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Ioannes PP. XXIII
Ad Petri Cathedram

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To the Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See, and to all the Priests and Faithful of the Catholic world.

Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

We who have been elevated despite Our unworthiness to the Chair of Peter have often reflected on the things We saw and heard when Our predecessor passed from this life. Virtually the entire world, regardless of race or creed, mourned his passing. And then when We were summoned to the dignity of Sovereign Pontiff, great numbers of people, although occupied with other things or weighed down with troubles and difficulties, turned their thoughts and affections to us, and placed their hopes and expectations in Us.

2. For these reflections of Ours, We have drawn comfort and instruction. For this experience certainly is clear indication that the Catholic Church is forever young and is indeed a standard raised before the nations.1 From her come a pervading light and a gentle love which reach all men.

3. Then We revealed Our plans to summon an Ecumenical Council and a Roman Synod, as well as to revise the Code of Canon Law in accordance with present needs and to issue a new Code of Canon Law for the Church of the Oriental Rite. This announcement received widespread approval and bolstered the universal hope that the hearts of men would be stirred to a fuller and deeper recognition of truth, a renewal of Christian morals, and a restoration of unity, harmony, and peace.

Truth, Unity, Peace.

4. Today as We address Our first Encyclical Letter to the entire Catholic world, Our apostolic office clearly demands that We discuss three objectives-truth, unity, and peace-and indicate how they may be achieved and advanced in a spirit of charity.

5. May the light of the Holy Spirit come upon Us from on high as We write this letter and upon you as you read it. May the grace of God move all men to attain these objectives, which all desire, even though prejudices, great difficulties, and many obstacles stand in the way of their achievement.

1 Cf. Isa.11.12.

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