John Paul II…

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘diversified unity’

  • Dialogue that only promotes peace, justice, freedom and brotherhood has a negative aspect: it is silent about Christ

Nowadays the kingdom is much spoken of, but not always in a way consonant with the thinking of the Church […] The Church’s task is described as though it had to proceed in two directions: on the one hand promoting such ‘values of the kingdom’ as peace, justice, freedom, brotherhood, etc., while on the other hand fostering dialogue between peoples, cultures and religions, so that through a mutual enrichment they might help the world to be renewed and to journey ever closer toward the kingdom. Together with positive aspects, these conceptions often reveal negative aspects as well. First, they are silent about Christ… (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptionis missio, no. 17, December 7, 1990)

  • Over and above unity in love, what is always urgent for us is unity in truth – purity of doctrine is the basis for building up the Christian community

To be watchful for purity of doctrine, the basis in building up the Christian community, is therefore, together with the proclamation of the Gospel, the primary and irreplaceable duty of the Pastor, of the Teacher of the faith. How often Saint Paul emphasized this, convinced as he was of the seriousness of the accomplishment of this duty (cf. 1 Tim 1:3-7; 18–20; 4:11, 16; 2 Tim 1:4–14). Over and above unity in love, unity in truth is always urgent for us. (John Paul II. Address for the inauguration of the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate in Puebla, I, no. 1, January 28, 1979)

  • Give priority to preventing the tendency to make diverse religions and the various spiritual experiences equivalent

You know well that the basis of the spread of the sects is often a great lack of religious formation, consequently leading to uncertainty about the need to believe in Christ and to belong to the Church he has established. The tendency is to reduce religions and the various spiritual experiences to a least common denominator that makes them practically equivalent, with the result that everyone would be free to follow any of the various paths proposed to reach the goal of salvation. If, in addition, one adds the brazen proselytism which is the hallmark of certain particularly active and invasive groups of these sects, one understands right away how urgently necessary it is today to support the faith of Christians, and to give them an opportunity for ongoing religious formation to deepen their personal relationship with Christ. Your endeavours must give priority to preventing this danger, consolidating in the faithful the practice of the Christian life and fostering the growth of a truly fraternal spirit in the heart of each of your ecclesial communities. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Brazil on their ad limina visit, no. 2, January 23, 2003)

  • The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety

The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? […] A ‘being together’ which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 18, May 25, 1995)

  • The Christian faith is a conscious and free response of man to God’s self-revelation

According to the doctrine contained in the Constitution Dei Verbum, the Christian faith is a conscious and free response of man to God’s self-revelation, which reached its fullness in Jesus Christ. By what Paul calls ‘the obedience of faith’ (cf. Rom 16:26; 1. 5, 2Cor 10: 5–6) the entire man abandons himself to God, accepting as truth what is contained in the word of divine Revelation. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1, June 19, 1985)

  • Conversion to Christ is joined to Baptism not only because of the Church’s practice but also by the will of Christ himself – cooperation that does not lead to Baptism is futile

Conversion to Christ moreover is joined to Baptism not only because of the Church’s practice, but also by the will of Christ himself, who sent the Apostles to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them (cf. Mt 28:19). Conversion is also joined to Baptism because of the intrinsic need to receive the fullness of new life in Christ. As Jesus says to Nicodemus: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God?’ (Jn 3:5). (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, no. 73, September 14, 1995)

  • Among the many dissonant voices the Bishop has the serious responsibility to make things clear

Today especially, among the many dissonant voices that spread confusion and doubt in the minds of the faithful, the Bishop has the serious responsibility to make things clear. The preaching of the Gospel is the greatest act of love for man, his freedom and his thirst for happiness. (John Paul II. Address to the Jubilee of Bishops, no. 5, October 7, 2000)

  • The successors of the Apostles should never be afraid of proclaiming the full truth about Jesus Christ

Yours is the responsibility of constantly identifying the features of a pastoral plan adapted to the needs and aspirations of God’s people, a plan which will enable all to hear ever more clearly the Good News of Christ and bring the truths and values of the Gospel to bear ever more incisively on the family, on culture, on society itself. The successors of the Apostles should never be afraid of proclaiming the full truth about Jesus Christ, in all its challenging reality and demands, since the truth has an intrinsic power to draw the human heart to all that is good, noble and beautiful. (John Paul II. Address to the Korean Episcopal Conference, no. 2, March 24, 2001)

  • There is also an urgent need to illustrate and explain more fully the truth that Christ is the one Mediator between God and man

Another plan for a continent-wide Synod will concern Asia, where the issue of the encounter of Christianity with ancient local cultures and religions is a pressing one. This is a great challenge for evangelization, since religious systems such as Buddhism or Hinduism have a clearly soteriological character. There is also an urgent need for a Synod on the occasion of the Great Jubilee in order to illustrate and explain more fully the truth that Christ is the one Mediator between God and man and the sole Redeemer of the world, to be clearly distinguished from the founders of other great religions. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, no. 38, October 10, 1994)

…judges Francis’ idea on matrimony

  • Pastoral help implies recognizing the Church’s doctrine, just as it is clearly expressed in the Catechism

The 1980 Synod of Bishops on the family considered this painful situation and gave appropriate pastoral guidelines for these circumstances. In the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, taking the Synod Fathers’ reflections into consideration, I wrote: ‘The Church, which was set up to lead to salvation all people and especially the baptized, cannot abandon to their own devices those who have been previously bound by sacramental marriage and who have attempted a second marriage. The Church will therefore make untiring efforts to put at their disposal her means of salvation’ (n. 84). It is in this clearly pastoral setting, as you have explained in your presentation of the work of this plenary assembly, that the reflections of your meeting are framed, reflections aimed at helping families to discover the greatness of their baptismal vocation and to practise works of piety, charity and repentance. Nevertheless, pastoral help presupposes that the Church’s doctrine be recognized as it is clearly expressed in the Catechism: ‘The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom’ (n. 1640). (John Paul II. Address to the Pontifical Council for the Family, no. 2, January 24, 1997)

  • The Church cannot be indifferent to distressing problems which involve so many of her children

The Church cannot be indifferent to this distressing problem, which involves so many of her children. In the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio I had already acknowledged that in dealing with a wound that is more widely affecting even Catholic environments, ‘the problem must be faced with resolution and without delay’ (n. 84). The Church, Mother and Teacher, seeks the welfare and happiness of the home and when it is broken for whatever reason, she suffers and seeks to provide a remedy, offering these persons pastoral guidance in complete fidelity to Christ’s teachings. (John Paul II. Address to the Pontifical Council for the Family, no. 1, January 24, 1997)

  • The missionaries are men in whom concern for the weak pulsates

Lessons of humanism, spirituality and effort to raise man’s dignity, are taught to us by Antonio Montesinos, Córdoba, Bartolomé de las Casas, echoed also in other parts by Juan de Zumárraga, Motolinia, Vasco de Quiroga, José de Anchieta, Toribio de Mogrovejo, Nóbrega and so many others. They are men in whom pulsates concern for the weak, for the defenceless, for the natives; subjects worthy of all respect as persons and as bearers of the image of God, destined for a transcendent vocation. The first International Law has its origin here with Francisco de Vitoria. (John Paul II. Homily, Independence Square, Santo Domingo, January 25, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on union in the Catholic Church

  • Full communion will come about through the acceptance of the whole truth

Love for the truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians. […] Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 36, May 25, 1995)

  • This mysterious visible union cannot be pursued without an identity of faith, a sharing in the sacramental life and consistency in moral life

Unity in the truth: this is the mission Christ entrusted to His Church, for which she works actively, invoking it first and foremost of Him who can do all things and who, when His passion and resurrection were imminent, first prayed to the Father that all believers might be “one” (Jn 17:21). […] it is made clear that this mysterious, visible union cannot be pursued without an identity of faith, a sharing in the sacramental life, the resulting consistency in moral life and continuous, fervent personal and communal prayer. (John Paul II. Address during the official release of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, December7, 1992)

  • Truth brings with it the principle of the authentic liberation of man

And as Pastors you have the vivid awareness that your principal duty is to be Teachers of the Truth. Not a human and rational truth, but the Truth that comes from God, the Truth that brings with it the principle of the authentic liberation of man: ‘you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’ (Jn 8:32); that Truth which is the only one that offers a solid basis for an adequate “praxis”. (John Paul II. Address at the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, January 28, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on this being the wonderful moments of the Church

  • Christians are tempted toward sociological Christianity without defined dogmas or objective morality

It is essential to realistically admit, with deep and pained sentiment, that in part, Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disillusioned; ideas conflicting with the revealed and consistently taught truth have been widely spread; real heresies in dogmatic and moral fields have been promoted, creating doubts, confusions, rebellions, even the Liturgy has been manipulated; immersed in the intellectual and moral ‘relativism’, and consequently permissiveness, Christians are tempted toward atheism, agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and a sociological Christianity, without defined dogmas and without objective morality. (John Paul II. Address to participants of the Italian National Congress on the theme of ‘Popular Missions during the 1980’s, no. 2, February 6, 1981)

  • We are witnessing the emergence of a new culture in conflict with the Gospel and a growing religious agnosticism

We are witnessing the emergence of a new culture, largely influenced by the mass media, whose content and character are often in conflict with the Gospel and the dignity of the human person. This culture is also marked by a widespread and growing religious agnosticism, connected to a more profound moral and legal relativism rooted in confusion regarding the truth about man as the basis of the inalienable rights of all human beings. At times the signs of a weakening of hope are evident in disturbing forms of what might be called a ‘culture of death’ (cf. Propositio 5a). (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, no. 9–10, June 28, 2003)

  • The decline in the number of missionary vocations harms the proclamation of the Gospel to the men and women of our time

On the path of evangelization there is no shortage of difficult situations. In certain countries particularly, you are suffering from the lack of vocations that weakens your dynamism. This trial is not limited to you: today it takes place in many dioceses and religious families. But the crisis strikes you especially, since you have always given a great deal of attention to vocations in your missionary apostolate, creating small seminaries in the young Churches entrusted to your care. Your special concern has also led to your being put in charge of the Pontifical French Seminary of Rome. Take care to help prepare the seminarians for their ministry through a human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation that enables them to be integrated into the ecclesial life of their dioceses. This includes a familiarity with the history and life of the local Churches and a continuous dialogue with their Pastors. The decline in the number of seminarians and missionary vocations must not water down the quality of discernment nor the spiritual and moral formation needed for priestly ministry. Indeed, the proclamation of the Gospel to the men and women of our time demands faithful witnesses, motivated by the Spirit of holiness, who are signs for their brothers and sisters by the power of their words, and, by the authenticity of their lives. (John Paul II. Message to the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, May 24, 2002)

  • Serious concern over negative statistics on participation in the Eucharistic celebration

At this point I cannot hide two serious concerns connected with certain negative statistics: they concern participation in the Eucharistic celebration and the shortage of vocations. While I appreciate all that you are doing to protect Sunday in social and economic life, I also feel obliged to urge you: constantly and firmly remind the faithful entrusted to your care to fulfil their Sunday obligation, as Bishops have done from the earliest centuries down to our day. ‘Leave everything on the Lord’s Day and run diligently to your assembly, because it is your praise of God. Otherwise, what excuse will they make to God, those who do not come together on the Lord’s Day to hear the word of life and feed on the divine nourishment which lasts forever?’ (Didascalia Apostolorum, II, 59, 2–3). (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Austria on their ad limina visit, no. 8, November 20, 1998)

  • Victory over the iconoclasts in the Council of Nicaea II

The dilemma posed by the iconoclasts involved much more than the question of the possibility of Christian art; it called into question the whole Christian vision of the reality of the Incarnation and therefore the relationships of God and the world, grace and nature, in short, the specific character of the ‘new covenant’ that God made with humanity in Jesus Christ. […] Thus Pope Hadrian could write: ‘By means of a visible face, our spirit will be carried by a spiritual attraction towards the invisible majesty of the divinity through the contemplation of the image where is represented the flesh that the Son of God deigned to take for our salvation. May we thus adore and praise him together while glorifying in spirit this same Redeemer for, as it is written, ‘God is Spirit’, and that is why we spiritually adore his divinity’ (Letter of Hadrian I to the Emperors: Mansi XII, 1062AB). Hence, Nicaea II solemnly reaffirmed the traditional distinction between ‘the true adoration (latreia)’ which ‘according to our faith is rendered to the unique divine nature’ and ‘and the prostration of honor (timetike proskynesis) ‘which is attributed to icons, for ‘he who prostrates before the icon does so before the person (hypostasis) who is represented therein’ (Horos: Mansi XIII, 377E). (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Duodecimum saeculum, no. 9, December 4, 1987)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of the Church

  • The Church does not preach well-being, but the salvation of souls and the divine filiation

The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to merely human wisdom, a pseudo-science of well-being. In our heavily secularized world a “gradual secularization of salvation” has taken place, so that people strive for the good of man, but man who is truncated, reduced to his merely horizontal dimension. We know, however, that Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 11, December 7, 1990)

  • It is not the Church’s mission to work directly on the economic, technical or political levels but rather to awaken consciences through the Gospel

In the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, I stated that the Church does not have technical solutions to offer for the problem of underdevelopment as such,” but “offers her first contribution to the solution of the urgent problem of development when she proclaims the truth about Christ, about herself and about man, applying this truth to a concrete situation.” The Conference of Latin American Bishops at Puebla stated that “the best service we can offer to our brother is evangelization, which helps him to live and act as a son of God, sets him free from injustices and assists his overall development.” It is not the Church’s mission to work directly on the economic. technical or political levels, or to contribute materially to development. Rather, her mission consists essentially in offering people an opportunity not to “have more” but to “be more.” by awakening their consciences through the Gospel. ‘Authentic human development must be rooted in an ever deeper evangelization.’ (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 58, December 7, 1990)

  • The education of the moral conscience becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced

Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming (Gaudium et spes, 15). The education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced. Modern culture must be led to a more profoundly restored covenant with divine Wisdom. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 8, November 11, 1982)

  • Shepherds of souls are Christ’s voice today, which calls to unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law

In every age, men and women need to hear Christ the Good Shepherd calling them to faith and conversion of life (cf. Mk 1:15), the liberating force of God’s love, and as shepherds of souls, you must be Christ’s voice today, encouraging your people to rediscover “the beauty of truth, the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations” (Veritatis Splendor, 107). (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the United States on their ad limina visit, no. 1, June 27, 1998)

  • Radicalness and perfection in obedience to the truth which is Christ

In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection. (John Paul II. Encyclical Familiaris consortio, no. 33, November 22, 1981)

  • The greater the opposition to the Gospel, the more necessary is its proclamation

Jesus Christ is the stable principle and fixed centre of the mission that God himself has entrusted to man. We must all share in this mission and concentrate all our forces on it, since it is more necessary than ever for modern mankind. If this mission seems to encounter greater opposition nowadays than ever before, this shows that today it is more necessary than ever and, in spite of the opposition, more awaited than ever. Here we touch indirectly on the mystery of the divine “economy” which linked salvation and grace with the Cross. It was not without reason that Christ said that “the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force” (Mt 11:12) (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor hominis, no. 11, March 4, 1979)

…judges Francis’ defense of the Jovinian heresy

  • By counseling “continence” for “the sake of the kingdom of heaven” and renouncing marriage Jesus provoked a “revolution” in a certain sense, of the entire tradition of the Old Testament

Marriage was so common that only physical impotence could constitute an exception. The reply given to the disciples in Matthew (Mt 15:10-12) is at the same time directed, in a certain sense, at the whole tradition of the Old Testament. This is confirmed by a single example taken from the Book of Judges. We refer to this here not merely because of the event that took place, but also because of the significant words that accompanied it. ‘Let it be granted to me…to bewail my virginity’ (Judges 11:37) the daughter of Jephthah said to her father after learning from him that she was destined to be sacrificed in fulfillment of a vow made to the Lord. (John Paul II. General audience, March 17, 1982)

  • Jesus wished to tell the Apostles that continence can also be voluntary and chosen by man for the kingdom of heaven

In this environment Christ’s words determine a decisive turning point. When he spoke to his disciples for the first time about continence for the kingdom of heaven, one clearly realizes that as children of the Old Law tradition, they must have associated celibacy and virginity with the situation of individuals, especially of the male sex, who because of defects of a physical nature cannot marry (“the eunuchs”). For that reason he referred directly to them. This reference has a multiple background, both historical and psychological, as well as ethical and religious. With this reference Jesus—in a certain sense—touches all these backgrounds, as if he wished to say: I know that what I am going to say to you now will cause great difficulty in your conscience, in your way of understanding the significance of the body. In fact, I shall speak to you of continence. Undoubtedly, you will associate this with the state of physical deficiency, whether congenital or brought about by human cause. But I wish to tell you that continence can also be voluntary and chosen by man for the kingdom of heaven. (John Paul II. General audience, March 17, 1982)

  • When Jesus spoke to his disciples for the first time about continence for the kingdom of heaven, his words determined a decisive turning point in respect to the Old Testament tradition

In this environment Christ’s words determine a decisive turning point. When he spoke to his disciples for the first time about continence for the kingdom of heaven, one clearly realizes that as children of the Old Law tradition, they must have associated celibacy and virginity with the situation of individuals, especially of the male sex, who because of defects of a physical nature cannot marry (“the eunuchs”). For that reason he referred directly to them. […]

Matthew, in chapter 19, does not record any immediate reaction of the disciples to these words. We find it later only in the writings of the apostles, especially in Paul (cf. 1Cor 7:25-40; see also Apoc 14:4). This confirms that these words were impressed in the conscience of the first generation of Christ’s disciples and they repeatedly bore fruit in a manifold way in the generations of his confessors in the Church (and perhaps also outside it). So, from the viewpoint of theology—that is, of the revelation of the significance of the body, completely new in respect to the Old Testament tradition—these words mark a turning point. Their analysis shows how precise and substantial they are, notwithstanding their conciseness. (We will observe it still better when we analyze the Pauline text of the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 7.) (John Paul II. General audience, March 17, 1982)

  • The Apostle Paul, just as the Gospel, emphasizes with that virginity or voluntary continence, derives exclusively from a counsel and not from a commandment

The Apostle emphasizes with great clarity that virginity, or voluntary continence, derives exclusively from a counsel and not from a commandment: ‘With regard to virgins, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion.’ Paul gives this opinion ‘as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord and merits your trust’ (1 Cor 7:25). As is seen from the words quoted, the Apostle, just as the Gospel (cf. Mt 19:11-12), distinguishes between counsel and commandment. On the basis of the doctrinal rule of understanding proclaimed teaching, he wants to counsel. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 6, June 23, 1982)

  • Saint Paul shows that with respect to matrimony and continence, it is not a question of the difference between good and evil, but only between good and better

So then the Apostle teaches that virginity, or voluntary continence, the young woman’s abstention from marriage, derives exclusively from a counsel, and given the appropriate circumstances, it is better than marriage. The question of sin does not enter in any way. ‘Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries, she does not sin’ (1 Cor 7:27-28). Solely on the basis of these words, we certainly cannot make judgments on what the Apostle was thinking or teaching about marriage. This subject will indeed be partially explained in the context of First Corinthians (chapter 7) and more fully in Ephesians (Eph 5:21-33). In our case, he is probably dealing with the answer to the question of whether marriage is a sin. One could also think that in such a question there might be some influence from dualistic pro-gnostic currents, which later become encratism and Manichaeism. Paul answers that the question of sin absolutely does not enter into play here. It is not a question of the difference between good and evil, but only between good and better. He later goes on to justify why one who chooses marriage will do well and one who chooses virginity, or voluntary continence, will do better. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 6, June 23, 1982)

  • Continence, even if consciously chosen or personally decided upon, does not come within the scope of the statement of Christ without a supernatural finality

Christ spoke of continence ‘for’ the kingdom of heaven. In this way he wished to emphasize that this state, consciously chosen by man in this temporal life, in which people usually ‘marry or are given in marriage,’ has a singular supernatural finality. Continence, even if consciously chosen or personally decided upon, but without that finality, does not come within the scope of the above-mentioned statement of Christ. Speaking of those who have consciously chosen celibacy or virginity for the kingdom of heaven (that is, ‘They have made themselves eunuchs’), Christ pointed out—at least in an indirect way—that this choice during the earthly life is joined to renunciation and also to a determined spiritual effort. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 5, March 17, 1982)

  • Many young women are encouraged to respond generously to God’s call embracing the ideal of virginity through Mary’s virginal example, as a sign of God’s primacy over all reality and as a prophetic anticipation of the life to come

How many young women in the Church’s history, as they contemplate the nobility and beauty of the virginal heart of the Lord’s Mother, have felt encouraged to respond generously to God’s call by embracing the ideal of virginity! “Precisely such virginity”, as I recalled in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, “after the example of the Virgin of Nazareth, is the source of a special spiritual fruitfulness: it is the source of motherhood in the Holy Spirit” (n. 43). Mary’s virginal life inspires in the entire Christian people esteem for the gift of virginity and the desire that it should increase in the Church as a sign of God’s primacy over all reality and as a prophetic anticipation of the life to come. Together let us thank the Lord for those who still today generously consecrate their lives in virginity to the service of the kingdom of God. (John Paul II. General audience, August 7, 1996)

  • In the course of the Church’s history Mary’s virginity would spur many women to the way of virginal consecration

‘Full of grace’ (Lk 1:28), Mary was enriched with a perfection of holiness that, according to the Church’s interpretation, goes back to the very first moment of her existence: the unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception influenced the whole development of the young woman of Nazareth’s spiritual life. Thus it should be maintained that Mary was guided to the ideal of virginity by an exceptional inspiration of that same Holy Spirit who, in the course of the Church’s history, will spur many women to the way of virginal consecration. The singular presence of grace in Mary’s life leads to the conclusion that the young girl was committed to virginity. Filled with the Lord’s exceptional gifts from the beginning of her life, she was oriented to a total gift of self—body and soul—to God, in the offering of herself as a virgin. (John Paul II. General audience, July 24, 1996)

  • This decision to opt for celibacy or virginity is the choice of greater values, rather than the renunciation of human values

The marvels God still works today in the hearts and lives of so many young people were first realized in Mary’s soul. Even in our world, so distracted by the attractions of a frequently superficial and consumerist culture, many adolescents accept the invitation that comes from Mary’s example and consecrate their youth to the Lord and to the service of their brothers and sisters. This decision is the choice of greater values, rather than the renunciation of human values. In this regard, in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus my venerable predecessor Paul VI emphasizes how anyone who looks at the witness of the Gospel with an open mind “will appreciate that Mary’s choice of the state of virginity (… ) was not a rejection of any of the values of the married state but a courageous choice which she made in order to consecrate herself totally to the love of God” (n. 37). (John Paul II. General audience, August 7, 1996)

  • The face of Christ’s Mother, reflected in the many virgins who strive to follow the divine Master, is the sign of God’s mercy and tenderness for humanity

At the same time, while in various regions evangelized long ago hedonism and consumerism seem to dissuade many young people from embracing the consecrated life, we must incessantly ask God through Mary’s intercession for a new flowering of religious vocations. Thus the face of Christ’s Mother, reflected in the many virgins who strive to follow the divine Master, will continue to be the sign of God’s mercy and tenderness for humanity. (John Paul II. General audience, August 7, 1996)

  • Mary’s ideal of virginity would, in the course of the Church’s history spur many women to the way of virginal consecration

In particular, we must not forget that, from the very beginning of her life, Mary received a wondrous grace, recognized by the angel at the moment of the Annunciation. ‘Full of grace’ (Lk 1:28), Mary was enriched with a perfection of holiness that, according to the Church’s interpretation, goes back to the very first moment of her existence: the unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception influenced the whole development of the young woman of Nazareth’s spiritual life. Thus it should be maintained that Mary was guided to the ideal of virginity by an exceptional inspiration of that same Holy Spirit who, in the course of the Church’s history, will spur many women to the way of virginal consecration. The singular presence of grace in Mary’s life leads to the conclusion that the young girl was committed to virginity. Filled with the Lord’s exceptional gifts from the beginning of her life, she was oriented to a total gift of self—body and soul—to God, in the offering of herself as a virgin. (John Paul II. General audience, July 24, 1996)

  • The Church, as the spouse of Jesus Christ, wishes to be loved by the priest in the total and exclusive manner, as Jesus Christ her Head and Spouse loved her

It is especially important that the priest understand the theological motivation of the Church’s law on celibacy. Inasmuch as it is a law, it expresses the Church’s will, even before the will of the subject expressed by his readiness. But the will of the Church finds its ultimate motivation in the link between celibacy and sacred ordination, which configures the priest to Jesus Christ the head and spouse of the Church. The Church, as the spouse of Jesus Christ, wishes to be loved by the priest in the total and exclusive manner in which Jesus Christ her head and spouse loved her. Priestly celibacy, then, is the gift of self in and with Christ to his Church and expresses the priest’s service to the Church in and with the Lord. (John Paul II. Post-synodal exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 29, March 25, 1992)

…judges Francis’ idea on the use of internet for catholic education

  • The influence of the mass media often offers a vision that differs profoundly from that which the family must transmit to children

In this connection, it is wise to be alert to the growing influence which the mass media, and especially television, are exercising on the developing minds of the young, particularly as regards their vision of man, of the world and of relationships with others; for the vision furnished them by the media often differs profoundly from that which the family would wish to transmit to them. Parents, in many cases, do not show sufficient concern about this. Generally, they pay vigilant attention to the type of friends with whom their children associate, but do not exercise a similar vigilance regarding the ideas which the radio, the television, records, papers and comics carry into the “protected” and “safe” intimacy of their homes. And so the mass media often enter the lives of the youngest members of the family with no possibility of the necessary explanations or corrections from parents or other educators which could neutralize any harmful elements and which could equally employ the many valuable aspects to assist in the process by which children are gradually transformed into well-adjusted men and women. (John Paul II. Message for the 14th World communications day, May 18, 1980)

  • It is the duty of parents to educate themselves and their children to make a reasonable and conscious judgment regarding the media

In short: it is the duty of parents to educate themselves, and to educate their children, to appreciate the value of communication, to make an intelligent choice between the programmes available to them, and then, having made that choice, to make a reasonable and conscious judgment as to whether the message coming from the program merits to be accepted or rejected. In families where this kind of control is exercised, the media will be less a danger to the well-being and proper functioning of the home, but will, on the contrary, be a valuable aid in preparing the gradually maturing younger members to take their place in society. (John Paul II. Message for the 14th World communications day, May 18, 1980)

  • Media programs frequently present a distorted picture of what a family is: parents risk unwittingly ceding to the media in shaping children’s attitudes

This year, in harmony with the theme of the coming Synod of Bishops which will be considering the problems confronting the family in the changed circumstances of modern times, we are invited to focus our reflection on the relationship between the mass media and the family. One circumstance which intimately affects all families today is the prevalence of the social communications media: the press, the cinema, the radio, and television. It is a rare home indeed to which entry has not been gained by one or other of these. Where once, not very long ago, the family consisted of parents and children with the addition, perhaps, of a relative or two or a servant, now the circle is, in a sense, extended to admit the more or less permanent “company” of announcers, newsreaders, entertainers, commentators on sport and current affairs, with frequent visits as well from famous and influential people of every nationality, persuasion and profession. It is a state of affairs with very great potential for good, but also with built in risks that may not be disregarded. The family of today suffers its share of the strong tensions and of the growing disorientation which is affecting modern social life in general. Certain of the stabilizing factors which in the past helped to ensure its solid internal cohesion have now been diminished or have altogether disappeared. Formerly, there were compelling reciprocal interests and the demands of tasks in which every member had to take part, to keep the family together in almost uninterrupted community throughout the working hours, thus permitting it to play a decisive part in the training and education of the children. In today’s altered working conditions, however, the members of the family are often widely separated from each other for the greater part of the day. The obvious difficulties of this situation can be seriously aggravated by the communications media. If media programmes frequently present a distorted picture of what a family is, or caricature family life, or if they misrepresent or play down the family’s function as an educator; members of the family, accepting these distortions passively and uncritically, may quite easily begin to imitate the conduct and adopt the attitudes presented to them notwithstanding its deficiencies or superficiality. It may not occur to them to question the values implied, nor may they have the opportunity or the capacity, even if they do, to challenge the producers or to engage in constructive dialogue with them on the issues. There is the further risk, – it is real and great, – that the family may abdicate the responsibility which rightly belongs to it of shaping the children’s attitudes to life and training their sense of values, and may cede it unwittingly to the media. (John Paul II. Message for the 14th World communications day, May 18, 1980)

  • Every disciple of Christ has the right to receive the non-falsified word of the faith

Every disciple of Christ has the right to receive the word of the faith neither amputated, nor falsified, nor reduced, but rather complete and integral, in all its rigor and in all its vigor. (John Paul II. Address to teachers and students of the Massimo and Santa Maria Institutes in Rome, no.3. February 9, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea on renouncing our own culture to benefit the refugees

  • Because of misinterpreted progressivism, many pretend to identify the Church with immobile attitudes of the past, disqualifying it as something already surpassed

Also among you there occurs, disgracefully, a worrisome phenomenon of de-Christianization. The serious consequences of this change of mentality and customs are not ignored by your solicitude as Pastors. The first of them is the realization of an ambience ‘in which economic well-being and consumerism…. inspire and sustain an existence lived as if there were no God’ (Christifideles laici, 34). Frequently, religious indifference installs itself in the personal and collective conscience, and for many God ceases to be the origin and the goal, the meaning and the final explanation of life. On the other hand, they are not lacking who, because of misinterpreted progressivism, pretend to identify the Church with immobile attitudes of the past. They do not have difficulty tolerating the Church as if it were the remains of an ancient culture, but they consider its message and its word irrelevant, denying it audience and disqualifying it as something already surpassed. […] Faced with this Neopaganism, the Church in Spain must respond with a renewed witness and a decided evangelizing effort which is able to create a new cultural synthesis capable of transforming, with the strength of the Gospel, ‘mankind’s criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life’ (Evangelii nuntiandi, 19). (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the provinces of Valladolid and Valencia on their ad limina visit, no. 4.5, September 23. 1991)

  • Although it is true that faith transcends all culture, there is an intimate linking between the Gospel and the achievements of humanity

The first evangelization – whose beginning will soon reach the 500-year anniversary – shaped of the historical-cultural identity of your people (cf. Puebla, 412. 445–446); and the Catholic cultural substratum, which bears particularly the imprints of your heart and your intuition, expresses itself in the artistic creation, of which your temples, your traditional paintings, your popular art constitute such a valuable demonstration. It also expresses itself, often with touching characteristics, in the piety brought alive in popular manifestations of devotion. Although it is true that faith transcends all culture, since it manifests a happening originating in God, and not in man, this does not mean that it is on the sidelines of culture. There is an intimate linking between the Gospel and the achievements of humanity. This link is what creates culture. (John Paul II. Meeting with the World of Culture and Business in the Saint Turibius Seminary, no. 5–6, May 15, 1988)

  • In Our Lady of Guadalupe’s face are symbolized the power and solidity of the evangelization among the diverse indigenous peoples and ethnic groups and cultures

The expansion of Iberian Christendom brought to the new peoples the gift inherent in Europe’s origin and gestation – the Christian faith – with its power of humanity and its capacity of salvation, of dignity and fraternity, of justice and love for the New World. This provoked the extraordinary missionary initiative, in the transparency and incisiveness of the Christian faith, among the diverse indigenous peoples and ethnic groups, cultures and languages. The individuals and peoples of the new American miscegenation were also begotten through the novelty of the Christian faith. And in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s face are symbolized the power and solidity of this first evangelization. (John Paul II. Homily, no. 3, October 12, 1984)

  • The first evangelization essentially marked the historic-cultural identity of Latin America

A fact recorded by history is that the first evangelization essentially marked the historic-cultural identity of Latin America (Puebla, 412). Proof of this is that the Catholic faith was not uprooted from the hearts of it peoples, despite the pastoral deficiency produced in the period of independence or in the posterior hostility and persecution. (John Paul II. Homily, no. 5, October 12, 1984)

  • The Church has left deep traces, which penetrate deep down in the history and character of each people

I arrive in a continent in which the Church has left deep traces, which penetrate deep down in the history and character of each people. I come to this living portion of the Church, the most numerous one, a vital part for the future of the Catholic Church, which amid fine achievements but not without shadows, amid difficulties and sacrifices, bears witness to Christ. And today it desires to answer the challenge of the present moment, by proposing a light of hope for this life and for the next one, through its work of proclaiming the Good News which is summed up in Christ the Saviour, the Son of God and the elder Brother of men. (John Paul II. Address to the President of the Dominican Republic, January 25, 1979)

  • The faith is the yeast for an authentic culture, for its dynamism promotes the realization of a balanced cultural synthesis

The roots of the culture of your country are pervaded with the Christian message. The history of Peru has been forged by the warmth of the faith, which has inspired it, and at the same time imprinted a characteristic mark on the life and the customs of the nation. In the light of faith a new crossbred cultural synthesis was modeled which unites in itself the native American legacy and the European contribution. […] Within the immense task of evangelization to which we are called to as a Church, the evangelization of culture occupies a preferential place (cf. Puebla, 365). It should reach all of man, and all the manifestations of man, reaching the root of his very being, customs and traditions (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 20). […] To evangelize culture is to promote man in his deepest dimension. To achieve this, it is at times necessary to make evident all that which, in the light of the Gospel, attacks the dignity of the person. On the other hand, the faith is the yeast for an authentic culture, for its dynamism promotes the realization of a balanced cultural synthesis, which can only be achieved with the aid of a superior light which the faith bears. The faith offers a response of the wisdom ‘ever ancient and ever new’ which helps man to adapt, with true criteria, the means to the ends, the projects to the ideals, the actions to the moral standards that permit the restoration of the upset balance of values of today. In a word, the faith, far from being and obstacle, is a fertile force for the creation of culture. (John Paul II. Meeting with the world of culture and business at the Saint Turibius Seminary, no. 2–5, 1988)

  • It is necessary for Catholics to adhere so firmly to the absoluteness of God that they can be witnesses to Him in a materialistic civilization that denies Him

Christians today must be formed to live in a world which largely ignores God or which, in religious matters, in place of an exacting and fraternal dialogue, stimulating for all, too often flounders in a debasing indifferentism, if it does not remain in a scornful attitude of “suspicion” in the name of the progress it has made in the field of scientific “explanations.” To “hold on” in this world, to offer to all a “dialogue of salvation” (cf. Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam) in which each person feels respected in his or her most basic dignity, the dignity of one who is seeking God, we need a catechesis which trains the young people and adults of our communities to remain clear and consistent in their faith, to affirm serenely their Christian and Catholic identity, to “see him who is invisible” (cf. Heb. 11:27) and to adhere so firmly to the absoluteness of God that they can be witnesses to Him in a materialistic civilization that denies Him. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesi tradendae, no. 57, October 16, 1979)

  • Cyril, Methodius, and Benedict, witnesses to different cultures, founded their civilizing work upon the Gospel

Saint Benedict, giant of the faith and of civilization, in a society shaken by a tremendous crisis of values and institutions, affirmed with the strength of his formative work the primacy of the spirit, thus defending the personal dignity of man, as a child of God, and the dignity of work, understood as a service to his brethren. Starting with this affirmation of the superior needs of man, Saint Benedict, through the silent and efficacious work of his monks, filled with Christian meaning the life and culture of the European peoples. […] Impelled by the same ideals, and encouraged toward the same ends as the Patriarch of the West, the two great brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, from the East, worked in the history and in the culture of the Slav peoples in the midst of the 9th Century. Having been formed in Constantinople, they brought with them the contribution of the ancient Greek culture and of the tradition of the Oriental Church, which, in this way, was deeply inserted into the religious and civil formation of the peoples who have collaborated in a relevant manner in the construction of modern Europe. Cyril and Methodius, as Benedict, witnesses to different cultures, which in them are ideally found and integrated, founded their civilizing work upon the Gospel and the values that emanate from it. This identical proclamation has been an instrument of reciprocal knowledge and of union between the different peoples of Europe, assuring it of a common spiritual and cultural patrimony. (John Paul II. Address to the pilgrims of Croatia and Slovenia, no. 3–4, March 21, 1981)

  • The felicitous combination of classical culture and Christian faith with the traditions of various peoples took place in Charlemagne’s empire and developed as the spiritual and cultural legacy of Europe

Indeed, the King of the Franks, who established Aachen as the capital of his kingdom, made an essential contribution to the political and cultural foundations of Europe and therefore deserved the nickname Pater Europae (father of Europe) that his contemporaries gave him. The felicitous combination of classical culture and Christian faith with the traditions of various peoples took place in Charlemagne’s empire and developed in various forms down the centuries as the spiritual and cultural legacy of Europe. Even if modern Europe presents in many aspects a new reality, we can nevertheless recognize the highly symbolic value of the historical figure of Charlemagne. […] My special thanks go to those who have put all their efforts at the service of building the common European House on the foundations of the values passed on by the Christian faith as well as on those of Western culture. (John Paul II. Address on the occasion of the reception of the International Charlemagne Prize, no. 2.3, March 24, 2004)

  • Through the centuries, Christianity has made an important contribution to the formation of the cultural heritage of peoples

I avail myself of this occasion to reflect with you on the specific contribution which Christians, as men and women of culture and learning, are called to make to the further growth of a true humanism in your Nation, as part of the great family of peoples. The task of the Christian in fact is to spread the light of the Gospel throughout society, and hence also in the world of culture. Through the centuries, Christianity has made an important contribution to the formation of the cultural heritage of the Croatian people. On the threshold of the Third Millennium, therefore, there should be no lack of new and vital energies, ready to give fresh impulse to the promotion and development of the cultural heritage of the Nation, in full fidelity to its Christian roots. (John Paul II. Message to the World of culture and learning, Zagreb, October 3, 1998)

  • The Christian roots of Europe are the main guarantee of its future

The “Good News” was and continues to be a source of life for Europe. If it is true that Christianity cannot be restricted to any particular culture but converses with each one, to help them all to express their best qualities in every field of knowledge and human action, then the Christian roots of Europe are the main guarantee of its future. Could a tree that had no roots grow and develop? Europe, do not forget your history! (John Paul II. Homily, no. 3, June 28, 2003)

  • The European identity is incomprehensible without Christianity, where those common roots are found of its civilization, its culture, its dynamism, its activity – in a word, its glory

All of Europe has discovered itself around the ‘memory’ of Santiago, in the same centuries in which it was being constructed as a spiritually and homogeneously united continent. For this reason, Goethe himself would insinuate that European consciousness was born on pilgrimage. The pilgrimage to Santiago was one of the strong elements favoring mutual comprehension among Europeans as diverse as the Latin, Germanic, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Slavonic peoples. The pilgrimage brought together, connected and united amongst themselves those people who, century after century, convinced by the preaching of Christ’s witnesses, embraced the Gospel and, contemporaneously, we could affirm, emerged as peoples and nations. The history of the European nations’ formation runs alongside its evangelization; to such an extent that the European frontiers coincide with those of the inroads made by the Gospel. After twenty centuries of history, despite the bloody conflicts that the peoples of Europe had to face, and despite the spiritual crises that have marked the life of the continent – to the point of posing, to the consciousness of our times, grave questions as to its future – it ought to be affirmed that the European identity is incomprehensible without Christianity, and it is precisely in it that those common roots are found, from which have matured the civilization of the continent, its culture, its dynamism, its activity, its capacity for constructive expansion in the other continents as well; in a word, all that constitutes its glory.

And even in our day, the soul of Europe remains united because, besides its common origin, it has identical Christian and human values. (John Paul II. Address in Santiago de Compostela, no. 2–3, November 9, 1982)

  • The whole of Europe testifies the relationship between culture and Christianity

Certainly it would not be exaggerating to affirm in particular, that through a multitude of deeds, the whole of Europe – from the Atlantic to the Urals – testifies, in the history of each nation, and in that of the entire community, the relationship between culture and Christianity. (John Paul II. Address to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, June 2, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea on if doctrine can be interpreted against the infallible Magisterium

  • In obedience to Christ, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people

In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection. (John Paul II. Encyclical Familiaris consortio, no. 33, November 22, 1981)

  • The Church today, despite all of the difficulties that surround it, cannot speak differently than how Christ spoke

You, in virtue of your Episcopal office, are authentic testimonies of the Gospel and teachers […] of the Truth contained in the Revelation, of which your magisterium is nourished and should always be nourished. To be able to face the challenges of the present, it is necessary that the Church appear, at all levels, as the ‘the pillar and foundation of truth’ (1Tim 3:15). The service of the Truth, which is Christ, is our most important task. This Truth is revealed. It is not born of a merely human experience. It is God Himself, who in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, makes himself known to man. Consequently, this service of the revealed Truth should be born of study and contemplation, and should grow through this continuous exploration. Our firmness will come from this solid foundation, since the Church today, despite all of the difficulties that surround it, cannot speak in a way different from that which Christ spoke. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops from Chile on their ad limina visit Apostolorum, no. 2, November 8, 1984)

  • As shepherds of souls, you must be Christ’s voice today, encouraging your people to rediscover the beauty of truth

In every age, men and women need to hear Christ the Good Shepherd calling them to faith and conversion of life (cf. Mk 1:15). As shepherds of souls, you must be Christ’s voice today, encouraging your people to rediscover ‘the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations’. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops of the United States on their ad limina visit, no. 1, June 27, 1998)

  • The mission of the Bishop of Rome consists precisely in ‘keeping watch’ so that the true voice of Christ the Shepherd may be heard

The mission of the Bishop of Rome within the College of all the Pastors consists precisely in “keeping watch” (episkopein), like a sentinel, so that, through the efforts of the Pastors, the true voice of Christ the Shepherd may be heard in all the particular Churches. In this way, in each of the particular Churches entrusted to those Pastors, the una, sancta, catholica et apostolica Ecclesia is made present. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 94, May 25, 1995)

  • Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which bishops exercise their pastoral vigilance

It is our common duty, and even before that our common grace, as Pastors and Bishops of the Church, to teach the faithful the things which lead them to God, just as the Lord Jesus did with the young man in the Gospel. Replying to the question: “What good must I do to have eternal life?”, Jesus referred the young man to God, the Lord of creation and of the Covenant. He reminded him of the moral commandments already revealed in the Old Testament and he indicated their spirit and deepest meaning by inviting the young man to follow him in poverty, humility and love: “Come, follow me! “. The truth of this teaching was sealed on the Cross in the Blood of Christ: in the Holy Spirit, it has become the new law of the Church and of every Christian. This “answer” to the question about morality has been entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to us, the Pastors of the Church; we have been called to make it the object of our preaching, in the fulfilment of our munus propheticum. At the same time, our responsibility as Pastors with regard to Christian moral teaching must also be exercised as part of the munus sacerdotale: this happens when we dispense to the faithful the gifts of grace and sanctification as an effective means for obeying God’s holy law, and when with our constant and confident prayers we support believers in their efforts to be faithful to the demands of the faith and to live in accordance with the Gospel (cf. Col 1:9–12). Especially today, Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which we exercise our pastoral vigilance, in carrying out our munus regale. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 114, August 6, 1993)

  • Above all, the bishop must have the courage to announce and defend sound doctrine

Master of the faith, the bishop promotes whatever is good and positive in the flock entrusted to him, sustains and guides those weak in faith (Rom 14,1), intervenes to unmask falsehoods and combat abuses. It is important that the bishop be aware of the challenges that faith in Christ has to face today on account of the mentality based on human criteria, that at times relativises the Law and the Plan of God. Above all, he must have the courage to announce and defend sound doctrine, even when it entails suffering. In fact, the bishop, in communion with the apostolic college and with the Successor of Peter, has the duty of protecting the faithful from any kind of temptation, showing in a wholehearted return to the Gospel of Christ the true solution for the complicated problems that burden humanity. (John Paul II. Homily for the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops, no. 4, October 27, 2001)

  • One may not invent the faith according to the circumstances or individual tastes

There are two points that I would like to particularly emphasize with respect to the transmission of the faith. First of all that catechesis responds to objective and well determined subject matter. One may not invent the faith according to the circumstances or individual tastes. We must receive it in and from the universal community of faith, the Church, to which Christ himself confided the ministry to teach under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. (John Paul II. Address to the Hispanic Catholic community of the United States and Canada, no. 4, September 13, 1987)

  • In face of Neopaganism, the Church must respond with a determined evangelizing effort capable of creating a new cultural synthesis, able to transform with the power of the Gospel

Unfortunately, a worrisome phenomenon of dechristianization is being produced among you. The grave consequences of this change of mentality and customs are not hidden to your pastoral solicitude. The first of them is an ambience “in which economic well-being and consumerism inspires and sustains an existence which is lived out as if there were no God” (Christifideles laici, 34). Frequently, religious indifference is installed in the personal and collective conscience, and, for many, God ceases to be the origin and goal, the meaning and ultimate explanation of life. On the other hand, there are not a few who, with airs of poorly conceived progressivism, seek to identify the Church with inflexible stances of the past. They have no difficulty in tolerating the Church as the remnant of an old culture, but they deem irrelevant its message and word, denying it audience and disqualifying it as a thing already surpassed.

