In their own words: Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII

“I simply wish to note that the figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman.”

 —John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater


"The family, founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble, must be regarded as the natural, primary cell of human society. The interests of the family, therefore, must be taken very specially into consideration in social and economic affairs, as well as in the spheres of faith and morals. For all of these have to do with strengthening the family and assisting it in the fulfillment of its mission."

—John XXIII, Pacem in Terris. 1963




Respect for life requires that science and technology should always be at the service of man and his integral development. Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life.

—John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae


To have accepted with simplicity the honor and the burden of the pontificate, with the joy of being able to say that I did nothing to obtain it, absolutely nothing; indeed I was most careful and conscientious to avoid anything that might direct attention to myself. As the voting in Conclave wavered to and fro, I rejoiced when I saw the chances of my being elected diminishing and the likelihood of others, in my opinion truly most worthy and venerable persons, being chosen.

—John XXIII, Journal of a Soul (p. 325)


"The Ecumenical Council will surely be, even more than a new and magnificent Pentecost, a real and new Epiphany, one of the many revelations which have been renewed and are continually being renewed in the course of history, but one of the greatest of all."

—John XXIII, Apostolic Exhortation 'Sacrae Laudis,' 1962


"When there is a question of defending the rights of individuals, the defenseless and the poor have a claim to special consideration. The richer class has many ways of shielding itself, and stands less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back on, and must chiefly depend on the assistance of the State. It is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong to the latter class, should be specially cared for and protected by the government." (Rerum Novarum)…the more that individuals are defenseless within a given society, the more they require the care and concern of others, and in particular the intervention of governmental authority."

—John Paul II, Centesimus Annus


"Born poor, but of humble and respected folk, I am particularly happy to die poor, having distributed, according to the various needs and circumstances of my simple and modest life in the service of the poor and of the holy Church which has nurtured me, whatever came into my hands -- and it was very little -- during the years of my priesthood and episcopate."

—John XXIII, Spiritual Testament, Journal of a Soul (p.343), 1954


"I invoke the comforting and strengthening gifts of God's unfailing love upon those who suffer from AIDS and upon all those who are generously engaged in caring for them. At the same time I appeal to those who are working to find an effective scientific response to this illness not to delay and above all not to allow commercial considerations to detract from their committed efforts."

—John Paul II, Message in Uganda, 1993



Source: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops