The visit of so many members of the Catholic Young Men’s Society of Great Britain is for Us a motive of great satisfaction: because of their coming, because of their number, because of their qualification as Catholic Youth, and because of the magnificent activity for which their Society trains them and in which they exert themselves.
We wish to express Our gratitude for this act of filial devotion. We likewise thank Our brother His Grate Francis Joseph Grimshaw, Archbishop of Birmingham, who directed these dear visitors to Us, and We also thank the National Chaplain, Father Denis Hicking and the priests with him who assist these young people and the Directors who guide them.
Beloved children of Great Britain, We wish furthermore to assure all of you of Our. esteem and of Our good will for your association, for your activity and for your Nation. In return for the consolation which you have given Us, We extend Our wishes and promise Our prayers; and knowing the worthy dispositions of your hearts We desire to favour your good resolutions with some recommendations.
We are aware that your Society has promoted a special study of the recent Encyclical of Our Predecessor Pope John XXIII of happy memory, «Mater et Magistra». This is an excellent undertaking. The knowledge of the teachings of the Church is today very important and most useful, because they are a precious synthesis of the doctrine of Our Lord and of human experience. They offer the key to solutions for many problems of thought and action in this modern world. We exhort you, therefore, to continue this study and to extend it to other ecclesiastical documents, both pontifical and episcopal. The knowledge, particularly, of that which will issue from the Ecumenical Council will certainly be beneficial to your religious culture and to your conduct in today’s world.
Also We wish to praise and to encourage your spiritual activity; your prayers and your retreats are most laudable and most precious; for your souls, for all those who observe your example, and for all those great and generous intentions to which these religious actions are directed.
We intend thus to favour your meritorious proposals. You should remember that you belong to a great Nation, and therefore you have an obligation to show that Catholic youth, proud of its belonging, can live up to its natural virtues, its good traditions and its new demands, and for this reason they give to national life a moral and spiritual contribution of special value. We hope also that your example as excellent citizens and faithful Catholics will assist the grand cause of unity of Christians in the one Church of Christ.
These thoughts and these sentiments indicate how close We are to you with Our heart and with Our prayers, and how readily We bless all of you.