[…] In face of Neopaganism, the Church in Spain, must respond with a renewed witness and a determined evangelizing effort capable of creating a new cultural synthesis, able to transform with the power of the Gospel “the standards of judgment, the determining values, the points of interest, the lines of though, the fonts of inspiration, models of life, of humanity. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops from Spain on their ad limina visit, no.3, September 23, 1991)

  • Saints Cyril and Methodius were especially meritorious for incarnating the Gospel in the native culture of the peoples which they were evangelizing

The Brothers from Salonika were not only heirs of the faith but also heirs of the culture of Ancient Greece, continued by Byzantium. Everyone knows how important this heritage is for the whole of European culture and, directly or indirectly, for the culture of the entire world. The work of evangelization which they carried out as pioneers in territory inhabited by Slav peoples-contains both a model of what today is called “inculturation” the incarnation of the Gospel in native cultures […] By incarnating the Gospel in the native culture of the peoples which they were evangelizing, Saints Cyril and Methodius were especially meritorious for the formation and development of that same culture, or rather of many cultures. Indeed all the cultures of the Slav nations owe their “beginning” or development to the work of the Brothers from Salonika. (John Paul II. Encyclical Slavorum Apostoli, no 21, June 2, 1985)

  • Deep-rooted faith in God has successfully impregnated the cultures of every Catholic people

Deep-rooted faith in God has successfully impregnated, by a multisecular actuation, the concept of life, the standards of personal and social behavior, modes of expression, in a word, the individual culture of each of your regions. And this success is not a mere inheritance from the past, devoid of active virtualities for the present. A great number of the men and women of your lands continue finding, in the faith, the fundamental meaning of their life, and that is why the turn to God in the crucial moments of life. A rich religiosity translates, to the language of the simple, the great Gospel truths and values, incarnates them within the particular idiosyncrasy of your culture, and converts the great Christian symbols into other identifying signs of the collectivity. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops of Spain on their ad limina visit, no.3, September 23, 1991)

…judges Francis’ idea on interpersonal relationships no longer need to seek purity and perfection

  • The Holy Family is an incomparable model of every Christian family

And to you newlyweds, my affectionate congratulations. You have become united within the sacrament of matrimony during this Christmas season in which the Church celebrates and honors with particular devotion the ‘Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph’. To this Holy Family, incomparable model of every human and Christian familial community, I confide the sacred commitment that you have assumed before God, the Church and society, as well as your resolutions, ideals and plans. May the Apostolic blessing which I impart to you with sincere cordiality, be a demonstration of my love. (John Paul II. General audience, January 7, 1981)

  • The family is a communion of love based on truth: The Holy Family is the first model for families

Being together and exchanging gifts emphasizes the strong desire for reciprocal communion and sheds light on the highest values of the family institution. This is shown by the communion of love between persons based on truth, on love, on the indissoluble fidelity of husband and wife and on openness to the gift of life. In the light of Christmas, the family sees its vocation as a community of shared plans, solidarity, forgiveness and faith, where individuals do not lose their identity, but contribute with their own specific gifts to the growth of all. This is what occurred in the Holy Family, presented by faith as the first model for families enlightened by Christ. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 1, December 29, 1999)

  • Spreading of anti-family initiatives that exalt divorce and conjugal infidelity – Who benefits from this propaganda? From what source do they come?

Unfortunately, precisely in this Year of the Family, one observes the initiatives spread by a notable part of the media, which, in their substance, are anti-family. They are initiatives that give priority to that which determines the decomposition of families and the defeat of the human being, men, women, and children. In effect, what is really evil is called good: separations, decided upon superficially; conjugal infidelity, is not only tolerated but even exalted; divorces; and free love, are proposed at times as models to be imitated. Who benefits from this propaganda? From what source do they come? (John Paul II. Angelus, February 20, 1994)

  • Families should satisfactorily carry out the role inherent in their most eminent dignity

The main question, however, is precisely this: can we still speak of a family model today? The Church is convinced that in the context of our time it is more necessary than ever to reassert the institutions of marriage and the family as realities that derive from the wisdom of God’s will and reveal their full significance and value in his creative and saving plan (cf. ibid.; cf. Gaudium et Spes, no. 48; Familiaris Consortio, no. 11-16). […] In dealing with the European context, it is this method that is inspiring you in the course of this current Symposium. I hope that your timely initiative will contribute to ensuring that in Europe, today and tomorrow, families can carry out satisfactorily the role inherent in their most eminent dignity. To this end, I assure you of my special remembrance in prayer and I invoke the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the model for every family. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the European symposium for university teachers, June 25, 2004)

  • It is a fundamental duty of the Church to strongly reaffirm the truth about marriage

It is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly, as the Synod Fathers did the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage. To all those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and to those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity, it is necessary to reconfirm the good news of the definitive nature of that conjugal love that has in Christ its foundation and strength. Being rooted in the personal and total self-giving of the couple, and being required by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in His revelation: He wills and He communicates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 20, November 22, 1981)

  • The Hungarian people are called to follow the example of the first saintly Hungarian family in forming holy families

This history begins with a holy king, rather, with a ‘holy family’: Stephen, with his wife, Blessed Gisela, and their son, Saint Emeric, are the first saintly Hungarian family. This seed would sprout and bring forth a host of noble figures who would distinguish Pannonia Sacra: one need only think of Saint Ladislaus, Saint Elizabeth and Saint Margaret! (John Paul II. Message to the Hungarian nation for the millennium of Saint Stephen’s coronation, August 21, 2000)

  • It is a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity with shallow religiosity

In fact, to place pastoral planning under the heading of holiness is a choice filled with consequences. It implies the conviction that, since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: ‘Do you wish to receive Baptism?’ means at the same time to ask them: ‘Do you wish to become holy?’ It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48). […] The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Novo millennio inuente, no. 31, January 6, 2001)

…judges Francis’ idea that preaching the Gospel does not entail doctrinal and moral principles

  • The commandments are moral rules formulated in terms of prohibitions, but they are the first necessary step on the journey towards freedom

The commandments of which Jesus reminds the young man are meant to safeguard the good of the person, the image of God, by protecting his goods. ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness’ are moral rules formulated in terms of prohibitions. These negative precepts express with particular force the ever urgent need to protect human life, the communion of persons in marriage, private property, truthfulness and people’s good name. The commandments thus represent the basic condition for love of neighbour; at the same time they are the proof of that love. They are the first necessary step on the journey towards freedom, its starting-point. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no 13, August 6, 1993)

  • The heredity of God grows amidst rejection, incomprehension and struggles

Many centuries have gone by since Christ. The heredity of God has been growing marvelously, not without repetition of the rejection, the incomprehension and the struggles – over the corner stone: Christ dead and resurrected. (John Paul II. Homily in Saint Bartholomew of Orcasitas Church, no. 2, November 3, 1982)

  • Constancy in obeying the divine commandments is the source of serenity

However, the just keep their fidelity intact: “I have sworn and have made up my mind to obey your decrees… I remember your law… I do not stray from your precepts” (Ps 119[118]: 106, 109, 110). A conscience at peace is the strength of believers; their constancy in obeying the divine commandments is the source of their serenity. The final declaration is therefore consistent: “Your will is my heritage for ever, the joy of my heart” (v. 111) It is this that is the most precious reality, the “heritage”, the “reward” (cf. v. 112) which the Psalmist cherishes with vigilant and ardent love: the teaching and commandments of the Lord. He wants to be totally faithful to the will of his God. On this path he will find peace of soul and will succeed in getting through the dark tangle of trials and reaching true joy. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3, June 21, 2004)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christian marriage realized in a partial and analogous way by adultery

  • Entire love cannot exist in unions, like concubinage, which are contrary to the law of God – Only undissolvable matrimony, assumed in fidelity and open to life, is a family community

For this reason, it is necessary to make very clear that entire love cannot exist in those unions, such as in concubinage, which are contrary to the law of God. I think particularly of those children born out of wedlock, with the effects of suffering, irresponsibility, and marginalization which that brings with it. As you have repeatedly manifested, only undissolvable matrimony, fully assumed in fidelity and always open to life, can constitute the firm and durable base of a family community that fulfills its vocation as a center of manifestation and propagation of true love. (John Paul II. Addresses to the bishops of El Salvador on their ad limina visit, January 10, 1994)

  • The family must not be inadequately portrayed

On the other hand, the family and family life are all too often inadequately portrayed in the media. Infidelity, sexual activity outside of marriage, and the absence of a moral and spiritual vision of the marriage covenant are depicted uncritically, while positive support is at times given to divorce, contraception, abortion and homosexuality. Such portrayals, by promoting causes inimical to marriage and the family, are detrimental to the common good of society. (John Paul II. Message for the 38th World Communications Day, May 23, 2004)

  • The negative precepts of the Gospel express the urgent need to protect human life and the communion of persons in marriage

The commandments of which Jesus reminds the young man are meant to safeguard the good of the person, the image of God, by protecting his goods. ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness’ are moral rules formulated in terms of prohibitions. These negative precepts express with particular force the ever urgent need to protect human life, the communion of persons in marriage, private property, truthfulness and people’s good name. The commandments thus represent the basic condition for love of neighbour; at the same time they are the proof of that love. They are the first necessary step on the journey towards freedom, its starting-point. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 13, August 6, 1993)

  • There are no different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations

They [the spouses] cannot however look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy. ‘And so what is known as ‘the law of gradualness’ or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with ‘gradualness of the law,’ as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations. In God’s plan, all husbands and wives are called in marriage to holiness, and this lofty vocation is fulfilled to the extent that the human person is able to respond to God’s command with serene confidence in God’s grace and in his or her own will’ (Homily at the Close of the Sixth Synod of Bishops October 25, 1980). (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 82, November 22, 1981)

  • Carnal union outside of marriage is morally wrong

In portraying the sexual union between husband and wife as a special expression of their covenanted love, you rightly stated: ‘Sexual intercourse is a moral and human good only within marriage, outside marriage it is wrong’. As ‘men with the message of truth and the power of God’ (2Cor 6 :7), as authentic teachers of God’s law and as compassionate pastors you also rightly stated: ‘Homosexual activity … as distinguished from homosexual orientation, is morally wrong’. In the clarity of this truth, you exemplified the real charity of Christ; you did not betray those people who, because of homosexuality, are confronted with difficult moral problems, as would have happened if, in the name of understanding and compassion, or for any other reason, you had held out false hope to any brother or sister. Rather, by your witness to the truth of humanity in God’s plan, you effectively manifested fraternal love, upholding the true dignity, the true human dignity, of those who look to Christ’s Church for the guidance which comes from the light of God’s word. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops from the United States of America, October 5, 1979)

  • Catholics who contract a merely civil marriage should be induced to regularize their situation in light of Christian principles

There are increasing cases of Catholics who for ideological or practical reasons, prefer to contract a merely civil marriage, and who reject or at least defer religious marriage. Their situation cannot of course be likened to that of people simply living together without any bond at all, because in the present case there is at least a certain commitment to a properly-defined and probably stable state of life, even though the possibility of a future divorce is often present in the minds of those entering a civil marriage. By seeking public recognition of their bond on the part of the State, such couples show that they are ready to accept not only its advantages but also its obligations. Nevertheless, not even this situation is acceptable to the Church. The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 82, November 22, 1981)

  • A pastoral proposal for the family in crisis presupposes doctrinal clarity

A pastoral proposal for the family in crisis presupposes, as a preliminary requirement, doctrinal clarity, effectively taught in moral theology about sexuality and the respect for life. The opposing opinions of theologians, priests and religious that the media promote on pre-marital relations, birth control, the admission of divorced persons to the sacraments, homosexuality and artificial insemination, the use of abortion practices or euthanasia, show the degree of uncertainty and confusion that disturb and end by deadening the consciences of so many of the faithful. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops of Brazil on their ad limina visit, no. 6, November 16, 2002)

  • In the name of understanding and compassion, one must not hold out false hope but rather the clarity of truth

As ‘men with the message of truth and the power of God’ (2Cor 6:7), as authentic teachers of God’s law and as compassionate pastors you also rightly stated: ‘Homosexual activity … as distinguished from homosexual orientation, is morally wrong’. In the clarity of this truth, you exemplified the real charity of Christ; you did not betray those people who, because of homosexuality, are confronted with difficult moral problems, as would have happened if, in the name of understanding and compassion, or for any other reason, you had held out false hope to any brother or sister. Rather, by your witness to the truth of humanity in God’s plan, you effectively manifested fraternal love, upholding the true dignity, the true human dignity, of those who look to Christ’s Church for the guidance which comes from the light of God’s word. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops from the United States of America, October 5, 1979)

  • It is a serious pastoral omission not to proclaim the truth about marriage and the family

Indeed, there is no lack of attempts, in public opinion and in civil legislation, to make equivalent to the family mere de facto unions or to recognize as such same-sex unions. These and other anomalies lead us with pastoral firmness to proclaim the truth about marriage and the family. Not to do so would be a serious pastoral omission that would lead people into error, especially those who have the important responsibility of making decisions for the common good of the nation. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops of Brazil on their ad limina visit, no. 4, November 16, 2002)

  • At a time of deep uncertainty about truth, doctrine must be taught with clarity

The Church is called to proclaim an absolute and universal truth to the world at a time when in many cultures there is deep uncertainty as to whether such a truth could possibly exist. Therefore, the Church must speak in ways which carry the force of genuine witness. In considering what this entails, Pope Paul VI identified four qualities, which he called perspicuitas, lenitas, fiducia, prudentiaclarity, humanity, confidence and prudence (cf. Ecclesiam Suam, 81). To speak with clarity means that we need to explain comprehensibly the truth of Revelation and the Church’s teachings which stem from it. What we teach is not always immediately or easily accessible to people today. For this reason, there is a need not simply to repeat but to explain. (John Paul II. Address to the Episcopal Conference of the Antilles on their ad limina visit, May 7, 2002)

…judges Francis’ attitude on Ukraine

  • The great schism of the East began with the negation of the precedence of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son…

In truth, the question of the “origin” of the Holy Spirit, in the Trinitarian life of the only God, has been the object of long and multiple theological reflections, based on the Holy Scripture. In the West, Saint Ambrose, in his De Spiritu Sancto, and Saint Augustine, in the work De Trinitate, gave a great contribution toward the clarification of this problem. […] However, the Eastern brethren stuck to the formula of the Council of Constantinople (381) pure and simply, moreover because the Council of Calcedonia (451) had confirmed its “ecumenical” character (though in fact it was almost solely bishops of the East who had taken part in it). In this way, the Western and Latin Filioque became, in the following centuries, an occasion for schism, already brought about by Photius (882), but consummated and extended to almost all of the Christian East in the year 1054. The Eastern Churches separated from Rome until today profess in the symbol of the faith “in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father” without making mention of the Filioque, while in the West we expressly state that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” (John Paul II. General audience, no. 5, November 7, 1990)

  • Frequent and intense efforts were made by Rome to restore full communion

After the division which damaged the unity between the West and the Byzantine East, frequent and intense efforts were made to restore full communion. I wish to mention two particularly significant events: the Second Council of Lyons in 1274, and above all the Council of Florence in 1439, when protocols of union with the Eastern Churches were signed. Unfortunately, various causes prevented the promise and potential of those agreements from being realized. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter for the fourth centenary of the Union of Brest, no. 2, November 12, 1995)

  • The fidelity of the Church in Ukraine was testified to during the Councils of Lyons and Florence

The fidelity of your Church to this Holy See was once testified to by your ancestors, in the Council of Lyons, as well as later in Florence, by the mouth of your metropolitan, the future Cardinal Isidor. This fidelity was promised, in the name of all of your hierarchy of that time, by the bishops Ipacio Pozio and Cirilo Terleckyj before Pope Clement VIII; and – what if more important – for this fidelity not a few of your brothers and sisters have given their lives. (John Paul II. Address to bishops of the Ukrainian Synod, December 1, 1980)

  • Isidore of Kiev: faithful interpreter and defender of the decisions of that Council, who endured exile for his convictions

The Bishops of the Metropolitan of Kiev, in restoring communion with Rome, made explicit reference to the decisions of the Council of Florence, a Council which had numbered among its participants representatives from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In this context, the figure of Metropolitan Isidore of Kiev stands out. As a faithful interpreter and defender of the decisions of that Council, he had to endure exile for his convictions. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter for the fourth centenary of the Union of Brest, no. 2, November 12, 1995)

  • The Russians did not accept the implantation of the decree of the Council of Florence and imprisoned Isidore of Kiev

The desired union was concluded at the Council of Florence in 1439, in which Metropolitan Isidore of Kiev (1436.1458) played an important role. The Union of Florence was favorably received in the Ukrainian lands under Lithuanian rule, but it was opposed by Moscow, where Prince Basil II imprisoned Metropolitan Isidore immediately upon his arrival. Fortunately, Isidore was able to escape to Lithuania. (Athanasius Peckar, OSBM. The Union of Brest and attempts to destroy it)

  • The desire to return to communion with the Apostolic See was always with the Ruthenian Bishops

Nevertheless, when that Council was over, it is well known that Isidore, that same Metropolitan whom the Supreme Pontiff appointed as his Legate ‘a latere’ in Lithuania, Livonia, and Russia, whom he had raised to the dignity of Cardinal and whom his people praised very much on account of the union of the Churches that had been brought about, suffered much because of his devoted ecumenical zeal–he was even thrown into prison in Moscow and having escaped from there he finally arrived in Rome from where he directed the whole cause of unity. But the more serious conditions which prevailed in his fatherland at length made the high hopes of unity, which had been seen in the Council of Florence, come to nothing. Nevertheless, the desire to return to communion with the Apostolic See was always with the Ruthenian Bishops. In December 1594 and in July 1595 they declared that they were ready to enter upon the path of unity with Rome and so they sent some representatives to discuss that very subject. (John Paul II. Letter to Cardinal Joseph Slipyj for the millennium of Christianity in Rus (Ukraine), no. 4, June 16, 1979)

  • The Church was never happy about the sad state of her disunity

However that may be, these facts and events bear witness to the fact that the Church was never happy about the sad state of her disunity and she has always considered it to be contrary to the will of Christ the Lord. (John Paul II. Letter to Cardinal Joseph Slipyj for the millennium of Christianity in Rus (Ukraine), no. 4, June 16, 1979)

  • The Union of Brest brought about official union of the Ukrainian Church with Rome

The day is drawing near when the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church will celebrate the fourth centenary of the union between the Bishops of the Metropolia of Kievan Rus’ and the Apostolic See. The union was effected at the meeting of representatives of the Metropolia of Kiev with the Pope on 23 December 1595 and was solemnly proclaimed at Brest-Litovsk on the River Bug on 16 October 1596. Pope Clement VIII, in the Apostolic Constitution Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis, announced the union to the whole Church and in the Apostolic Letter Benedictus sit Pastor he addressed the Bishops of the Metropolia, informing them that the union had taken place. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter for the fourth centenary of the Union of Brest, no. 2, November 12, 1995)

  • Praise for Cardinal Josyf Slipyi’s fidelity

This same cross has already played its part in your own life, our esteemed brother, [Cardinal Slipyi] and even in the lives of many of your brothers in the Episcopate who, whilst enduring sorrows and injustices for Christ, were faithful to the cross right up to their last breath. The same must be said of many other priests, men and women religious, and the faithful laity of your Church. Fidelity, then, to the cross and to the Church gives a special witness by which the faithful of your nation prepare themselves at this time to celebrate the first millennium of Christianity in “Rus”. (John Paul II. Letter to Cardinal Joseph Slipyj for the millenium of Christianity in Rus (Ukraine), no. 5, June 16, 1979)

  • The ecumenical work of our day especially between the Churches of the West and East, cannot overlook the importance of the attempts at restoring the unity of the Church

The ecumenical work of our day, that is, that striving after mutual fellowship and communion, especially between the Churches of the West and East, cannot overlook or lessen the importance and usefulness of each of the attempts at restoring the unity of the Church which were made in the past and which – even if only partially – had happy results. Your Church among other Eastern Catholic Churches which have their own rite is considered to prove the truth of this. Without doubt the genuine ecumenical spirit–according to the more recent meaning of the Word – must be shown and proved by a special respect for your Church just as for the other Eastern Catholic Churches which have their own special rites. […] By virtue of this principle to which the Apostolic See has again and again appealed and which it has declared, it is lawful for each believer to profess his own faith and to be an active member of the Church community to which he belongs. The observance of this principle of religious freedom requires that the right of living and acting proper to the Church to which each citizen belongs should be respected. (John Paul II. Letter to Cardinal Joseph Slipyj for the millennium of Christianity in Rus, Ukraine, no. 6, June 16, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church’s rules on matrimony being ‘overly rigid’

  • A ratified and consummated sacramental marriage can never be dissolved, not even by the power of the Roman Pontiff

In view of the doubts and anxieties this idea could cause, it is necessary to reaffirm that a ratified and consummated sacramental marriage can never be dissolved, not even by the power of the Roman Pontiff. The opposite assertion would imply the thesis that there is no absolutely indissoluble marriage, which would be contrary to what the Church has taught and still teaches about the indissolubility of the marital bond. (John Paul II. Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, no. 6, January 21, 2000)

  • The non-extension of the Roman Pontiff’s power to ratified and consummated sacramental marriages is a definitive doctrine of the Magisterium

It seems quite clear then that the non-extension of the Roman Pontiff’s power to ratified and consummated sacramental marriages is taught by the Church’s Magisterium as a doctrine to be held definitively, even if it has not been solemnly declared by a defining act. This doctrine, in fact, has been explicitly proposed by the Roman Pontiffs in categorical terms, in a constant way and over a sufficiently long period of time. It was made their own and taught by all the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, with the knowledge that it must always be held and accepted by the faithful. In this sense it was reaffirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Besides, it is a doctrine confirmed by the Church’s centuries-old practice, maintained with full fidelity and heroism, sometimes even in the face of severe pressures from the mighty of this world. (John Paul II. Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 21, 2000)

  • Even for serious reasons like the children’s upbringing, when the man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they are obliged to live in complete continence, abstaining from the acts proper to married couples

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples”. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 84, November 22, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on Judas being a poor, penitent man

  • The true way of repentance is to start out on the road of return to the Father

In effect, to become reconciled with God presupposes and includes detaching oneself consciously and with determination from the sin into which one has fallen. It presupposes and includes, therefore, doing penance in the fullest sense of the term: repenting, showing this repentance, adopting a real attitude of repentance —which is the attitude of the person who starts out on the road of return to the Father. This is a general law and one which each individual must follow in his or her particular situation. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconcilicatio et paenitentia, no. 13, December 2, 1984)

  • Christ does not accept the interpretation they gave to the authentic content of the law

Let’s place ourselves in the situation of the listeners present during the Sermon on the Mount, those who actually heard the words of Christ. They are sons and daughters of the chosen people – people who had received the law from God – Yahweh himself. These people had also received the prophets. Repeatedly throughout the centuries, the prophets had reprimanded the people’s behavior regarding this commandment, and the way in which it was continually broken. Christ also speaks of similar transgressions. But he speaks more precisely about a certain human interpretation of the law, which negates and does away with the correct meaning of right and wrong as specified by the will of the divine legislator. Above all, the law is a means—an indispensable means if ‘justice is to abound’ (Mt 5:20). Christ desires such justice to be ‘superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees.’ He does not accept the interpretation they gave to the authentic content of the law through the centuries. In a certain way, this interpretation subjected this content, or rather the purpose and will of the legislator, to the varied weaknesses and limits of human willpower deriving precisely from the threefold concupiscence. This was a casuistic interpretation which was superimposed on the original version of right and wrong connected with the law of the Decalogue. If Christ tends to transform the ethos, he does so mainly to recover the fundamental clarity of the interpretation: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill’ (Mt 5:17). Fulfillment is conditioned by a correct understanding, and this also implies, among other things, to the commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ (John Paul II. General audience, August 13, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Orthodox are no longer schismatics

  • The Greek-schismatics do not accept that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son

Thus the Western and Latin ‘Filioque’ became, in the following centuries, an occasion for schism, already brought about by Focio (882) but consummated and extended throughout almost all of the Christian east by the year 1054. The Eastern churches, separated from Rome, today still profess, within their symbol of faith, ‘in the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the Father’ without mention of the ‘Filioque’, while in the West we expressly state that the Holy Spirit ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son.’ (John Paul II. General audience, no. 5, November 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s mercy aimed at religious syncretism

  • God is a just judge, who rewards good and punishes evil

Corresponding to the moral evil of sin is punishment, which guarantees the moral order in the same transcendent sense in which this order is laid down by the will of the Creator and Supreme Lawgiver. From this there also derives one of the fundamental truths of religious faith, equally based upon Revelation, namely that God is a just judge, who rewards good and punishes evil. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Salvifici doloris, no. 10, February 11, 1984)

  • God’s punishment makes deaf sinners turn back to the right path

God’s punishment is a way to make sinners who are deaf to other appeals turn back to the right path. However, the last word of the righteous God remains a message of love and of forgiveness; he profoundly desires to embrace anew the wayward children who return to him with a contrite heart. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3, August 13, 2003)

  • The gift of indulgences does not reach us without our acceptance and response

The starting-point for understanding indulgences is the abundance of God’s mercy revealed in the Cross of Christ. The crucified Jesus is the great “indulgence” that the Father has offered humanity through the forgiveness of sins and the possibility of living as children (cf. Jn 1: 12–13) in the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 4: 6; Rom 5: 5; 8: 15–16). However, in the logic of the covenant, which is the heart of the whole economy of salvation, this gift does not reach us without our acceptance and response. In the light of this principle, it is not difficult to understand how reconciliation with God, although based on a free and abundant offer of mercy, at the same time implies an arduous process which involves the individual’s personal effort and the Church’s sacramental work. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2, September 29, 1999)

  • Indulgences, far from being a sort of “discount” on the duty of conversion, are instead an aid to its prompt, generous and radical fulfillment

The meaning of indulgences must be seen against this background of man’s total renewal by the grace of Christ the Redeemer through the Church’s ministry. […] We can see, then, how indulgences, far from being a sort of “discount” on the duty of conversion, are instead an aid to its prompt, generous and radical fulfillment. This is required to such an extent that the spiritual condition for receiving a plenary indulgence is the exclusion “of all attachment to sin, even venial sin” (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, p. 25) Therefore, it would be a mistake to think that we can receive this gift by simply performing certain outward acts. On the contrary, they are required as the expression and support of our progress in conversion. They particularly show our faith in God’s mercy and in the marvelous reality of communion, which Christ has achieved by indissolubly uniting the Church to himself as his Body and Bride. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 4–5, September 29, 1999)

  • To live the Holy Year well we must be reconciled with God

Being in the Holy Year, I invite you all […] to reconcile yourselves with God, to break the chains of sin and to live in friendship with Him. Christ payed for our faults through the sacrifice of his life. This should impel us to love God profoundly, who first loved us in Christ and redeemed us with his Blood. (John Paul II. General audience, April 13, 1983)

  • The Jubilee Year is a time of deep conversion

By your grace, O Father, may the Jubilee Year be a time of deep conversion and of joyful return to you. […] Father, grant that your Son’s disciples, purified in memory and acknowledging their failings,may be one, that the world may believe. (John Paul II. Prayer for the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000)

  • The Holy Year is a time when we are called to conversion

By its nature, the Holy Year is a time when we are called to conversion. This is the first word of the preaching of Jesus, which significantly enough is linked with readiness to believe: “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mk 1:15). […] Examination of conscience is therefore one of the most decisive moments of life. It places each individual before the truth of his own life. Thus he discovers the distance which separates his deeds from the ideal which he had set himself. The history of the Church is a history of holiness. The New Testament strongly states this mark of the baptized: they are “saints” to the extent that, being separate from the world insofar as the latter is subject to the Evil One, they consecrate themselves to worshipping the one true God. (John Paul II. Bull of Indiction Incarnationis Mysterium, no. 11, November 29, 1998)

  • Repentance is necessary to participate in the grace of Redemption

The Holy Year is a call to repentance and conversion, as a necessary disposition to participate in the grace of Redemption. (John Paul II. Address to the Sacred College and the Roman Curia for the Christmas season, December 23, 1982)

  • The Holy Year is a time of purification

The Holy Year is a time of purification: the Church is holy because Christ is her Head and her Spouse; the Spirit is her life-giving soul; the Virgin Mary and the saints are her most authentic expression. However, the children of the Church know the experience of sin, whose shadows are cast over her, obscuring her beauty. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 1, March 12, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea on zeal for the liturgy, doctrine and prestige of the Church

  • In the liturgy is where the faithful encounter the ever-brimming font of grace

It can be said that the spiritual life of the Church passes through the liturgy, where the faithful encounter the ever-brimming font of grace and the concrete and convincing school of the virtues, with which they may give to God before men. (John Paul II. Address for commemoration of the Constitution Sacrosanctum concilium, October 27, 1984)

  • Be conscious of your dignity of ministers of Christ

Every attitude of arrogance and worldliness, of criticism or tepidity, render the life of the priest banal, and his worth as witness, empty. Be ever conscious of your dignity as ministers of Christ, and with the help of youths who are already mature and instructed, know how to create another type of mentality that spiritualizes and elevates the ambience. (John Paul II. Address to the military Chaplains of Italy, January 24, 1980)

  • The work of Saint Vincent de Paul was the product of exemplary organization and structure

To better serve the poor, Vincent wished to ‘form association with ecclesiastics free of any benefits, to dedicate themselves entirely, with the consent of the bishops, to saving the poor country folk, by preaching, by catechisms and general confessions, without receiving any type of remuneration for it’. This group of priests, very quickly denominated ‘Lazarists’, owing to the name of the renowned Priory of Saint Lazarus, acquired around 1632, developed rapidly and was established in some fifteen dioceses to give parish missions, and to found ‘Charities’ in them. The Congregation of the Mission spread also to Italy, Ireland, Poland, Algeria and Madagascar. Vincent does not cease to inculcate in his companions, ‘the Spirit of Our Lord’. […] In the unfolding of the missions, Vincent de Paul likewise realized that this method of evangelization would not bear its fruit if there were not an instructed and zealous clergy right on site. […] Finally, another aspect of the dynamism and realism of Vincent de Paul was his giving the ‘Charities’, which had multiplied, a structure of unity and efficacy. Louise de Marillac, widow of Antonio le Gras, first initiated to the spiritual life by Msgr. [Francis] de Sales and later guided by Vincent de Paul himself, was charged by him with the inspection and sustenance of the ‘Charities’. […] Following Louise de Marillac, thousands of thousands of women have spent their entire lives in the most humble service of those who suffer, the beggars, the prisoners, marginalized, invalids, illiterate, abandoned children. Daughters of Saint Vincent, after him and like him, they are the heart of Christ in the world of the poor, and of the rich as well, whom they seek to make kindly toward the poor. (John Paul II. Message for the IV Centenary of the birth of Saint Vincent de Paul, July 24, 1981)

  • Drawing up the best apostolic plans yields the fruits of generous pastoral work       

In the past quinquennium, the celebration of the Synods for the Archdiocese of Minsk and for the Dioceses of Pinsk and Vitebsk has given you the opportunity to define your pastoral priorities as you drew up the best apostolic plans to deal with the many needs of the territory. This time you have come to report the fruits of your generous pastoral work, and with you I thank the Lord, who is always merciful and provident. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Belarus on their ad limina visit, February 10, 2003)

  • In the Church’s history, missionary drive is a sign of vitality

For in the Church’s history, missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality, just as its lessening is a sign of a crisis of faith. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 2, December 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church having defects

  • The Church is assisted by the Holy Spirit who leads her into all the truth

In her reflection on morality, the Church has always kept in mind the words of Jesus to the rich young man. Indeed, Sacred Scripture remains the living and fruitful source of the Church’s moral doctrine; as the Second Vatican Council recalled, the Gospel is ‘the source of all saving truth and moral teaching’ (Dei Verbum, 7). The Church has faithfully preserved what the word of God teaches, not only about truths which must be believed but also about moral action, action pleasing to God (cf. 1Thess 4:1); she has achieved a doctrinal development analogous to that which has taken place in the realm of the truths of faith. Assisted by the Holy Spirit who leads her into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13), the Church has not ceased, nor can she ever cease, to contemplate the ‘mystery of the Word Incarnate’, in whom ‘light is shed on the mystery of man’ (Gaudium et spes, 22). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 28, August 6, 1993)

  • Sanctity is the identity of the Church as the Body of Christ

Sanctity constitutes the profound identity of the Church as the Body of Christ, vivified and participant of his Spirit. Sanctity gives spiritual health to the Body. Sanctity also determines its spiritual beauty: that beauty that surpasses all the beauty of nature and art; a supernatural beauty, in which the beauty of God himself is reflected, in a more essential and direct way than all of the beauty of creation, precisely because it is the Corpus Christi. (John Paul II. General Audience, November 28, 1990)

  • Ever since Apostolic times, the Church’s Pastors have unambiguously condemned the behavior of those who proceed sinfully

No damage must be done to the harmony between faith and life: the unity of the Church is damaged not only by Christians who reject or distort the truths of faith but also by those who disregard the moral obligations to which they are called by the Gospel (cf. 1Cor 5:9-13). The Apostles decisively rejected any separation between the commitment of the heart and the actions which express or prove it (cf. 1Jn 2:3-6). And ever since Apostolic times the Church’s Pastors have unambiguously condemned the behaviour of those who fostered division by their teaching or by their actions. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 26, August 6, 1993)

  • Just as Jesus, the Church has always taught the prohibitions of the moral commandments, without any exceptions

The Church has always taught that one may never choose kinds of behaviour prohibited by the moral commandments expressed in negative form in the Old and New Testaments. As we have seen, Jesus himself reaffirms that these prohibitions allow no exceptions: ‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments… You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness’ (Mt 19:17-18). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 52, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of women in the Church

  • The Church has a supernatural beauty in which the beauty of God himself is reflected

Sanctity constitutes the profound identity of the Church as the Body of Christ, vivified and participant of his Spirit. Sanctity gives spiritual health to the Body. Sanctity also determines its spiritual beauty: that beauty that surpasses all the beauty of nature and art; a supernatural beauty, in which the beauty of God himself is reflected, in a more essential and direct way than all of the beauty of creation, precisely because it is the Corpus Christi. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 5, November 28, 1990)

  • The Church is the choice vine; in it the Holy Spirit abides and works

[The Church]: she is the choice vine, whose branches live and grow with the same holy and life-giving energies that come from Christ; she is the Mystical Body, whose members share in the same life of holiness of the Head who is Christ; she is the Beloved Spouse of the Lord Jesus, who delivered himself up for her sanctification (cf. Eph 5:25 ff.). The Spirit that sanctified the human nature of Jesus in Mary’s virginal womb (cf. Lk 1:35) is the same Spirit that is abiding and working in the Church to communicate to her the holiness of the Son of God made man. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation, Christifideles Laici, no. 16, December 30, 1988)

  • Without priests the Church would not be able to live

Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history, an obedience in response to the command of Christ: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations’ (Mt 28:19) and ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (Lk 22:19; cf. 1Cor 11:24), i.e:, an obedience to the command to announce the Gospel and to renew daily the sacrifice of the giving of his body and the shedding of his blood for the life of the world. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 1, March 25, 1992)

  • The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, She is the most noble member of the Church

The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, for ‘when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father’! (Gal 4:4-6). With these words of the Apostle Paul, which the Second Vatican Council takes up at the beginning of its treatment of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I too wish to begin my reflection on the role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and on her active and exemplary presence in the life of the Church. […] In the liturgy the Church salutes Mary of Nazareth as the Church’s own beginning, for in the event of the Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected, and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter. And above all, in the Incarnation she encounters Christ and Mary indissolubly joined: he who is the Church’s Lord and Head and she who, uttering the first fiat of the New Covenant, prefigures the Church’s condition as spouse and mother. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris mater, no. 1, March 25, 1987)

  • The profound link which exists between the Mother of Christ and the Church

This cult is altogether special: it bears in itself and expresses the profound link which exists between the Mother of Christ and the Church. As Virgin and Mother, Mary remains for the Church a ‘permanent model.’ It can therefore be said that especially under this aspect, namely as a model, or rather as a ‘figure,’ Mary, present in the mystery of Christ, remains constantly present also in the mystery of the Church. For the Church too is ‘called mother and virgin’, and these names have a profound biblical and theological justification. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris mater, no. 42, March 25, 1987)

  • Many women, following the example of Mary, have served and continue to serve in the Church in humble and valuable service

Here, the highest model of responsible collaboration of the woman unfolds in the redemption of man – of all of man that constitutes the transcendent reference for all affirmations regarding the role and the woman’s function in history. Mary, in employing this form of such sublime cooperation, also indicates the way in which a woman should concretely fulfill her mission. Faced with the announcing of the angel, the Virgin did not manifest an attitude of proud assertion, nor did she seek to satisfy personal ambitions. Saint Luke presents her to us as a person that only desired to offer her humble service with total and confided openness to the divine plan of salvation. This is the meaning of the response: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38). In effect, it was not a purely passive acceptance, for she gives her consent only after having manifested the difficulty that arises from her intent of virginity, inspired by her desire to belong more completely to the Lord. After having received the response of the angel, Mary immediately expresses her readiness, conserving an attitude of humble service. This is the humble and valuable service that so many women, following the example of Mary, have rendered and continue to render in the Church for the spreading of the kingdom of Christ. (John Paul II. General audience no. 1.2, December 6, 1995)

  • Women often fulfill lowly and hidden functions, but not for this reason are they any less decisive to the growth and the holiness of the Church

Though not called to the apostolate of the Twelve, and thereby, to the ministerial priesthood, many women, nevertheless, accompanied Jesus in his ministry and assisted the group of Apostles (cf. Lk 8:2-3), were present at the foot of the Cross (cf. Lk 23:49), assisted at the burial of Christ (cf. Lk 23:55) received and transmitted the message of resurrection on Easter morn (cf. Lk 24:1-10), and prayed with the apostles in the Cenacle awaiting Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14). From the evidence of the Gospel, the Church at its origin detached herself from the culture of the time and called women to tasks connected with spreading the gospel. In his letters the Apostle Paul even cites by name a great number of women for their various functions in service of the primitive Christian community (cf. Rom 16:1-15; Phil 4:2-3; Col 4:15 and 1Cor 11:5; 1Tim 5:16). […] Both in her earliest days and in her successive development the Church, albeit in different ways and with diverse emphases, has always known women who have exercised an oftentimes decisive role in the Church herself and accomplished tasks of considerable value on her behalf. History is marked by grand works, quite often lowly and hidden, but not for this reason any less decisive to the growth and the holiness of the Church. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Christifidelis laici, no. 49, December 30, 1988)

  • Women find in Mary the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement

This Marian dimension of Christian life takes on special importance in relation to women and their status. […] It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, no. 46, March 25, 1987)

The full sense of the dignity of the lay faithful, men or women: the vocation to holiness, that is, the perfection of charity

We come to a full sense of the dignity of the lay faithful if we consider the prime and fundamental vocation that the Father assigns to each of them in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit: the vocation to holiness, that is, the perfection of charity. Holiness is the greatest testimony of the dignity conferred on a disciple of Christ. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 16, December 30, 1988)

  • Christ became a promoter of women’s true dignity and of the vocation corresponding to this dignity

It is universally admitted – even by people with a critical attitude towards the Christian message – that in the eyes of his contemporaries Christ became a promoter of women’s true dignity and of the vocation corresponding to this dignity. […] In all of Jesus’ teaching, as well as in his behaviour, one can find nothing which reflects the discrimination against women prevalent in his day. On the contrary, his words and works always express the respect and honour due to women. […] This way of speaking to and about women, as well as his manner of treating them, clearly constitutes an ‘innovation’ with respect to the prevailing custom at that time. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Mulieris dignitatem, no. 12-13, August 15, 1988)

  • Saint Catherine of Siena cultivated a profound union with the divine Spouse in the midst of overwhelming occupations

One of the two women, honored by Paul VI with the title of Doctor of the Church, together with Saint Teresa of Avila, is precisely she: Catherine of Siena. […] Catherine constantly cultivated a profound union with the divine Spouse, even in the midst of the overwhelming occupations of her busy life. She could, thanks to her ‘interior cell’, which she had constructed in her intimacy. ‘Make a cell in the mind, from which you may never leave’, she later counseled her disciples, basing herself on personal experience [Legenda maior, I, IV]. Effectively, in it ‘we find the angelic nourishment of the ardent desire of God toward us’ (Letter 26). (John Paul II. Homily during the pastoral visit to Siena, no. 2, September 1980)

  • Saint Teresa of Avila, an exceptional woman ‘shrouded with humility, penance and simplicity’

To honor, together with the Pope, Saint Teresa, this exceptional woman, Doctor of the Church, and yet ‘shrouded entirely with humility, penance and simplicity’, as my predecessor Paul VI had said (Homily, September 27, 1970). (John Paul II, Discourse to the cloistered religious of the Monastery of the Incarnation of Avila, November 1, 1982)

  • A faulty ecclesiology can easily lead to presenting false demands and raising false hopes

