain your principle concern! Still more, may you be, through your reviews, a ferment of communion and of unity in a world, and sometimes even in Christian communities, scarred by tensions and divisions! As Father Balthasar wrote, be men and women of that "absolute love which encompasses adversaries. In it we find reconciled, in spite of everything, those who do not understand each other, those who may not be able to stand one another." The true preacher of the gospel is the one who, out of love for Christ and his brothers, desires to give a rational account of the Christian truth and, at the same time, is concerned to promote unity and mutual comprehension rather than to engage in polemics within the Church as well as outside of it. By this love, St. John tells us, "all men will know that you are my disciples" (Jn. 13:35).
It is with joy that I have learned that several editions are being prepared in countries of central and eastern Europe which have recently been liberated from communism. These will be added to the Croatian and Polish editions, which are already of longer standing. As Archbishop of Cracow, I had occasion to encourage and promote the Polish edition, which contributed to an understanding of the faith in a country where the intellectual investigation of truth has for a long time encountered many obstacles. At the present time, it is important that a vigorous exchange of views be established between Christians who have lived the experience of repression and persecution and Christians who have been able to express their faith in complete freedom. This will give a new thrust to theological research as well as to the expression and announcement of the Christian mystery in the contemporary world. Saint Paul recalled that the exchange of material goods and mutual aid are a fundamental expression of ecclesial charity and communion. Similarly, the sharing of spiritual and intellectual goods conveys the love that comes to us from the Lord.
To conclude this meeting, I wish you to carry on with the same love that is in Christ Jesus, with the same strict spiritual standards and with the same intellectual rigor as the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. For this task that awaits you, I give you, from all my heart, my apostolic blessing.
His Holiness John Paul II
Copyright 1992 by Communio: International Catholic Review
Translated by Mark Sebanc from L'Osservatore Romano, 29-30 May 1992.