Respect for women’s rights is without doubt an essential step towards a more just and mature society, and the Church cannot fail to make her own this worthy objective. […] However, in some circles there continues to exist a climate of dissatisfaction with the Church’s position, especially where the distinction between a person’s human and civil rights and the rights, duties, ministries and functions which individuals have or enjoy within the Church is not clearly understood. A faulty ecclesiology can easily lead to presenting false demands and raising false hopes. […] The equality of the baptized, which is one of the great affirmations of Christianity, exists in a differentiated body, in which men and women have roles which are not merely functional but are deeply rooted in Christian anthropology and sacramentology. The distinction of roles in no way favors the superiority of some over others; the only better gift, which can and must be desired, is love (cf. 1Cor 12:13). In the Kingdom of Heaven the greatest are not the ministers but the saints (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Inter Insigniores, 6). (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad limina visit, July 2, 1993)

  • The vocation of women should be considered from Christ’s perspective

The Church ‘holds that in her Lord and Master can be found the key, the focal point, and the goal’ of man and ‘of all human history’, and she ‘maintains that beneath all changes there are many realities which do not change and which have their ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever’ (Gaudium et spes, no.10). These words of the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World show the path to be followed in undertaking the tasks connected with the dignity and vocation of women, against the background of the significant changes of our times. We can face these changes correctly and adequately only if we go back to the foundations which are to be found in Christ, to those ‘immutable’ truths and values of which he himself remains the ‘faithful witness’ (cf. Rev 1:5) and Teacher. A different way of acting would lead to doubtful, if not actually erroneous and deceptive results. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Mulieris dignitatem, no. 28, August 15, 1988)

  • It is false to assume that Christ called men to be apostles in order to conform with the mentality of his times

In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behaviour, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time. Consequently, the assumption that he called men to be apostles in order to conform with the widespread mentality of his times, does not at all correspond to Christ’s way of acting. […] They are with Christ at the Last Supper. They alone receive the sacramental charge, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24), which is joined to the institution of the Eucharist. On Easter Sunday night they receive the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins: ‘Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained’ (Jn 20:23). (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Mulieris dignitatem, no. 26, August 15, 1988)

  • The Gospels show that Jesus designated the Apostles for certain functions: He never sent the woman on preaching missions

The Gospels show that Jesus never sent the woman on preaching missions, as he did with the group of the Twelve, who were all men (cf. Lk 9:1-6), and also with the 72, among whom no women were mentioned (cf. Lk 10:1-20). Only to the Twelve did Jesus entrust the authority of the kingdom: ‘I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me’ (Lk 22:29). Only to the Twelve did he confer the mission and the power to celebrate the Eucharist in his name (cf. Lk 22:19), which is the essence of the priestly ministry. Only to the Apostles, after his resurrection, did he grant the power of pardoning sins (cf. Jn 20:22-23) and of undertaking the work of universal evangelization (cf. Mt 28:18-20 Mk 16:16-18). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3, July 27, 1994)

  • With her vision illumined by faith, a woman should distinguish what truly responds to her dignity as a person and to her vocation

While she is to fulfill her duty to evangelize, woman is to feel more acutely her need to be evangelized. Thus, with her vision illumined by faith (cf. Eph 1:18), woman is to be able to distinguish what truly responds to her dignity as a person and to her vocation from all that, under the pretext of this ‘dignity’ and in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘progress’, militates against true values. On the contrary, these false values become responsible for the moral degradation of the person, the environment and society. This same ‘discernment’, made possible and demanded from Christian women’s participation in the prophetic mission of Christ and his Church, recurs with continued urgency throughout history. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 51, December 30, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea that it is no longer necessary to declare one’s sins to a confessor to be pardoned

  • From the earliest Christian times, the Church has included in the sacramental sign of penance the confession of sins

The third conviction, which is one that I wish to emphasize, concerns the realities or parts which make up the sacramental sign of forgiveness and reconciliation. Some of these realities are acts of the penitent, of varying importance but each indispensable either for the validity, the completeness or the fruitfulness of the sign. […] We therefore understand why, from the earliest Christian times, in line with the apostles and with Christ, the church has included in the sacramental sign of penance the confession of sins. This latter takes on such importance that for centuries the usual name of the sacrament has been and still is that of confession. The confession of sins is required, first of all, because the sinner must be known by the person who in the sacrament exercises the role of judge. He has to evaluate both the seriousness of the sins and the repentance of the penitent; he also exercises the role of the healer and must acquaint himself with the condition of the sick person in order to treat and heal him. We therefore understand why, from the earliest Christian times, in line with the apostles and with Christ, the church has included in the sacramental sign of penance the confession of sins. This latter takes on such importance that for centuries the usual name of the sacrament has been and still is that of confession. The confession of sins is required, first of all, because the sinner must be known by the person who in the sacrament exercises the role of judge. He has to evaluate both the seriousness of the sins and the repentance of the penitent; he also exercises the role of the healer and must acquaint himself with the condition of the sick person in order to treat and heal him. […] Thus we understand why the confession of sins must ordinarily be individual not collective, just as sin is a deeply personal matter. But at the same time this confession in a way forces sin out of the secret of the heart and thus out of the area of pure individuality, emphasizing its social character as well, for through the minister of penance it is the ecclesial community, which has been wounded by sin, that welcomes anew the repentant and forgiven sinner. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 31, III, December 2, 1984)

…judges Francis’ idea on renouncing our own culture to receive the refugees

  • Culture and European civilization has its roots in the Christian faith

I give thanks, in particular, to the heads of state and the civil authorities for the support that they have given to the initiative, that has certainly favored a greater approximation of the nations of the continent on the basis of those fundamental values of culture and European civilization, that have their roots in the Christian faith […] It has been a pilgrimage to the beginnings of Christianity and of the Church in Septentrional Europe. This beginning is linked, from the 9th century, with the mission of Saint Oscar (Ansgar), who came from Gaul, traveling north with the evangelical message. His work prepared the successive phases of evangelization, first in Denmark and then in the other parts of Scandinavia. This process is connected with the figures of the holy kings and bishops who, in the heart of the nations of Northern Europe, were converted into pillars of the Church. Their remembrance, full of veneration, unites the societies of these countries. Also to the memory of Saint Oscar is united that of Saint Olaf, Patron of Norway; Saint Thorlak Thorhallsson, bishop of Skalholt, Iceland, who made untiring efforts to strengthen the Christian life of his people; Saint Henry, Patron of Finland, a valiant man of great faith in the active presence of God in the life of men; Saint Canute, King of Denmark, and Niels Steensen (Steno), beatified recently; the Holy King Eric IX, Patron of Sweden and symbol of the national unity of the country; and, lastly, Saint Bridget, who came to Rome, where she worked vigorously for the unity of the Church, and whose memory is linked to the sanctuary of Vadstena, in Sweden. During the pilgrimage through the Scandinavian countries, one essential point of reference was the old cathedrals of Trondheim, Norway; of Turku, the first capital of Finland; of Roskilde, Denmark; and finally of Upsala, Sweden. There reposes the Catholic Saint Eric […]. In this series we must also include Thingvellir, Iceland, the place in which the decision to introduce Christianity in the Nordic island was made […]. The memory of the saints, men and women, who lived in those lands and gave testimony there of their faith in Christ at the beginnings of the evangelization of the respective circumscriptions, should incite the Christians of today to spiritual renewal […]. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 1-4, June 14, 1989)

  • Helping Europe to build herself by revitalizing her original Christian roots: the Church’s urgent responsibility

Europe has been widely and profoundly permeated by Christianity. […] The Church’s concern for Europe is born of her very nature and mission. Down the centuries the Church has been closely linked to our continent, so that Europe’s spiritual face gradually took shape thanks to the efforts of great missionaries, the witness of saints and martyrs, and the tireless efforts of monks and nuns, men and women religious and pastors. From the biblical conception of man Europe drew the best of its humanistic culture, found inspiration for its artistic and intellectual creations, created systems of law and, not least, advanced the dignity of the person as a subject of inalienable rights. The Church, as the bearer of the Gospel, thus helped to spread and consolidate those values which have made European culture universal. With all this in mind, the Church of today, with a renewed sense of responsibility, is conscious of the urgency of not squandering this precious patrimony and of helping Europe to build herself by revitalizing her original Christian roots. (John Paul II. Ecclesia in Europa, no. 24, June 28, 2003)

  • The history of the Poland was in a providential manner rooted in the structure of the Church

Knowledge of the history of Poland will tell us still more: not only was the hierarchical order of the Church decisively inserted into the history of the nation in 1000, but also the history of the nation was in a providential manner rooted in the structure of the Church in Poland, a structure that we owe to the Assembly of Gniezno. This affirmation finds its confirmation in the various periods of the history of Poland, and particularly in the most difficult periods. When national and state structures were lacking, society, for the most part Catholic, found support in the hierarchical order of the Church. And this helped society to overcome the times of the partition of the country and the times of occupation; it helped society to maintain, and even to deepen its understanding of, the awareness of, its own identity. Perhaps certain people from other countries may consider this situation ‘untypical’, but for Poles it has an unmistakable eloquence. It is simply a part of the truth of the history of our own motherland. […] We are well aware that this fact that the Church in Poland is rooted in its catholicity–from the moment of the Baptism and of the Assembly of Gniezno and throughout history–has a particular meaning for the spiritual life of the nation. And it also has a meaning for the nation’s culture, which is marked not only by the tradition of visible links with Rome but also possesses the characteristic of universality proper to Catholicism and the characteristic of openness to everything which in the universal exchange of good things becomes the portion of each of those who take part in it. This affirmation could be confirmed by innumerable instances taken from our history. One of these instances could also be the fact that we are together today, namely that the Polish Episcopate is meeting a Polish Pope. (John Paul II. Address at the 169th Plenary Assembly of the Polish Episcopal Conference, no. 2-3, June 5, 1979)

  • John Paul II desired that Poland, and all of Europe, remain faithful to its Christian roots

Saint Adalbert has reminded us of our duty to build a Poland faithful to her roots. We have also been reminded of this by the Jubilee of the Jagiellonian foundation of the University of Krakow and especially of its Theology Faculty. Fidelity to roots does not mean a mechanical copying of the patterns of the past. Fidelity to roots is always creative, ready to descend into the depths, open to new challenges, alert to the ‘signs of the times’. It also expresses itself in a concern for the development of our native culture, in which the Christian element has been present since the beginning. Fidelity to roots means above all the ability to create an organic synthesis of perennial values, confirmed so often in history, and the challenge of today’s world, faith and culture, the Gospel and life. My wish for my countrymen and for Poland is that she will be able in this precise way to be faithful to herself and to the roots from which she has grown. A Poland faithful to her roots. A Europe faithful to its roots. In this context historic importance attaches to the fact that the Presidents of the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland have taken part in the celebrations for Saint Adalbert, and for this I am most grateful to them. (John Paul II. Farewell ceremony address, John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice, no. 4, June 10, 1997)

  • Despite its present and long-lasting divisions of economic and political systems, Europe cannot cease to seek its fundamental unity, turning to Christianity

Europe, which during its history has been several times divided, Europe, which towards the end of the first half of the present century was tragically divided by the horrible World War, Europe, which despite its present and long-lasting divisions of regimes, ideologies and economical and political systems, cannot cease to seek its fundamental unity, must turn to Christianity. Despite the different traditions that exist in the territory of Europe between its Eastern part and its Western part, there lives in each of them the same Christianity, which takes its origins from the same Christ, which accepts the same Word of God, which is linked with the same Twelve Apostles. Precisely this lies at the roots of the History of Europe. This forms its spiritual genealogy. (John Paul II. Address at the Polish Episcopal Conference, no. 5, June 5, 1979)

  • The search for a more united Europe is based on the spiritual foundation of the Christian tradition

We wish to pray here for this peace of Christ; and if we observe all the present search for greater unity among European peoples, we hope that this will lead also to deeper awareness of the roots – spiritual roots, Christian roots – because, if a common house is to be built, deeper foundations also have to be laid. A superficial foundation is not enough. And that deeper foundation – as we have seen also in our analysis – always means ‘spiritual’. Let us pray that the search for a more united Europe will be based on the spiritual foundation of the Benedictine tradition, of the Christian tradition, the Catholic one, which means universal. Only in the name of this tradition is it possible that now, in this place, today, there should come as Bishop of Rome the son of a people different in language and history, but rooted in the same foundation, in the same spiritual tradition, in the same Christianity, with such a Christian past that he can be among you not just as one of the family, but also as your pastor. (John Paul II. Address to the monks of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, May 18, 1979)

  • Christianity has made an important contribution to the formation of the cultural heritage

I avail myself of this occasion to reflect with you on the specific contribution which Christians, as men and women of culture and learning, are called to make to the further growth of a true humanism in your Nation, as part of the great family of peoples. The task of the Christian in fact is to spread the light of the Gospel throughout society, and hence also in the world of culture. Through the centuries, Christianity has made an important contribution to the formation of the cultural heritage of the Croatian people. On the threshold of the Third Millennium, therefore, there should be no lack of new and vital energies, ready to give fresh impulse to the promotion and development of the cultural heritage of the Nation, in full fidelity to its Christian roots. (John Paul II. Message to the world of culture and learning, October 3, 1988)

  • The Christian roots of Europe are the main guarantee of its future – Christianity cannot be restricted to any particular culture but converses with each one to help them all to express their best qualities

The ‘Good News’ was and continues to be a source of life for Europe. If it is true that Christianity cannot be restricted to any particular culture but converses with each one, to help them all to express their best qualities in every field of knowledge and human action, then the Christian roots of Europe are the main guarantee of its future. Could a tree that had no roots grow and develop? Europe, do not forget your history! (John Paul II. Homily, no. 3, June 28, 2003)

  • The history of the European nations’ formation runs alongside its evangelization – The European identity is incomprehensible without Christianity. Christianity is the font of Europe’s culture, dynamism, capacity for constructive expansion, in a word, all that constitutes its glory

All of Europe has discovered itself around the ‘memory’ of Santiago, in the same centuries in which it was being constructed as a spiritually and homogeneously united continent. For this reason, Goethe himself would insinuate that European consciousness was born on pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage to Santiago was one of the strong elements favoring mutual comprehension among Europeans as diverse as the Latin, Germanic, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Slavonic peoples. The pilgrimage brought together, connected and united amongst themselves those people who, century after century, convinced by the preaching of Christ’s witnesses, embraced the Gospel and, contemporaneously, we could affirm, emerged as peoples and nations.
The history of the European nations’ formation runs alongside its evangelization; to such an extent that the European frontiers coincide with those of the inroads made by the Gospel. After twenty centuries of history, despite the bloody conflicts that the peoples of Europe had to face, and despite the spiritual crises that have marked the life of the continent – to the point of posing, to the consciousness of our times, grave questions as to its future – it ought to be affirmed that the European identity is incomprehensible without Christianity, and it is precisely in it that those common roots are found, from which have matured the civilization of the continent, its culture, its dynamism, its activity, its capacity for constructive expansion in the other continents as well; in a word, all that constitutes its glory. And even in our day, the soul of Europe remains united because, besides its common origin, it has identical Christian and human values. (John Paul II. Address in Santiago de Compostela, no. 2-3, November 9, 1982)

  • A cry to Europe: Discover your origins. Relive those authentic values that made your history glorious. Then your future will not be dominated by uncertainty and fear; rather, it will open itself to a new period of life

For this reason, I, John Paul, son of the Polish nation, which has ever considered itself European, for its origins, traditions, culture and vital relations; Slavonic among Latins, and Latin among Slavs; I, Successor of Peter in the See of Rome, a Seat that Christ wished to place in Europe and that Europe  loves for its efforts toward the spreading of Christianity in the entire world. I, Bishop of Rome and Shepherd of the Universal Church; from Santiago, I cry out to you, old Europe, a cry full of love: ‘Encounter yourself once again. Be yourself.’ Rediscover your origins. Re-enliven your roots. Relive those authentic values that made your history glorious, and your presence, beneficial in other continents. […] Do not be discouraged at the quantitative loss of your grandeur in the world or at the social and cultural crises that now affect you. You can still be a beacon of civilization and a stimulus to progress for the world. The other continents look to you and hope of you the same response as Saint James gave to Christ: ‘I can.’ […] If Europe acts once again, in the specifically religious life, with the fitting knowledge and respect for God, on which are based all law and all justice; if Europe once again opens its doors to Christ and does not fear opening, to his salvific power, the confines of the States, the economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, of civilization and development (cf. Insegnamenti, I (1978) 35), its future will not be dominated by uncertainty and fear; rather, it will open itself to a new season of life, both interior and exterior, beneficial and decisive for the entire world, continuously threatened by the clouds of war and by a possible cyclone of atomic holocaust. (John Paul II. Address in Santiago de Compostela, no. 4-5, November 9, 1982)

  • Without reference to Christendom, the history and destiny of Europe cannot be understood

Since the presence here on the shores of the Tiber of the Princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, and their martyrdom, this unique city has been indissolubly linked with the Church of Christ. Similarly the history and destiny of Europe, its past and its role in the present and in the future, cannot be understood without reference to Christendom and its essential contribution to Western culture. (John Paul II. Address to the 76th Bergedorf Dialogue Meeting, December 17, 1984)

  • In Europe’s complex history, Christianity has been a central and defining element. The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Continent. The path to the future cannot overlook this fact

There can be no doubt that, in Europe’s complex history, Christianity has been a central and defining element, established on the firm foundation of the classical heritage and the multiple contributions of the various ethnic and cultural streams which have succeeded one another down the centuries. The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Continent and is inextricably bound up with its history, to the extent that Europe’s history would be incomprehensible without reference to the events of the first evangelization and then the long centuries when Christianity, despite the painful division between East and West, came to be the religion of the European peoples. Even in modern and contemporary times, when religious unity progressively disintegrated as a result both of further divisions between Christians and the gradual detachment of culture from the horizon of faith, the role played by faith has continued to be significant.

The path to the future cannot overlook this fact, and Christians are called to renew their awareness of it, in order to demonstrate faith’s perennial potential. In the building up of Europe, Christians have a duty to make a specific contribution, one which will be all the more valid and effective to the extent that they themselves are renewed in the light of the Gospel. In this way they will carry forward that long history of holiness which has traversed the various regions of Europe in the course of these two millennia, in which the officially recognized Saints are but the towering peaks held up as a model for all. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Spes Aedificando, issued Motu Proprio, proclaiming Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross co-patronesses of Europe, October 1, 1999)

  • The whole of Europe testifies to the relationship between culture and Christianity

Certainly it would not be exaggerating to affirm in particular, that through a multitude of deeds, the whole of Europe – from the Atlantic to the Urals – testifies, in the history of each nation, and in that of the entire community, the relationship between culture and Christianity. (John Paul II. Address to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, June 2, 1980)

  • The world needs a Europe that once again assumes consciousness of its Christian foundation and is disposed to configure its own present and future upon it

The history of Europe, and that of each of its peoples, is marked by the Christian faith and the respect for the dignity of man, created in God’s image, and redeemed by Christ’s blood. Personal responsibility, the respect for liberty, the sentiment of the sacredness of life, the high esteem for matrimony and the family were examples of this. The Christian comprehension of man was at the origin of the European tradition of human rights, which has found eco in the modern constitutions and in the declarations of human rights of the European council of the United Nations. In keeping with Christian thought, as I myself have especially highlighted in my last Encyclical Laborem Exercens, man is at the center of social, economic, and state life. The world needs a Europe that once again assumes consciousness of these Christian roots and of its identity and, at the same time, is disposed to configure its own present and future based upon this base. Europe was the first continent that profoundly based itself on Christianity, and experienced an incommensurable spiritual and material flourishing. Would it not possible even today to draw from the same ideals and roots, and by means of a serious reflection, new motivations and strengths for an ample moral and political renewal of Europe, in such a way that Europe may offer, in a responsible and efficacious manner, that spiritual contribution that corresponds to it in the framework of the present community of peoples? Thus, honorable ladies and gentlemen, assume consciousness, in your reflections, that the spiritual contribution of Europe is that of the Europeans, and its Christian contribution is that of the Christians of Europe. (John Paul II. Address to the participants of a Congress on the Crisis of the West and the Spiritual Mission of Europe, November 12, 1981)

  • Europe is a land watered by the Christian faith of two thousand years

The whole of Europe is wondering about its future, while the collapse of totalitarian systems calls for a profound renewal of politics and is causing a vigorous return of the spiritual aspirations of peoples. Europe is being forced to seek to redefine its identity beyond political systems and military alliances. It is rediscovering itself as a continent of culture, a land watered by the Christian faith of two thousand years. (John Paul II. Address to the members of the Pontifical Council for Culture, no. 8.3, January 12, 1990)

  • There is an intimate linking between the Gospel and the achievements of humanity – this link is what creates culture

The first evangelization – whose beginning will soon reach the 500-year anniversary – shaped of the historical-cultural identity of your people (cf. Puebla, 412. 445-446); and the Catholic cultural substratum, which bears particularly the imprints of your heart and your intuition, expresses itself in the artistic creation, of which your temples, your traditional paintings, your popular art constitute such a valuable demonstration. It also expresses itself, often with touching characteristics, in the piety brought alive in popular manifestations of devotion. Although it is true that faith transcends all culture, since it manifests a happening originating in God, and not in man, this does not mean that it is on the sidelines of culture. There is an intimate linking between the Gospel and the achievements of humanity. This link is what creates culture. (John Paul II. Meeting with the World of Culture and Business in the Saint Turibius Seminary, no. 5-6, May 15, 1988)

  • Iberian Christendom brought to the new peoples in Latin America the gift inherent in Europe’s origin and gestation – the Christian faith

The expansion of Iberian Christendom brought to the new peoples the gift inherent in Europe’s origin and gestation – the Christian faith – with its power of humanity and its capacity of salvation, of dignity and fraternity, of justice and love for the New World. This provoked the extraordinary missionary initiative, in the transparency and incisiveness of the Christian faith, among the diverse indigenous peoples and ethnic groups, cultures and languages. The individuals and peoples of the new American miscegenation were also begotten through the novelty of the Christian faith. And in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s face are symbolized the power and solidity of this first evangelization. (John Paul II. Homily, no. 3, October 12, 1984)

  • The first evangelization carried out by the European missionaries essentially marked the historic-cultural identity of Latin America

A fact recorded by history is that the first evangelization essentially marked the historic-cultural identity of Latin America (Puebla, 412). Proof of this is that the Catholic faith was not uprooted from the hearts of it peoples, despite the pastoral deficiency produced in the period of independence or in the posterior hostility and persecution. (John Paul II. Homily, no. 5, October 12, 1984)

  • As a consequence, America is a continent where the Church has left deep traces, deep down in the history and character of each people

I arrive in a continent in which the Church has left deep traces, which penetrate deep down in the history and character of each people. I come to this living portion of the Church, the most numerous one, a vital part for the future of the Catholic Church, which amid fine achievements but not without shadows, amid difficulties and sacrifices, bears witness to Christ. And today it desires to answer the challenge of the present moment, by proposing a light of hope for this life and for the next one, through its work of proclaiming the Good News which is summed up in Christ the Saviour, the Son of God and the elder Brother of men. (John Paul II. Address to the President of the Dominican Republic, January 25, 1979)

  • Catholics must remain clear and consistent in their faith, and must serenely affirm their Christian and Catholic identity

Christians today must be formed to live in a world which largely ignores God or which, in religious matters, in place of an exacting and fraternal dialogue, stimulating for all, too often flounders in a debasing indifferent-ism, if it does not remain in a scornful attitude of ‘suspicion’ in the name of the progress it has made in the field of scientific ‘explanations.’ To ‘hold on’ in this world, to offer to all a ‘dialogue of salvation’(Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam) in which each person feels respected in his or her most basic dignity, the dignity of one who is seeking God, we need a catechesis which trains the young people and adults of our communities to remain clear and consistent in their faith, to affirm serenely their Christian and Catholic identity, to ‘see him who is invisible’(Heb 11:27) and to adhere so firmly to the absoluteness of God that they can be witnesses to Him in a materialistic civilization that denies Him. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesi tradendae, no. 57, October 16, 1979)

  • The Church and Europe are two realities which are intimately united in their being and in their destiny

The Church and Europe are two realities which are intimately united in their being and in their destiny. They have traveled together along the same path for centuries, and they remain marked by the same history. Europe was baptized by Christianity; and the European nations, in their diversity, have given substance to Christian existence. In their encounter they have been mutually enriched by values which have not only become the soul of European civilization, but also the patrimony of all of humanity. If in the course of successive crises European culture has sought to distance itself from the faith and the Church; that which was proclaimed as a desire for emancipation and for autonomy was in reality an interior crisis of the European conscience itself, put to the test and tempted in its inner identity, in its fundamental options and in its historic destiny. Europe could not abandon Christianity as a travel companion that has become a stranger, just as a man cannot abandon his reasons for living and hoping without falling into a dramatic crisis. For this reason, the transformation of the European conscience, stirred toward the most radical negations of the Christian inheritance, are only understandable with essential reference to Christianity. The crises of European man are the crises of Christian man. The crises of the European culture are the crises of the Christian culture. It is most significant to examine the metamorphosis suffered by the European spirit in this last century. Europe is today pervaded with currents, ideologies, and ambitions which would pretend to be foreign to the faith, when they are even not directly opposed to Christianity. But it is interesting to emphasize that, having as a point of departure systems and options that sought to make man and his earthly conquests absolute, the point as been reached today that precisely man himself is questioned, his dignity and intrinsic values, his eternal certainties and thirst for the absolute. What have become of the proclamations of a certain scientific spirit, which promised to open to humanity inestimable possibilities of progress and well-being? Where are the hopes that man, having proclaimed God’s death, would finally take God’s place in the world and in history, beginning a new era in which he would conquer by himself all his own evils? […] In this light, Christianity can discover in the adventure of the European spirit the temptations, the infidelities and the risks which are characteristic of man in his essential relationship with God in Christ. Even more profoundly we can affirm that these trials, these temptations and this result of the European drama do not only challenge Christianity and the Church from without — as a difficulty or obstacle that must be overcome in the task of evangelization — but rather in a true sense they are internal to Christianity and the Church. European atheism is a challenge that is taken into consideration on the horizon of a Christian conscience; it consists more in a rebellion against God or an infidelity to God than or a mere negation of God. Secularism, which Europe has spread throughout the world with the risk of damaging flourishing cultures of the peoples of other continents, has been nourished and is nourished on the biblical concept of creation and the human-cosmos relationship. (John Paul II. Address to the participants of the 5th Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Europe, no. 3-4, October 5, 1982)

  • Saint Benedict began the gigantic work from which Europe was born

The year 1980, which begins today, will recall to us the figure of Saint Benedict, who Paul VI proclaimed Patron of Europe. This year marks the anniversary of fifteen centuries since his birth. Will a simple remembrance be sufficient, just as different anniversaries, even important ones are celebrated? I believe it is not sufficient: this date and this figure have such eloquence that an ordinary celebration would not be enough, but rather it will be necessary to reread and reinterpret the contemporary world in this light. In effect, what does Benedict of Nursia speak of? He speaks of the beginnings of this gigantic work, from which Europe was born. (John Paul II. Homily, no. 3, January 1, 1980)

  • Saints Cyril, Methodius, and Benedict: saints who founded their civilizing work upon the Gospel and the values that flow from it, thus giving Europe a common spiritual and cultural patrimony

Saint Benedict, giant of the faith and of civilization, in a society shaken by a tremendous crisis of values and institutions, affirmed with the strength of his formative work the primacy of the spirit, thus defending the personal dignity of man, as a child of God, and the dignity of work, understood as a service to his brethren. Starting with this affirmation of the superior needs of man, Saint Benedict, through the silent and efficacious work of his monks, filled with Christian meaning the life and culture of the European peoples. […] Impelled by the same ideals, and encouraged toward the same ends as the Patriarch of the West, the two great brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, from the East, worked in the history and in the culture of the Slav peoples in the midst of the 9th Century. Having been formed in Constantinople, they brought with them the contribution of the ancient Greek culture and of the tradition of the Oriental Church, which, in this way, was deeply inserted into the religious and civil formation of the peoples who have collaborated in a relevant manner in the construction of modern Europe. Cyril and Methodius, as Benedict, witnesses to different cultures, which in them are ideally found and integrated, founded their civilizing work upon the Gospel and the values that emanate from it. This identical proclamation has been an instrument of reciprocal knowledge and of union between the different peoples of Europe, assuring it of a common spiritual and cultural patrimony. (John Paul II. Address to the pilgrims of Croatia and Slovenia, no. 3-4, March 21, 1981)

  • The felicitous combination of classical culture and Christian faith with the traditions of various peoples took place in Charlemagne’s empire, marking the spiritual and cultural legacy of Europe

[…] the King of the Franks, who established Aachen as the capital of his kingdom, made an essential contribution to the political and cultural foundations of Europe and therefore deserved the nickname Pater Europae (father of Europe) that his contemporaries gave him. The felicitous combination of classical culture and Christian faith with the traditions of various peoples took place in Charlemagne’s empire and developed in various forms down the centuries as the spiritual and cultural legacy of Europe. Even if modern Europe presents in many aspects a new reality, we can nevertheless recognize the highly symbolic value of the historical figure of Charlemagne. […] My special thanks go to those who have put all their efforts at the service of building the common European House on the foundations of the values passed on by the Christian faith as well as on those of Western culture. (John Paul II. Address during the reception of the International Charlemagne Prize, no 2.3, March 24, 2004)

  • Saints Cyril and Methodius were always recognized by the Slav peoples as the fathers of their Christianity and culture

Rightly therefore Saints Cyril and Methodius were at an early date recognized by the family of Slav peoples as the fathers of both their Christianity and their culture. In many of the territories mentioned above, although there had been various missionaries, the majority of the Slav population in the ninth century still retained pagan customs and beliefs. Only in the land cultivated by our Saints, or at least prepared by them for cultivation, did Christianity definitively enter the history of the Slavs during the following century. Their work is an outstanding contribution to the formation of the common Christian roots of Europe, roots which by their strength and vitality are one of the most solid points of reference, which no serious attempt to reconstruct in a new and relevant way the unity of the Continent can ignore. (John Paul II. Encyclical letter Slavorum Apostoli, no. 25, June 2, 1985)

  • Culture and faith: far from being incompatible, are related as the fruit is to the tree – The work of Cyril and Methodius made an eminent contribution to forming the common Christian roots of Europe, which even today is a reference-point that cannot be ignored

The work of Cyril and Methodius made an eminent contribution to forming the common Christian roots of Europe, those roots which by their depth and vitality have created one of the most solid cultural reference-points, which cannot be ignored in any serious attempt to rebuild in a new and contemporary way the unity of the Continent. The guiding inspiration of the massive work carried out by Cyril and Methodius was the Christian faith. Culture and faith are not only not incompatible, but are related to each other as the fruit is to the tree. (John Paul II. Address during the Meeting with Representatives of the World of Culture, Science and Art in Bulgary, no. 3.4, May 24, 2002)

  • Saint Benedict of Nursia is deeply and organically present in the history of Europe: the Churches and societies of our continent are indebted to him

Today, in Subiaco, the representatives of the Episcopates of Europe are together to give witness, in the presence of the bishops of the entire world gathered for the Synod, to what degree Saint Benedict of Nursia is deeply and organically present in the history of Europe, and in particular, how the Churches and societies of our continent are indebted to him, and how in our critical times, they turn their gaze toward the one designated by the Church as their common Patron. (John Paul II. Address to the representatives of the Episcopal Conference in the High Basilica of Subiaco, no. 1, September 20, 1980)

  • Europe is the fruit of the action of two currents of Christian tradition

In fact, Europe — considered geographically as a whole — is in a certain way the fruit of the action of two currents of Christian tradition, to which two different, but at the same time complementary, forms of culture must be added: Saint Benedict, who with his influence embraced not only Europe, primarily Western and Central Europe, but through the Benedictine centers, also reached other continents of the world, and is found, then, in the center of the movement that flows from Rome, from the See of the Successors of Saint Peter. On the other hand, the holy brothers of Thessalonica emphasize not only the contribution of the Ancient Greek culture, but also the irradiation of the Church of Constantinople and the Oriental tradition, so deeply rooted in the spirituality and in the culture of so many peoples and nations of the eastern part of the European continent. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Egregiae virtutis, no. 3, December 31, 1980)

  • The deep-rooted faith in God has managed to penetrate the idea of life, the criteria for personal and social comportment

The deep-rooted faith in God has managed to penetrate, by its action throughout the centuries, the idea of life, the criteria for personal and social comportment, the means of expression, and in a word, the culture of each of your regions. And this achievement is not merely an inheritance of the past without potential for the present. A great number of men and women of your lands continue to find the fundamental meaning of their lives in the faith, and for this reason, have recourse to God in all the crucial moments of their lives. A rich popular religiosity translates into the language of the simple the great truths and values of the Gospel, incarnate them in the specific roots of your culture and make the great Christian symbols into identifying characteristics of the collectivity. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the provinces of Vallodolid and Valencia on their ad limina visit, no. 3, September 23, 1991)

  • The Church is not the remains of an ancient culture, nor something already surpassed

Also among you there occurs, disgracefully, a worrisome phenomenon of de-Christianization. The serious consequences of this change of mentality and customs are not ignored by your solicitude as Pastors. The first of them is the realization of an ambience ‘in which economic well-being and consumerism….inspire and sustain an existence lived as if there were no God’ (Christifideles laici, 34). Frequently, religious indifference installs itself in the personal and collective conscience, and for many God ceases to be the origin and the goal, the meaning and the final explanation of life. On the other hand, they are not lacking who, because of misinterpreted progressivism, pretend to identify the Church with immobile attitudes of the past. They do not have difficulty tolerating the Church as if it were the remains of an ancient culture, but they consider its message and its word irrelevant, denying it audience and disqualifying it as something already surpassed. […] Faced with this Neopaganism, the Church in Spain must respond with a renewed witness and a decided evangelizing effort which is able to create a new cultural synthesis capable of transforming, with the strength of the Gospel, ‘mankind’s criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life’ (Evangelii nuntiandi, 19). (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the provinces of Vallodolid and Valencia on their ad limina visit, no. 4.5, September 23. 1991)

  • The roots of Latin America are pervaded with the European contribution of the Christian message. Faith is the yeast, the fertile force, for an authentic culture

The roots of the culture of your country are pervaded with the Christian message. The history of Peru has been forged by the warmth of the faith, which has inspired it, and at the same time imprinted a characteristic mark on the life and the customs of the nation. In the light of faith a new crossbred cultural synthesis was modeled which unites in itself the native american legacy and the European contribution. […] Within the immense task of evangelization to which we are called to as a Church, the evangelization of culture occupies a preferential place (cf. Puebla, 365). It should reach all of man, and all the manifestations of man, reaching the root of his very being, customs and traditions (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 20). […] To evangelize culture is to promote man in his deepest dimension. To achieve this, it is at times necessary to make evident all that which, in the light of the Gospel, is attack the dignity of the person. On the other hand, the faith is the yeast for an authentic culture, for its dynamism promotes the realization of a balanced cultural synthesis, which can only be achieved with the aid of a superior light which the faith bears. The faith offers a response of the wisdom ‘ever ancient and ever new’ which helps man to adapt, with true criteria, the means to the ends, the projects to the ideals, the actions to the moral standards that permit the restoration of the upset balance of values of today. In a word, the faith, far from being and obstacle, is a fertile force for the creation of culture. (John Paul II. Meeting with the world of culture and business at the Saint Turibius Seminary, no. 2-5, 1988)

  • In European history, there are institutions that created culture; these are fruits of Christianity

The history of Europe shows how, at different times, there were institutions that created culture, in a fruitful synthesis of Christianity and humanism. It is sufficient to think of the role of the Benedictine monasteries and the Universities which sprung up everywhere in Europe, from Paris to Oxford, from Bologna to Krakow, from Prague to Salamanca. The institution of the family, since it is called in the salvific plan of God to be the original and first institution of education, should always reinforce their presence in these institutions that are creators of true culture. (Address to the participants of the Symposium on the Family Apostolate in Europe, November 26. 1982)

  • Dialogue should be conducted with the conviction that the Church alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation

In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue. Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad gentes. These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and their distinctiveness; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated or regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable. […] Dialogue should be conducted and implemented with the conviction that the Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 55, Decmeber 7, 1990)

  • Full communion will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided

Here once again the Council proves helpful. It can be said that the entire Decree on Ecumenism is permeated by the spirit of conversion. In the Document, ecumenical dialogue takes on a specific characteristic; it becomes a ‘dialogue of conversion’, and thus, in the words of Pope Paul VI, an authentic ‘dialogue of salvation’. Dialogue cannot take place merely on a horizontal level, being restricted to meetings, exchanges of points of view or even the sharing of gifts proper to each Community. It has also a primarily vertical thrust, directed towards the One who, as the Redeemer of the world and the Lord of history, is himself our Reconciliation. […] With regard to the study of areas of disagreement, the Council requires that the whole body of doctrine be clearly presented. At the same time, it asks that the manner and method of expounding the Catholic faith should not be a hindrance to dialogue with our brothers and sisters. Certainly it is possible to profess one’s faith and to explain its teaching in a way that is correct, fair and understandable, and which at the same time takes into account both the way of thinking and the actual historical experiences of the other party. Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided. Serious questions must be resolved, for if not, they will reappear at another time, either in the same terms or in a different guise. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 35-36, May 25, 1995)

  • Every person has the right to hear the ‘Good News’

Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple. […] Nowadays the call to conversion which missionaries address to non-Christians is put into question or passed over in silence. It is seen as an act of ‘proselytizing’; it is claimed that it is enough to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion, that it is enough to build communities capable of working for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. What is overlooked is that every person has the right to hear the ‘Good News’ of the God who reveals and gives himself in Christ, so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her proper calling. This lofty reality is expressed in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman: ‘If you knew the gift of God,’ and in the unconscious but ardent desire of the woman: ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst’ (Jn 4:10, 15). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris misio, no. 46, December 7, 1990)

  • The presence of non-Christians in traditionally Christian countries is a challenge for the ecclesial communities

More numerous are the citizens of mission countries and followers of non-Christian religions who settle in other nations for reasons of study or work, or are forced to do so because of the political or economic situations in their native lands. The presence of these brothers and sisters in traditionally Christian countries is a challenge for the ecclesial communities. […] In Christian countries, communities and cultural groups are also forming which call for the mission ad gentes, and the local churches, with the help of personnel from the immigrants’ own countries and of returning missionaries, should respond generously to these situations. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 82, December 7, 1990)

  • Catholics must know that, over and above any gesture of solidarity, is the proclamation of Jesus – this is the first act of charity towards the human person. In countries of ancient Christianity, the non-Christian immigrants represent a challenge

The presence of non-Christian immigrants in countries of ancient Christianity represents a challenge to the Church communities. The phenomenon continues to activate charity in the Church, in terms of welcome and aid for these brothers and sisters in their search for work and housing. Somehow, this action is quite similar to what many missionaries are doing in mission lands. They take care of the sick, the poor, the illiterate. This is the disciple’s way: he responds to the expectations and necessities of the neighbor in need, although the fundamental aim of his mission is the proclamation of Christ and his Gospel. He knows that the proclamation of Jesus is the first act of charity towards the human person, over and above any gesture of solidarity, however generous it may be. There is no true evangelization, in fact, ‘if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed’ (Evangelii nuntiandi, 22). Sometimes, due to an environment dominated by growing religious relativism and indifferentism, it is difficult for the spiritual dimension of charitable undertakings to emerge. Some people fear that doing charity in view of evangelization could expose them to the accusation of proselytism. Proclaiming and bearing witness to the Gospel of charity constitutes the connective tissue of the mission towards migrants […] Today, the proclamation of the gospel of charity to the vast and diversified world of migrants implies a particular attention to the cultural environment. […] The mission of the Church today is exactly that of giving every human being, regardless of culture or race, the concrete possibility of meeting Christ. I wholeheartedly wish that this possibility be offered to all migrants and for this, I assure my aprayers. (John Paul II. Message for the 87th World Day of Migration, no. 7-9, February 2, 2001)

  • The surge of immigration and the phenomenon of tourism have affected certain European dioceses of deep Christian roots and traditions

Your individual Churches are geographically situated in different regions of Spain with their own characteristics and traditions. The diocese of the ecclesiastical province of Valladolid, in the lands of old Castile and León, are churches of ancient Christian tradition, which conserve a good level of religious practice, despite a notable demographic decline, which also is notable in the average age of the clergy. The diocese of the ecclesiastical province of Valencia, in the eastern region, is open to the Mediterranean Ocean, with the exception of Albacete, which belongs to the noble region of La Mancha. These dioceses have deep Christian roots and traditions, although the surge of immigration and the phenomenon of tourism have affected to a certain degree the lives of your people. (John Paul II. Address to the bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Vallodolid and Valencia on their ad limina visit, no. 1, September 23, 1991)

  • The moral and spiritual patrimony of the Church under the risk of secularization

On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a re-evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom. Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations. At this moment the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church. Their responsibility, in particular, is to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response-consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees-to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 34, December 30, 1988)

  • The migration phenomenon poses questions and challenges to pastoral action: people may be induced to indulge in superficial relativism. The Church tries her best not let migrants lack the light and the support of the Gospel.

Faithful to his task in the service of the Gospel, the Church continues to approach people of all nationalities to bring them the good news of salvation. With this present Message, on the occasion of the World Day of Migration, I wish to reflect on the evangelizing mission of the Church with respect to the vast and complex phenomenon of emigration and mobility. […] The term ‘migrant’ is intended first of all to refer to refugees and exiles in search of freedom and security outside the confines of their own country. However, it also refers to young people who study abroad and all those who leave their own country to look for better conditions of life elsewhere. . The II Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the Decree Christus Dominus, called for a ‘special concern … for those among the faithful who, on account of their way or condition of life, cannot sufficiently make use of the common and ordinary pastoral service of parish priests or are totally deprived of it. Among them are very many migrants, exiles and refugees’ (no. 18). […] Although in varying forms and degrees, mobility has thus become a general characteristic of mankind. It directly involves many persons and reaches others indirectly. The vastness and complexity of the phenomenon calls for a profound analysis of the structural changes that have taken place, namely the globalization of economics and of social life. The convergence of races, civilizations and cultures within one and the same juridical and social order, poses an urgent problem of cohabitation. […] We are witnessing a profound change in the way of The migration phenomenon is in continuous expansion, and this poses questions and challenges to the pastoral action of the Church community thinking and living, which cannot but present ambiguous aspects together with the positive elements. […] In this climate, people may be induced to deepen their own convictions, but also to indulge in superficial relativism. […] Through her own pastoral activity, the Church tries her best not let migrants lack the light and the support of the Gospel. (John Paul II. Message for the 87th World day of Migration, February 2, 2001)

…judges Francis’ attitude towards public sinners, changing Vatican protocol

  • Jesus’ words ‘Go, and now sin no more’ must not be passed over

Between the customs of a secularized society and the demands of the Gospel, a profound chasm is growing. There are many who would like to participate in ecclesial life, but no longer perceive a connection between the world in which they live and Christian principles. It is believed that the Church adheres firmly to her norms, merely from rigidity and that this clashes with the mercy which Jesus gives us an example in the Gospel. The difficult demands of Jesus, His words: ‘Go, and now sin no more’ (Jn 8, 11) are ignored. Recourse to one’s personal conscience is often spoken of, forgetting, however, that this conscience is like an eye that does not possess light of itself, but rather only when it looks toward the authentic source of light. (John Paul II. Allocution to the Episcopal Conference of Germany in Fulda, no. 6, November 17, 1980)

  • The Church never conceals the demands of radicalness and perfection of the moral norm

The Church’s teaching, and in particular her firmness in defending the universal and permanent validity of the precepts prohibiting intrinsically evil acts, is not infrequently seen as the sign of an intolerable intransigence, particularly with regard to the enormously complex and conflict-filled situations present in the moral life of individuals and of society today; this intransigence is said to be in contrast with the Church’s motherhood. The Church, one hears, is lacking in understanding and compassion. But the Church’s motherhood can never in fact be separated from her teaching mission, which she must always carry out as the faithful Bride of Christ, who is the Truth in person. ‘As Teacher, she never tires of proclaiming the moral norm… The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection’. In fact, genuine understanding and compassion must mean love for the person, for his true good, for his authentic freedom. And this does not result, certainly, from concealing or weakening moral truth, but rather from proposing it in its most profound meaning as an outpouring of God’s eternal Wisdom, which we have received in Christ, and as a service to man, to the growth of his freedom and to the attainment of his happiness. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 95, August 6, 1993)

  • The Church’s ministry of reconciliation includes adopting a real attitude of repentance

In effect, to become reconciled with God presupposes and includes detaching oneself consciously and with determination from the sin into which one has fallen. It presupposes and includes, therefore, doing penance in the fullest sense of the term: repenting, showing this repentance, adopting a real attitude of repentance – which is the attitude of the person who starts out on the road of return to the Father. This is a general law and one which each individual must follow in his or her particular situation. For it is not possible to deal with sin and conversion only in abstract terms. In the concrete circumstances of sinful humanity, in which there can be no conversion without the acknowledgment of one’s own sin, the church’s ministry of reconciliation intervenes in each individual case with a precise penitential purpose. That is, the church’s ministry intervenes in order to bring the person to the ‘knowledge of self’ – in the words of Saint Catherine of Siena – to the rejection of evil, to the re-establishment of friendship with God, to a new interior ordering, to a fresh ecclesial conversion. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 13, December 2, 1984)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christ was stained by sin

  • The bronze serpent signifies the victory of Christ over sin

This bronze serpent has become a figure of Christ ‘raised upon’ the cross. The exegetes see therein the symbolic announcement of the fact that man, who contemplates the cross with faith, ‘receives life’…and life signifies victory over sin, and the state of grace in the human soul. (John Paul II. Homily to University students preparing for Easter, no. 3, March 30, 1982)

  • Taking the form of a slave, Christ made himself similar to men in everything but not sin

In this way, then, Jesus has been made truly similar to men, assuming the condition of a slave, as the Letter to the Philippines proclaims (cf. 2:7). But the Epistle to the Hebrews, in speaking of Him as ‘high priest of the good things that have to come’ (9: 11), confirms and clarifies that ‘we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin’ (4:15). Truly ‘he did not know sin’ although St. Paul would say that God ‘made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him’ (2Cor 5:21). Jesus himself could present the challenge: ‘Can any of you charge me with sin?’ (Jn 8:46). And this is the faith of the Church: ‘Sine peccato conceptus, natus et mortuus’. The Council of Florence (Decree pro Iacob) proclaims so, in harmony with all the Tradition: Jesus “who without sin was conceived, born, and died.” He is the truly just and holy man. We repeat with the New Tesament, with the Creed, and with the Council: “Jesus Christ has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin (cf. Heb 4:15).” (John Paul II. General audience, no. 9, February 3, 1988)

  • The phrase ‘for our sake made him sin’ expresses God’s absolute justice, for Christ undergoes the passion and cross because of the sins of humanity

Christ, as the man who suffers really and in a terrible way in the Garden of Olives and on Calvary, addresses Himself to the Father- that Father whose love He has preached to people, to whose mercy He has borne witness through all of His activity. But He is not spared – not even He – the terrible suffering of death on the cross: ‘For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, (2Cor 5:21) St. Paul will write, summing up in a few words the whole depth of the cross and at the same time the divine dimension of the reality of the Redemption. Indeed this Redemption is the ultimate and definitive revelation of the holiness of God, who is the absolute fullness of perfection: fullness of justice and of love, since justice is based on love, flows from it and tends towards it. In the passion and death of Christ – in the fact that the Father did not spare His own Son, but ‘for our sake made him sin’ (2Cor 5:21) – absolute justice is expressed, for Christ undergoes the passion and cross because of the sins of humanity. This constitutes even a ‘superabundance’ of justice, for the sins of man are ‘compensated for’ by the sacrifice of the Man-God. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dives in misericordia, no. 7, November 30, 1980)

  • Sin is by no means an enrichment to man

Christ manifested man fully to man exactly because of the fact that He ‘had not known sin’. For sin is by no means an enrichment to man. Entirely to the contrary: it depreciates him, diminishes him, deprives him of his rightful plenitude (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 13). The recuperation, the salvation of fallen man is the fundamental response to the question regarding the reason of the Incarnation. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 10, February 3, 1988)

  • Sin corrodes the relationship with God, refusing his plan in history, and a betrayal of God

Sin is not just a psychological and social matter, but an event that corrodes the relationship with God, violating his law, refusing his plan in history and overturning his set of values, ‘putting darkness for light and light for darkness’, in other words, ‘calling evil good and good evil’ (cf. Is 5,20). Before finally injuring man, sin is first and foremost a betrayal of God. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3, May 8, 2002)

  • The death of Christ makes us understand the gravity of our offenses

The death on the cross, painful and excruciating, was also “sacrifice of expiation”, that makes us understand both the gravity of sin, which is rebellion against God and rejection of his love, and also the marvelous redeeming work of Christ, which in expiating for humanity has restored grace to us, that is, the participation in very the Trinitarian life of God and the inheritance of his eternal happiness. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3, March 22, 1989)

…judges Francis’ idea on conversion of the papacy

  • The Catholic Church faithfully conserves the ministry of the Successor of Peter

The Catholic Church is conscious of having preserved, in fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition and the faith of the Fathers, the ministry of the Successor of Peter. (John Paul II. Letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger quoted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ‘The primacy of the successor of Peter in the mystery of the Church’, October 31, 1998)

  • There had been attempts to reduce the power of the Roman Pontiff to ‘an office of inspection or of direction’ – this limitation was not conformed with the mission conferred by Christ to Peter

There had been attempts to reduce the power of the Roman Pontiff to ‘an office of inspection and of direction’. Some had proposed that the Pope was simply an arbiter in the conflicts between local churches, or that he would give solely a general direction to the autonomous activities of the Churches and of Christians, with counsels and exhortations. But this limitation was not conformed with the mission conferred by Christ to Peter. For this reason Vatican Council I emphasized the plenitude of papal power, and defined that it is not enough to affirm that the Roman Pontiff ‘has the principal part’. It should be admitted rather that he ‘has all of the plenitude of the supreme power’ (DS 3064). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2, February 24, 1993)

  • The Apostolic college spread the faith, while Peter confirmed it

The successors of the Apostolic college have untiringly spread the faith, and the Popes, as Successors of Peter, had confirmed and animated, defended and propagated it. And here is with you, dear brothers and sisters, the Pope, Successor of Peter, to confirm you in your faith, in your total giving and in your mission without frontiers. (John Paul II. Homily in Tumaco, Columbia, no. 3, July 4, 1986)

  • The Pope possesses this plenitude in a personal way, while the Episcopal body possesses it collectively

In this regard, it is well to define directly afterward that this ‘plenitude’ of power attributed to the Pope does not take anything from the ‘plenitude’ that also belongs to the Episcopal body. Moreover, is should be affirmed that both, the Pope and the Episcopal body, have ‘all the plenitude’ of power. The Pope possesses this plenitude in a personal way, while the Episcopal body possesses it collegially, being united under the authority of the Pope. The power of the Pope is not the result of a simple numeric addition, but rather the principle of unity and organicity within the Episcopal body. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, February 24, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on John the Baptist doubting the Messiah

  • Saint John the Baptist sacrificed his life for truth and justice

‘None born of woman is greater’ (cf. Lk 7: 28). He gave to God the supreme witness of his blood, sacrificing his life for truth and justice; indeed, his head was cut off at the orders of Herod, whom he had dared to tell that it was not lawful to take his brother’s wife (cf. Mk 6: 17–29). (John Paul II. Angelus, no.1, August 29, 2004)

  • Saint John the Baptist is an exceptional witness of Christ honored today in all parts of the world

With the festivity of Saint John the Baptist, celebrated today, the Church presents us the figure of an exceptional witness of Christ […] eliminated by Herod in the obscure Machaerus prison, he is honored today all over the world. The humiliation of his apparent defeat has opened the way for the glory of triumph. (John Paul II. Angelus, no.1–2, June 24, 1990)

  • John the Baptist came into the world in unusual circumstances with a divine call: he answered this call with his whole life – and remained faithful to it until his last breath

For he, who comes into the world in such unusual circumstances, already brings the divine call with him. This call comes from the plan of God himself, from his salvific love, and it is written in the man’s history right from the first moment of conception in his mother’s womb. All the circumstances of this conception, as well as the circumstances of John’s birth at Ain-Karim, indicate an unusual call. Praeibis ante faciem Domini parare vias eius. ‘You will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.’ (Lk 1:76). We know that John the Baptist answered this call with his whole life. We know that he remained faithful to it until his last breath. And he breathed his last in prison by order of Herod, as a result of the wish of Salome who acted on the instigation of her revengeful mother Herodias. (John Paul II. Homily no. 1, June 24, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on confession

  • When the priest raises his hand in blessing, he acts ‘in persona Christi’

[The priest] when he raises his hand in blessing and pronounces the words of absolution, he acts ‘in persona Christi’ – in the person of Christ – not simply as Christ’s representative, but also and above all as a human instrument in which the Lord Jesus – God-with-us – is present and acts. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2, February 22, 1984)

  • Within the human reality of the priest, it is the Lord himself who hides and acts

The Lord Jesus has thus become ‘our reconciliation’ (cf. Rom 5:11) and our ‘peace’ (cf. Eph 2:14). The Church, then, through the priest in a singular manner, does not act as if it were an autonomous reality: it structurally depends on the Lord Jesus who has founded it, inhabits and acts in it, in such a way that he makes present, in different times and in diverse places, the mystery of the Redemption. The evangelical word clarifies this ‘being sent’ of the Church through his Apostles by Christ, for the remission of sins. ‘As my Father sent me’, affirmed the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, ‘I send you’. And after saying this, breathing over them he added: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ (Jn 20:21 – 22). In this way, then, behind – or within – the human reality of the priest, the same Lord who has ‘authority on earth to forgive sins’ (Lk 5:24) hides and acts, and that with this finality ‘he deserved’(cf. Jn 7:39) and ‘sent’ (cf. Jn 20:22) ‘his Spirit’ (cf. Rom 8:9) after the Sacrifice of Calvary and of the victory of Easter. (John Paul II. General audience, March 28, 1984)

…judges Francis’ idea on reforming the Church

  • The structures of the Church evolved in reference to the Apostolic heritage

The Church’s journey began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and its original expansion in the oikoumene of that time was centered around Peter and the Eleven (cf. Acts 2:14). The structures of the Church in the East and in the West evolved in reference to that Apostolic heritage. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 55, May 25, 1995)

  • …and the pursuit of holiness

The life of every Christian and all the structures of the Church must be clearly ordered to the pursuit of holiness. (John Paul II. Address to the second group of Bishops from Baltimore and Washington on their ad limina visit, April 29, 2004)

  • In our world we see an urgent need for powerful proclamation and solid Christian formation

In our world, often dominated by a secularized culture which encourages and promotes models of life without God, the faith of many is sorely tested, and is frequently stifled and dies. Thus we see an urgent need for powerful proclamation and solid, in-depth Christian formation. There is so much need today for mature Christian personalities, conscious of their baptismal identity, of their vocation and mission in the Church and in the world! There is great need for living Christian communities! And here are the movements and the new ecclesial communities: they are the response, given by the Holy Spirit, to this critical challenge at the end of the millennium. You are this providential response. […] You have learned in the movements and new communities that faith is not abstract talk, nor vague religious sentiment, but new life in Christ instilled by the Holy Spirit (John Paull II. Address during the Meeting with Ecclesial Movements, no. 7, May 30, 1988)

  • It is vital to choose genuine truth, not half-truths and pseudo-truths

Never forget that anything in your lives which is not in tune with God’s plan for the human person is doomed sooner or later to failure. It is only with God and in God that people can find complete fulfilment and attain the fullness to which they tend from the depths of their hearts. […] It is vital to choose true values, not those which pass, to choose genuine truth, not half- truths and pseudo-truths. (John Paull II. Address during the Meeting with Ecclesial movements, no. 6, October 4, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church’s moral teaching

  • In each individual there is nothing so personal and untransferable as merit for virtue or responsibility for sin

Sin, in the proper sense, is always a personal act, since it is an act of freedom on the part of an individual person and not properly of a group or community. This individual may be conditioned, incited and influenced by numerous and powerful external factors. He may also be subjected to tendencies, defects and habits linked with his personal condition. In not a few cases such external and internal factors may attenuate, to a greater or lesser degree, the person’s freedom and therefore his responsibility and guilt. But it is a truth of faith, also confirmed by our experience and reason, that the human person is free. This truth cannot be disregarded in order to place the blame for individuals’ sins on external factors such as structures, systems or other people. Above all, this would be to deny the person’s dignity and freedom, which are manifested even though in a negative and disastrous way also in this responsibility for sin committed. Hence there is nothing so personal and untransferable in each individual as merit for virtue or responsibility for sin. As a personal act, sin has its first and most important consequences in the sinner himself: that is, in his relationship with God, who is the very foundation of human life; and also in his spirit, weakening his will and clouding his intellect. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 16, December 2, 1984)

  • To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that each individual’s sin in some way affects others – every personal sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family

At this point we must ask what was being referred to by those who during the preparation of the synod and in the course of its actual work frequently spoke of social sin. The expression and the underlying concept in fact have various meanings. To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that, by virtue of human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual’s sin in some way affects others. This is the other aspect of that solidarity which on the religious level is developed in the profound and magnificent mystery of the communion of saints, thanks to which it has been possible to say that “every soul that rises above itself, raises up the world.” To this law of ascent there unfortunately corresponds the law of descent. Consequently one can speak of a communion of sin, whereby a soul that lowers itself through sin drags down with itself the church and, in some way, the whole world. In other words, there is no sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, the most strictly individual one, that exclusively concerns the person committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family. According to this first meaning of the term, every sin can undoubtedly be considered as social sin. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 16, December 2, 1984)

  • To speak even analogically of social sins must not cause us to underestimate the responsibility of the individuals involved – one cannot contrast social sin and personal sin in a way that leads to the watering down and almost the abolition of personal sin

However, to speak even analogically of social sins must not cause us to underestimate the responsibility of the individuals involved. It is meant to be an appeal to the consciences of all, so that each may shoulder his or her responsibility seriously and courageously in order to change those disastrous conditions and intolerable situations. Having said this in the clearest and most unequivocal way, one must add at once that there is one meaning sometimes given to social sin that is not legitimate or acceptable even though it is very common in certain quarters today. This usage contrasts social sin and personal sin, not without ambiguity, in a way that leads more or less unconsciously to the watering down and almost the abolition of personal sin, with the recognition only of social gilt and responsibilities. According to this usage, which can readily be seen to derive from non-Christian ideologies and systems which have possibly been discarded today by the very people who formerly officially upheld them practically every sin is a social sin, in the sense that blame for it is to be placed not so much on the moral conscience of an individual, but rather on some vague entity or anonymous collectivity such as the situation, the system, society, structures or institutions. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 16, December 2, 1984)

  • Whenever the church condemns social sins, she proclaims that such cases of social sin are the result of the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins

Whenever the church speaks of situations of sin or when the church condemns as social sins certain situations or the collective behavior of certain social groups, big or small, or even of whole nations and blocs of nations, she knows and she proclaims that such cases of social sin are the result of the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins. It is a case of the very personal sins of those who cause or support evil or who exploit it; of those who are in a position to avoid, eliminate or at least limit certain social evils but who fail to do so out of laziness, fear or the conspiracy of silence, through secret complicity or indifference; of those who take refuge in the supposed impossibility of changing the world and also of those who sidestep the effort and sacrifice required, producing specious reasons of higher order. The real responsibility, then, lies with individuals. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 16, December 2, 1984)

  • There can be no genuine solution of the “social question” apart from the Gospel

Now, as then, we need to repeat that there can be no genuine solution of the “social question” apart from the Gospel, and that the “new things” can find in the Gospel the context for their correct understanding and the proper moral perspective for judgment on them. (John Paul II. Centesimus annus, no. 5, May 1, 1991)

  • The Church has proposed a moral teaching regarding the many different spheres of human life, including social, economic and political life

At all times, but particularly in the last two centuries, the Popes, whether individually or together with the College of Bishops, have developed and proposed a moral teaching regarding the many different spheres of human life. In Christ’s name and with his authority they have exhorted, passed judgment and explained. In their efforts on behalf of humanity, in fidelity to their mission, they have confirmed, supported and consoled. With the guarantee of assistance from the Spirit of truth they have contributed to a better understanding of moral demands in the areas of human sexuality, the family, and social, economic and political life. In the tradition of the Church and in the history of humanity, their teaching represents a constant deepening of knowledge with regard to morality. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 4, August 6, 1993)

  • A new situation has come about within the Christian community that calls into question the Church’s moral teaching

Today, however, it seems necessary to reflect on the whole of the Church’s moral teaching, with the precise goal of recalling certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine which, in the present circumstances, risk being distorted or denied. In fact, a new situation has come about within the Christian community itself, which has experienced the spread of numerous doubts and objections of a human and psychological, social and cultural, religious and even properly theological nature, with regard to the Church’s moral teachings. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions. At the root of these presuppositions is the more or less obvious influence of currents of thought which end by detaching human freedom from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth. Thus the traditional doctrine regarding the natural law, and the universality and the permanent validity of its precepts, is rejected; certain of the Church’s moral teachings are found simply unacceptable; and the Magisterium itself is considered capable of intervening in matters of morality only in order to “exhort consciences” and to “propose values”, in the light of which each individual will independently make his or her decisions and life choices. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 4, August 6, 1993)

  • The commandments represent the basic condition for love of neighbor: without observing them one can neither love God nor neighbor

The commandments of which Jesus reminds the young man are meant to safeguard the good of the person, the image of God, by protecting his goods. ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness’ are moral rules formulated in terms of prohibitions. These negative precepts express with particular force the ever urgent need to protect human life, the communion of persons in marriage, private property, truthfulness and people’s good name.
The commandments thus represent the basic condition for love of neighbor; at the same time they are the proof of that love. They are the first necessary step on the journey towards freedom, its starting-point. “The beginning of freedom”, Saint Augustine writes, “is to be free from crimes… such as murder, adultery, fornication, theft, fraud, sacrilege and so forth. When once one is without these crimes (and every Christian should be without them), one begins to lift up one’s head towards freedom. But this is only the beginning of freedom, not perfect freedom…”. (In Iohannis Evangelium Tractatus, 41, 10)
This certainly does not mean that Christ wishes to put the love of neighbor higher than, or even to set it apart from, the love of God. This is evident from his conversation with the teacher of the Law, who asked him a question very much like the one asked by the young man. Jesus refers him to the two commandments of love of God and love of neighbor (cf. Lk 10:25–27), and reminds him that only by observing them will he have eternal life: ‘Do this, and you will live’ (Lk 10:28). Nonetheless it is significant that it is precisely the second of these commandments which arouses the curiosity of the teacher of the Law, who asks him: ‘And who is my neighbor?’ (Lk 10:29). The Teacher replies with the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is critical for fully understanding the commandment of love of neighbor (cf. Lk 10:30–37).
These two commandments, on which ‘depend all the Law and the Prophets’ (Mt 22:40), are profoundly connected and mutually related. Their inseparable unity is attested to by Christ in his words and by his very life: his mission culminates in the Cross of our Redemption (cf. Jn 3:14–15), the sign of his indivisible love for the Father and for humanity (cf. Jn 13:1).
Both the Old and the New Testaments explicitly affirm that without love of neighbor, made concrete in keeping the commandments, genuine love for God is not possible. Saint John makes the point with extraordinary forcefulness: ‘If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen’ (Jn 4:20). The Evangelist echoes the moral preaching of Christ, expressed in a wonderful and unambiguous way in the parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:30–37) and in his words about the final judgment (cf. Mt 25:31–46). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 13–14, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on switching Christ for interconfessionalism

  • Cooperation that does not lead to conversion and baptism is in vain

Conversion to Christ moreover is joined to baptism not only because of the Church’s practice, but also by the will of Christ himself, who sent the Apostles to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them (cf. Mt 28:19). Conversion is also joined to Baptism because of the intrinsic need to receive the fullness of new life in Christ. As Jesus says to Nicodemus: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God’ (Jn 3:5)? (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, no. 73, September 14, 1995)

  • Conversion is expressed, from the outset, in faith which is total and radical

The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith…so that they can believe in Christ and ‘confess him’ (cf. 1Cor 12:3) […] From the outset, conversion is expressed in faith which is total and radical, and which neither limits nor hinders God’s gift. At the same time, it gives rise to a dynamic and lifelong process which demands a continual turning away from ‘life according to the flesh’ to ‘life according to the Spirit’ (cf. Rom 8:3-13). Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 46, December 7, 1990)

  • Society will only be renewed with the renewal of the human heart: by the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist

The way to the renewal of society passes through the renewal of the human heart. In this process the witness of an inner transformation of the Church’s children cannot be lacking. Christ himself left us the best means for achieving it: the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Poland on their ad limina visit, January 16, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church called to dialogue

  • The Bishop has the duty of showing that the true solution for the problems that burden humanity is in returning to the Gospel of Christ

Master of the faith, the bishop promotes whatever is good and positive in the flock entrusted to him, sustains and guides those weak in faith (Rom 14,1), intervenes to unmask falsehoods and combat abuses. It is important that the bishop be aware of the challenges that faith in Christ has to face today on account of the mentality based on human criteria, that at times relativises the Law and the Plan of God. Above all, he must have the courage to announce and defend sound doctrine, even when it entails suffering. In fact, the bishop, in communion with the apostolic college and with the Successor of Peter, has the duty of protecting the faithful from any kind of temptation, showing in a wholehearted return to the Gospel of Christ the true solution for the complicated problems that burden humanity. (John Paul II. Homily for the Conclusion of the Synod of Bishops, October 27, 2001)

  • It is most important that the Lord’s ministers strengthen their spiritual life

In order constantly to discover and maintain the joy of mission, it is most important that the Lord’s ministers strengthen their spiritual life, particularly through daily prayer, which is ‘the remedy of salvation’ (St Paulinus of Nola, Letters 34, 10), and through the intimate meeting with the Lord in the Eucharist, which is the focal point of the priest’s day (cf. General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, n. 1). In the same way, regular reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, which re-establishes the sinner in grace and restores friendship with God, helps the priest in turn to bring forgiveness to his brothers and sisters. These are a source of indispensable nourishment for Christ’s disciples, and even more for those who are responsible for leading and sanctifying the Christian people. I would also like to insist on the need to celebrate worthily the Liturgy of the Hours, which helps to enrich the People of God with a mysterious apostolic fruitfulness (cf. General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, n. 18), and on time for daily prayer: in this way the priest revives the gift of God within him, prepares for his mission, strengthens his priestly identity and builds up the Church. Indeed, it is before God that the priest becomes aware of the call he has received and renews his availability for the particular mission entrusted to him by the Bishop in the Lord’s name, thereby showing that he is available for the work of the Holy Spirit, who gives growth to every action (cf. 1Cor 3:7). Priests are called to be joyful witnesses to Christ through their teaching and the witness of an upright life corresponding to the commitment they made on the day of their ordination. They are your ‘sons and friends’ (Christus Dominus, n. 16; cf. Jn 15:15). You must remain attentive to their spiritual and intellectual needs, reminding them that, although they live among men and take modern life into account, like all the faithful they must not model themselves on today’s world, but must conform their lives to the Word they proclaim and the sacraments they celebrate (cf. Rom 12:2; Presbyterorum ordinis, no 3); thus they will express ‘the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 2). Encourage them to pray personally and to support one another in this regard. Also, invite them constantly to deepen their knowledge of theology, which is necessary to spiritual and pastoral life. In fact, how can they preach the Gospel and be ‘dispensers of a life other than that of this earth’ (Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 3), if they do not remain close to the heart of Christ like the Apostle he loved, and if they do not apply themselves through continuing formation to a true understanding of the faith? (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Netherlands during their ad limina visit, June 18, 1998)

  • The ‘nets’ we are called upon to cast among men are the Sacraments

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate! Christ repeats to us today: ‘Duc in altum – Put out into the deep!’ (Lk 5,4). Following His invitation, we may reread the triple munus entrusted to us in the Church: munus docendi, sanctificandi et regendi (the ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing) (cf. LG no. 25-27; Christus Dominus no. 12–16). Duc in docendo! [Lead in teaching]. With the Apostle we will say: ‘Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort – be unfailing in patience and in teachin’ (Tim 4:2). Duc in sanctificando! [Lead in sanctifying]. The ‘nets’ we are called upon to cast among men are, first of all, the Sacraments, of which we are the principal dispensers, governors, guardians and promoters (cf. Christus Dominus, no. 15). (John Paul II. Homily for the inauguration of the 105th Ordinary general assembly of the synod of bishops, no. 6, September 30, 2001)

…judges Francis’ idea on obtaining spiritual fruits in other religions

  • The mediation of Christ between God and man is unique and universal

Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. […] No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ’s own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • Catholic wisdom creatively combines the divine and the human

At its core the piety of the people is a storehouse of values that offers answers of Christian wisdom to the great questions of life. the Catholic wisdom of the people is capable of fashioning a vital synthesis…It creatively combines the divine and the human, Christ and Mary, spirit and body, communion and institution, person and community, faith and homeland, intelligence and emotion. This wisdom is a Christian humanism that radically affirms the dignity of every person as a child of God, establishes a basic fraternity, teaches people to encounter nature and understand work, provides reasons for joy and humor even in the midst of a very hard life. (John Paul II. Document of the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, CELAM, Puebla, February 13, 1979, Final Document # 448)

  • Prayer, alms and fasting are essential aspects of a Christian life

Spiritual tradition teaches us that the main works of the Lenten season are three: prayer, alms and fasting. Prayer calls us to a more intense relationship with God. Almsgiving signifies a more generous attention to our needy brothers. Fasting represents a firm purpose of moral discipline and interior purification. These are evidently essential aspects of Christian life and, as such, necessary at all times. There are, however, ‘strong’ times, that the evolvement of the liturgical year presents: moments that exhort us to a more intense commitment and, with this objective, the rites and sacred texts offer us greater light and more abundant grace. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 4, February 12, 1986)

  • Alms is decisive for conversion

In Holy Scripture and according to the evangelical categories, ‘alms’ means in the first place an interior gift. It means the attitude of opening ‘to the other’. Precisely this attitude is an indispensable factor of metanoia, that is, conversion, just as prayer and fasting are also indispensable. […] The Gospel draws this picture clearly when it speaks to us of repentance, of metanoia. Only with a total attitude, in his relationship with God, with himself and with his neighbour, does man reach conversion and remain in the state of conversion. ‘Alms’ understood in this way has a meaning which is in a certain sense decisive for this conversion. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3 – 4, March 28, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on Ecumenical dialogue

  • Vatican Council II desires a dialogue permeated by the spirit of conversion: dialogue cannot be on a horizontal level without a vertical thrust toward the Lord

Here once again the Council proves helpful. It can be said that the entire Decree on Ecumenism is permeated by the spirit of conversion. In the Document, ecumenical dialogue takes on a specific characteristic; it becomes a ‘dialogue of conversion’, and thus, in the words of Pope Paul VI, an authentic ‘dialogue of salvation’ (Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam). Dialogue cannot take place merely on a horizontal level, being restricted to meetings, exchanges of points of view or even the sharing of gifts proper to each Community. It has also a primarily vertical thrust, directed towards the One who, as the Redeemer of the world and the Lord of history, is himself our Reconciliation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 35–36, May 25, 1995)

  • Always urgent for us: unity in truth, over and above unity in love – for purity of doctrine is the basis in building up the Christian community

To be watchful for purity of doctrine, the basis in building up the Christian community, is therefore, together with the proclamation of the Gospel, the primary and irreplaceable duty of the Pastor, of the Teacher of the faith. How often Saint Paul emphasized this, convinced as he was of the seriousness of the accomplishment of this duty (cf. 1Tim 1:3 –7; 18 –20; 4:11, 16; 2Tim 1:4 14). Over and above unity in love, unity in truth is always urgent for us. (John Paul II. Address to the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, I, no. 1, Puebla, January 28, 1979)

  • It is wrong to claim that it is enough to help people to become more human, or more faithful to their own religion, or even to build communities only to work for peace

Nowadays the call to conversion which missionaries address to non-Christians is put into question or passed over in silence. It is seen as an act of ‘proselytizing’; it is claimed that it is enough to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion, that it is enough to build communities capable of working for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. What is overlooked is that every person has the right to hear the ‘Good News’ of the God who reveals and gives himself in Christ, so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her proper calling. This lofty reality is expressed in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman: ‘If you knew the gift of God,’ and in the unconscious but ardent desire of the woman: ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst’ (Jn 4:10–15). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 46, December 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on God judging us by loving us

  • Conversion: turning away from ‘life according to the flesh’ to the ‘life according to the Spirit’

From the outset, conversion is expressed in faith which is total and radical, and which neither limits nor hinders God’s gift. At the same time, it gives rise to a dynamic and lifelong process which demands a continual turning away from ‘life according to the flesh’ to ‘life according to the Spirit’ (cf. Rom 8:3-13). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 46, December 7, 1990)

  • Man is subject to eternal damnation when he freely chooses to reject God’s love and forgiveness

God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1, July 28, 1999)

…judges Francis’ idea on Jesus asking forgiveness from his parents

  • The finding of Jesus in the Temple shows how He lived the Messianic mission

Today’s Gospel is a commentary on how Jesus lived that Messianic mission. It shows us that when Jesus was twelve years old so you are older a little, perhaps he was already aware of his destiny. Tired after the long search for her Son, Mary said to him: ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been looking for you’. And he replied: ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs’ (Lk 2:48 – 49)? This awareness deepened and grew in Jesus with the years, until it burst forth in all its strength when he began his public preaching. The Father’s power at work in him was then gradually revealed in his words and works. It was revealed in a definitive way when he gave himself completely to the Father on the Cross. In Gethsemane, the night before his Passion, Jesus renewed his obedience: ‘Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done’ (Lk 22: 42). He remained faithful to what he had said at twelve years of age: ‘I must be busy with my Father’s affairs. I must do his will’. (John Paul II. World Youth Day in Manila, no. 2, January 15, 1995)

  • Jesus prepares his Mother for the mystery of the Redemption

Through this episode, Jesus prepares his Mother for the mystery of the Redemption. During those three dramatic days when the Son withdraws from them to stay in the temple, Mary and Joseph experience an anticipation of the triduum of his Passion, Death and Resurrection. Letting his Mother and Joseph depart for Galilee without telling them of his intention to stay behind in Jerusalem, Jesus brings them into the mystery of that suffering which leads to joy, anticipating what he would later accomplish with his disciples through the announcement of his Passover. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2, January 15, 1997)

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • By grace, man is called to familiarity with God, to intimacy and friendship with Him

Let us recall from the catechism: grace is God’s supernatural gift as the result of which we become children of God and heirs to heaven. […] In this gift to man God did not just ‘give him’ the visible world – this is clear from the beginning – but giving man the visible world, God wants to give him Himself too, just as man is capable of giving himself, just as he ‘gives himself’ to the other man: from person to person; that is, to give Himself to him, admitting him to participation in his mysteries, and even to participation in his life. […] Man is called to familiarity with God, to intimacy and friendship with him. God wants to be close to him. He wants to make him a participant in his plans. He wants to make him a participant in his life. He wants to make him happy with his own happiness (with his own Being). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2 – 3, December 13, 1978)

  • Through the gift of grace, man is brought into the supernatural reality of the divine life

Through the gift of grace, which comes from the Holy Spirit, man enters a ‘new life,’ is brought into the supernatural reality of the divine life itself and becomes a ‘dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit,’ a living temple of God. For through the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son come to him and take up their abode with him. In the communion of grace with the Trinity, man’s ‘living area’ is broadened and raised up to the supernatural level of divine life. Man lives in God and by God: he lives ‘according to the Spirit,’ and ‘sets his mind on the things of the Spirit.’ (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, no. 58, May 18, 1986)

  • With grace comes all the new virtues which constitute the fabric of the supernatural life

The whole Christian life is lived in faith and charity, and in the practice of all of the virtues, according to the interior action of this renewing Spirit, from whom proceeds the grace that justifies, vivifies and sanctifies; and with grace comes all the new virtues which constitute the fabric of the supernatural life. This life develops not only by the natural faculties of man – the intellect, will, and senses – but also by the new capacities that are added on (superadditae) along with grace, as Saint Thomas Aquinas explains (STh., I-II, q. 62, a. 1, 3). These give to the intellect the ability to adhere to God-Truth in faith; to the heart the ability to love in charity, which in man is like ‘a participation in the divine Love itself, the Holy Spirit’ (II-II, q. 23, a. 3, ad 3); and also [they give] to all the powers of the soul and in some way to the body, too, a participation in the new life with acts worthy of men elevated to participating in the nature and in the life of God in grace: ‘consortes divinae naturae’, as Saint Peter says (2Pet 1:4). It is like a new interior organism, in which the law of grace is made manifest: a law written in hearts rather than on stone tablets or paper codices. Saint Paul calls this law, as we have seen, ‘the law of the Spirit that gives life in Christ Jesus’ (Rom 8, 2). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2, April 3, 1991)

  • After sin, the Redemption became the source of man’s supernatural endowment

On the contrary, before sin, man bore in his soul the fruit of eternal election in Christ, the eternal Son of the Father. By means of the grace of this election man, male and female, was ‘holy and blameless’ before God. That primordial (or original) holiness and purity were expressed also in the fact that, although both were ‘naked, they were not ashamed’ (Gen 2:25) […] one must deduce that the reality of man’s creation was already imbued by the perennial election of man in Christ. Man is called to sanctity through the grace of the adoption as sons. ‘He destined us to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved’ (Eph 1:5 – 6). Man, male and female, shared from the beginning in this supernatural gift. This bounty was granted in consideration of him, who from eternity was beloved as Son, even though – according to the dimensions of time and history – it had preceded the Incarnation of this beloved Son and also the redemption which we have in him through his blood (cf. Eph 1:7). The redemption was to become the source of man’s supernatural endowment after sin and, in a certain sense, in spite of sin. This supernatural endowment, which took place before original sin, that is, the grace of justice and original innocence – an endowment which was the fruit of man’s election in Christ before the ages – was accomplished precisely in reference to him, to the beloved One, while anticipating chronologically his coming in the body. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 4-5, October 6, 1982)

  • The Church is the visible dispenser of the sacred signs, while the Holy Spirit acts in them as the invisible dispenser

For the sacraments signify grace and confer grace: they signify life and give life. The Church is the visible dispenser of the sacred signs, while the Holy Spirit acts in them as the invisible dispenser of the life which they signify. Together with the Spirit, Christ Jesus is present and acting. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, no. 63, May 18, 1986)

…judges Francis’ idea on Catholic Faith and Luteran belief

  • The baptized are inseparably joined together as ‘members of Christ and members of the body of the Church’

Regenerated as ‘Children in the Son’, the baptized are inseparably joined together as ‘members of Christ and members of the body of the Church’, as the Council of Florence teaches. Baptism symbolizes and brings about a mystical but real incorporation into the crucified and glorious body of Christ. […] In the words of Saint Paul we find again the faithful echo of the teaching of Jesus himself, which reveals the mystical unity of Christ with his disciples and the disciples with each other, presenting it as an image and extension of that mystical communion that binds the Father to the Son and the Son to the Father in the bond of love, the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 17:21). (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 11–12)

  • A ‘being together’ which betrays truth is opposed to the nature of God, and a contradiction with Truth

Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age, or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? […] A ‘being together’ which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 18, May 25, 1995)

  • All forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided

Love for the truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians. […] Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 36, May 25, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel only with gentleness

  • The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to a pseudo-science of well-being. Mission is an issue of Faith.

Mission is an issue of faith, an accurate indicator of our faith in Christ and his love for us. The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to merely human wisdom, a pseudo-science of well-being. In our heavily secularized world a ‘gradual secularization of salvation’ has taken place, so that people strive for the good of man, but man who is truncated, reduced to his merely horizontal dimension. We know, however, that Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, I, no. 11, December 7, 1990)

  • Pastors: your principal duty is to be Teachers of the Truth

And as Pastors you have the vivid awareness that your principal duty is to be Teachers of the Truth. Not a human and rational truth, but the Truth that comes from God, the Truth that brings with it the principle of the authentic liberation of man: ‘you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’ (Jn 8:32); that Truth which is the only one that offers a solid basis for an adequate ‘praxis’. To be watchful for purity of doctrine, the basis in building up the Christian community, is therefore, together with the proclamation of the Gospel, the primary and irreplaceable duty of the Pastor, of the Teacher of the faith. How often Saint Paul emphasized this, convinced as he was of the seriousness of the accomplishment of this duty (cf. 1Tim 1:3 – 7; 18–20; 4:11, 16; 2Tim 1:4 – 14). Over and above unity in love, unity in truth is always urgent for us. (John Paul II. Address at the inauguration of the Third General Conference of the Latin America Episcopate, Puebla, Mexico, January 28, 1979, Ch. 1, no. 1)

  • The Church today, despite all the difficulties, cannot speak in a way different from that which Christ spoke

You, in virtue of your Episcopal office, are authentic testimonies of the Gospel and teachers […] of the Truth contained in the Revelation, of which your magisterium is nourished and should always be nourished. To be able to face the challenges of the present, it is necessary that the Church appear, at all levels, as the ‘the pillar and foundation of truth’ (1Tim 3:15). The service of the Truth, which is Christ, is our most important task. This Truth is revealed. It is not born of a merely human experience. It is God Himself, who in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, makes himself known to man. Consequently, this service of the revealed Truth should be born of study and contemplation, and should grow through this continuous exploration. Our firmness will come from this solid foundation, since the Church today, despite all of the difficulties that surround it, cannot speak in a way different from that which Christ spoke. (John Paul II. Address to the second group of Chilean Bishops on their ad limina apostolorum visit, no. 2, November 8, 1984)

  • Truth has an intrinsic power to draw the human heart to all that is good

The successors of the Apostles should never be afraid of proclaiming the full truth about Jesus Christ, in all its challenging reality and demands, since the truth has an intrinsic power to draw the human heart to all that is good, noble and beautiful. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Korea on their ad limina visit, no. 2, March 24, 2001)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel

  • Truth is revealed, not born simply of human experience – in order to face the present challenges the Church must announce Truth, which is God Himself, in all integrity and purity

In order to face the present challenges, it is necessary that the Church appear, at all levels, as ‘pillar and foundation of the truth’ (1Tim 3:15). The service of the Truth, which is Christ, is our most important task. This Truth is revealed. It is not born simply of human experience. It is God himself who in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is revealed to man. […] Our firmness will come from this solid foundation, since the Church today, despite all of the difficulties of the circumstances, may not speak in a different manner than Christ spoke. Thus the Church, and above all its Pastors, should be united before the Absolute Truth which is God, and proclaim it in all of its integrity and purity. (John Paul II. Address to the second group of Chilean Bishops on their ad limina apostolorum visit, no. 2, November 8, 1984)

  • By the prophetic action of the Holy Spirit, the Church must protect the people from the influence of false prophets

The task of the prophet, as a man of the word of God, is to combat the ‘lying spirit’ that is found in the mouth of the false prophets (cf. 1Kings 22:23) in order to protect the people from their influence. It is a mission received from God […] The prophetic action of the Holy Spirit has been continually manifested in the Church to give it light and encouragement. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 4.6, February 14, 1990)

  • The Gospel of meekness and humility is the same Gospel of exigent morality and even of severe threats

In this way, the Gospel of meekness and humility is in cadence with the Gospel of exigent morality and even of severe threats to those who do not wish to convert. There is no contradiction between one and the other. Jesus lives from the truth he announces and from the love that he reveals, and this love is demanding just as is the truth from which it is derived. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 8, June 8, 1988)

  • ‘Meekness and humility of heart’ does not mean weakness in face of evil; Jesus came bringing the sword

Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves’ (Mt 11: 29). But that ‘meekness and humility of heart’ in no way implies weakness. On the contrary, Jesus is demanding. His Gospel is demanding. […] It is a kind of radicalism not only in the evangelical language, but also in the real demands of the following of Christ, which he does not hesitate to reaffirm frequently in all of their amplitude: ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword’ (Mt 10:34). It is a strong way of expressing that the Gospel is also a source of ‘unrest’ for man. Jesus wishes to make us understand that the Gospel is demanding and ‘demanding’ means to rouse consciences, not permitting them to rest in a false ‘peace’. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 8, June 8, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea on the pastor

  • Nothing speaks more eloquently than the example of a holy priestly life

I also urge you to staff your seminaries with exemplary priests, even if this means sacrifices in other areas: for in the task of forming candidates to the priesthood nothing speaks more eloquently than the example of a holy and committed priestly life. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Ghana on their ad limina visit, February 20, 1999)

  • Train them to remain clear and consistent in their faith

To hold on in this world, to offer to all a dialogue of salvation in which each person feels respected in his or her most basic dignity, the dignity of one who is seeking God, we need a catechesis which trains the young people and adults of our communities to remain clear and consistent in their faith, to affirm serenely their Christian and Catholic identity, to see him who is invisible and to adhere so firmly to the absoluteness of God that they can be witnesses to Him in a materialistic civilization that denies Him. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesi tradendae, no. 57, October 16, 1979)

  • Seeking free adherence to the faith does not imply promoting indifference

Precisely because of this freedom, faith – which we express by the word credo – possesses its own human authenticity and originality, besides the divine. It expresses conviction and certainty about the truth of revelation, by virtue of an act of free will. This structural voluntariness of faith in no way implies that faith is optional and that an attitude of fundamental indifference would be justified. It only means that man is called to respond with the free adherence of his entire being to the invitation and gift of God. (John Paul II. General audience, April 17, 1985)

…judges Francis’ idea on new forms of poverty

  • The whole tradition of the Church bears witness of love for the poor

Here I would like to indicate one of them: the option or love of preference for the poor. This is an option, or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness. (John Paul II. Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. 42, December 30, 1987)

  • For centuries the Church has cared for those in most need

The same Italian Episcopate also expressed concern that well-deserving works which, for centuries, under the impetus of Christian charity, have taken care of orphans, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the old and all kinds of needy persons, thanks to the generosity of donors and to the personal sacrifice, sometimes heroic, of religious women and men, and which by virtue of legislative provisions had to assume, in spite of themselves, the juridical figure of public Institutions of Welfare and Charity – with a certain guarantee, however, for the purposes for which they were instituted – may be suppressed or in any case not sufficiently and effectively guaranteed. (John Paul II. Address to Catholic Jurists, November 25, 1978)

  • The Church forms consciences by revealing the grandeur of man created in God’s image and loved by him

The Church and her missionaries also promote development through schools, hospitals, printing presses, universities and experimental farms. But a people’s development does not derive primarily from money, material assistance or technological means, but from the formation of consciences and the gradual maturing of ways of thinking and patterns of behavior. Man is the principal agent of development, not money or technology. The Church forms consciences by revealing to peoples the God whom they seek and do not yet know, the grandeur of man created in God’s image and loved by him, the equality of all men and women as God’s sons and daughters, the mastery of man over nature created by God and placed at man’s service, and the obligation to work for the development of the whole person and of all mankind. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris mission, no. 58, December 7, 1990)

  • The best service we can offer to our brother is evangelization

In the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, I stated that ‘the Church does not have technical solutions to offer for the problem of underdevelopment as such,’ but ‘offers her first contribution to the solution of the urgent problem of development when she proclaims the truth about Christ, about herself and about man, applying this truth to a concrete situation’ (Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (December 30, 1987), 41: AAS 80 (1988), 570f). The Conference of Latin American Bishops at Puebla stated that ‘the best service we can offer to our brother is evangelization, which helps him to live and act as a son of God, sets him free from injustices and assists his overall development’ (Documents of the Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops, Puebla (1979), 3760 (1145)). It is not the Church’s mission to work directly on the economic. technical or political levels, or to contribute materially to development. Rather, her mission consists essentially in offering people an opportunity not to ‘have more’ but to ‘be more’, by awakening their consciences through the Gospel. ‘Authentic human development must be rooted in an ever deeper evangelization’ (Address to Clergy and Religious, Jakarta, October 10, 1989, 5: L’Osservatore Romano, October 11, 1989). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 58, December 7,1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on the ‘Bread of Life’

  • The Eucharist is no metaphorical food: ‘My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed’ (Jn 6:55)

The Eucharist is a true banquet, in which Christ offers himself as our nourishment. When for the first time Jesus spoke of this food, his listeners were astonished and bewildered, which forced the Master to emphasize the objective truth of his words: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life within you’ (Jn 6:53). This is no metaphorical food: ‘My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed’ (Jn 6:55). (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 16, April 17, 2003)

  • Christ gives himself as our food: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever’

To all of those present, to all Uraguayans, Jesus says this afternoon: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world’ (Jn 6: 51). After twenty centuries of history, the Church has always and will always guard the treasure of the Eucharist as its most precious gift, as the source from which springs its life and its projection in human history. With these words pronounced in Capharnaum, Jesus promised that those who eat his bread would live forever. (John Paul II. Homily in Montevideo, no. 2, May 7, 1988)

  • The Church draws her nourishment from this ‘living bread’, the Eucharist

I cannot let this Holy Thursday 2003 pass without halting before the ‘Eucharistic face’ of Christ and pointing out with new force to the Church the centrality of the Eucharist. From it the Church draws her life. From this ‘living bread’ she draws her nourishment. How could I not feel the need to urge everyone to experience it ever anew? (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 7, April 17, 2003)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus is only mercy

  • The just and holy Lord cannot tolerate iniquity

But the just and holy Lord cannot tolerate unholiness, corruption, injustice. As a ‘consuming fire’ and ‘everlasting flame’ (Is 33:14), he lashes out against evil to destroy it. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 2, October 30, 2002)

  • Jesus is demanding, strong and firm when he calls people to live in truth – the Gospel of meekness and humility goes in the same stride as the Gospel of moral demands and of even severe threats to those who do not wish to convert

This ‘meekness and humility of heart’ in no way signifies weakness. On the contrary, Jesus is demanding. His Gospel is demanding. […] It is a kind of radicalism not only in the evangelical language, but also in the real demands of the following of Christ, which he does not hesitate to reaffirm frequently in all of their amplitude: ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword’ (Mt 10:34). It is a strong way of expressing that the Gospel is also a source of ‘unrest’ for man. Jesus wishes to make us understand that the Gospel is demanding and ‘demanding’ means to agitate consciences, not permitting them to rest in a false ‘peace’, in which they become increasingly insensible and obtuse, such that in them spiritual realties are emptied of their value, losing all their resonance. […] Jesus is demanding. Not hard or inexorably severe: but strong and unequivocal when he calls someone to live in the truth. […] In exhorting to conversion, he does not hesitate to reproach the same cities where the people rejected belief in him: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!’ (Lk 10:13); while he warns each and every one: ‘…if you do not repent you will all perish as they did!’ (Lk 13:3). Thus, the Gospel of meekness and of humility goes in the same stride as the Gospel of moral demands and of even severe threats to those who do not wish to convert. There is no contradiction between them. Jesus lives of the truth he announces and the love that he reveals, and this is a demanding love, just as is the truth from which it derived. (John Paul II. General audience, June 8, 1988)

  • Promote justice in the power of the Word of God

Through the power of God’s word we find energy to promote justice, witness to love, uphold the sacredness of life and proclaim the dignity of the human person and his transcendent destiny […] The parable of the wheat and tares is always current. That’s the reason why, we, before all, we Shepherds, should profess loudly and clearly the faith, the Doctrine of the Church, all of the doctrine of the Church. That’s the reason why, we should adhere, and boldly attract the adhesion of the faithful, to the sacramental discipline of the Church, which is the guarantee of the continuity and authenticity of the salvific action of Christ, guarantee of the dignity and unity of the Christian worship and, finally, guarantee of the authentic vitality of the People of God. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Canada on their ad limina visit, November 17, 1978)

  • There can be no love without justice

Christ left us the commandment to love our neighbour. In this commandment, everything that concerns justice is also contained. There can be no love without justice. Love ‘surpasses’ justice, but at the same time it finds its verification in justice. Even a father and a mother, loving their own child, must be just in his regard. If justice is uncertain, love, too, runs a risk. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 4, November 8, 1978)

…judges Francis’ idea on private property

  • Ownership of the means of production, whether in industry or agriculture, is just and legitimate if it serves useful work. It becomes illegitimate when it serves to impede the work of others or incurs illicit exploitation

In the light of today’s ‘new things’, we have re-read the relationship between individual or private property and the universal destination of material wealth. Man fulfils himself by using his intelligence and freedom. In so doing he utilizes the things of this world as objects and instruments and makes them his own. The foundation of the right to private initiative and ownership is to be found in this activity. By means of his work man commits himself, not only for his own sake but also for others and with others. Each person collaborates in the work of others and for their good. Man works in order to provide for the needs of his family, his community, his nation, and ultimately all humanity. Moreover, he collaborates in the work of his fellow employees, as well as in the work of suppliers and in the customers’ use of goods, in a progressively expanding chain of solidarity. Ownership of the means of production, whether in industry or agriculture, is just and legitimate if it serves useful work. It becomes illegitimate, however, when it is not utilized or when it serves to impede the work of others, in an effort to gain a profit which is not the result of the overall expansion of work and the wealth of society, but rather is the result of curbing them or of illicit exploitation, speculation or the breaking of solidarity among working people. Ownership of this kind has no justification, and represents an abuse in the sight of God and man. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 43, May 1, 1991)

  • The obligation to earn one’s bread by the sweat of one’s brow also presumes the right to do so – ownership morally justifies itself in the creation of opportunities for work and human growth for all

The obligation to earn one’s bread by the sweat of one’s brow also presumes the right to do so. A society in which this right is systematically denied, in which economic policies do not allow workers to reach satisfactory levels of employment, cannot be justified from an ethical point of view, nor can that society attain social peace. Just as the person fully realizes himself in the free gift of self, so too ownership morally justifies itself in the creation, at the proper time and in the proper way, of opportunities for work and human growth for all. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 43, May 1, 1991)

  • The wise equilibrium of Pope John Paul II: The legitimacy of capitalism based on private property and the free market. The illegitimacy of capitalism when it endangers ethical and religious valued

Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress? The answer is obviously complex. If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a ‘business economy’, ‘market economy’ or simply ‘free economy’. But if by ‘capitalism’ is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 42, May 1, 1991)

  • The Church recognizes the positive value of the market and enterprise when oriented towards the common good

The Church has no models to present; models that are real and truly effective can only arise within the framework of different historical situations, through the efforts of all those who responsibly confront concrete problems in all their social, economic, political and cultural aspects, as these interact with one another. For such a task the Church offers her social teaching as an indispensable and ideal orientation, a teaching which, as already mentioned, recognizes the positive value of the market and of enterprise, but which at the same time points out that these need to be oriented towards the common good. This teaching also recognizes the legitimacy of workers’ efforts to obtain full respect for their dignity and to gain broader areas of participation in the life of industrial enterprises so that, while cooperating with others and under the direction of others, they can in a certain sense ‘work for themselves’ through the exercise of their intelligence and freedom. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 43, May 1, 1991)

  • The clarity of Leo XIII in defending Private property

Two things must be emphasized here: first, the great clarity in perceiving, in all its harshness, the actual condition of the working class – men, women and children; secondly, equal clarity in recognizing the evil of a solution which, by appearing to reverse the positions of the poor and the rich, was in reality detrimental to the very people whom it was meant to help. The remedy would prove worse than the sickness. By defining the nature of the socialism of his day as the suppression of private property, Leo XIII arrived at the crux of the problem. His words deserve to be re-read attentively: ‘To remedy these wrongs (the unjust distribution of wealth and the poverty of the workers), the Socialists encourage the poor man’s envy of the rich and strive to do away with private property, contending that individual possessions should become the common property of all…; but their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that, were they carried into effect, the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are moreover emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community’ (Encyclical Rerum Novarum no. 99). The evils caused by the setting up of this type of socialism as a State system – what would later be called ‘Real Socialism’ – could not be better expressed. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 12, May 1, 1991)

  • A person who is deprived of something he can call ‘his own’, earning a living, has difficulty in recognizing his own dignity as a person

Continuing our reflections, and referring also to what has been said in the Encyclicals Laborem exercens and Sollicitudo rei socialis, we have to add that the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call ‘his own’, and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community. In contrast, from the Christian vision of the human person there necessarily follows a correct picture of society. According to Rerum novarum and the whole social doctrine of the Church, the social nature of man is not completely fulfilled in the State, but is realized in various intermediary groups, beginning with the family and including economic, social, political and cultural groups which stem from human nature itself and have their own autonomy, always with a view to the common good. This is what I have called the ‘subjectivity’ of society which, together with the subjectivity of the individual, was cancelled out by ‘Real Socialism’. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 12, May 1, 1991)

  • The principle of Private property explained in the Encyclical Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII diverges radically from the program of collectivism as proclaimed by Marxism

The Encyclical Rerum Novarum, which has the social question as its theme, stresses this issue also, recalling and confirming the Church’s teaching on ownership, on the right to private property even when it is a question of the means of production. The encyclical Mater et Magistra did the same. The above principle, as it was then stated and as it is still taught by the Church, diverges radically from the programme of collectivism as proclaimed by Marxism and put into practice in various countries in the decades following the time of Leo XIII’s Encyclical. At the same time it differs from the programme of capitalism practised by liberalism and by the political systems inspired by it. (John Paul II. Encyclical Laborem excercens, no. 14, September 14, 1981)

  • When the early Christians had all in common it did not mean that they rejected private property

The Acts also states: ‘Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart’ (Acts 2: 46). Even though at this time the temple of Jerusalem was also a place of prayer, they celebrated the Eucharist ‘in their homes’ uniting it to a joyful repast in common with all. The meaning of communion was so intense that it encouraged each one to put his own material goods at the service of the necessities of all: ‘No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.’ This does not signify that they held the rejection of personal (private) property as a principle; but it only indicated a great fraternal sensibility in face of the necessities of the others, as the words of Peter demonstrate in the incident with Ananias and Sapphira (cf. Acts 5:4). What can be clearly deduced from the Acts, and of other New Testament sources, is that the early Church was a community that encouraged its members to share their available goods with one another, especially in favor of the poorest. This is even more true with respect to the treasure of truth received and possessed. This concerns spiritual goods that should be shared, that is, communicated, spread and preached, as the Apostles taught with the testimony of their word and example: ‘It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20). For this they spoke, and the Lord confirmed their testimony. In effect, ‘Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles’ (Acts 5:12). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2-3, February 5, 1992)

  • When the early Christians had all in common it did not mean that they rejected private property

The Acts also states: ‘Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart’ (Acts 2: 46). Even though at this time the temple of Jerusalem was also a place of prayer, they celebrated the Eucharist ‘in their homes’ uniting it to a joyful repast in common with all. The meaning of communion was so intense that it encouraged each one to put his own material goods at the service of the necessities of all: ‘No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.’ This does not signify that they held the rejection of personal (private) property as a principle; but it only indicated a great fraternal sensibility in face of the necessities of the others, as the words of Peter demonstrate in the incident with Ananias and Sapphira (cf. Acts 5:4). What can be clearly deduced from the Acts, and of other New Testament sources, is that the early Church was a community that encouraged its members to share their available goods with one another, especially in favor of the poorest. This is even more true with respect to the treasure of truth received and possessed. This concerns spiritual goods that should be shared, that is, communicated, spread and preached, as the Apostles taught with the testimony of their word and example: ‘It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20). For this they spoke, and the Lord confirmed their testimony. In effect, ‘Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles’ (Acts 5:12). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 2-3, February 5, 1992)

…judges Francis’ idea on the poor being the heart of the Gospel

  • Jesus himself is the Gospel

Jesus not only announces the Gospel, but rather He himself is the Gospel. Those who believed in Him followed the word of his preaching, but much more so, the One who preached it. They followed Jesus, because He offered ‘words of life’, as Peter confessed after the discourse of the Master in the synagogue of Capharnaum: ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ (Jn 6: 68). This identification of the word and life, of the preacher and the Gospel preached, is realized perfectly only in Jesus. Here is the reason why we also believe and follow him, when he manifests to us as the ‘one Master’ (cf. Mt 23:8-10). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 9, March 20, 1988)

  • The principle word of the Gospel is the coming of the Son of Man

What is then, the principle Word [of the Gospel]? We have just read it: the coming of the Son of Man. The principle word of the Gospel is not ‘the separation’, ‘the absence’, but rather ‘the coming’ and ‘the presence’. It is not even ‘death’, but rather ‘life’. The Gospel is the Good News, because it pronounces the truth about life in the context of death. The coming of the Son of Man is the beginning of this life. (John Paul II. Homily in Roman parish of Saint Leonard of Port Maurcie, no. 2, November 30, 1980)

  • If there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man

For In all our planning, we can never forget that Christ is the Good News. We have nothing to offer but Jesus, the one mediator between God and man (cf. 1Tim 2:5). To evangelize is simply to enable him to be seen and heard, for we know that if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man. (John Paul II. Address to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, March 1, 2002)

  • The Church’s preaching in all its forms must be centered on Jesus

Proclaiming the Gospel of hope calls for steadfast fidelity to the Gospel itself. The Church’s preaching, in all its forms, must be increasingly centred on the person of Jesus and increasingly converge on him. Vigilant care must be taken that Christ is presented in his fullness: not merely as an ethical model, but above all as the Son of God, the one, necessary Saviour of all, who lives and is at work in his Church. If our hope is to be true and unshakable, ‘an integral, clear and renewed preaching of the Risen Christ, the resurrection and eternal life’ must be a priority for pastoral activity in coming years. (John Paul II. Post-Synodal Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, no. 48, June 28, 2003)

  • The Church should proclaim the fullness of the truth which God has enabled us to know

God’s revelation becomes definitive and complete through his only-begotten Son: ‘In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he also created the world’ (Heb 1:1-2; cf. Jn 14:6). In this definitive Word of his revelation, God has made himself known in the fullest possible way. He has revealed to mankind who he is. This definitive self-revelation of God is the fundamental reason why the Church is missionary by her very nature. She cannot do other than proclaim the Gospel, that is, the fullness of the truth which God has enabled us to know about himself. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • Gospel means ‘good news’; and the ‘good news’ is Jesus, the Son of God

Dear young people, I am saying this to tell you in advance about the handing on of this Word. I am handing on to you, that is, I am ‘passing’ on to you Mark’s Gospel. Gospel means ‘good news’ and the ‘good news’ is Jesus, the Son of God, who became man to save the world. The heart of the Gospel is precisely the preaching of Jesus, his actions, his Death and Resurrection; it is Jesus Christ, he himself, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and rose again for everyone. (John Paul II. Address to Roman and French Young people, no. 2, March 20, 1997)

  • The program of evangelization for the Third Millennium is the same as that for all times: Christ

The proclamation of the Gospel emerged as a prominent theme in the interventions of the Synod Fathers, who on several occasions and in a wide variety of ways stated that the living centre of the preaching of the Gospel is Christ, crucified and risen for the salvation of all peoples. Christ is in fact the heart of evangelization and, as I myself have often insisted, is the very programme of the new evangelization, which ‘ultimately has its centre in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in him we may live the life of the Trinity, and with him transform history until its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a programme which does not change with shifts of times and cultures, even though it takes account of time and culture for the sake of true dialogue and effective communication. This programme for all times is our programme for the Third Millennium’ (John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte). (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastor gregis, no. 27, October 16, 2003)

  • The Gospel is the book of eternal life

In the Old Testament it meant the exodus from the ‘house of slavery’ of Egypt and the passing over the Red Sea, under the special protection of the Lord God, towards the ‘Promised Land’. The wandering lasted for forty years. In the New Testament this historic Passover was accomplished in Christ during three days: from Thursday evening to the Sunday morning. And it means the passing through death to the resurrection, and at the same time the exodus from the slavery of sin towards participation in God’s life by means of Grace. Christ says in today’s Gospel: ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death’ (Jn 8:51). These words indicate at the same time what the Gospel is. It is the book of eternal life, towards which go the innumerable ways of man’s earthly pilgrimage. (John Paul II. Homily for Easter Mass with the students of Rome, April 5, 1979)

  • At the centre of the Good News is the person of the Redeemer

At the centre of the Good News that we are called to proclaim is the great mystery of Redemption and, especially, the person of the Redeemer. All our efforts as Pastor of the Church are directed to making the Redeemer better known and loved. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Sri Lanka on their ad limina visit, April 28, 1979)

  • The Good News of Christ points towards conversion

What is the essential content of the teaching of Jesus? This could be answered with one word: The Gospel, that is, the Good News. In effect, Jesus began his preaching with these words: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel’ (Mk 1:15). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 5, March 20, 1988)

  • At the heart of the Gospel, the cross is engraved

The Gospel does not always please men. […] For this divine truth, this good news, holds a strong tension in its interior. Within it is condensed the opposition between that which comes from God and that which is of the world. Christ said: ‘If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out o f the world, the world hates you’ (Jn 15: 19). And also: ‘Realize that it hated me first’ (Jn 15: 18). At the heart of the Gospel, of the good news, the cross is engraved. In it two great currents intersect: one, coming from God, is directed toward the world, toward men that are in the world, a current of love and truth; the second, that which runs through the world: ‘sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life’ (1Jn 2:16). None of this comes ‘from the Father.’ (John Paul II. Homily for the associations and counsel for the laity, no. 4, November 18, 1980)

  • All must be poor in spirit

You know that the preferential option for the poor, robustly proclaimed by Puebla, in not an invitation to exclusivisms, nor would it justify that a bishop refuse to announce the word of conversion and salvation to such and such a group of people under the pretext that they are not poor – otherwise, what is the essence attributed to this term? – for his duty is to proclaim the entire Gospel to all men, that all may be ‘poor in spirit’. But it is an invitation to a special solidarity with the small and weak, those who suffer and weep, those who are humiliated and left at the margin of life and society, to help them conquest with increasing plenitude their own dignity as human persons and as children of God. (John Paul II. Allocution to the bishops of Brazil, no. 6.9, July 10, 1980)

  • Jesus said ‘love one another’; he did not specify only the poor

The filial union of Jesus with the Father is expressed in the perfect love that He has also made principal commandment of the Gospel: ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the principal of the commandments’ (Mt 37). As you know, to this commandment, Jesus united another ‘that is like it’: that of love of neighbor (cf. Mt 22:39). And He gives Himself as an example of this love: ‘I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another’ (Jn 13:34). Jesus taught and gave his followers a love modeled on the example of his own love. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 1, August 31, 1988)

  • The Gospel is the universal message of salvation

Today in certainly different social situations, the spiritual sons and daughters of Bishop Scalabrini, who were later joined by the Lay Scalabrinian Missionaries, heirs to the same charism, continue to witness to Christ’s love for migrants and to offer them the Gospel, the universal message of salvation. May Bishop Scalabrini sustain by his example and intercession everyone throughout the world who works in the service of migrants and refugees. (John Paul II. Message for the 84th World Migration Day, no. 5, November 9, 1997)

  • The Good News is a universal message destined for the people of all times

‘These (signs) are written… that believing you may have life in his Name’ (Jn 20: 31). The Good News is a universal message destined for the people of all times. It is personally addressed to each one and asks to be expressed in his life style. When Christians become ‘living Gospels’, they are transformed into eloquent ‘signs’ of the Lord’s mercy and their witness touches others’ hearts more easily. As docile instruments in the hands of divine Providence, they have a profound effect on history. This is how it was with these six new Blesseds, who come from beloved Italy, a land rich in saints. (John Paul II. Homily during the Beatification Mass, no. 2, April 27, 2003)

  • The poor in spirit: those who are spiritually open to welcome truth and grace

In fact, in the center of the ‘Good News’ is the program of the beatitudes (cf. Mt 5: 3-11), […] He said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ […] Here one also observes the eschatological and eternal perspective of the happiness revealed and announced by the Gospel. The beatitude of poverty brings us back to the beginning of the Messianic activity of Jesus, when, speaking in the synagogue of Nazareth, he said: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.’ (Lk 4:18) This is regarding those who are poor and only and not even so much in the economical-social connotation (of ‘class’), but rather those who are spiritually open to welcome truth and grace, that proceeds from the Father, as gift of his love, a free gift (given gratis), for they are interiorly free from the attachment of the goods of the earth and disposed to use and share them according to the demands of justice and charity. For this condition of the poor according to God (animism), Jesus ‘gives praise to the Father’, since ‘He has hidden these things (= the great things of God) from the wise and the learned has revealed them to the childlike’ (Lk 10:21). Therefore it is not stated that Jesus alienated people of a better economic conditions, such as the publican Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see him (cf. Lk 19: 2-9), or those other friends of Jesus whose names are transmitted to us in the Gospel. According to the words of Jesus they are the ‘blessed’ are the ‘poor in spirit’ (cf. Mt 5:3) and ‘those who hear the word of God and observe it’ (Lk 11:28). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 5-6, March 20, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea that Koran is a book of peace

  • There is no peace without a true change of heart

The re-establishment of peace would itself be of short duration and quite illusory if there were not a true change of heart. (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XVII World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 1984)

  • Those who do not live in peace with God will not easily live in peace with their neighbor

To give the world the peace that humanity desires, the conferences of the politicians are not sufficient; nor the agreements, nor the politics of détente that men pursue, no matter how important or necessary these may be. The world afflicted by discord needs above all the peace of Christ. And this is more than pure and simple political peace. The peace of Christ may assert itself only where men are disposed to flee from sin. The most profound cause of all conflict in the world is the abandonment of God on the part of man. Those who do not live in peace with God can only live with difficulty in peace with his neighbor. (John Paul II. Homily in Kevelaer, no. 5, May 2, 1987)

  • The rich young man of the Gospel is incapable of moral growth by himself alone – he requires God’s gift of grace

We do not know how clearly the young man in the Gospel understood the profound and challenging import of Jesus’ first reply: ‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments’. But it is certain that the young man’s commitment to respect all the moral demands of the commandments represents the absolutely essential ground in which the desire for perfection can take root and mature, the desire, that is, for the meaning of the commandments to be completely fulfilled in following Christ. Jesus’ conversation with the young man helps us to grasp the conditions for the moral growth of man, who has been called to perfection: the young man, having observed all the commandments, shows that he is incapable of taking the next step by himself alone. To do so requires mature human freedom (‘If you wish to be perfect’) and God’s gift of grace (‘Come, follow me’). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 17, August 8, 1993)

  • Peace on earth is always a challenge, because of the presence of sin in man’s heart

For Christians, peace on earth is always a challenge, because of the presence of sin in man’s heart. (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XV World Day of Peace, January 1, 1982)

  • War is born from the sinful heart of man

Yes, war is born from the sinful heart of man, ever since the jealousy and violence that filled the heart of Cain when he met his brother Abel, according to the ancient biblical narrative. Is it not a question really of an even more profound rupture, when people become incapable of agreeing on what is good and evil, on the values of life of which God is the source and guarantor? Does not this explain the drifting of man’s ‘heart’, when he fails to make peace with his fellowman on the basis of truth, with uprightness of spirit and goodness of heart? (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XVII World Day for Peace, January 1, 1984)

  • The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the price of peace, with victory over sin

Christ is our peace (cf. Eph 2:14): it is He who has reconciled us with the Father; it is He who, re-pacifying man of all times with God, has reconciled humanity, marked with the inheritance of original sin. Assuming the guilt of the first Adam, through his death on the Cross, Jesus has abolished the ancient sin and, in this way, ‘where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more’ (Rom 5:20). His sacrifice is the price of this peace. (John Paul II. Homily for the World Day of Prayer for Peace in the Balkans, no. 3, January 23, 1994)

  • When an interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, the way toward the ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened

The Church has continually remembered that the Gospel of peace will arrive at the institutions passing through the hearts of the people; and that society will not be pacified if consciences have not been pacified first, liberating them from sin and from its social consequences. When this interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, there will be created, with the strength of life itself, new forms of social and cultural relations, and the way toward a ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened to the world. (John Paul II. Homily in Mendoza, Argentina, April 7, 1987)

  • Other communities do not possess the fullness of the Catholic Church

The elements of this already-given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other Communities. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 14, May 25, 1995)

  • Every violation of religious freedom does fundamental damage to the cause of peace

Moreover, every violation of religious freedom, whether open or hidden, does fundamental damage to the cause of peace, like violations of the other fundamental rights of the human person. Forty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to be commemorated next December, we have to admit that millions of people in various parts of the world are still suffering for their religious convictions: they are victims of repressive and oppressive legislation, victims sometimes of open persecution, but more often of subtle forms of discrimination aimed at believers and communities. This state of affairs, in itself intolerable, is also a bad omen for peace. (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XXI World Day of Peace, January 1, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus came into the world to learn how to be a man

  • Christ came to reestablish the truth in the relationship between man and God…

But we should reflect also about the motive of the Incarnation: why did the Son assume human nature, inserting Himself – He, who is the infinite transcendence – into our history and submitting Himself to all the limits of time and of space? The response is given by Jesus Himself during the exchange with Pilate: ‘For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’ (Jn 18:37). In effect, truth is opposed to sin, which is in its most profound root a lie (cf. Jn 8:44); therefore the redemption of sin is obtained with the restoration of the truth in the relationship between man and God. Jesus came to the world to restore this essential truth. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 2, December 22, 1991)

  • … to free mankind from the slavery of sin, evil and death

‘A new thing’: we Christians know that, when the Old Testament speaks of ‘new realities’, the ultimate reference is to the truly great ‘newness’ in history: Christ, who came into the world to free mankind from the slavery of sin, evil and death. (John Paul II. Pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of Our Lady of Suffrage and Saint Augustine of Canterbury, no. 1, April 1, 2001)

  • God has elevated humanity to a superior destiny of intimate union with Him

In the dignity conferred in a singular way to Mary, there is manifested the dignity that the mystery of the Word made flesh wished to confer to all of humanity. When the Son of God lowered himself to make himself man, similar to us in all things but sin, he elevated humanity to God’s level.
In the reconciliation that was carried out between God and humanity, He did not wish to simply restore the integrity and the purity of human life, wounded by sin. He wished to communicate to man the divine life and to open to him full access toward familiarity with God.
In this way Mary makes us understand the grandeur of the divine love, not only for her, but also with ourselves. She introduces us into the grand work, with which God did not limit Himself to merely curing humanity of the wounds of sin, but He has assigned it a superior destiny of intimate union with Him. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, January 4, 1984)

  • Through the suffering of the Cross, Jesus has returned to the love which was betrayed by Adam through sin

In this way this Letter shows how humanity, subjected to sin, in the descendants of the first Adam, in Jesus Christ became perfectly subjected to God and united to him, and at the same time full of compassion towards men. Thus there is a new humanity, which in Jesus Christ through the suffering of the Cross has returned to the love which was betrayed by Adam through sin. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et vivificatem, no. 40, May 18, 1986)

  • The mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption is expressed in Philippians 2:8

‘And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross’ (Phil 2:5-8). The mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption is thus described as a total self-emptying which leads Christ to experience fully the human condition and to accept totally the Father’s plan. This is an emptying of self which is permeated by love and expresses love. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 88, December 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea that spiritual direction is a charism of the laity

  • The People of God have a greater need than ever for authoritative guides

The People of God have a greater need than ever for authoritative guides and givers of abundant spiritual sustenance, to enable them to accept and live the ‘high standard of ordinary Christian living’ through an appropriate ‘training in holiness’ (cf. Novo Millennio ineunte, no. 31). (John Paul II. Message to the Clerics Regular of Saint Paul on the Fifth Centenary of the birth of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria, no. 2, July 6, 2002)

  • The priest is called to encourage and lead the ecclesial community

Finally, the priest is called to express in his life the authority and service of Jesus Christ the head and priest of the Church by encouraging and leading the ecclesial community, that is, by gathering together ‘the family of God as a fellowship endowed with the spirit of unity’ and by leading it ‘in Christ through the Spirit to God the Father’. This munus regendi represents a very delicate and complex duty which, in addition to the attention which must be given to a variety of persons and their vocations, also involves the ability to coordinate all the gifts and charisms which the Spirit inspires in the community, to discern them and to put them to good use for the up building of the Church in constant union with the bishops. This ministry demands of the priest an intense spiritual life, filled with those qualities and virtues which are typical of a person who ‘presides over’ and ‘leads’ a community. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 26, March 25, 1992)

  • Spiritual direction is a function fitting to the priest

To these motivations of a theological order, I would like to add another of a pastoral order. Certainly, spiritual direction (or ‘spiritual counsel’, or ‘spiritual dialogue’, as some prefer to call it at times), may also be employed outside of the context of the sacrament of penance and even by one who does not have the Sacred Orders. But it cannot be denied that this function – insufficient, if undertaken within a group, without a personal relation – in fact is frequently and happily linked to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and is exercised by a ‘teacher’ of life (cf. Eph 4:11), by a ‘spiritualis senior’ (Rule of Saint Benedict, Ch. 4, 50-51), by a ‘doctor’, (cf. STh., Supplementum, q. 18), by ‘a guide of the things of God’ (ib., q. 36, a. 1) who is a priest, who has been made fitting for special functions ‘in the Church’ through ‘a singular gift of grace’. (ib., q. 35, a. 1) (John Paul II. General Audience, April 11, 1984)

  • The Magisterium helps Christians in the formation of conscience

Christians have a great help for the formation of conscience in the Church and her Magisterium. As the Council affirms: ‘In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church. For the Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth. Her charge is to announce and teach authentically that truth which is Christ, and at the same time with her authority to declare and confirm the principles of the moral order which derive from human nature itself’ (Dignitatis Humanae, 14). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 64, August 6, 1993)

  • Without priestly ministry there is no authentic lay apostolate

Vocations are also the condition of vitality of the Church. There is no doubt that this depends on the ensemble of the members of each community, of the ‘common apostolate’, in particular the ‘apostolate of the laity’. However, it is equally true that for the development of this apostolate the priestly ministry is particularly indispensable. This is, in fact, well known by the lay people themselves. The authentic apostolate of the laity is based on the priestly ministry, and, in turn, manifests its authenticity by achieving, among other things, the emergence of new vocations within its very circles. (John Paul II. Homily for the International Congress for Vocations, no. 3, May 10, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on adulterine unions

  • This truth about the indissolubility of marriage, like the entire Christian message, is addressed to the men and women of every time and place

A positive presentation of the indissoluble union is important, in order to rediscover its goodness and beauty. First of all, one must overcome the view of indissolubility as a restriction of the freedom of the contracting parties, and so as a burden that at times can become unbearable. Indissolubility, in this conception, is seen as a law that is extrinsic to marriage, as an ‘imposition’ of a norm against the ‘legitimate’ expectations of the further fulfilment of the person. Add to this the widespread notion that indissoluble marriage is only for believers, who cannot try to ‘impose’ it on the rest of civil society. To give a valid and complete response to this problem one must begin with the word of God. […] Jesus goes radically beyond the debates of his day concerning the factors that could justify divorce asserting: ‘For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so’ (Mt 19:8). […] This truth about the indissolubility of marriage, like the entire Christian message, is addressed to the men and women of every time and place. In order to make that a reality, testimony to that truth must be given by the Church and, in particular, by individual families as ‘domestic Churches’ in which husband and wife recognize that they are bound to each other forever by a bond that demands a love that is ever renewed, generous and ready for sacrifice. (John Paul II. Address to the prelate auditors, officials and advocates of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 28, 2002)

  • Christian life must be coherent with the faith

In today’s society, many values which affect the dignity of man are at stake. The defense and promotion of the same depend in great part on the life of faith and the coherence of the Christians with the truths that they profess. Among these values it is fitting to highlight the respect for life from conception to natural death; the effective guarantee of the fundamental rights of the person; the sanctity and indissolubility of Christian marriage, as well as the stability and dignity of the family. These are the most urgent exigencies for the much desired social peace to be possible. (John Paul II. Letter to the Archbishop of Mexico, Norberto Rivera Carrera, on the first centenary of the crowning of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, no. 4, September 29, 1995)

  • Jesus brings God’s commandments to fulfillment by interiorizing their demands and bringing out their fullest meaning

Jesus brings God’s commandments to fulfilment, particularly the commandment of love of neighbour, by interiorizing their demands and by bringing out their fullest meaning. Love of neighbour springs from a loving heart which, precisely because it loves, is ready to live out the loftiest challenges. Jesus shows that the commandments must not be understood as a minimum limit not to be gone beyond, but rather as a path involving a moral and spiritual journey towards perfection, at the heart of which is love (cf. Col 3:14). […] The precept prohibiting adultery becomes an invitation to a pure way of looking at others, capable of respecting the spousal meaning of the body: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment… You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:21-22, 27-28). Jesus himself is the living ‘fulfilment’ of the Law inasmuch as he fulfils its authentic meaning by the total gift of himself: he himself becomes a living and personal Law, who invites people to follow him; through the Spirit, he gives the grace to share his own life and love and provides the strength to bear witness to that love in personal choices and actions (cf. Jn 13:34-35). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 15, August 6, 1993)

  • Though the Gospel teachings constitute a ‘sign of contradiction’ Christ grants his assistance and grace

The Church is aware of being in the world, with this teaching [not admitting the divorced in a ‘second union’ to participate in Eucharistic Communion] a ‘sign of contradiction’. The prophetic words that Simeon pronounced regarding the Divine Child, apply to Christ during his life, and also to the Church in its history. Many times, Christ, His Gospel and his Church become a ‘sign of contradiction’ before that which in man is not ‘of God’ but rather of the world or even of ‘the prince of darkness.’ By even calling evil by its name and confronting it decidedly, Christ always comes to the assistance of human weakness. He seeks the lost sheep. He cures the wounds of souls. He comforts man with his cross. In the Gospel he does not propose demands that man cannot fulfill with the grace of God and with his own will. On the contrary, his demands have as their goal the good of man: his true dignity. (John Paul II. Homily in Sameiro, Portugal, no. 7, May 15, 1982)

  • There are no different degrees or forms of God’s law for different individuals and situations

They [the spouses] cannot however look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy. “And so what is known as ‘the law of gradualness’ or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with ‘gradualness of the law’, as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations. In God’s plan, all husbands and wives are called in marriage to holiness, and this lofty vocation is fulfilled to the extent that the human person is able to respond to God’s command with serene confidence in God’s grace and in his or her own will” (Homily at the Close of the Sixth Synod of Bishops, October 25, 1980, 8) (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 34, November 22, 1981)

  • Even during life’s difficult moments one must fulfill the commandments

My brethren, there may be difficult moments in your lives: there may even be more or less prolonged time periods in which you may think yourselves forgotten by God. But if at any time a temptation to discouragement arises within you, remember these words of Scripture: ‘Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you’ (Is 49:15). […] ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides’ (Mt 6:33). What does the Lord wish to say with these words? In what does this primordial objective consist? What must we do to seek, in the first place, the Kingdom of God? You well know the answer. You know that to reach eternal life it is necessary to fulfill the commandments, it is necessary to live according to the teachings of Christ, which are transmitted to us continually by his Church. For this reason, dear brethren, I encourage you to comport yourselves always as good Christians, to fulfill the commandments, to attend Mass on Sundays, to care for your Christian formation by attending the catechesis offered by your pastors, to confess frequently, to work, to be good parents and faithful spouses, to be good children. (John Paul II. Homily in the ‘Patria Nueva’ Colony in Mexico, no. 3.5, May 11, 1990)

  • The ‘indispensable fruits’ that the Christian must produce are in fulfilling the commandments

As a flourishing vine, Jesus has branches: these are constituted by those who, through faith and love, are vitally grafted to Him. Within these, a circulation of vital sap is established, which if on one hand is indispensible for bearing fruit (‘without me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5), on the other hand, it comports the necessity of manifestation in prolific fruit: ‘Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out…into a fire and they will be burned’ (Jn 15:6). Hence, the imperative: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you…Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit’ (Jn 15:4-5). Jesus himself takes measures to clarify what this ‘remain in Him’ consists of: it consists in love, but a love that is not wasted in sentimentalism, but rather translates into the concrete testimony of fulfilling the commandments. This is, then, in synthesis, the substance of the gospel passage proposed in this liturgy. But a second question imposes itself [on us]: if this meaning is valid for all. […] All are disciples of Christ. (John Paul II. Homily for the inauguration of the academic year for the centers of ecclesiastical studies in Rome, no. 1-2, October 23, 1981)

  • All of the faithful are called to a generous fulfillment of the law of God

‘All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status – the Council recalls – are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity’ (Lumen Gentium, no. 40). The way of approaching this goal is through the generous fulfillment of the law of God (cf. Mt 7: 21). In the recent Encyclical Veritatis Splendor I remembered that ‘the commandments must not be understood as a minimum limit not to be gone beyond, but rather as a path involving a moral and spiritual journey towards perfection, at the heart of which is love’ (Veritatis Splendor, no. 15). The Christian is essentially one called to sanctity and the norm of his life is Christ himself: ‘Jesus’ way of acting and his words, his deeds and his precepts constitute the moral rule of Christian life’ (Veritatis Splendor, no. 20). (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 2, November 1, 1993)

  • The only way to build entirely fulfilled life is through observing the commandments

Dear young people, the teaching that develops from this dialogue is evident: to enter into Life, to arrive at heaven, one must fulfill the commandments. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21). Words are not enough: Christ asks you to love him in deeds: ‘Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father’ (Jn 14:21). ‘Faith and love – as I told you on the occasion of the 3rd World Youth Day, celebrated this year in Rome – are not to be reduced to empty words and sentiments. To believe in God and love God signifies living ones entire life in coherence with the light of the Gospel…and this is not easy. Yes! Many times one needs much courage to go against the current of the times or the mentality of this world. But, I repeat, this is the only way to build an entirely fulfilled life.’ (John Paul II. Meeting with the youth, at Ñu Guazú, Paraguay, no. 2, May 18, 1988)

  • Christians know that every day they must carry the Cross up the hill of their Calvary – sufferings are not a reason for abandoning God’s will

The Psalmist then continues his prayer, calling to mind the suffering and danger in the life he has to lead, in which he stands in need of enlightenment and support: ‘Lord, I am deeply afflicted: by your word give me life…. Though I carry my life in my hands, I remember your law’ (Ps 119[118]: 107, 109). A dark image pervades the strophe: ‘the wicked try to ensnare me’ (v. 110), the person praying again intimates, making use of a hunting image well known to the Psalter. The faithful know that they are advancing on the highways of the world amid danger, anxiety and persecution; they know that trials are lying in wait. Christians, for their part, know that every day they must carry the Cross up the hill of their Calvary (cf. Lk 9: 23). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 2, June 21, 2004)

  • True joy and serenity is found in the fulfillment of the divine precepts

However, the just keep their fidelity intact: ‘I have sworn and have made up my mind to obey your decrees. […] I remember your law. […] I do not stray from your precepts (Ps 119[118]: 106, 109, 110). A conscience at peace is the strength of believers; their constancy in obeying the divine commandments is the source of their serenity. The final declaration is therefore consistent: ‘Your will is my heritage forever, the joy of my heart’ (v. 111) It is this that is the most precious reality, the ‘heritage’, the ‘reward’ (cf. v. 112) which the Psalmist cherishes with vigilant and ardent love: the teaching and commandments of the Lord. He wants to be totally faithful to the will of his God. On this path he will find peace of soul and will succeed in getting through the dark tangle of trials and reaching true joy. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, June 21, 2004)

  • Happiness is not achieved by irresponsible selfishness which disrupts the family and society – even though the world spreads this falsity

Unfortunately, today a false message of happiness is spreading throughout the world, which is impossible and inconsistent, and brings with it loneliness and sorrow. Happiness is not achieved by taking the way of freedom without truth, because this is the way of irresponsible selfishness, which divides and disrupts the family and society. It is not true that married couples, as though slaves condemned to their own weakness, cannot be faithful to their total gift of self until death! May the Lord, who calls you to live in the unity of ‘one flesh’, a unity of body and soul, a unity of the whole of life, give you the strength for a fidelity which ennobles you and ensures that your union will not run the risk of betrayal, which robs it of dignity and happiness and brings division and sorrow to the home, the chief victims of which are the children. The best protection for the family is fidelity, which is a gift of the faithful and merciful God, in a love redeemed by him. (John Paul II. Address to the families in Rio de Janeiro, no. 2, October 4, 1997)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christians and Muslims share the same faith

  • It is necessary that man enter the Church and persevere if he wishes to be saved

There are no lack of those who wish to interpret the missionary action [of the Church] as an attempt to impose on others one’s own convictions and options, in contrast with a certain modern spirit, which boasts, as though it was a definitive conquest, of an absolute liberty of thought and personal conscience. According to this perspective, evangelizing activity should be substituted with an interreligious dialogue, which would consist in an exchange of opinions and information, whereby each party would expose his own ‘creed’ and be enriched by the thoughts of others, without any preoccupation of arriving at conclusions. […] Consequently the path that each one wishes to follow according to one’s own education and religious tradition would be respected. But this conception is irreconcilable with the commandment of Christ to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15), transmitted by the Church […] [The Council] confirmed at the same time the role of the Church, in which it is necessary that man enter and persevere, if he wishes to be saved (Ad gentes, no. 7) […] This traditional doctrine of the Church exposes the inconsistency and superficiality of a relativistic and irenic attitude, regarding the way of salvation in a religion other than that founded in the faith in Christ. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1-2, May 10, 1995)

  • The theology and anthropology of Islam are very far from Christianity

Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside. Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the World, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no place for the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus is mentioned, but only as preparatory prophet for the last prophet, Mohammed. Mary, his virginal Mother, is also recalled: but she is entirely absent from the drama of the Redemption. That is why not only theology, but also the anthropology of Islam is very far from the Christian. (John Paul II. Crossing the Threshold of Hope, pg. 92 – )

  • No one can enter into communion with God except through Christ

Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. […] No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ’s own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • The true name of the God is Father

And so we learn that the true name of God is Father! The name which is beyond all other names: Abba! (cf. Gal 4:6). And in Jesus we learn that our true name is son, daughter! We learn that the God of the Exodus and the Covenant sets his people free because they are his sons and daughters, created not for slavery but for ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Rom 8:21). (John Paul II. Homily, no. 4, February 26, 2000)

  • God loves all men and women on earth

At the dawn of the new Millennium, we wish to propose once more the message of hope which comes from the stable of Bethlehem: God loves all men and women on earth and gives them the hope of a new era, an era of peace. His love, fully revealed in the Incarnate Son, is the foundation of universal peace. When welcomed in the depths of the human heart, this love reconciles people with God and with themselves, renews human relationships and stirs that desire for brotherhood capable of banishing the temptation of violence and war. (John Paul II. World Day of Peace, no. 1, January 1, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea on good-will replacing theological investigation

  • There exists a moral obligation to seek the truth and to adhere to it

Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 34, August 6, 1993)

  • The theologian should reject those philosophical opinions which cannot be reconciled with the faith

Thus, it becomes clear how important are the studies of those who investigate this mystery of Christ in accordance with the highest science. This is your mission, this is the importance of your presence within the Church! Theology, almost form the beginnings of the Church, developed along with pastoral care and has always had and continues to had great strength for this purpose, as well as for catechesis. However, this your work of investigation takes place in different directions: it is well-known that from ancient times there have always been many theological schools; and also in the present time different opinions and ways of thinking are recognized as legitimate, in such a way that one can speak of a healthy pluralism. However, one must always be careful that the ‘deposit of faith’ be maintained integral and that the theologian reject those philosophical opinions which cannot be reconciled with the faith. (John Paul II. Address to the members of the International Theological Commission, October 26, 1979)

  • The effort of theologians must be inspired by the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom

The work of many theologians who found support in the Council’s encouragement has already borne fruit in interesting and helpful reflections about the truths of faith to be believed and applied in life, reflections offered in a form better suited to the sensitivities and questions of our contemporaries. The Church, and particularly the Bishops, to whom Jesus Christ primarily entrusted the ministry of teaching, are deeply appreciative of this work, and encourage theologians to continue their efforts, inspired by that profound and authentic ‘fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom’ (cf. Prov 1:7). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 29, August 6, 1993)

  • Theology is a service to the Church, and is actively involved in the prophetic mission of the Church

As the Instruction Donum Veritatis teaches: ‘Among the vocations awakened by the Spirit in the Church is that of the theologian. His role is to pursue in a particular way an ever deeper understanding of the word of God found in the inspired Scriptures and handed on by the living Tradition of the Church. He does this in communion with the Magisterium, which has been charged with the responsibility of preserving the deposit of faith. By its nature, faith appeals to reason because it reveals to man the truth of his destiny and the way to attain it. Revealed truth, to be sure, surpasses our telling. All our concepts fall short of its ultimately unfathomable grandeur (cf. Eph 3:19). Nonetheless, revealed truth beckons reason – God’s gift fashioned for the assimilation of truth – to enter into its light and thereby come to understand in a certain measure what it has believed. Theological science responds to the invitation of truth as it seeks to understand the faith. It thereby aids the People of God in fulfilling the Apostle’s command (cf. 1Pet 3:15) to give an accounting for their hope to those who ask it’ (Donum Veritatis, 6). It is fundamental for defining the very identity of theology, and consequently for theology to carry out its proper mission, to recognize its profound and vital connection with the Church, her mystery, her life and her mission: ‘Theology is an ecclesial science because it grows in the Church and works on the Church… It is a service to the Church and therefore ought to feel itself actively involved in the mission of the Church, particularly in its prophetic mission’. By its very nature and procedures, authentic theology can flourish and develop only through a committed and responsible participation in and ‘belonging’ to the Church as a ‘community of faith’. In turn, the fruits of theological research and deeper insight become a source of enrichment for the Church and her life of faith. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 109, August 6, 1993)

  • Faith is in a sense an ‘exercise of thought’

Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it. Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfilment, so faith builds upon and perfects reason. Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God. Although he made much of the supernatural character of faith, the Angelic Doctor did not overlook the importance of its reasonableness; indeed he was able to plumb the depths and explain the meaning of this reasonableness. Faith is in a sense an ‘exercise of thought’; and human reason is neither annulled nor debased in assenting to the contents of faith, which are in any case attained by way of free and informed choice. This is why the Church has been justified in consistently proposing Saint Thomas as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology. (John Paul II. Encyclical Fides et ratio, no. 43, September 14, 1998)

  • The Catholic theologian may not create a bridge between Scripture and the preoccupations of the present without the mediation of Tradition

The concentration on God and on his salvific work in benefit to humans signifies internal order of the theological truths. God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are in the center. The word of the Scripture, the Church and the Sacraments remain the great historic institutions of salvation of the world; but the ‘hierarchy of truths’ (Uni. Red. 11), required by Vatican Council II, does not mean a simple reduction of the all the Catholic Faith to some few basic truths, as some have thought. The more profound and radically the nucleus is grasped, the more clear and convincing result the lines that unite the divine nucleus with those truths that seem to be situated quite at the margin. The profundity of the concentration is manifested also in the amplitude of its irradiation to all of theology. […] A bridge between Scripture and the preoccupations of the present may not be made by the catholic theologian without the mediation of Tradition. This does not replace the Word of God in the Bible; but rather gives testimony of it, in the course of historic epochs, through new interpretations. Remain in constant dialogue with the living Tradition of the Church. Extract from it treasures often undiscovered. Make it clear to the men of the Church that you do not only rely on the ruins of the past, but rather our great inheritance, received from the Apostles hold within itself until our days a rich potential capable of giving a response to current problems. We are capable of transmitting better the Gospel of God when we pay attention to Sacred Scripture and to its echo in the living Tradition of the Church. We will thus become more perceptible and sensitive to the needs of our present time. This does not constitute the sole, or the last criteria of theological knowledge. (John Paul II. Allocution to the professors of Theology in the convent of the Capuchins of Altötting, no. 1-2, November 18, 1980)

  • True ecumenical activity in no way means giving up the treasures of divine truth of the Church

True ecumenical activity means openness, drawing closer, availability for dialogue, and a shared investigation of the truth in the full evangelical and Christian sense; but in no way does it or can it mean giving up or in any way diminishing the treasures of divine truth that the Church has constantly confessed and taught. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, no. 6, March 4, 1979)

  • The universal activity of the Spirit is inseparable from the Church

Whatever the Spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures and religions serves as a preparation for the Gospel and can only be understood in reference to Christ, the Word who took flesh by the power of the Spirit ‘so that as perfectly human he would save all human beings and sum up all things’. Moreover, the universal activity of the Spirit is not to be separated from his particular activity within the body of Christ, which is the Church. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 29, December 7, 1990)

  • Proclaiming Christ and interreligious dialogue should not be confused or regarded as identical

In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue. Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad gentes. These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and their distinctiveness; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated or regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable. […] Dialogue should be conducted and implemented with the conviction that the Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation (cf. Vatican Council II, Unitatis Redintegratio, 3; Ad Gentes, 7). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 55, December 7, 1990)

  • Other communities do not possess the fullness of the Catholic Church

The elements of this already-given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other Communities. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 14, March 25, 1995)

  • Ecumenical dialogue is a dialogue of conversion, absolutely avoiding all forms of facile ‘agreement’ without clear presentation of doctrine

Here once again the Council proves helpful. It can be said that the entire Decree on Ecumenism is permeated by the spirit of conversion. In the Document, ecumenical dialogue takes on a specific characteristic; it becomes a ‘dialogue of conversion’, and thus, in the words of Pope Paul VI, an authentic ‘dialogue of salvation’. Dialogue cannot take place merely on a horizontal level, being restricted to meetings, exchanges of points of view or even the sharing of gifts proper to each Community. It has also a primarily vertical thrust, directed towards the One who, as the Redeemer of the world and the Lord of history, is himself our Reconciliation. This vertical aspect of dialogue lies in our acknowledgment, jointly and to each other, that we are men and women who have sinned. It is precisely this acknowledgment which creates in brothers and sisters living in Communities not in full communion with one another that interior space where Christ, the source of the Church’s unity, can effectively act, with all the power of his Spirit, the Paraclete. […] With regard to the study of areas of disagreement, the Council requires that the whole body of doctrine be clearly presented. At the same time, it asks that the manner and method of expounding the Catholic faith should not be a hindrance to dialogue with our brothers and sisters. Certainly it is possible to profess one’s faith and to explain its teaching in a way that is correct, fair and understandable, and which at the same time takes into account both the way of thinking and the actual historical experiences of the other party. Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided. Serious questions must be resolved, for if not, they will reappear at another time, either in the same terms or in a different guise. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 35-36, March 25, 1995)

  • Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disillusioned… Real heresies in dogmatic and moral fields have created doubts and confusions

Today, for an efficacious work in the field of preaching, it is necessary to understand the spiritual and psychological reality of Christians living in modern society. It is essential to realistically admit, with deep and pained sentiment, that in part, Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disillusioned; ideas conflicting with the revealed and consistently taught truth have been widely spread; real heresies in dogmatic and moral fields have been promoted, creating doubts, confusions, rebellions, even the Liturgy has been manipulated; immersed in the intellectual and moral ‘relativism’, and consequently permissiveness, Christians are tempted toward atheism, agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and a sociological Christianity, without defined dogmas and without objective morality. (John Paul II. Address to participants of the Italian National Congress on the theme of ‘Popular Missions during the 80s’, no. 2, February 6, 1981)

  • From sincere humility, be conscious of the dignity of the Papacy

‘Servus servorum Dei’: it is known that this title, chosen by him [Saint Gregory the Great] ever since he was a deacon – and used not a few of his letters – gradually became a traditional title and almost a definition of the person of the Bishop of Rome. It is also certain, that from sincere humility, he made it the motto of his ministry and that, precisely because of his universal function in the Church of Christ, he always considered and showed himself to be the maximum and primary servant – the servant of the servants of God – servant of all, following the example of Christ himself, who had explicitly affirmed that he ‘came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt 20:28). Most profound was, therefore, his consciousness of the dignity [of the Papacy], which he accepted with great trepidation after having unsuccessfully tried to remain hidden in an attempt to avoid it; but, at the same time, possessing a clear awareness of his duty to serve, convinced himself and attempting to instill in the others the conviction that all authority, above all within the Church, is essentially service. The awareness of his own pontifical office and, proportionally, of all pastoral ministry, is condensed in the word ‘responsibility’: he who exercises an ecclesiastical ministry should respond for what he does, not only to men, not only to the souls that were confided to him, but also and in the first place to God and to his Son, in whose name he acts each time he distributes the supernatural treasures of grace, announces the truths of the Gospel and undertakes activities of legislation and of government. (John Paul II. Letter Plurimum significans, on the XVI Centenary of the Pontificate of Saint Gregory the Great, June 29, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on family

  • The family is a reality that derives from the wisdom of God’s will

The main question, however, is precisely this: can we still speak of a family model today? The Church is convinced that in the context of our time it is more necessary than ever to reassert the institutions of marriage and the family as realities that derive from the wisdom of God’s will and reveal their full significance and value in his creative and saving plan. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the European Symposium for University Teachers, June 25, 2004)

  • The family as a lasting covenant of love comes from God

The family comes from God. It is the Creator who has arranged the loving covenant of one man and one woman. He has blessed their love and made it a source of mutual help. He has made it fruitful, and established its permanence until death. In the Creator’s plan, the family is a community of persons. Therefore, the fundamental form of life and love within the family lies in respect for each person, for each individual member of the family. Husbands and wives, consider and treat each other with the greatest respect. Parents, respect the unique personality of your children. Children, show your parents obedient respect. All members of the family must feel accepted, and respected, because they must feel loved. In a special way, the old and the sick. (John Paul II. Homily, Mass for the families, no. 2, February 13, 1982)

  • A communion of stable and faithful life

You will be able to build a family founded on marriage, that pact of love between a man and a woman who commit themselves to a communion of stable and faithful life. Through your own witness, you will be able to confirm that even amid all the difficulties and obstacles, it is possible to live Christian marriage to the full as an experience filled with meaning and, as it were, ‘good news’ for all families. (John Paul II. Address on the occasion of the National Meeting of the Young Catholics of Switzerland, June 5, 2004)

  • Christian couples are called to participate in the irrevocable indissolubility that binds Christ to the Church

Christ renews the first plan that the Creator inscribed in the hearts of man and woman, and in the celebration of the Sacrament of matrimony offers a ‘new heart’: thus the couples are not only able to overcome ‘hardness of heart,’ but also and above all they are able to share the full and definitive love of Christ, the new and eternal Covenant made flesh. Just as the Lord Jesus is the ‘faithful witness’ (Rev 3:12), the ‘yes’ of the promises of God and thus the supreme realization of the unconditional faithfulness with which God loves His people, so Christian couples are called to participate truly in the irrevocable indissolubility that binds Christ to the Church His bride, loved by Him to the end. The gift of the Sacrament is at the same time a vocation and commandment for the Christian spouses, that they may remain faithful to each other forever, beyond every trial and difficulty, in generous obedience to the holy will of the Lord: ‘What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder’ (Mt 19:6). (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 20, November 22, 1981)

  • The indissolubility of marriage is a sign of the absolutely faithful love of God

It is a fundamental duty of the Church to reaffirm strongly, as the Synod Fathers did, the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage. To all those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to be bound to one person for the whole of life, and to those caught up in a culture that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of spouses to fidelity, it is necessary to reconfirm the good news of the definitive nature of that conjugal love that has in Christ its foundation and strength. Being rooted in the personal and total self-giving of the couple, and being required by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in His revelation: He wills and He communicates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 20, November 22, 1981)

  • Christian Matrimony is a total yes to the plans of God

The Christian believes in life and in love. That is why he will say yes to the indissoluble love of matrimony; yes to life that is responsibly produced within legitimate matrimony; yes to the protection of life; yes to the stability of the family; yes to legitimate cohabitation that foments communion and favors the well-balanced education of children, protected by a paternal and maternal love that complement each other and is fulfilled in the formation of new human beings. The yes of the Creator, assumed by the children of God, is a yes to man. It is born of the faith in the original project of God. It is an authentic contribution to the construction of a society where the civilization of love prevails over egoistic consumerism, the culture of life over the capitulation before death. (John Paul II. Homily during the encounter with the Christian families of Panama, no. 8, March 5 1983)

  • Jesus, Mary and Joseph; models for families

The family is also called upon to educate its children. The first place where the educational process of a young person begins is the family home. All children have the natural, inalienable right to have their own family, parents, brothers and sisters, among whom they come to the realization that they are a person needing love and capable of loving others. May the Holy Family of Nazareth always be the example for you, the family in which Christ grew up with his mother Mary and putative father Joseph. Since parents give life to their own children, they have the right to be recognized as the first and principal educators. They also have the duty to create a family atmosphere, filled with love and respect for God and neighbour, which favours the personal and social education of their children. What a great task the mother has! Thanks to the particularly deep bond which unites her to her child, she can draw her child close to Christ and the Church in an effective way. However, she always expects the help of her husband, the father of the family. (John Paul II. Homily in Lowicz, Poland, no. 2, June 14, 1999)

  • Today we are faced with opposition toward God with respect to matrimony

In the contemporary epoch, the life of society (perhaps over all in the rich and developed countries) is full of episodes and happenings that testify an opposition toward God, toward his plans of love and sanctity, toward his commandments, toward that which refers to the sphere of matrimony and the family. Vatican Council II states: ‘the excellence of this institution is not everywhere reflected with equal brilliance, since polygamy, the plague of divorce, so-called free love and other disfigurements have an obscuring effect. In addition, married love is too often profaned by excessive self-love, the worship of pleasure and illicit practices against human generation’ (Gaudium et spes, no. 47). And the Exhortation Familiaris consortio, […] enumerates the signs of a preoccupying degradation of some fundamental values: ‘a mistaken theoretical and practical concept of the independence of the spouses in relation to each other; serious misconceptions regarding the relationship of authority between parents and children; the concrete difficulties that the family itself experiences in the transmission of values; the growing number of divorces; the scourge of abortion; the ever more frequent recourse to sterilization; the appearance of a truly contraceptive mentality’ (Ibid. no. 6). Consequently, one could say that a vast wave of discord with the Creator himself and Christ the Redeemer passes through contemporary civilization: the questioning of the unity and indissolubility of matrimony, the disagreement regarding the sanctity and inviolability of human life, the controversies regarding the very essence of liberty, of dignity and of the love of man. (John Paul II. Homily on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Families, March 25, 1984)

  • That which does not encourage conjugal fidelity is anti-family

Unfortunately, it is necessary to take note, precisely in the Year of the Family, of initiatives spread by a notable part of the mass media, that are, in essence, ‘anti-family’. They are initiatives that give priority to what is decided upon the decomposition of families and the destruction of the human being: man or woman or children. In effect, that which is really evil is called good: separations decided upon lightly; conjugal infidelities that are not only tolerated but even promoted; divorces; free love, are proposed at times as models to imitate. Who does this propaganda benefit? What is its source? (John Paul II. Angelus, February 20, 1994)

  • Ideologies on ‘gender’ and de facto unions do not correspond to the concept of family

Certain pieces of legislation that do not correspond with the true good of the family based on monogamous marriage, and with the protection of the inviolability of human life, have been passed allowing the dangerous shadow of the ‘culture of death’ to creep into the home. The proliferation of international forums on misleading concepts concerning sexuality and the dignity and mission of the woman that underlie specific ideologies on ‘gender’ are also a cause of concern. What can be said of the crisis of so many broken families, of lonely persons and of the situation of the so-called ‘de facto’ unions? Among the dangerous designs to undo the family, there is also the attempt to deny human dignity to the embryo before it has become implanted in the mother’s womb, and attacks on its existence with a variety of methods. When we speak of the family, it is impossible not to mention the children, who most of the time are innocent victims of dysfunctional family communities. (John Paul II. Message to the Pontifical Council on the 20th anniversary of the Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 3, November 23, 2001)

  • The relationship of two men or two women cannot constitute a true family

The relationship of two men or two women cannot constitute a true family; still less can one grant such a union the right to adopt children who lack a family. These children suffer great danger, grave harm, because in these ‘substitute families’ they do not have a father and a mother, but ‘two fathers’ or ‘two mothers.’ (John Paul II. Angelus, February 20, 1994)

  • The Church must fight against the recognition of illegitimate unions

Today this basic cell of social life is exposed to great danger because of a tendency in the world to weaken the family’s natural permanence by replacing it with irregular unions, and even by attempts to recognize as families unions between people of the same sex. The family is also mortally threatened by the denial of the right to life of the unborn and by attacks on the younger generation’s spiritual formation in lasting Christian values. […] To change society’s mentality regarding the fundamental role of the family and of man’s life in society, hard work is essential. Here we need to combine the forces of the Church, the school and other milieus, in order to restore respect for the traditional values of the family and to promote them in the educational process; everyone must collaborate, including the media, which have an enormous influence today in forming people’s attitudes. […] Do all you can to prevent families in Poland from feeling isolated in their attempts to preserve their identity and to defend their rights and basic values, and help them fulfill their mission and their duties. […] The welfare of society and of the Church is linked to the wellbeing of the family. Thus the family must be staunchly supported by the Church. I urgently ask you to do this because I am very concerned about the family and its fate in today’s world. (John Paul II. Address to the Polish Bishops on the ad limina visit, no. 4, February 2, 1998)

  • Christian legislators may neither contribute to the formulation of a law nor approve laws that harm the family

This means that laws, whatever the areas in which the legislator intervenes or is obliged to intervene, must always respect and promote human persons, in all the variety of their spiritual, material, personal, family and social needs. Hence a law which does not respect the right to life, from conception to natural death, of every human being, whatever his or her condition healthy or ill, still in the embryonic stage, elderly or close to death is not a law in harmony with the divine plan. Consequently, Christian legislators may neither contribute to the formulation of such a law nor approve it in parliamentary assembly, although, where such a law already exists, it is licit for them to propose amendments which would diminish its adverse effects. The same must be said with regard to all laws which would do harm to the family, striking at its unity and its indissolubility, or which would give legal validity to a union between persons, including those of the same sex, who demand the same rights as the family founded upon marriage between a man and a woman. (John Paul II. Address for the Jubilee of government leaders, members of parliament and politicians, no. 4, November 4, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea on the social doctrine of the Church

  • The Social Docrine of the Church has a twofold dimension: constancy, for it remains identical in its inspiration, principles and directives; new, because it is adapts to the changes in historical conditions

In this way I wish principally to achieve two objectives of no little importance: on the one hand, to pay homage to this historic document of Paul VI and to its teaching; on the other hand, following in the footsteps of my esteemed predecessors in the See of Peter, to reaffirm the continuity of the social doctrine as well as its constant renewal. In effect, continuity and renewal are a proof of the perennial value of the teaching of the Church. This twofold dimension is typical of her teaching in the social sphere. On the one hand it is constant, for it remains identical in its fundamental inspiration, in its ‘principles of reflection,’ in its ‘criteria of judgment,’ in its basic ‘directives for action’ (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, Libertatis Conscientia (March 22, 1986), 72; Paul VI, Octogesima Adveniens (May 14, 1971), n. 4), and above all in its vital link with the Gospel of the Lord. On the other hand, it is ever new, because it is subject to the necessary and opportune adaptations suggested by the changes in historical conditions and by the unceasing flow of the events which are the setting of the life of people and society. (John Paul II. Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. 3, December 30, 1987)

  • Class struggle, the occupation of land, and public or private buildings, do not originate in the Social Doctrine of the Church

It is up to you, venerable Brothers, as the hierarchy of the people of God, to promote the quest for new solutions that embody a Christian spirit. A vision of the economy and social problems in the perspective of the Church’s social teaching, never fails to lead us to consider things from the standpoint of human dignity, which transcends the play of purely economic factors. Moreover, it helps people understand that to obtain social justice, more is required than the simple application of ideological schemes originating in the class struggle, such as the occupation of land, which I already criticized during my Pastoral Visit of 1991, and of public or private buildings, or, to quote one example, the adoption of extreme technical measures which could have far more serious consequences than the injustice they are intended to overcome, such as in the case of a unilateral failure to fulfil international obligations. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Brazil from the South Regions III and IV on their ad limina visit, November 26, 2002)

  • The Social Doctrine of the Church is a source of unity and peace in dealing with the conflicts which inevitably arise in social and economic life

The Pope’s approach in publishing Rerum novarum gave the Church ‘citizenship status’ as it were, amid the changing realities of public life, and this standing would be more fully confirmed later on. In effect, to teach and to spread her social doctrine pertains to the Church’s evangelizing mission and is an essential part of the Christian message, since this doctrine points out the direct consequences of that message in the life of society and situates daily work and struggles for justice in the context of bearing witness to Christ the Saviour. This doctrine is likewise a source of unity and peace in dealing with the conflicts which inevitably arise in social and economic life. Thus it is possible to meet these new situations without degrading the human person’s transcendent dignity, either in oneself or in one’s adversaries, and to direct those situations towards just solutions. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 5, May 1, 1991)

  • As it is based on Jesus Christ, the Social Doctrine of the Church cannot be presented as an ideology or ‘third way’ like other political and social proposals

Beginning with Jesus Christ, man’s only salvation, it is possible to show the universal value of our Christian faith and anthropology and their importance in every aspect of life. In Christ, the human being is offered a specific, individual and supportive interpretation of his reality, open to transcendence.Starting precisely from this anthropology, the Church’s social doctrine cannot be presented as an ideology or ‘third way’ like other political and social proposals, but precisely as a specific moraltheological knowledge that originates in God and is communicated to man (cf. Sollicitudo rei socialis, n. 41). In this mystery it finds the inexhaustible source for interpreting and guiding human events. The new evangelization, to which the whole Church is called, must therefore fully integrate the Church’s social doctrine (cf. ibid.), to be in a better position to reach and question the European peoples in the concrete context of their problems and situations. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the European Congress on the Church’s Social Doctrine, June 20, 1997)

  • The social doctrine of the Church excludes class struggle, which incites new forms of slavery, as foreign to the Gospel

The social doctrine of the Church inspires the Christan praxis in its noble struggle for justice, but it excludes, as foreign to the Gospel programmed class struggle which incites new forms of slavery. This social doctrine teaches that odious discriminations with regard to work that men and women can do and to their just remuneration should not be created. But it also teaches that a just family salary should permit the woman who is a mother to dedicate herself to her irreplaceable tasks of care and education of her children, without being obliged to seek outside of home a complementary remuneration to the detriment of her maternal functions, which should be socially reassessed for the good of the family and of society. (John Paul II. Meeting with the people living in the barrios of Bogotá, Colombia, in the Park of El Tunal, July 3, 1986)

…judges Francis’ idea on studying theology

  • The service of the doctrine about God constitutes an act of love towards man

The task of the theologian at the service of the doctrine about God constitutes, at the same time, according to the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an act of love towards man. (John Paul II. Address to theologians in Altötting, no. 1, November 18, 1980)

  • Tradition is the true bridge between Scripture and the present

The Catholic theologian cannot build a bridge between Scripture and the concerns of the present without taking into account the mediation of Tradition. This does not substitute the Word of God in the Bible; but rather gives witness to it, throughout the course of historical epochs, by means of new interpretations. […] Make the members of the Church see that acting in this way, you do not abandon yourselves to relics of the past, but rather that our great inheritance, which extends from the Apostles unto our days, encloses a rich potential, capable of giving responses to the questions of the present. (John Paul II. Address to theologians in Altötting, no. 2, November 18, 1980)

  • Tradition makes the theologian more sensitive to the present

If we [theologians] are capable of discovering the value of Sacred Scripture and of perceiving the echo it has left in the living Tradition of the Church, we will then be able to better transmit the Gospel of God. We will become more critical and sensitive regarding our own present. (John Paul II. Address to theologians in Altötting, no. 2, November 18, 1980)

  • Virtues of the theologian: fidelity to the Magisterium and modesty in personal opinion

In studying and teaching the Catholic doctrine, fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church is always to be emphasized. In the carrying out of teaching duties, especially in the basic cycle, those things are, above all, to be imparted which belong to the received patrimony of the Church. Hypothetical or personal opinions which come from new research are to be modestly presented as such. (John Paul II. Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, Art. 70, April 29, 1979)

  • All syncretism and every kind of false particularism are to be excluded

Revealed truth must be considered also in connection with contemporary, evolving, scientific accomplishments, so that it can be seen ‘how faith and reason give harmonious witness to the unity of all truth’. Also, its exposition is to be such that, without any change of the truth, there is adaptation to the nature and character of every culture, taking special account of the philosophy and the wisdom of various peoples. However, all syncretism and every kind of false particularism are to be excluded (cf. Vatican Council II, Decree Ad Gentes, 22). (John Paul II. Constitution Sapientia Christiana, Art. 68, no. 1, April 15, 1979)

  • Systems and methods incompatible with Christian faith must not be accepted

The positive values in the various cultures and philosophies are to be sought out, carefully examined, and taken up. However, systems and methods incompatible with Christian faith must not be accepted. (John Paul II. Constitution Sapientia Christiana, Art. 68, no. 2, April 15, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on the formation of youth

  • Without God, the whole world of created values remains suspended in an absolute vacuum

Christ replies to the young man in the Gospel. He says: ‘No one is good but God alone’. We have already heard what the young man had asked: ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ How must I act so that my life will have meaning and value? We could translate his question into the language of our own times. In this context Christ’s answer means this: only God is the ultimate basis of all values; only he gives the definitive meaning to our human existence. Only God is good, which means this: in him and him alone all values have their first source and final completion; he is ‘the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end’ (Rev 21:6). Only in him do values and their authenticity and definitive confirmation. Without him-without the reference to God-the whole world of created values remains as it were suspended in an absolute vacuum. It also loses its transparency, its expressiveness. Evil is put forward as a good and good itself is rejected. Are we not shown this by the very experience of our own time, wherever God has been removed beyond the limits of evaluations, estimations and actions? […] How I pray that you, my young friends, will hear Christ’s reply in the most personal way possible; that you will and the interior path which enables you to grasp it, accept it and undertake its accomplishment! […] These questions show how man without God cannot understand himself, and cannot even fulfill himself without God. Jesus Christ came into the world first of all in order to make each one of us aware of this. Without him this fundamental dimension of the truth about man would easily sink into obscurity. However, ‘the light has come into the world’ (Jn 3:19), ‘and the darkness has not overcome it’ (Jn 1:5). (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Dilecti amici, no. 4, March 31, 1985)

  • Christ calls you to commit yourselves in favor of the good

I know that you often wonder about how to live your life in worthwhile manner; how to behave so that your existence be full and does not fall in a void; how to do something to improve the society in which you live, looking for a remedy for the serious evils that it suffers and that are repugnant to your thirst for sincerity, brotherhood, justice, peace, solidarity. […] Christ calls you to commit yourselves in favor of the good, of the destruction of egoism and sin in all its forms. He wants you to build a society in which the moral values that God desires to see in the heart and life of man are cultivated. Christ calls you to be faithful children of God, workers of good, of justice, of brotherhood, of love, of honesty and harmony. Christ encourages you to always carry in your spirit and in your actions the essence of the Gospel: love of God and love of man. (John Paul II. Address to youth of San José, Costa Rica, March 3, 1983)

  • Search for sanctity in study and work! Your task can be summarized in a word: sanctity

Now we can see what is the deepest meaning of study and work at the same time: the search for sanctity. The task which opens up before you, who pursue a Christian witness in University work, can thus be summarized in a word filled with significance: sanctity. Sanctity in your studies and through your studies. The work world has need of your holiness of life. […] And since sin is an obstacle to the love of God – it contaminates the works of man and perturbs the ambiences of his activity, transforming them into places of struggle and hatred – it becomes evident that the Christian will be at the service of the work world only if he fights against the sin which dwells his soul. (John Paul II. Address to participants in the annual Congress of UNIV, March 29, 1983)

…judges Francis’ idea that sin forms a part of religious life

  • Sin is contrary to human dignity

It is precisely sin that since the ‘beginning’ has, in a certain way, ‘disinherited’ man from his own humanity. Sin ‘takes’ from man, in diverse manners, that which determines his true dignity: the image and likeness of God. Each sin in a certain way ‘reduces’ his dignity! The more the one becomes ‘a slave to sin’ (Jn 8:34), the less he enjoys the liberty of the sons of God. He is no longer his own master, as the structure itself of his personal being, that is to say, that of a rational, free and responsible creature, demands. […] For the rational being it is normal to tend to the truth and exist in the truth. Instead of the truth regarding good, sin introduces non-truth: the true good is eliminated by sin in favor of an ‘apparent’ good, which is not a true good, the true good having been eliminated in favor of the ‘false’. The alienation that takes place with sin touches the cognitive sphere, but through the knowledge it affects the will. […] As can be seen, the real alienation of man — the alienation of a being made in the image and likeness of God, rational and free — is nothing other than ‘the domination of sin’ (Rom 3:9). And this aspect of sin is strongly emphasized by Sacred Scripture. Sin is not only against God, it is at the same time against man. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 9-10, November 12, 1986)

  • The acknowledgement of sin is an essential first step of returning to God

To acknowledge one’s sin, indeed – penetrating still more deeply into the consideration of one’s own personhood – to recognize oneself as being a sinner, capable of sin and inclined to commit sin, is the essential first step in returning to God. […] For it is not possible to deal with sin and conversion only in abstract terms. In the concrete circumstances of sinful humanity, in which there can be no conversion without the acknowledgment of one’s own sin, the church’s ministry of reconciliation intervenes in each individual case with a precise penitential purpose. That is, the church’s ministry intervenes in order to bring the person to the ‘knowledge of self’-in the words of Saint Catherine of Siena – to the rejection of evil, to the re-establishment of friendship with God, to a new interior ordering, to a fresh ecclesial conversion. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 13, December 2, 1984)

  • All people are called to be ‘divinized’

Proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth, true God and perfect Man, the Church opens to all people the prospect of being ‘divinized’ and thus of becoming more human. This is the one path which can lead the world to discover its lofty calling and to achieve it fully in the salvation wrought by God. (John Paul II. Bull Incarnationis mysterium, no. 2, November 30, 1998)

  • Christians receive a commandment to not sin – and not a mere invitation

In this sense too we can say with Saint Paul that ‘great indeed is the mystery of our religion.’ In this sense too piety, as a force for conversion and reconciliation, confronts iniquity and sin. In this case too the essential aspects of the mystery of Christ are the object of piety in the sense that the Christian accepts the mystery, contemplates it and draws from it the spiritual strength necessary for living according to the Gospel. Here too one must say that ‘no one born of God commits sin’; but the expression has an imperative sense: Sustained by the mystery of Christ as by an interior source of spiritual energy, the Christian, being a child of God, is warned not to sin and indeed receives the commandment not to sin but to live in a manner worthy of ‘the house of God, that is, the church of the living God’ (1Tim 3:15). (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 21, December 2, 1984)

  • Sinlessness is not inherent in man, but Christians receive the necessary strength to not sin as a result of God’s action

Saint John too undoubtedly referring to this mystery, but in his own characteristic language which differs from Saint Paul’s, was able to write that ‘anyone born of God does not sin, but he who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him’(1Jn 5:18). In this Johannine affirmation there is an indication of hope, based on the divine promises: The Christian has received the guarantee and the necessary strength not to sin. It is not a question therefore of a sinlessness acquired through one’s own virtue or even inherent in man, as the Gnostics thought. It is a result of God’s action. In order not to sin the Christian has knowledge of God, as Saint John reminds us in this same passage. But a little before he had written: ‘No one born of God commits sin; for God’s seed abides in him’(1Jn 3:9). If by ‘God’s seed’ we understand, as some commentators suggest, Jesus the Son of God, then we can say that in order not to sin or in order to gain freedom from sin the Christian has within himself the presence of Christ and the mystery of Christ, which is the mystery of God’s loving kindness. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 20, December 2, 1984)

  • Religious life is an express calling to tend toward perfection – it must be attained

Way of perfection means, evidently, a way of a perfection that must be attained, and not of perfection already obtained, as Saint Thomas Aquinas clearly explained (cf. Summa Theologica, q. 184, a. 5.7). Those who are committed to the practice of the evangelical counsels do not pretend at all that they have attained perfection. They recognize themselves as sinners, as all other men, saved sinners. But they feel and they are called more expressly to tend toward perfection, which consists essntially in charity (cf. Summa Theologica, II, q. 184, aa. 1.3). (John Paul II. General audience, no. 1, November 9, 1994)

  • Consecrated life is a rich manifestation of Gospel values and a more complete expression of the Church’s purpose: the sanctification of humanity

As a way of showing forth the Church’s holiness, it is to be recognized that the consecrated life, which mirrors Christ’s own way of life, has an objective superiority. Precisely for this reason, it is an especially rich manifestation of Gospel values and a more complete expression of the Church’s purpose, which is the sanctification of humanity. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata, no. 32, March 25, 1996)

  • Consecrated persons: follow Christ with one’s whole heart and conform their whole existence to Him

In the consecrated life, then, it is not only a matter of following Christ with one’s whole heart, of loving him ‘more than father or mother, more than son or daughter’ (cf. Mt 10:37) — for this is required of every disciple — but of living and expressing this by conforming one’s whole existence to Christ in an all-encompassing commitment which foreshadows the eschatological perfection, to the extent that this is possible in time and in accordance with the different charisms. By professing the evangelical counsels, consecrated persons not only make Christ the whole meaning of their lives but strive to reproduce in themselves, as far as possible, ‘that form of life which he, as the Son of God, accepted in entering this world’. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Vita consecrata, no. 16, March 25, 1996)

  • Testimony of incalculable value for the Church and an unequaled efficacy for all of those who seek the kingdom of God

The religious state tends to put in practice and helps to discover and love the evangelical beatitudes, showing the profound happiness that is obtained through renunciation and sacrifices. This is a ‘splendid’ testimony, as the Council says, because it reflects something of the divine light that pervades the word, the call, the counsels of Jesus. Moreover, of an inestimable testimony, because the evangelical counsels, such as voluntary celibacy or evangelical poverty, constitute a particular style of life that has an incalculable value for the Church and an unparalleled efficacy for all of those who, in the world, more or less directly or conscientiously, seek the kingdom of God. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 4, February 8, 1995)

  • The Religious state has rendered abundant fruits of sanctity

Most dear ones, you represent within the Church a state of life that goes back to the first centuries of its history and which has always rendered, time and time again, abundant and delectable fruits of sanctity, of incisive Christian testimony, of efficacious apostolate, and even of notable assistance toward the formation of a rich patrimony of culture and civilization in the ambit of diverse religious families. Very well, all of this has been and is always possible in virtue of that total and faithful union with Christ, of which the Council speaks, and which is not only asked of you but is also favorably achieved by the special condition of religious consecrated to the Lord. (John Paul II. Address to the Council of the Union of General Superiors, no. 2, November 26, 1979)

  • Religious continually foster in the People of God the awareness of the call to holiness

The consecrated life thus continually fosters in the People of God an awareness of the need to respond with holiness of life to the love of God poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5), by reflecting in their conduct the sacramental consecration which is brought about by God’s power in Baptism, Confirmation or Holy Orders. In fact it is necessary to pass from the holiness communicated in the sacraments to the holiness of daily life. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Vita consecrata, no. 33, March 25, 1996)

…judges Francis’ idea that catholics and muslims adore the same God

  • No one can enter into communion with God except through Christ

Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. […] No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • It is the Trinity who guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things

It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things […] and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This unity of truth, natural and revealed, is embodied in a living and personal way in Christ, as the Apostle reminds us: ‘Truth is in Jesus’ (cf. Eph 4:21; Col 1:15-20). He is the eternal Word in whom all things were created, and he is the incarnate Word who in his entire person reveals the Father (cf. Jn 1:14, 18). (John Paul II. Encyclical Fides et ratio, no. 34, September 14, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • Connected with the uniqueness of Christ’s salvific mediation is the uniqueness of the Church he founded

Connected with the uniqueness of Christ’s salvific mediation is the uniqueness of the Church he founded. The Lord Jesus, in fact, established his Church as a saving reality: as his Body, through which he himself accomplishes salvation in history. Just as there is only one Christ, so his Body is one alone: ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’ (cf. Symbolum fidei, DS 48). The Second Vatican Council says in this regard: ‘Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, this holy Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim on earth, is necessary for salvation’ (Lumen gentium, 14). (John Paul II. Address to the members, consultors and staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, no. 4, January 28, 2000)

  • It is a mistake to regard the Church as a way of salvation along with those constituted by other religions

It is a mistake, then, to regard the Church as a way of salvation along with those constituted by other religions, which would be complementary to the Church, even if converging with her on the eschatological kingdom of God. Therefore we must reject a certain indifferentist mentality ‘characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that one religion is as good as another’ (cf. Redemptoris missio, no. 36). (John Paul II. Address to the members, consultors and staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, no. 4, January 28, 2000)

  • Deviations of the syncretistic perspective

We have to remember, however, that there are no lack of deviations which gave origin to sects and Gnostic, or pseudo-religious movements, configuring a widespread cultural fashion which finds an echo in ample sectors of society and has influence even within catholic ambiences. For this reason, some of them, in a syncretistic perspective, amalgamate biblical and Christian aspects with others taken form oriental philosophies or religions, magic, and psychological techniques. This expansion of sects and of new religious groups that attract many of the faithful and sow confusion and uncertainty among Catholics is a cause for pastoral concern. (John Paul II. Address to a group of Bishops of the Argentinean Episcopal Conference on their ad limina visit, February 7, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • All of those who suffer, especially the innocent, may feel themselves called to participate in the work of redemption, carried out through the cross

Ever since Christ chose the cross and died at Golgotha, all of those who suffer, particularly those who suffer without fault, may find themselves faced by ‘the Holy One who suffers’ and encounter in his passion the total truth about suffering, its full meaning, its importance. In light of this truth, all of those who suffer may feel themselves called to participate in the work of redemption carried out through the cross. To participate in the cross of Christ means to believe in the salvific power of the sacrifice that every believer can offer together with the Redeemer. Then suffering is liberated from the shadow of the absurd, that seems to cover it, and acquires a profound dimension, it reveals its significance and creative value. One could say, then, that there is a change in the scene of existence, from which is distanced increasingly the destructive power of evil, precisely because suffering produces copious fruits. Jesus himself revealed and promised us this, when he said: ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit’ (Jn 12:23-24). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 6-7, November 9, 1988)

  • The suffering of the innocent is especially valuable in the eyes of the Lord

In the eyes of the Lord, the suffering of the just and the innocent is especially valuable, more than that of the sinner, because the latter, really, suffers only for himself, through an auto-expiation, whereas the innocent person makes of his pain the capital for the redemption of others. (John Paul II. Address to 500 disabled children and their assistants, September 24, 1979)

  • Even when the darkness is deepest, faith points to a trusting acknowledgment: ‘I know that you can do all things’

The problem of suffering attacks above all faith and puts it to the test. How can we hear the universal anguish of man when we meditate on the Book of Job? The innocent man overwhelmed by suffering understandably asks himself: ‘Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hid treasures?’ (3:20-21). But even when the darkness is deepest, faith points to a trusting and adoring acknowledgment of the ‘mystery’: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted’ (Job 42:2). (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium vitae, no. 31, March 25, 1995)

  • The wound can become a fountain of life

Human suffering in fact can show forth the goodness of God: the wound can become a fountain of life (cf. Jn 19:34). (John Paul II. Address to the Across Trust on its Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, October 29, 1998)

  • Suffering conceals a particular power that draws person interiorly to Christ

Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace many saints, such as Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Salvifici doloris, no. 26, February 11, 1984)

  • Suffering clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls

In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross of the Redeemer, it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of Christ’s sacrifice that is the irreplaceable mediator and author of the good things which are indispensable for the world’s salvation. It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Salvifici doloris, no. 27, February 11, 1984)

  • The cross of Christ gives meaning to human suffering

The Redemption undertaken by Christ at the price of his passion and death on the cross, is a decisive and definitive happening in the history of humanity, not only because it fulfills the supreme divine plan of justice and mercy, but also because it reveals to the conscience of man a new significance of suffering. […] The cross of Christ —the passion— sheds a completely new light over this problem, giving another meaning to human suffering in general […] All human suffering, united to that of Christ, completes ‘what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body’ (cf. Col 1:24): and the Body is the Church as a universal salvific community. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1-2, November 9, 1988)

  • The individual’s personal response to God

Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering of Christ. At the same time, however, from this level of Christ the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man’s level and becomes, in a sense, the individual’s personal response. It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter, Salvifici doloris, no. 26, February 11, 1984)

  • The Redemption, accomplished through satisfactory love, remains always open to all love expressed in human suffering

The sufferings of Christ created the good of the world’s redemption. This good in itself is inexhaustible and infinite. No man can add anything to it. But at the same time, in the mystery of the Church as his Body, Christ has in a sense opened his own redemptive suffering to all human suffering. In so far as man becomes a sharer in Christ’s sufferings—in any part of the world and at any time in history—to that extent he in his own way completes the suffering through which Christ accomplished the Redemption of the world. Does this mean that the Redemption achieved by Christ is not complete? No. It only means that the Redemption, accomplished through satisfactory love, remains always open to all love expressed in human suffering. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter, Salvifici doloris, no. 24, February 11, 1984)

  • In accepting the words of the Angel Gabriel, Mary began her participation in the drama of Redemption

In accepting with complete availability the words of the Angel Gabriel, who announced to her that she would become the Mother of the Messiah, Mary began her participation in the drama of Redemption. Her involvement in her Son’s sacrifice, revealed by Simeon during the presentation in the Temple, continues not only in the episode of the losing and finding of the 12-year-old Jesus, but also throughout his public life. However, the Blessed Virgin’s association with Christ’s mission reaches its culmination in Jerusalem, at the time of the Redeemer’s Passion and Death. […] The Council stresses the profound dimension of the Blessed Virgin’s presence on Calvary, recalling that she “faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the Cross” (Lumen gentium, n. 58), and points out that this union ‘in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death’ (ibid., n. 57). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1-2, April 2, 1997)

  • Perfect model of all of those who accept to associate themselves without reserve to the redemptive offering

Saint John in his Gospel remembers that “standing by the cross of Jesus was his mother’ (Jn 19:25). It was the presence of a woman ―already a widow for some years, as all leads us to believe― who was to lose also her Son. All of the fibers of her being were shaken by all that which she had seen in the days culminating in the passion, and that which she felt and saw now at the scaffold. How could one impede that she suffer and cry? Christian tradition has perceived the dramatic experience of that Woman full of dignity and honor, but with her heart pierced, and has paused to contemplate her, participating profoundly in her sorrow: ‘Stabat Mater dolorosa, iuxta Crucem lacrimosa/ dum pendebat Filius’. […] The presence of Mary next to the cross shows her commitment of total participation in the redeeming Sacrifice of her Son. Mary wished to entirely participate in the sufferings of Jesus, since she had not reject the sword announced by Simeon (cf. Lk 2:35), but rather accepted, with Christ, the mysterious plan of the Father. She was the first participant in that sacrifice, and would remain forever as a perfect model of all of those who would accept to associate themselves without reserve to the redemptive offering. On the other hand, the maternal compassion that was expressed in this presence, contributed to make more charged with meaning and profound the drama of that death on the cross. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1-2, November 23, 1988)

  • Mary’s consent to Jesus’ immolation is a genuine act of love

The Council reminds us of ‘Mary’s compassion’; in her heart reverberates all that Jesus suffers in body and soul, emphasizing her willingness to share in her Son’s redeeming sacrifice and to join her own maternal suffering to his priestly offering. The Council text also stresses that her consent to Jesus’ immolation is not passive acceptance but a genuine act of love, by which she offers her Son as a ‘victim’ of expiation for the sins of all humanity. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 2, April 2, 1997)

  • Direct participation in the work of Redemption

How disconcerting is the mystery of the Cross! After having meditated fully on it, Saint Paul wrote to the Christians of Galatia: ‘But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ (Gal 6:14). Also, the Most Holy Virgin could have repeated —and with what greater truthfulness!— these same words. Contemplating at Calvary her dying Son she had understood that the ‘glory’ of her divine maternity had reached, at that moment, its height, directly participating in the work of Redemption. Moreover, she had understood that from that moment on, human suffering, made hers through the crucified Son, acquired an inestimable value. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 1, September 15, 1991)

  • Model of unfailing constancy and extraordinary courage in facing suffering

In the Fourth Gospel, St John says that ‘standing by the Cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene’ (19:25). By using the verb ‘to stand’, which literally means ‘to be on one’s feet’, ‘to stand erect’, perhaps the Evangelist intends to present the dignity and strength shown in their sorrow by Mary and the other women. The Blessed Virgin’s ‘standing erect’ at the foot of the Cross recalls her unfailing constancy and extraordinary courage in facing suffering. In the tragic events of Calvary, Mary is sustained by faith, strengthened during the events of her life and especially during Jesus’ public life. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, April 2, 1997)

  • The first who knew and wished to participate in the salvific mystery

The Virgin of Sorrows, standing at the side of the cross, within the silent eloquence of example, speaks to us of the significance of suffering within the Divine plan of the Redemption. She was the first who knew and wished to participate in the salvific mystery ‘uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth’ (Lumen Gentium, no. 58). Intimately enriched by this ineffable experience, she approaches those who suffer, takes them by the hand and invites them to rise with Her to Calvary and remain before the Crucified One. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 2, September 15, 1991)

  • An intrepid presence at the Cross

In this hour of Marian prayer we have contemplated the Heart of Jesus victim of our sins; but before all and more profoundly than all else we contemplated his sorrowful Mother, of whom the Liturgy sings: ‘For the sins of his people she saw Jesus in torment and subject to the scourge’(Stabat Mater, Sequence, Verse 7). Within the proximity of the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Sorrowful Virgin Mary, we recall this intrepid and interceding presence of the Virgin beneath the cross of Calvary, and we think, with immense gratitude that, at that moment, Christ, who was about to die, victim of the sins of the world, confided her to us as our Mother: ‘Behold, your Mother’ (Jn 19:27). (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 3, September 10, 1989)

  • In contrast with the faith of the disciples, who fled, Mary’s was far more enlightened

This is perhaps the deepest ‘kenosis’ of faith in human history. Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in his redeeming death; but in contrast with the faith of the disciples who fled, hers was far more enlightened. On Golgotha, Jesus through the Cross definitively confirmed that he was the ‘sign of contradiction’ foretold by Simeon. At the same time, there were also fulfilled on Golgotha the words which Simeon had addressed to Mary: ‘and a sword will pierce through your own soul also.’ (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, no. 18, March 25, 1987)

  • She who was linked to the Son of God by bonds of maternal love, at the foot of the Cross, experienced this union in suffering

‘Standing by the cross of Jesus were his Mother, and his Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene’ (Jn 19:25). She who was linked to the Son of God by bonds of blood and by maternal love, there, at the foot of the Cross, experienced this union in suffering. She alone, despite the pain of her mother’s heart, knew that this suffering had meaning. She had trust – trust in spite of everything – that the ancient promise was being fulfilled: ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel’ (Gen 3:15). (John Paul II. Homily at Kalwaria, Poland, August 19, 2002)

  • Christ’s loving acceptance of the Cross

The Christ that suffers is, as a modern poet sang, ‘the holy one who suffers’, the innocent one who suffers; and precisely because of this, his suffering has a much greater profundity in relation to that of other men, including that of all the of Jobs, that is, those who suffer in the world without any fault of their own. Since Christ is the only one who is truly without sin, and who, in fact, could not even sin. He is, therefore, the one – the only one – who absolutely does not deserve suffering. And yet, he is also the one who accepted it in the most full and resolute manner, he accepted it voluntarily and with love. This is signified by his desire, almost his kind of interior angst to entirely drink the chalice of suffering (Jn 18:11), and this, ‘for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world’, as the Apostle Saint John explains (1Jn 2:2). (John Paul II. General Audience, no.2, November 9, 1988)

  • Jesus went toward death voluntarily

Did Jesus foresee his death and understand it as a death for mankind? Did he accept it and wish it to be so? In the Gospels it becomes clear that Jesus voluntarily went toward death. […] Jesus accepted his death voluntarily. In fact we know that he predicted it on repeated occasions; he announced it three times while going up to Jerusalem. […] There is no doubt that Jesus considered his life and death as a means of rescue (lythron) for men. (John Paul II. General Audience, September 14, 1983)

  • Continuous offering for the salvation of humanity

Jesus offered himself on the cross and continues to be offered in the celebration of the Eucharist for the glory of God and the salvation of humanity. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 14, December 30, 1988)

  • Jesus offered himself freely in the Passion

Jesus is the voluntary victim, because he offered himself ‘freely to his Passion’ (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer II), as a victim of expiation for the sins of men (cf. Lv 1: 4; Heb 10: 5-10) that he consumed in the fire of his love. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 2, September 10, 1989)

…judges Francis’ idea that man is the center of christian life

  • Every young person should build his life and faith upon the rock, who is Christ

The principal objective of the Days is to make the person of Jesus the centre of the faith and life of every young person so that he may be their constant point of reference and also the inspiration of every initiative and commitment for the education of the new generations. This is the slogan of every Youth Day, and through this decade, the Days have been like an uninterrupted and pressing call to build life and faith upon the rock, who is Christ. (John Paul II. Letter on the occasion of the Seminar on World Youth Days organized in Czestochowa, Poland, May 8, 1996)

  • Our faith is strengthened by knowing the love with which Jesus assumed our human nature

Jesus Christ is our hope because he, the Eternal Word of God, who is always with the Father (cf. Jn 1:18), loved us so much that he assumed our human nature in all things but sin and shared in our life, for the sake of our salvation. The profession of this truth stands at the very heart of our faith. The loss of the truth about Jesus Christ, or a failure to comprehend that truth, prevent us from appreciating and entering into the mystery of God’s love and the Trinitarian communion. Jesus Christ is our hope because he reveals the mystery of the Trinity. This is the core of the Christian faith, and it can still make a significant contribution, as it has in the past, to the creation of structures which, inspired by the great values of the Gospel or measuring itself against them, are capable of promoting the life, history and culture of the different peoples of the Continent. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, no. 19, June 28, 2003)

  • The Christian faith is kept by believing in the resurrection of Christ

Easter is the center of the liturgical year and at the heart of Christian life, precisely because it is the living memorial of the central mystery of salvation: the death and resurrection of the Lord. […] A well known scholar of our century, Romano Guardini, meditating on the Paschal Mystery and its consequences in the life of the believer and the Church, affirms that ‘Christian faith is kept or lost according to whether one believes or not in the resurrection of the Lord’. The resurrection is not a phenomena marginal to this faith, and neither is it a mythological development, which faith drew from history, and which could later be annulled without losing its content: it is the heart [of faith] (Il Signore, Part VI, 1)’. The proclamation of the death and resurrection of the Lord is the center of our faith. From docile and joyful adherence to this mystery blossoms the authentic following of the Lord and the salvific mission confided to the people of God, pilgrim on earth in awaiting Jesus’ glorious return. In the light of this fundamental evangelical truth, it is fully understood that Jesus Christ, and only Jesus Christ, is really ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’, He who is the ‘light of the world’ and the ‘human image’ of the Father. (John Paul II. General Audience, nos. 1.3, April 14, 1993)

  • Those who accept Christ seek in him the solid foundation for the construction of a better and more united world

Many centuries have gone by since Christ. The heredity of God has been growing marvelously, not without repetition of the rejection, the incomprehension and the struggles – over the corner stone: Christ dead and resurrected. Each day, there are more persons and peoples who accept him with faith and with love, who seek in him the solid foundation for the construction of a better and more united world, where they feel safe under the loving gaze of only one God and Father. Among these peoples which did not reject, but which made Jesus the center of their history, is our dear Spain, profoundly Christian; among these men, heirs of God by Baptism who accept the Son, dead and resurrected, you yourselves are also counted, brothers and sisters of the Orcasitas parish of Madrid, united around the altar of the same Christ. I feel you all to be very much within me, and I receive you as dearest members of his Church. (John Paul II. Homily in the Church of Saint Bartholomew of Orcasitas, no. 2, November 3, 1982)

  • To reach eternal life it is necessary to fulfill the commandments and live according to the teachings of Christ

You well know the answer. You know that to reach eternal life it is necessary to fulfill the commandments, it is necessary to live according to the teachings of Christ, which are transmitted to us continually by his Church. For this reason, dear brethren, I encourage you to comport yourselves always as good Christians, to fulfill the commandments, to attend Mass on Sundays, to care for your Christian formation by attending the catechesis offered by your pastors, to confess frequently, to work, to be good parents and faithful spouses, to be good children. Do not fall into the seduction of vices such as alcohol abuse, which causes so much damage: do not collaborate with drug trafficking, cause of the destruction of so many people in the world. (John Paul II. Homily in the ‘Patria Nueva’ Colony in Mexico, no. 5, May 11, 1990)

  • Sanctity is the practice of virtue in a heroic manner

It is appropriate to recall here the solemn proclamation of beatification and canonization of lay men and women which took place during the month of the Synod. The entire People of God, and the lay faithful in particular, can find at this moment new models of holiness and new witnesses of heroic virtue lived in the ordinary everyday circumstances of human existence. The Synod Fathers have said: ‘Particular Churches especially should be attentive to recognizing among their members the younger men and women of those Churches who have given witness to holiness in such conditions (everyday secular conditions and the conjugal state) and who can be an example for others, so that, if the case calls for it, they (the Churches) might propose them to be beatified and canonized’. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 17, December 30, 1988)

  • The search for God has always stirred the human heart in many forms

In this important work, they must always be helped to strengthen their consecration to the Lord through their daily living of the evangelical counsels. ‘All who have embraced the consecrated life are called to become leaders in the search for God, a search which has always stirred the human heart and which is particularly visible in Asia’s many forms of spirituality and asceticism’ (Ecclesia in Asia, 44). For this reason, Religious can have an essential role in the Church’s overall commitment to evangelization. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Indonesia on their ad limina visit, March 29, 2003)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • The poor of the Beatitudes are not indigents

It should be remembered that even in the Old Testament the ‘poor of the Lord’ (cf. Ps 74: 19; 149: 4ss) were mentioned as an object of divine benevolence (Is 49:13; 66:2). This did not refer simply to those who were in a state of indigence, but rather the humble who sought God and put themselves with confidence under his protection. These dispositions of humility and confidence clarify the expression that the Evangelist Matthew employed in the version of the Beatitude: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’ (Mt 5:3). Poor in spirit are all of those who do not put their confidence in money or in material goods, but rather, on the contrary, open themselves to the Kingdom of God. But it is precisely this, the value of the poverty that Jesus praised and counseled as an option of life, that could include a voluntary renunciation of goods, and precisely in favor of the poor. It is a privilege of some to be chosen and called by him to follow this path. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 4, November 30, 1994)

  • The rich in God are always blessed with Heaven, whether possessing earthly goods or lacking them

Poor in spirit are those who, lacking earthly goods, know how to live with human dignity, the values of a spiritual poverty rich in God; and those who, possessing earthly goods, live an interior detachment and the communication of goods with those who suffer necessity. The kingdom of heaven is of the poor in spirit. This is the recompense that Jesus promised them. There is nothing more that can be promised. (John Paul II. Homily during the Mass for youth in the Hipodrome of Monterrico, no. 10, February 2, 1985)

  • Salvation can only come from Jesus Christ

If we go back to the beginnings of the Church, we find a clear affirmation that Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. In reply to the Jewish religious authorities who question the apostles about the healing of the lame man, Peter says: ‘By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well…. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:10, 12). This statement, which was made to the Sanhedrin, has a universal value, since for all people —Jews and Gentiles alike— salvation can only come from Jesus Christ. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • Only those who suffer in union with Christ and the Church can participate in the redemptive suffering

For, whoever suffers in union with Christ— just as the Apostle Paul bears his ‘tribulations’ in union with Christ— not only receives from Christ that strength already referred to but also ‘completes’ by his suffering ‘what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions’. […] The sufferings of Christ created the good of the world’s redemption. This good in itself is inexhaustible and infinite. No man can add anything to it. But at the same time, in the mystery of the Church as his Body, Christ has in a sense opened his own redemptive suffering to all human suffering. […] Only within this radius and dimension of the Church as the Body of Christ, which continually develops in space and time, can one think and speak of ‘what is lacking’ in the sufferings of Christ. The Apostle, in fact, makes this clear when he writes of ‘completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church’. It is precisely the Church, which ceaselessly draws on the infinite resources of the Redemption, introducing it into the life of humanity, which is the dimension in which the redemptive suffering of Christ can be constantly completed by the suffering of man. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, no. 24, February 11, 1984)

  • The Church’s love for the poor is a part of her constant tradition

As far as the Church is concerned, the social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory, but above all else a basis and a motivation for action. Inspired by this message, some of the first Christians distributed their goods to the poor, bearing witness to the fact that, despite different social origins, it was possible for people to live together in peace and harmony. Through the power of the Gospel, down the centuries monks tilled the land, men and women Religious founded hospitals and shelters for the poor, Confraternities as well as individual men and women of all states of life devoted themselves to the needy and to those on the margins of society, convinced as they were that Christ’s words ‘as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Mt 25:40) were not intended to remain a pious wish, but were meant to become a concrete life commitment. […] The Church’s love for the poor, […] and a part of her constant tradition. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 57, May 1, 1991)

  • The primacy of attention should be for spiritual forms of poverty

True evangelizing zeal is roused in sympathy above all for the situation of spiritual necessity – at times extreme – in which so many men and women find themselves. Consider the number of those who do not know Christ, or have a deformed image of Him, or have abandoned his following, seeking their own well-being in the attractions of this secularized society or through the hateful confrontation of ideological battles. In light of this poverty of spirit, the Christian may not remain passive: he must pray, give testimony of his faith at each moment, and speak of Christ, of his great love, with courage and charity! And he should seek that these bothers approach or return to the Lord and to his Mystical Body, which is the Church, through a profound and joyful conversion of their lives, that gives meaning and eternal value throughout all of their earthly journey. The primacy of this attention to the spiritual forms of human poverty, will impede that the preferential love of Christ for the poor –of which the Church participates– be interpreted with exclusively socio-economic categories, and will remove all danger of injust discrimination in pastoral action. (John Paul II. Homily during the Celebration of the Word with the faithful of Viedma, April 7, 1987)

  • The greatest good we can give the poor: the Gospel

And may this be the special mark of your ministry too: concern for the poor, for those who are materially or spiritually in need. Renee your pastoral love will embrace those in want, those afflicted, those in sin. And let us remember that the greatest good we can give them is the word of God. This does not mean that we do not assist them in their physical needs, but it does mean that they need something more, and that we have something more to give : the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (John Paul II. Address to the Phlippine Episcopate and Asian Bishops, no. 4, February 17, 1981)

  • The duties toward the poor lies in their dignity as children of God

Within the Church, dear brothers and sisters, you experience in a special way the dignity of the children of God, which is the most noble and beautiful title to which a human being may aspire. Always maintain alive and functioning this dignity; in it lies the grandeur that the Church, Body of Christ, cares, teaches and promotes. No one furnishes so many reasons to love, respect and make respected the poor as the Church, which is the depository of the revealed truth with respect to man, image of God, redeemed by Christ. The announcing of the Good News of the kingdom gives reason for this happiness that today we share, despite the particular difficulties of your existence. […] It is in His [Jesus’] dignity as the Son of God that lies the roots of the rights of every man, whose guarantee is God himself. That is why the Church, obedient to the mandate received, urges the duties of solidarity, justice and charity for all, particularly toward those most in need. (John Paul II. Meeting with the inhabitants of the working class districts of Medellin, no. 2, July 5, 1986)

  • Far from adding poverty to that of the poor, it is necessary to spread true richness

Saint Thomas comments: Jesus ‘defended material poverty to give us spiritual riches’ (S Th III, q. 40, a.3) All of those who, receiving his invitation, voluntarily follow the path of poverty, inaugurated by Him, are brought to spiritually enrich humanity. Far from simply adding their poverty to that of the other poor who live in the world, they are called to proportion true richness, which is of a spiritual order. As was written in the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptionis Donum, Christ ‘is not only the teacher but also the spokesman of that salvific poverty which corresponds to the infinite riches of God’ (no. 12). If we look to this Master, we learn from him the true meaning of evangelical poverty and the grandeur of the vocation to follow him by the way of the poverty. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 2-3, November 30, 1994)

  • Evangelical poverty is the subjection of all goods to the supreme Good of God

On the subject of evangelical poverty, the synod fathers gave a concise yet important description, presenting it as ‘the subjection of all goods to the supreme good of God and his kingdom’.(Proposition 8) In reality, only the person who contemplates and lives the mystery of God as the one and supreme good, as the true and definitive treasure, can understand and practice poverty, which is certainly not a matter of despising or rejecting material goods but of a loving and responsible use of these goods and at the same time an ability to renounce them with great interior freedom – that is, with reference to God and his plan. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 30, March 25, 1992)

  • The Church has always claimed the right to possess and administer temporal goods

The Church has always claimed the right to possess and administer temporal goods. However, she does not ask for privileges in that area, but rather the possibility to use the means at her disposal for a threefold purpose: ‘to order divine worship; to provide decent support for the clergy and other ministers; to perform the works of the sacred apostolate and of charity, especially towards the needy’ (Code of Canon Law, can. 1254, §2). (Address to a delegation from the Croation Episcopal Conference and the Government of Croatia, December 15, 1998)

  • The Church has feared no ‘extravagance’, devoting the best of resources to the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist

Reading the account of the institution of the Eucharist in the Synoptic Gospels, we are struck by the simplicity and the ‘solemnity’ with which Jesus, on the evening of the Last Supper, instituted this great sacrament. There is an episode which in some way serves as its prelude: the anointing at Bethany. A woman, whom John identifies as Mary the sister of Lazarus, pours a flask of costly ointment over Jesus’ head, which provokes from the disciples – and from Judas in particular (cf. Mt 26:8; Mk 14:4; Jn 12:4) – an indignant response, as if this act, in light of the needs of the poor, represented an intolerable ‘waste’. But Jesus’ own reaction is completely different. While in no way detracting from the duty of charity towards the needy, for whom the disciples must always show special care – ‘the poor you will always have with you’ (Mt 26, 11; Mk 14:7; cf. Jn 12:8) – he looks towards his imminent death and burial, and sees this act of anointing as an anticipation of the honor which his body will continue to merit even after his death, indissolubly bound as it is to the mystery of his person […] Like the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany, the Church has feared no ‘extravagance’, devoting the best of her resources to expressing her wonder and adoration before the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 47-48, April 17, 2003)

  • The Church is universal, not of only one class

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’. The ‘rich’ are also ‘poor in spirit’ when, in proportion to their own riches, they do not fail to ‘give of themselves’ and to ‘serve the others’. In this way, then, the Church of the poor speaks in the first place and above all to man. To each man and, therefore, to all men. It is the universal Church. The Church of the mystery of the Incarnation. It is not the Church of one class or only one caste. And it speaks in the name of truth itself. (John Paul II. Address during the visit to the favela Vidigal in Rio de Janeiro, no. 4-5, July 2, 1980)

  • Holiness of life is what makes a Christian a fruitful evangelizer

Since they are members of the Church by virtue of their Baptism, all Christians share responsibility for missionary activity. […] Missionary cooperation is rooted and lived, above all, in personal union with Christ. Only if we are united to him as the branches to the vine (cf. Jn 15:5) can we produce good fruit. Through holiness of life every Christian can become a fruitful part of the Church’s mission. The Second Vatican Council invited all ‘to a profound interior renewal, so that having a lively awareness of their personal responsibility for the spreading of the Gospel, they may play their part in missionary work among the nations.’ (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 77, December 7, 1990)

  • Holiness is a fundamental condition for the mission of salvation of the Church

The vocation to holiness is intimately connected to mission […] Holiness, then, must be called a fundamental presupposition and an irreplaceable condition for everyone in fulfilling the mission of salvation within the Church. The Church’s holiness is the hidden source and the infallible measure of the works of the apostolate and of the missionary effort. Only in the measure that the Church, Christ’s Spouse, is loved by him and she, in turn, loves him, does she become a mother fruitful in the Spirit. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, no. 17, December 30, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea on anticlericalism

  • The ministry of shepherding God’s flock

He, ‘the great shepherd of the sheep’ (Heb. 13:20), entrusted to the apostles and their successors the ministry of shepherding God’s flock. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 1, March 25, 1992)

  • The priest shares in the prophetic authority of Christ and the Church

The priest […] proclaims the word in his capacity as ‘minister,’ as a sharer in the prophetic authority of Christ and the Church. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 26, March 25, 1992)

  • Minister who leads believers to an increasing knowledge of the mystery of God

The priest is first of all a minister of the word of God. He is consecrated and sent forth to proclaim the good news of the kingdom to all, calling every person to the obedience of faith and leading believers to an ever increasing knowledge of and communion in the mystery of God, as revealed and communicated to us in Christ. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 26, March 25, 1992)

  • Priests are at the very heart of the Church’s existence and her mission in history

Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history, an obedience in response to the command of Christ: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ (Mt. 28:19) and ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (Lk 22:19; cf. 1 Cor 11:24), i.e: an obedience to the command to announce the Gospel and to renew daily the sacrifice of the giving of his body and the shedding of his blood for the life of the world. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 26, March 25, 1992)

…judges Francis’ idea on material charity

  • True theology proceeds from the faith and aims at leading to the faith – the intellectual formation of priests is based on theology

The intellectual formation of the future priest is based and built above all on the study of sacred doctrine, of theology. The value and genuineness of this theological formation depend on maintaining a scrupulous respect for the nature of theology. The synod fathers summarized this as follows: ‘True theology proceeds from the faith and aims at leading to the faith’. This is the conception of theology which has always been put forward by the Church and, specifically, by her magisterium. This is the line followed by the great theologians who have enriched the Church’s thinking down the ages. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 53, March 25, 1992)

  • The study of theology is not an external and secondary dimension – one grows in spiritual life and prepares to fulfill the pastoral ministry

Intellectual formation has its own characteristics, but it is also deeply connected with, and indeed can be seen as a necessary expression of, both human and spiritual formation: It is a fundamental demand of the human intelligence by which one ‘participates in the light of God’s mind’ and seeks to acquire a wisdom which in turn opens to and is directed toward knowing and adhering to God (Gaudium et Spes, 15). […] The present situation […] It strongly demands a high level of intellectual formation, such as will enable priests to proclaim, in a context like this, the changeless Gospel of Christ and to make it credible to the legitimate demands of human reason. […] The commitment to study, which takes up no small part of the time of those preparing for the priesthood, is not in fact an external and secondary dimension of their human, Christian, spiritual and vocational growth. In reality, through study, especially the study of theology, the future priest assents to the word of God, grows in his spiritual life and prepares himself to fulfill his pastoral ministry. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 51, March 25, 1992)

  • The whole of Theology is ordered to nourishing the faith

Saint Thomas is extremely clear when he affirms that the faith is as it were the habitus of theology, that is, its permanent principle of operation, and that the whole of theology is ordered to nourishing the faith. The theologian is therefore, first and foremost, a believer, a person of faith. But the theologian is a believer who asks himself questions about his own faith (fides quaerens intellectum), with the aim of reaching a deeper understanding of the faith itself. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 53, March 25, 1992)

  • Theology: a study to communicate to others the Christian faith and outlook

In reflecting maturely upon the faith, theology moves in two directions. The first is that of the study of the word of God: the word set down in holy writ, celebrated and lived in the living tradition of the Church, and authoritatively interpreted by the Church’s magisterium. Hence the importance of studying sacred Scripture ‘which should be the soul, as it were, of all theological the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, the history of the Church and the teachings of the magisterium. The second direction is that of the human person, who converses with God: the person who is called ‘to believe’, ‘to live’, ‘to communicate’ to others the Christian faith and outlook. Hence the study of dogmatic and moral theology, of spiritual theology, of canon law and of pastoral theology. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Pastor dabo vobis, no. 54, March 25, 1992)

  • The lack of adequate formation causes many obstacles for the message of salvation

First of all, the greatest challenge of our age comes from a growing separation between faith and reason, between the Gospel and culture. The studies dedicated to this immense area are increasing day by day in the context of the new evangelization. Indeed, the message of salvation encounters many obstacles stemming from erroneous concepts and a serious lack of adequate formation. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Inter munera academiarum, no. 2, January 28, 1999)

…judges Francis’ idea on the words of Jesus Christ upon the Cross

  • Even when the darkness is deepest, faith points to trusting and adoring acknowledgment

More than anything else, it is the problem of suffering which challenges faith and puts it to the test. How can we fail to appreciate the universal anguish of man when we meditate on the Book of Job? The innocent man overwhelmed by suffering is understandably led to wonder: ‘Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hid treasures’ (Job 3:20-21)? But even when the darkness is deepest, faith points to a trusting and adoring acknowledgment of the ‘mystery’: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted’ (Job 42:2). (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium vitae, no. 31, March 25, 1995)

  • Suffering and trust in the anguished ‘why’ addressed to the Father – the opening words of Psalm 22 that ends in triumph

In contemplating Christ’s face, we confront the most paradoxical aspect of his mystery, as it emerges in his last hour, on the Cross. The mystery within the mystery, before which we cannot but prostrate ourselves in adoration. The intensity of the episode of the agony in the Garden of Olives passes before our eyes. Oppressed by foreknowledge of the trials that await him, and alone before the Father, Jesus cries out to him in his habitual and affectionate expression of trust: ‘Abba, Father’. He asks him to take away, if possible, the cup of suffering (cf. Mk 14:36). But the Father seems not to want to heed the Son’s cry. In order to bring man back to the Father’s face, Jesus not only had to take on the face of man, but he had to burden himself with the ‘face’ of sin. ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2Cor 5:21). We shall never exhaust the depths of this mystery. All the harshness of the paradox can be heard in Jesus’ seemingly desperate cry of pain on the Cross: ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mk 15:34). Is it possible to imagine a greater agony, a more impenetrable darkness? In reality, the anguished ‘why’ addressed to the Father in the opening words of the Twenty-second Psalm expresses all the realism of unspeakable pain; but it is also illumined by the meaning of that entire prayer, in which the Psalmist brings together suffering and trust, in a moving blend of emotions. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 25, January 6, 2001)

  • Jesus’ cry on the Cross is not a sign of loss of hope, but of loving offering

Jesus’ cry on the Cross, dear Brothers and Sisters, is not the cry of anguish of a man without hope, but the prayer of the Son who offers his life to the Father in love, for the salvation of all. At the very moment when he identifies with our sin, ‘abandoned’ by the Father, he ‘abandons’ himself into the hands of the Father. His eyes remain fixed on the Father. Precisely because of the knowledge and experience of the Father which he alone has, even at this moment of darkness he sees clearly the gravity of sin and suffers because of it. He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father’s love by sin. More than an experience of physical pain, his Passion is an agonizing suffering of the soul. Theological tradition has not failed to ask how Jesus could possibly experience at one and the same time his profound unity with the Father, by its very nature a source of joy and happiness, and an agony that goes all the way to his final cry of abandonment. The simultaneous presence of these two seemingly irreconcilable aspects is rooted in the fathomless depths of the hypostatic union. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 26, January 6, 2001)

  • Prayer is in fact the recognition of our limitation and our dependence

Prayer is in fact the recognition of our limitation and our dependence: we come from God, we belong to God and we return to God! We cannot, therefore, but abandon ourselves to him, our Creator and Lord, with full and complete confidence. Prayer, therefore, is first of all an act of intelligence, a feeling of humility and gratitude, an attitude of trust and abandonment to him who gave us life out of love. (John Paul II. Address to the young people gathered in the Vatican Basilica, March 14, 1979)

…judges Francis’ criteria for the nomination of Bishops

  • A decisive mission for the life of the Church is confided to bishops: the sanctification of the People of God

Indeed, to the the grandeur of the ‘lofty ministry’ received from Christ as successors of the Apostles, corresponds their responsibility as ‘Ministers of Christ and administrators of the mysteries of God’(cf. 1Cor 4:1). As administrators who direct the mysteries of God to distribute them in the name of Christ, bishops should be closely united and firmly faithful to their Master, who has not doubted to confide to them, as to the Apostles, a decisive mission for the life of the Church of all times: the sanctification of the People of God. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 4, September 30, 1992)

  • The ideal figure of the bishop: the Pastor who is configured to Christ in holiness of life

At the dawn of the third millennium the Church continues to rely on the ideal figure of the bishop, that of the Pastor who, configured to Christ in holiness of life, expends himself generously for the Church entrusted to him, at the same time carrying in his heart the solicitude for the churches spread over the face of the earth (cf. 2Cor 11:28). (John Paul II. Homily, Conclusion of the Synod of Bishops, October 27, 2001)

  • The bishop is responsible for the ongoing formation of his priests

The bishop […] is responsible for ongoing formation, the purpose of which is to ensure that all his priests are generously faithful to the gift and ministry received, that they are priests such as the People of God wishes to have and has a ‘right’ to. This responsibility leads the bishop, in communion with the presbyterate, to outline a project and establish a program which can ensure that ongoing formation is not something haphazard but a systematic offering of subjects, which unfold by stages and take on precise forms. The bishop will live up to his responsibility not only by seeing to it that his presbyterate has places and times for its ongoing formation, but also by being present in person and taking part in an interested and friendly way. (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis to the bishops, clergy and faithful on the formation of priests in the circumstances of the present day, March 25, 1992)

  • Unless the episcopal office is based on the witness of holiness, it loses credibility

The Bishop’s personal holiness, however, is never limited to the purely subjective level, since in its efficacy it always proves beneficial to the faithful entrusted to his pastoral care. In the practice of charity, as the content of the pastoral ministry he has received, the Bishop becomes a sign of Christ and acquires that moral authority needed for the effective exercise of his juridical authority. Unless the episcopal office is based on the witness of a holiness manifested in pastoral charity, humility and simplicity of life, it ends up being reduced to a solely functional role and, tragically, it loses credibility before the clergy and the faithful. (John Paul II. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, October 16, 2003)

  • The bishop who does not live what he teaches gives the community a contradictory message

He teaches with an authority exercised in the name of Jesus Christ the word which is heard in the community; were he not to live what he teaches, he would be giving the community a contradictory message. One could say that, in a Bishop, mission and life are united in such a way that they can no longer be thought of as two separate things: we Bishops are our mission. […] It is in the transmission of our faith that our lives become a visible sign of Christ’s presence in our communities. The witness of his life becomes for a Bishop a new basis for authority alongside the objective basis received in episcopal consecration. ‘Authority’ is thus joined by ‘authoritativeness’. Both are necessary. The former, in fact, gives rise to the objective requirement that the faithful should assent to the authentic teaching of the Bishop; the latter helps them to put their trust in his message. (John Paul II. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, October 16, 2003)

…judges Francis’ prayer in the ecumenical and interreligious Meeting in Sarajevo

  • Learning the Trinitarian shape of Christian prayer is the secret of a truly vital Christianity

His training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer. […] ‘Lord, teach us to pray!’ (Lk 11:1). Prayer develops that conversation with Christ which makes us his intimate friends: ‘Abide in me and I in you’ (Jn 15:4). This reciprocity is the very substance and soul of the Christian life, and the condition of all true pastoral life. Wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, this reciprocity opens us, through Christ and in Christ, to contemplation of the Father’s face. Learning this Trinitarian shape of Christian prayer and living it fully, above all in the liturgy, the summit and source of the Church’s life, but also in personal experience, is the secret of a truly vital Christianity, which has no reason to fear the future, because it returns continually to the sources and finds in them new life. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, no. 32, January 6, 2001)

  • Christ is the only one able to reveal God and lead to Him

Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. […] No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ’s own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • An urgent need to explain more fully the truth that Christ is the one Mediator

Another plan for a continent-wide Synod will concern Asia, where the issue of the encounter of Christianity with ancient local cultures and religions is a pressing one. This is a great challenge for evangelization, since religious systems such as Buddhism or Hinduism have a clearly soteriological character. There is also an urgent need for a Synod on the occasion of the Great Jubilee in order to illustrate and explain more fully the truth that Christ is the one Mediator between God and man and the sole Redeemer of the world, to be clearly distinguished from the founders of other great religions. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, no. 38, October 10, 1994)

  • The Christian faith is a conscious and free response to God’s self-revelation, which reached its fullness in Jesus Christ

According to the doctrine contained in the Constitution Dei Verbum, the Christian faith is a conscious and free response of man to God’s self-revelation, which reached its fullness in Jesus Christ. By what Paul calls ‘the obedience of faith’ (cf. Rom 16:26; 1. 5, 2Cor 10: 5-6) the entire man abandons himself to God, accepting as truth what is contained in the word of divine revelation. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1, June 19, 1985)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christians should always humble themselves

  • …and willed that others recognize it

Jesus Christ often spoke of himself, using the title ‘the Son of Man’ (cf. Mt 16: 28; Mk 2:28). This title […] corresponded to that ‘pedagogy of faith’, to which Jesus voluntarily had recourse. In effect, he desired that his disciples and those who heard him would reach the discovery of their own accord that the ‘Son of Man’ was at the same time the true ‘Son of God’. We have a very significant demonstration of this in the profession of Saint Peter, made in a place close to Caesarea Philippi. […] Jesus provoked the Apostles with questions, and when Peter attains the explicit recognition of his divine identity, [Jesus] confirms his testimony, calling him ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father’ (Mt 16:17). (John Paul II. General Audience no. 2, August 26, 1987)

  • Humility is the awareness of our own smallness in relation to God…

The fundamental attitude of man toward God is, therefore, humility, which is to say, the limpid and joyful self-awareness of our own smallness, of our own limits, of our own contingency, of the condition of creature in relation to the Eternal, to the Omniscient. (John Paul II. Address to professors and students of the University of Perusa, No. 2, October 26, 1986)

  • …it is submission to the power of truth, and condition of greatness

Humility is creative ‘ and love. Humility is rejection of appearances and superficiality; it is the expression of the depth of the human spirit; it is the condition of its greatness. (John Paul II. Angelus, March 4, 1979)

  • Christians should declare the faith frankly and with courage

Proclamation is inspired by faith, which gives rise to enthusiasm and fervor in the missionary. As already mentioned, the Acts of the Apostles uses the word parrhesia to describe this attitude, a word which means to speak frankly and with courage. This term is found also in Saint Paul:We had courage in our God to declare to you the Gospel of God in the face of great opposition’ (1Thess 2:2); ‘Pray…also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak’ (Eph 6:18-20). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 45, December 7, 1990)

  • The service of the truth is a priority task for bishops

Today, faced with self-sufficient humanism which frequently disdains God; faced with those who forget the condition as pilgrims of man on earth; faced with doctrines and personal and social conducts which are incompatible with the morals of the Gospel, it is necessary that the faithful encounter in their Pastors, first of all, the light of faith and of teaching, which they have the right to receive in abundance and in all its purity (Lumen Gentium no. 37). […] To be able to face the challenges of the present, it is necessary that the Church appear, at all levels, as the ‘the pillar and foundation of truth’ (1Tim 3:15). The service of the Truth, which is Christ, is our priority task. This Truth is revealed. It is not born of a merely human experience. It is God Himself, who in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, makes himself known to man. […] Our firmness will come from this solid foundation, since the Church today, despite all the difficulties that encircle it, cannot speak in a way different from that which Christ spoke. For this reason, the Church, especially the Pastors, should be united around the Absolute Truth, that is God, and proclaim it in all its integrity and purity. (John Paul II. Address to the second group of bishops from Chile in the ad limina visit, no. 2, November 8, 1984)

…judges Francis’ idea on capital punishment

  • When it would not be possible otherwise to defend society, the execution of the offender is necessary

This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God’s plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is ‘to redress the disorder caused by the offence’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2266). Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2266). It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, no. 56, March 25, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on a horizontal Church

  • A great temptation of our times: to promote an ecclesial renewal that does not take into account fundamental elements of the Mystical Body of Christ

We cannot forget that one of the greatest temptations of our times is that of trying to promote an ecclesial renewal that, centering its attention upon certain aspects – particularly recognized by modern sensibility – does not take sufficiently into account fundamental elements of the constitutive identity of the Mystical Body of Christ, such as its hierarchy, the unity desired by its divine Founder or its specifically sacramental nature. (John Paul II. Address, to the Bishops of Guatemala on their ad limina visit, January 20, 1989)

  • The hierarchical structure pertains to the very nature of the Church

Christ instituted a hierarchical and ministerial structure of the Church, formed by the Apostles and their successors, a structure not derived from a previously constituted community, but rather it was created directly by him. […] This structure pertains, therefore, the very nature of the Church, according to the divine plan made by Jesus. According to this plan, the structure has an essential role in the development of the Christian community, since the day of Pentecost, to the end of time. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 8, July 1, 1992)

  • Primacy of authority in the Apostolic college and in the Church

Peter always appears in the first place on all the lists of the Apostles (in the text of Matthew 10:2, he is even described with the word ‘first’). Jesus gives him a new name, Cephas, which is translated into Greek (which indicates that it was significant), to designate the office and the position that Simon would occupy in the Church of Christ. They are elements that help us to better comprehend the historical and ecclesiological significance of the promise of Jesus, contained in the text of Matthew (Mt 16: 18-19), and the commending of the pastoral mission described by John (Jn 21: 15-19): the primacy of the authority in the apostolic college and in the Church. (John Paul II, General Audience, no. 1, December 16, 1992)

  • The Pope can exercise directly power without the permission or mediation of the bishops

The Council [Vatican I] emphasizes that the power of the Pope ‘is ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful’ (DS 3064). It is ordinary in the sense that is inherent to the Roman Pontiff by virtue of the responsibility that corresponds to him and not by delegation of bishops; It is immediate, because he can exercise directly, without the permission or mediation of the bishops. (John Paul II. General audience, no. 3, February 24, 1993)

  • The successor of Peter should be faithful to the will of Christ in the exercise of authority

For the successor of Peter, it is not the case of claiming powers such as those ‘earthly rulers’, of which Jesus spoke (cf. Mt 20:25-28), but to be faithful to the will of the Founder of the Church who established this type of society, and this manner of governing at the service of communion in faith and charity. To respond to the will of Christ, the successor of Peter should assume and exercise the authority that has been given to him in a spirit of humble service and in order to ensure unity. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 5, February 24, 1993)

  • Any Council can only be convoked by the Roman Pontiff, who must also preside over it and it

The pastoral action of all, especially the college of the Episcopate obtains unity through the ministerium Petrinum of the Bishop of Rome. […] And we must add, always with the Council, that, if the collegial power over the whole Church attains its particular expression in the ecumenical council, it is the ‘prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to convoke these councils, to preside over them and to confirm them’ (LG, n. 22). All, then, have as their head the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, as the principle of unity and communion. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 4, February 24, 1993)

  • The attempts to reduce the power of the Roman Pontiff are not in conformity with the mission that Christ conferred

There had been attempts to reduce the power of the Roman Pontiff to ‘a charge of inspection or of direction’. Some had proposed that the Pope be simply an arbiter of conflicts between local churches, or give only a general direction to the autonomous activities of the local churches and Christians, with counsels and exhortations. But this limitation was not in conformity with the mission that Christ conferred upon Peter. For this reason the Vatican Council I emphasized the fullness of Papal power and defined that is not enough to recognize that the Roman Pontiff ‘has the main part’; it must be admitted, rather, that he ‘has the fullness of this supreme power’ (DS 3064). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 2, February 24, 1993)

…judges Francis’ vision on the divorced who re-marry

  • Mortal sin is contempt for the divine law and a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation

Likewise, care will have to be taken not to reduce mortal sin to an act of ‘fundamental option’ -as is commonly said today- against God, intending thereby an explicit and formal contempt for God or neighbor. For mortal sin exists also when a person knowingly and willingly, for whatever reason, chooses something gravely disordered. In fact, such a choice already includes contempt for the divine law, a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation; the person turns away from God and loses charity. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 17, December 2, 1984)

  • Sin has a twofold consequence

Because it offends the holiness and justice of God and scorns God’s personal friendship with man, sin has a twofold consequence. In the first place, if it is grave, it involves deprivation of communion with God and, in consequence, exclusion from a share in eternal life. […] In the second place, “every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin”, and this expiation removes whatever impedes full communion with God and with one’s brothers and sisters. (John Paul II. Incarnationis mysterium, Bull of Indiction of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, no. 10, November 29, 1998)

  • The aim of pastoral action: lead to consistency between the choice of life and the faith professed

There are increasing cases of Catholics who for ideological or practical reasons, prefer to contract a merely civil marriage, and who reject or at least defer religious marriage. Their situation cannot of course be likened to that of people simply living together without any bond at all, because in the present case there is at least a certain commitment to a properly-defined and probably stable state of life, even though the possibility of a future divorce is often present in the minds of those entering a civil marriage. By seeking public recognition of their bond on the part of the State, such couples show that they are ready to accept not only its advantages but also its obligations. Nevertheless, not even this situation is acceptable to the Church. The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 82, November 22, 1981)

  • How many people live indifferently and accommodate themselves to a worldly mentality and to the gratification of sin! The gate to eternal life is open to all, but it is narrow

Lent encourages believers to take seriously Jesus’ exhortation: ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many’ (Mt 7:13). What is this ‘wide gate’ and ‘easy way’ that Jesus refers to? It is the gate of moral self-sufficiency; the way of intellectual pride. How many people, even amongst Christians, live indifferently and accommodate themselves to a worldly mentality and to the gratification of sin! Lent is an appropriate time to analyze one’s own life, in order to renew with greater decisiveness our participation in the sacraments, to make firmer resolutions for a new life, endeavoring, as Jesus taught, to pass through the narrow gate and difficult way that leads to eternal life (cf. Mt 7:14). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, February 16, 1994)

  • Sin requires reparation

The expiatory sacrifice of the cross makes us understand the gravity of sin. In the eyes of God, sin is never without importance. The Father loves mankind, andis profoundly offended by their transgressions or rebellions. Even though he is disposed to pardon, He, for the good and honor of man himself, requires reparation. But it is precisely here that the divine generosity is shown in a more surprising manner. The Father gives to humanity His own Son to offer this reparation. With this he shows the abysmal gravity of sin, since it requires the highest reparation possible, that which comes from His own Son. At the same time, it reveals the infinite grandeur of his love, since He is the first, with the gift of his Son, that carries the weight of the reparation. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 2, April 20, 1983)

  • The difficult demands of Jesus may not be ignored: ‘from now on do not sin anymore’

Between the customs of a secularized society and the requirements of the Gospel, a profound rift is being created. There are many who wish to participate in ecclesial life, but do not find any relation between the world in which they live and Christian principles. It is believed that the Church, merely due to rigidity, adheres firmly to its norms; and that this contrasts with the mercy that Jesus gives us the example in the Gospel. The difficult demands of Jesus, his words: ‘Go and from now on do not sin anymore’ (Jn 8:11), are ignored. Often, we fall back on personal conscience, forgetting however, that this conscience is as an eye that does not possess light in itself, but only when it looks toward the authentic source of light. (John Paul II. Allocution to the German Episcopal Conference, no. 6, November 17, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea on the indissolubility of marriage

  • Not even the Roman Pontiff can dissolve a ratified and consummated sacramental marriage – otherwise there is no absolutely indissoluble marriage

Today’s meeting with you, members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, is an appropriate setting for also speaking to the whole Church about the limits of the Roman Pontiff’s power over ratified and consummated marriage, which ‘cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death’ (CIC, can. 1141; CCEO, can. 853). By its very nature this formulation of canon law is not only disciplinary or prudential, but corresponds to a doctrinal truth that the Church has always held. Nevertheless, there is an increasingly widespread idea that the Roman Pontiff’s power, being the vicarious exercise of Christ’s divine power, is not one of those human powers referred to in the canons cited above, and thus it could be extended in some cases also to the dissolution of ratified and consummated marriages. In view of the doubts and anxieties this idea could cause, it is necessary to reaffirm that a ratified and consummated sacramental marriage can never be dissolved, not even by the power of the Roman Pontiff. The opposite assertion would imply the thesis that there is no absolutely indissoluble marriage, which would be contrary to what the Church has taught and still teaches about the indissolubility of the marital bond. (John Paul II. Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, no. 6, January 21, 2000)

  • Neither Scripture nor Tradition recognizes any faculty of the Roman Pontiff for dissolving a ratified and consummated marriage

The Roman Pontiff in fact has the ‘sacra potestas’ to teach the truth of the Gospel, administer the sacraments and pastorally govern the Church in the name and with the authority of Christ, but this power does not include per se any power over the divine law, natural or positive. Neither Scripture nor Tradition recognizes any faculty of the Roman Pontiff for dissolving a ratified and consummated marriage; on the contrary, the Church’s constant practice shows the certain knowledge of Tradition that such a power does not exist. The forceful expressions of the Roman Pontiffs are only the faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the Church’s permanent conviction. It seems quite clear then that the non-extension of the Roman Pontiff’s power to ratified and consummated sacramental marriages is taught by the Church’s Magisterium as a doctrine to be held definitively, even if it has not been solemnly declared by a defining act. This doctrine, in fact, has been explicitly proposed by the Roman Pontiffs in categorical terms, in a constant way and over a sufficiently long period of time. It was made their own and taught by all the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, with the knowledge that it must always be held and accepted by the faithful. In this sense it was reaffirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Besides, it is a doctrine confirmed by the Church’s centuries-old practice, maintained with full fidelity and heroism, sometimes even in the face of severe pressures from the mighty of this world. (John Paul II. Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, no. 8, January 21, 2000)

  • Example of Christian consistency: respect for the indissolubility of the marriage bond by those who have undergone divorce. These have no obstacle in receiving the Sacraments

The situation is similar for people who have undergone divorce, but, being well aware that the valid marriage bond is indissoluble, refrain from becoming involved in a new union and devote themselves solely to carrying out their family duties and the responsibilities of Christian life. In such cases their example of fidelity and Christian consistency takes on particular value as a witness before the world and the Church. Here it is even more necessary for the Church to offer continual love and assistance, without there being any obstacle to admission to the sacraments. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 83, November 22, 1981)

  • To declare the nullity of a marriage is that the marriage never existed – it does not conflict with the principle of indissolubility

Certainly, ‘the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed’, and in this case the parties ‘are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged’ (CCC, n. 1629). However, declarations of nullity for the reasons established by the canonical norms, especially for the lack or defects of marital consent (cf. CIC, can. 1095-1107), cannot conflict with the principle of indissolubility. (John Paul II. Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, no. 4, January 21, 2000)

  • A declaration of nullity is not divorce under a different name

The indissolubility of marriage is a teaching that comes from Christ himself, and the first duty of pastors and pastoral workers is therefore to help couples overcome whatever difficulties arise. The referral of matrimonial cases to the tribunal should be a last resort. Great care must be taken when explaining to the faithful what a declaration of nullity is, in order to avoid the danger of its being conceived as divorce under a different name. The tribunal exercises a ministry of truth: its purpose is ‘to ascertain whether or not the facts exist that by natural, divine or ecclesiastical law invalidate the marriage, in order to be able to issue a true and just sentence concerning the alleged non-existence of the marriage bond’ (Address to the Roman Rota, February 4, 1980, No. 2). The process leading to a judicial decision about the alleged nullity of marriage should demonstrate two aspects of the Church’s pastoral mission. First, it should manifest clearly the desire to be faithful to the Lord’s teaching concerning the permanent nature of sacramental marriage. Secondly, it should be inspired by genuine pastoral concern for those who seek the ministry of the tribunal in order to clarify their status in the Church. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of the United States of America, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, no. 4, October 17, 1998)

  • The declaration of the nullity of a marriage must be presented and effected in an ecclesial context that is totally favorable to the indissolubility of marriage

The attitude of the Church is, in contrast, favourable to convalidating, where possible, marriages that are otherwise null (cf. CIC, can. 1676; CCEO, can. 1362). It is true that the declaration of the nullity of a marriage, based on the truth acquired by means of a legitimate process, restores peace to the conscience, but such a declaration – and the same holds true for the dissolution of a marriage that is ratum non consummatum or a dissolution based upon the privilege of the faith – must be presented and effected in an ecclesial context that is totally favourable to the indissolubility of marriage and to family founded upon it. The spouses themselves must be the first to realize that only in the loyal quest for the truth can they find their true good, without excluding a priori the possible convalidation of a union that, although it is not yet a sacramental marriage, contains elements of good, for themselves and their children, that should be carefully evaluated in conscience before reaching a different decision. (John Paul II. Address to the Prelate Auditors, Officials and Advocates of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, no.6, January 28, 2002)

  • The failure of conjugal life does not imply the invalidity of the marriage

Then what can one say to the argument which holds that the failure of conjugal life implies the invalidity of the marriage? Unfortunately, this erroneous assertion is sometimes so forceful as to become a generalized prejudice that leads people to seek grounds for nullity as a merely formal justification of a pronouncement that is actually based on the empirical factor of matrimonial failure. This unjust formalism of those who are opposed to the traditional favor matrimonii can lead them to forget that, in accordance with human experience marked by sin, a valid marriage can fail because of the spouses’ own misuse of freedom. (John Paul II. Address to the members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for the Inauguration of the judicial year, no. 5, January 29, 2004)

  • The cases of the Pauline Privilege are relatively rare

I would like to quote in particular a statement of Pius XII: ‘A ratified and consummated marriage is by divine law indissoluble, since it cannot be dissolved by any human authority (can. 1118); while other marriages, although intrinsically indissoluble, still do not have an absolute extrinsic indissolubility, but, under certain necessary conditions, can (it is a question, as everyone knows, of relatively rare cases) be dissolved not only by virtue of the Pauline privilege, but also by the Roman Pontiff in virtue of his ministerial power’ (Address to the Roman Rota, 3 October 1941) With these words Pius XII gave an explicit interpretation of canon 1118, corresponding to the present canon 1141 of the Code of Canon Law, and to canon 853 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, in the sense that the expression ‘human power’ also includes the Pope’s ministerial or vicarious power, and he presented this doctrine as being peacefully held by all experts in the matter. In this context it would also be appropriate to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with the great doctrinal authority conferred on it by the involvement of the whole Episcopate in its drafting and by my special approval. We read there: ‘Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God’s fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom’ (n. 1640). (John Paul II. Address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, no. 7, January 21, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea comparing Catechesis with Yoga and Zen

  • Catechesis is a work of the Holy Spirit – a work that He alone initiates and sustains in the Church

At the end of this apostolic exhortation, the gaze of my heart turns to Him who is the principle inspiring all catechetical work and all who do this work-the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, the Holy Spirit. In describing the mission that this Spirit would have in the Church, Christ used the significant words: ‘He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you’ (Jn 14:26). And He added: ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…he will declare to you the things that are to come’ (Jn 16:13). The Spirit is thus promised to the Church and to each Christian as a teacher within, who, in the secret of the conscience and the heart, makes one understand what one has heard but was not capable of grasping: ‘Even now the Holy Spirit teaches the faithful,’ said St. Augustine in this regard, ‘in accordance with each one’s spiritual capacity. And he sets their hearts aflame with greater desire according as each one progresses in the charity that makes him love what he already knows and desire what he has yet to know’(In Ioan. Evan.Trac. 97, 1). Furthermore, the Spirit’s mission is also to transform the disciples into witnesses to Christ: ‘He will bear witness to me; and you also are witnesses’ (Jn 15:26-27). But this is not all. For St. Paul, who on this matter synthesizes a theology that is latent throughout the New Testament, it is the whole of one’s ‘being a Christian,’ the whole of the Christian life, the new life of the children of God, that constitutes a life in accordance with the Spirit. Only the Spirit enables us to say to God: ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom 8:15). Without the Spirit we cannot say: ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Cor 12:3). From the Spirit come all the charisms that build up the Church, the community of Christians. In keeping with this, St. Paul gives each disciple of Christ the instruction: ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (Eph 5:18). St. Augustine is very explicit: ‘Both (our believing and our doing good) are ours because of the choice of our will, and yet both are gifts from the Spirit of faith and charity’ (Retract I, 23, 2) Catechesis, which is growth in faith and the maturing of Christian life towards its fullness, is consequently a work of the Holy Spirit, a work that He alone can initiate and sustain in the Church. […] To begin with, it is clear that, when carrying out her mission of giving catechesis, the Church-and also every individual Christian devoting himself to that mission within the Church and in her name- must be very much aware of acting as a living, pliant instrument of the Holy Spirit. To invoke this Spirit constantly, to be in communion with Him, to endeavor to know His authentic inspirations must be the attitude of the teaching Church and of every catechist. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesis Tradendae, no. 72, October 16, 1979)

  • Catechesis gives growth to the seed of faith sown by the Holy Spirit

The specific aim of catechesis is to develop, with God’s help, an as yet initial faith, and to advance in fullness and to nourish day by day the Christian life of the faithful, young and old. It is in fact a matter of giving growth, at the level of knowledge and in life, to the seed of faith sown by the Holy Spirit with the initial proclamation and effectively transmitted by Baptism. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesis Tradendae, no. 20, October 16, 1979)

  • The Church has always considered catechesis one of her primary tasks

The Church has always considered catechesis one of her primary tasks, for, before Christ ascended to His Father after His resurrection, He gave the apostles a final command – to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded. He thus entrusted them with the mission and power to proclaim to humanity what they had heard, what they had seen with their eyes, what they had looked upon and touched with their hands, concerning the Word of Life. He also entrusted them with the mission and power to explain with authority what He had taught them, His words and actions, His signs and commandments. And He gave them the Spirit to fulfill this mission. Very soon the name of catechesis was given to the whole of the efforts within the Church to make disciples, to help people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so that believing they might have life in His name, and to educate and instruct them in this life and thus build up the Body of Christ. The Church has not ceased to devote her energy to this task. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesis Tradendae, no. 1, October 16, 1979)

  • Catechesis: a sacred duty and an inalienable right

To begin with, it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right. On the one hand, it is certainly a duty springing from a command given by the Lord and resting above all on those who in the new covenant receive the call to the ministry of being pastors. On the other hand, one can likewise speak of a right: from the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely the reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesis Tradendae, no. 14, October 16, 1979)

  • To sow confusion and uncertainty among Catholics: amalgamating Christian elements with others from Eastern religions and psychological techniques

Another phenomenon of our contemporary culture is that, while continuing to advance the secularization of many aspects of life, one perceives a new demand for spirituality; expression of the religious condition of man, and sign of his quest for answers to the crisis of values in Western society. To this promising panorama we need to respond, offering with fervor to the men and women of our time the riches of which we are the ministers and dispensers, thus contributing to satiate them: ‘In the depths of his heart there always remains a yearning for absolute truth and a thirst to attain full knowledge of it’ (Veritatis Splendor, no. 1). Keep in mind, however, that there are no lack of deviations that have led to Gnostic or pseudo-religious sects and movements, forming a far-reaching cultural fashion that is at times echoed in many sectors of society, and has influence even within Catholic circles. Therefore, some of them, with a syncretistic perspective, amalgamate Christian and Biblical elements with others drawn from Eastern religions and philosophies, from magic and psychological techniques. This expansion of sects and new religious groups attracting many of the faithful, and sowing confusion and uncertainty among Catholics, is a motive of pastoral concern. In this sphere, it is necessary to thoroughly analyze the problem and find pastoral guidelines to deal with it. […] Besides thinking about the negative influence of these religious fundamentalist groups, attention should be given to counteracting the causes that drive many faithful to leave the Church. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Argentinean Episcopal Conference on their ad limina visit, no. 5, February 7, 1995)

  • The primary and essential object of catechesis is the mystery of Christ

The primary and essential object of catechesis is, to use an expression dear to St. Paul and also to contemporary theology, ‘the mystery of Christ.’ Catechizing is in a way to lead a person to study this mystery in all its dimensions. […] Christocentricity in catechesis also means the intention to transmit not one’s own teaching or that of some other master, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Truth that He communicates or, to put it more precisely, the Truth that He is. We must therefore say that in catechesis it is Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who is taught – everything else is taught with reference to Him – and it is Christ alone who teaches – anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. Whatever be the level of his responsibility in the Church, every catechist must constantly endeavor to transmit by his teaching and behavior the teaching and life of Jesus. He will not seek to keep directed towards himself and his personal opinions and attitudes the attention and the consent of the mind and heart of the person he is catechizing. Above all, he will not try to inculcate his personal opinions and options as if they expressed Christ’s teaching and the lessons of His life. […] This teaching is not a body of abstract truths. It is the communication of the living mystery of God. The Person teaching it in the Gospel is altogether superior in excellence to the ‘masters’ in Israel, and the nature of His doctrine surpasses theirs in every way because of the unique link between what He says, what He does and what He is. (John Paul II. Apostolic exhortation Catechesis Tradendae, nos. 5-7, October 16, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on divorcees as Godparents

  • These little ones must find in their godparents support, guidance and example

In this way you will be better prepared to fulfill your task as the first teachers of faith for your children. These little ones must find in you, and in their godparents, support and guidance on the path of fidelity to Christ and the Gospel. Be examples for them of solid faith, of deep prayer and of active involvement in the Church’s life. (John Paul II. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, no. 3, January 9, 2000)

  • The Church desires that the godparents assume the grave duty of giving a good example

The Church is pleased to welcome these neo-baptized children; but desires that the parents, godfathers and godmothers, and also the whole community, assume the grave duty of good example, of upright teaching and authentic Christian formation, so that the child, in the gradual development of his existence, be faithful to his baptismal commitments. (John Paul II. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, no. 3, January 9, 1983)

  • God expects that godparents cooperate with parents in educating according to the teachings of the Gospel

The candle lighted from the paschal candle is a symbol of the light of faith which their parents and godparents must continually safeguard and nourish with the life-giving grace of the Spirit. […] And from you, godparents, God expects a special cooperation, which is expressed by supporting the parents in educating these infants according to the teachings of the Gospel. (John Paul II. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, no. 2, January 7, 2001)

  • The mission of the godparents has an eminent importance in catechesis

The parents solicit Baptism for their newborn children, pledging to educate them as Christians. To give an even fuller expression of this commitment, they ask other people, known as godparents, to commit themselves to help them – and if necessary replace them – in educating the newly baptized in the faith of the Church. This use, currently practiced, has an eminent importance in the problematic of catechesis. A baptized child cannot be educated in the faith of the Church without having a systematic catechesis. The commitments assumed by the parents and godparents at the Baptism of a newborn, refers primarily to the phase of childhood and adolescence. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1-2, December 19, 1984)

  • Do not separate what God has joined together

Fight against the plague of divorce that ruins families and so negatively affects the education of children. Do not separate what God has joined together. (John Paul II. Homily in Caracas, no. 6, January 27, 1985)

  • Children condemned as orphans of living parents

What is needed then is for human societies, and the families who live within them, often in a context of struggle between the civilization of love and its opposites, to seek their solid foundation in a correct vision of man and of everything which determines the full ‘realization’ of his humanity. Opposed to the civilization of love is certainly the phenomenon of so-called ‘free love’; this is particularly dangerous because it is usually suggested as a way of following one’s ‘real’ feelings, but it is in fact destructive of love. How many families have been ruined because of ‘free love’! To follow in every instance a ‘real’ emotional impulse by invoking a love ‘liberated’ from all conditionings, means nothing more than to make the individual a slave to those human instincts which Saint Thomas calls ‘passions of the soul’. ‘Free love’ exploits human weaknesses; it gives them a certain ‘veneer’ of respectability with the help of seduction and the blessing of public opinion. In this way there is an attempt to ‘soothe’ consciences by creating a ‘moral alibi’. But not all of the consequences are taken into consideration, especially when the ones who end up paying are, apart from the other spouse, the children, deprived of a father or mother and condemned to be in fact orphans of living parents. (John Paul II. Letter to Families, Gratissimam sane, no. 14, February 2, 1994)

  • A second union is in contradiction with the nature of the Sacrament of Marriage

A second union is in contradiction with the nature of the sacrament of marriage, in which is expressed the indefectible love of Christ for his Church. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Belgium on their ad limina visit, no. 6, July 3, 1992)

  • To admit divorced remarried persons to the Eucharist is to lead the faithful into error and confusion

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 84, November 22, 1981)

  • The respect due to the Sacrament of Matrimony forbids any pastor to perform ceremonies for divorced people who ‘remarry’

The respect due to the sacrament of Matrimony […] forbids any pastor, for whatever reason or pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry. Such ceremonies would give the impression of the celebration of a new sacramentally valid marriage, and would thus lead people into error concerning the indissolubility of a validly contracted marriage.

By acting in this way, the Church professes her own fidelity to Christ and to His truth. At the same time she shows motherly concern for these children of hers, especially those who, through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their legitimate partner. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris consortio, no. 84, November 22, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on offering rosaries

  • A Pope’s desire that we never cease to pray

That for which I want to give you courage and enthusiasm in this: keep visiting this Shrine. Even more do I want to say this to all of you, but especially to the young people (for it is the young who are particularly fond of this place): keep praying; we ‘ought always to pray and not lose heart’ (Lk 18:1), as Jesus taught. Pray, and through prayer shape your lives. (John Paul II. Address, Marian Shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland, no. 3, June 7, 1979)

  • In the Church there is an enormous need for insistent prayer

We are reunited today also, as every Sunday, for the prayer in common of the Angelus. The reading of today’s Liturgy inspires us to reflect on prayer. ‘Lord, teach us to pray’ (Lk 11:1) one of the disciples says to Christ in the Gospel. And he answers, giving the example of a man, certainly a persistent man, who, being in need, knocks at the door of a friend of his, no less than at midnight. But he receives what he asked for. Jesus, therefore, encourages us to have a similar attitude in prayer: the attitude of ardent perseverance. He says: ‘Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’ (Lk 11:9). […] There is an enormous need for prayer, for the great and insistent prayer of the Church; there is need of fervent, humble and persevering prayer. Prayer is the first front where, in our world, good and evil clash. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 1:3, July 27, 1980)

  • With the tranquil succession of Hail Marys, the Rosary has a peaceful effect on those who pray it

Moreover, by virtue of its meditative character, with the tranquil succession of Hail Marys, the Rosary has a peaceful effect on those who pray it, disposing them to receive and experience in their innermost depths, and to spread around them, that true peace which is the special gift of the Risen Lord (cf. Jn 14:27; 20.21). (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 40, October 16, 2002)

  • I encourage you in the exercises of devotion that you have lovingly preserved for centuries

I wish also at this time to recall to you an important truth affirmed by the Second Vatican Council, namely: ‘The spiritual life, nevertheless, is not confined to participation in the liturgy’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 12). And so I also encourage you in the other exercises of devotion that you have lovingly preserved for centuries, especially those in regard to the Blessed Sacrament. These acts of piety honour God and are useful for our Christian lives; they give joy to our hearts, and help us to appreciate more the liturgical worship of the Church. (John Paul II. Homily, Apostolic Journey to Ireland, no. 7, September 29, 1979)

  • The Rosary: great significance at the dawn of the third millennium – Destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness – Like Christianity itself, it has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to ‘set out into the deep’ (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), ‘the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn’(Gaudium et Spes, 45). (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 1, October 16, 2002)

…judges Francis’ words that it was not an offense accepting the Cross in the form of a communist symbol

  • Marxism: clearest expression of resistance to the Holy Spirit

Unfortunately, the resistance to the Holy Spirit which St. Paul emphasizes in the interior and subjective dimension as tension, struggle and rebellion taking place in the human heart, finds in every period of history and especially in the modern era its external dimension, which takes concrete form as the content of culture and civilization, as a philosophical system, an ideology, a program for action and for the shaping of human behavior. It reaches its clearest expression in materialism, both in its theoretical form: as a system of thought, and in its practical form: as a method of interpreting and evaluating facts, and likewise as a program of corresponding conduct. The system which has developed most and carried to its extreme practical consequences this form of thought, ideology and praxis is dialectical and historical materialism, which is still recognized as the essential core of Marxism. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, nos. 16. 56, May 18, 1986)

  • Marxism: a system, born of the presumption of freeing man, that ends up making man a slave

We have a long and painful history behind us, and feel the overwhelming need to look ahead to the future. Historical memory, however, must accompany us, because we can make something of the experience of these endless decades, in which inclusively your country [Lithuania] has felt the weight of an iron dictatorship that in the name of justice and equality, violated the freedom and dignity of individuals and of civil society. How could this happen? The analysis would be complex. However, it seems that among no lesser of the important reasons is the militant atheism in which Marxism was inspired: an atheism inclusively offensive to man whose dignity is rooted to the most solid foundation and guarantee. To this error others are added such as the materialistic concept of history, a harshly conflicting vision of society, and the ‘messianic’ role attributed to the single political party, lord of the State. Everything converges so that this system, born of the presumption of freeing man, ends up making him a slave. (John Paul II. Speech to the academic and intellectual world, University of Vilnius, Lithuania, September 5, 1993)

  • Marxism: a totalitarian conception of the world

Today, when many countries have seen the fall of ideologies which bound politics to a totalitarian conception of the world — Marxism being the foremost of these — there is no less grave a danger that the fundamental rights of the human person will be denied and that the religious yearnings which arise in the heart of every human being will be absorbed once again into politics. This is the risk of an alliance between democracy and ethical relativism, which would remove any sure moral reference point from political and social life, and on a deeper level make the acknowledgement of truth impossible. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 101, August 6, 1993)

  • Atheistic marxism-leninism: a lie that has deeply wounded human nature in for 75 years

The backflow of atheistic Marxism-Leninism, as a totalitarian political system in Europe is far from resolving the tragedies caused in these three quarters of a century. All who have been affected by this totalitarian system in one way or another, even the leaders and their supporters as its staunch adversaries, have become its victims. Those who have sacrificed their family, their energies and their dignity for the communist utopia are beginning to realize they have been dragged into a lie that has deeply wounded human nature. Others have found a freedom for which they were unprepared and the use of such remains hypothetical, since they live in precarious political, social and economic conditions and are experiencing a confused cultural situation, with a violent reawakening of nationalist rivalries. In its conclusion the pre-Synod Symposium asked: to where and to whom will those whose utopian hopes have recently disappeared turn to? The spiritual void that threatens society is above all a cultural void. It is the moral conscience, renewed by the Gospel of Christ, which can truly fulfill it. (John Paul II. Speech to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, January 10, 1992)

  • Marxism: a theoretical and pragmatic system that pretends to resolve human questions with false solutions

The course of world history itself is showing the fallacy of the solutions proposed by Marxism. This theoretical and pragmatic system methodically exacerbates divisions among people, and pretends to resolve the human questions within a horizon that is closed to the transcendent. In the opposite regard, the contemporary experience of the more developed countries reveals other serious defects: a vision of life based only on material well being and a selfish freedom that thinks it is unlimited. By their contrast these considerations offer dear directions for your future. There is no true progress without the integral truth about the human being, which Christians know is found only in Christ. Certainly we should want prosperity combined with the necessary overcoming of economic and cultural diversity and the total integration of all the regions of our vast geography in a broad programme of progress and development. However, all this will be fragile and precarious if it is not combined with a deeper Christianization of our earth. (John Paul II. Address to the President of the Republic of Chile, no. 4, April 22, 1991)

  • Atheistic marxism arrived at the extreme consequences of its materialistic postulations

I see, above all, the deep and splendid stratum of Christianity, the spiritual and Christian movement which has also had its ‘contemporary’ apogee, always alive and present, as I said earlier. But also in this ensemble there has appeared other, notorious, currents of a powerful eloquence and negative effectiveness: on the one hand, there is all the rationalist, illuminist, scientistic inheritance of the so called secularist ‘liberalism’ in the nations of the West, which has brought the radical negation of Christianity; on the other hand, there is the ideology and practice of atheistic ‘marxism’, which has arrived, it could be said, at the extreme consequences of its materialistic postulations in the various existing denominations. In this ‘glowing crucible’ of the contemporary world, Christ wants to be present again, with all of the eloquence of his Paschal mystery. (John Paul II. Address to the citizens of the city of Turin, April 13, 1980)

  • Against all Marxist reductionism, the Church bears witness to the truth about God

The Twentieth Century has become the history of the Church and perhaps especially on Polish soil at the moment of a new challenge. After a thousand years of Christianity, Poland had to accept the challenge, contained in the ideology of the Marxist dialectic, which qualifies every religion as an alienating factor for men. We are aware of this challenge, I myself have lived it here, in this land. The Church is living through this in different parts of the globe. This is a profound challenge. According to materialist anthropology, religion is considered a factor which deprives man of the fullness of his humanity. Man himself, with religion would deprive himself, alone, of the fullness of humanity, renouncing what is immanently and fully ‘human’ in favor of a God who in accordance with the assumptions and premises of the materialistic system would be just ‘a product’ of man This challenge can be destructive. However, after years of experience, we cannot help but verify that this can also be a challenge that has profoundly encouraged Christians to undertake efforts in the search for new solutions. In this sense it becomes, in some way, a creative challenge: an eloquent testimony of the II Vatican Council is there. The Church has accepted the challenge; it has perceived therein one of these providential ‘signs of the times’ and through these ‘signs’ – with a new depth and strength of conviction – it has borne witness to the truth about God, Christ and man, against all ‘reductionism’ of epistemological or systematic nature, and against all materialist dialectic. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Poland, June 14, 1987)

  • The preferential option for the poor does not mean considering the poor as in a class struggle

Within the perspective of almost half a millennium of evangelization, the Church in Latin America faces this important task, which is rooted in the Gospel. There is no doubt that the Church must be entirely faithful to her Lord, putting this option into practice, offering its generous contribution to the work of ‘social liberation’ of the dispossessed multitudes, in order to achieve a justice that corresponds to the dignity of all as men and children of God. But this important and urgent task must be undertaken in a line of fidelity to the Gospel, which prohibits the use of methods of hatred and violence:
— It is to be undertaken by maintaining a preferential option for the poor that is not, as I myself have said on several occasions, exclusive and excluding, but open to all who want to leave sin and convert in their heart;
It must be undertaken without this option meaning a consideration of the poor as a class, as in a class struggle, or as a Church separate from the communion and obedience to Her Pastors established by Christ; — It must be undertaken by considering man in his earthly and eternal vocation;
— It must be undertaken without the necessary effort of a social transformation exposing man to fall under systems that deprive him of his liberty and subject him to programs of atheism, such as practical materialism that plunder him of his interior and transcendent wealth;
It must be undertaken, knowing that the first liberation to be pursued by man is the liberation from sin, the moral evil that dwells in his heart, which is the cause of ‘social sin’ and oppressive structures.
These are a few basic points of reference, which the Church cannot forget in her evangelizing and promotional activities. They must be present in practice and in theological reflection, in accordance with the indications of the Holy See’s recent Instruction regarding ‘Some aspects of Liberation Theology’, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (John Paul II. Homily of the Mass on the Fifth Century of Evangelization in the Americas, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, no. 5, October 11, 1984)

  • Solidarity with the poor need not be jeopardized by ideologies foreign to the faith

On your part, given the full certainty —to the members of your dioceses who work with a spirit in favor of the poor,— that the Church wishes to maintain its preferential option for these and encourages the efforts of those who, faithful to the directives of the hierarchy, give themselves generously to the needy as an inseparable part of their mission. In this way, the necessary clamor for justice and the necessary preferential solidarity with the poor, need not be jeopardized by ideologies foreign to the faith, as if they have the secret of true efficacy. This urgent call for integral evangelization has also as a reference point the other problems that you yourselves have presented to me in your reports, and that have as the center of your concerns the moral decadence in many areas of public life. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Peru on their ad limina visit, no. 4-5, October 1984)

  • The dangerous uncertainty created among the faithful regarding ‘Liberation Theology’

At the same time, transforming hearts is also the only force able to effectively change structures, to found and encourage the cause of the authentic dignity of man and establish the civilization of love. This love, the center of Christianity, raises man and brings him, in and through Christ, to the endless fullness of his life in God, while also raising the same earthly realities. Therefore we cannot accept a humanism without at least an implicit reference to God, nor a materialist dialectic which would be the practical denial of God. On this theological basis you will have to base your general service to the faith as pastors and guides of the faithful. From this you will have to clarify the doubts of your faithful on issues related to their ecclesial journey. In this regard I cannot refrain from mentioning the dangerous uncertainty created in some of your situations — although less frequently than in other places — regarding some currents of Liberation Theology. In this work of clarification the norms contained in the Instruction on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will help you. And so that in your country the commitment and encouragement toward the preferential option for the poor become fully ecclesial, I recommend that you gather the criteria I gave during my recent visit to the Dominican Republic. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Bolivia on their ad limina visit, no. 2, December 7, 1984)

  • The danger of an uncritical adoption in theology of Marxist ideas

In accomplishing its specific task in service of the Roman Pontiff’s universal Magisterium, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has more recently had to intervene to re-emphasize the danger of an uncritical adoption by some liberation theologians of opinions and methods drawn from Marxism.
In the past, then, the Magisterium has on different occasions and in different ways offered its discernment in philosophical matters. My revered Predecessors have thus made an invaluable contribution which must not be forgotten. (John Paul II. Encyclical Fides et ratio, no. 54, September 14, 1998)

  • The danger of attempts to build a supposedly Christian hegelianism or marxism

It is from this kind of synthesis that you find yourselves, together with your faithful, in the situation of all cultures. There is room here for many diverse and more or less legitimate doctrinal positions. You are certainly aware of a danger: of allowing an philosophy and theology of ‘Africanity’ to be constituted, which would be solely native without any real and profound relation to Christ; in which case, Christianism would be nothing other than a verbal reference, an element introduced and artificially included. Medieval Europe also knew some Aristotelians who were Christian only by name, such as the Averroists that Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure had to vigorously combat. In modern times, one can see the same danger in attempts to build a supposedly Christian hegelianism or marxism. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Zaire on their ad limina visit, no. 6, April 30, 1983)

…judges Francis’ pro-communist ideas expressed in the Meetings with Popular Movements

  • Cases where the ‘option for the poor’ led to a ‘politicization’ of the consecrated life, leading to conflicts, violence and partisan choices

There have not been lacking cases in which this option [for the poor] has brought on a politicization of the consecrated life, not exempting violent and partisan options, with the manipulation of people and institutions for purposes absolutely foreign to the mission of the Church. It is therefore necessary to recall what was said in the Instruction Libertatis conscientia: ‘The special option for the poor, far from being a sign of particularism or sectarianism, manifests the universality of the Church’s being and mission. This option excludes no one. This is the reason why the Church cannot express this option by means of reductive sociological and ideological categories which would make this preference an option of a partisan and of a conflictual character’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, no. 68) (John Paul II. Apostolic letter to the Religious of Latin America on the V Centenary evangelization of the New World, June 29, 1990)

  • Communism: a failed utopia. Capitalism: at the level of its basic principles is conformed to natural law, and so according to social doctrine of the Church, though its abuses are condemnable. The third way between them is another utopia

 Q: You once told the Polish to ‘seek a path hitherto unexplored’. Is this a call for a third way between capitalism and socialism?
A: I fear that this third way is another utopia. On one hand, we have communism which is a utopia that, put into practice, has proved to be a tragic failure. On the other hand, there is capitalism which in its practical dimension, at the level of its basic principles is acceptable according to social doctrine of the Church, as it conforms in various aspects to natural law. This is the opinion expressed by Pope Leo XIII. Unfortunately, abuses take place — diverse forms of injustice, exploitation, violence and arrogance — that some make of this practice, which is in itself acceptable, and then we arrive at a form of brutal capitalism. The abuses of capitalism are to be condemned. (John Paul II. Interview with the journalist Jas Gawronski, published in “La Stampa”, November 2, 1993)

  • In the name of justice and equality Marxism violated the liberty and the dignity of the individual and civil society: making him a slave

We have a long and painful history behind us, and feel the overwhelming need to look ahead to the future. Historical memory, however, must accompany us, because we can treasure the experience of these endless decades, in which inclusively your country [Lithuania] has felt the weight of an iron dictatorship that in the name of justice and equality, violated the freedom and dignity of individuals and of civil society. How could this happen? The analysis would be complex. However, it seems that among no lesser of the important reasons is the militant atheism in which Marxism was inspired: an atheism offensive inclusively to man, by taking away the most sold foundation and guarantee of his dignity. To this error others are added such as the materialistic concept of history, a harshly conflicting vision of society, the ‘messianic’ role attributed to the single political party, lord of the State. Everything converges so that this system, born of the presumption of freeing man, ends up making him a slave. (John Paul II. Speech to the academic and intellectual world, University of Vilnius, Lithuania, September 5, 1993)

  • The economic failure of communism resulted in a tragic utopia – the pretension of building a new world without God has proven illusory

What for years was impossible, today has become reality. What elements contributed and contribute to explain the point to which we have arrived? ‘Warsaw, Moscow, Budapest, Berlin, Prague, Sofia, Bucharest, to name only the Capitals, have become almost like the steps of a pilgrimage to freedom’ (Speech to the Diplomatic Corps, January 13, 1990). Apparently, it all started with the economic collapse. This was the land chosen to build a new world, a new man, guided by the prospect of wellbeing; but with an existential project severely limited to the earthly horizon. This hope was a tragic utopia, because some essential aspects of the human person were neglected and denied: his uniqueness, the fact of being unrepeatable, his irrepressible yearning for freedom and truth, and his inability to feel happiness when excluding a transcendent relationship with God. This dimension of the person may be denied for a certain time, but not perennially rejected. The pretension of building a world without God has proven illusory. And it could not be otherwise! Only the timing and modality [of this proof] remained unknown. The suffering of the persecuted for justice (cf. Mt 5:10), the solidarity of all those who have united in the commitment to the dignity of man, the desire for the supernatural inherent in the human soul, and the prayer of the righteous contributed to help return to the path of freedom in the truth. (John Paul II. Speech at the Welcoming Ceremony at Prague International Airport, April 21, 1990)

  • The course of world history itself is showing the fallacy of the solutions proposed by Marxism

The course of world history itself is showing the fallacy of the solutions proposed by Marxism. This theoretical and pragmatic system methodically exacerbates divisions among people, and pretends to resolve the human questions within a horizon that is closed to the transcendent. In the opposite regard, the contemporary experience of the more developed countries reveals other serious defects: a vision of life based only on material well being and a selfish freedom that thinks it is unlimited. By their contrast these considerations offer dear directions for your future. There is no true progress without the integral truth about the human being, which Christians know is found only in Christ. Certainly we should want prosperity combined with the necessary overcoming of economic and cultural diversity and the total integration of all the regions of our vast geography in a broad program of progress and development. However, all this will be fragile and precarious if it is not combined with a deeper Christianization of our earth. (John Paul II. Speech to the President of the Republic of Chile, April 22, 1991)

  • An erroneous ideal: the only hope to improve society is to promote conflict and hatred between social groups, in the utopia of a society without classes

Participating, as a priest, bishop and Cardinal, within the life of numerous university youth, within youth groups, during excursions through the mountains, in circles of reflection and prayer, I learned that a youth begins to age dangerously when he lets himself be tricked by the easy and comfortable principle that ‘the end justifies the means’; when he starts believing that the only hope to improve society is to promote conflict and hatred between social groups, in the utopia of a society without classes, that soon reveals itself as the creator of new classes. I became convinced that only love brings together that which is different and brings about unity in diversity. The words of Christ ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you’ (Jn 13: 34), then seemed to me, beyond their incomparable theological profundity, to be the seed and principle of the only radical transformation to be appreciated by a young person. The seed and principle of the only revolution that does not betray man. Only true love erects. (John Paul II. Mass for Brazilian youth in Belo Horizonte, July 1, 1980)

  • The error of interpreting the problem of the poor in a Marxist key: misguided ideology and utopias that succumb to violence

There have been cases in which an erroneous interpretation of the problem of the poor in a Marxist key ‘has led to a misconception and an anomalous praxis of the option for the poor and the vow of poverty’, which becomes devoid of significance by the lack of reference to the poverty of Christ and disconnected from the measure which is theological life. Consecrated life must be, therefore, firmly entrenched in the theological virtues, so that faith does not give in to the mirage of ideology, hope is not confused with utopias, universal charity, which reaches the limit of love of enemies, does not succumb to the temptation of violence. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter to the men and women Religious of Latin America on the V Centenary of the evangelization of the New World, no. 20, June 29, 1990)

  • The communist utopia dragged many into a lie that deeply wounded human nature: they sacrificed family, energies and even human dignity

The backflow of atheistic Marxism-Leninism, as a totalitarian political system in Europe is far from resolving the tragedies caused in these three quarters of a century. All who have been affected by this totalitarian system in one way or another, its leaders and supporters as well as its most staunch adversaries, have become its victims. Those who have sacrificed their family, their energies and their dignity to the communist utopia are beginning to realize they have been dragged into a lie that has deeply wounded human nature. Others have found a freedom for which they were unprepared and the use of such remains hypothetical, since they live in precarious political, social and economic conditions and are experiencing a confused cultural situation, with a sanguinary reawakening of nationalist rivalries. In its conclusion the pre-Synod Symposium asked: to where and to whom will those whose utopian hopes have recently evaporated turn to? The spiritual void that threatens society is above all a cultural void. It is the moral conscience, renewed by the Gospel of Christ, which can truly fulfill it. (John Paul II. Speech to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, January 10, 1992)

  • Faith based on Revelation and the Magisterium preserves evangelization from human utopias: a social transformation with violence leading to class struggle

Vatican Council II, recalling the text of the First Letter of Saint John that we mentioned here, shows us the dynamism of evangelization in the words of Saint Augustine, in which he stresses that love should guide the whole process of evangelization, so that the whole world, by the proclamation of salvation, may by listening, believe, and by believing hope, and by hoping, love. Faith that is based on Revelation and the Magisterium of the Church preserves evangelization from the temptation of human utopias: Christian hope does not confuse salvation with ideologies of any kind; charity, that must encourage the work of evangelization, preserves the evangelical proclamation from the temptation of pure strategy of a social transformation or sudden violence that leads to class struggle. (John Paul II. Letter on the occasion of the XV General Ordinary Assembly of the Conference for the Religious of Brazil, July 11, 1989)

  • Communism: a very great injustice, a destructive utopia which did not achieve ‘the paradise of absolute justice’

This message of Divine Mercy, the message of the Merciful Christ, came from this land, also passing through your city, and went spreading worldwide. This message has prepared entire generations so that they can confront the very great injustice organized on behalf of a destructive utopia that would have achieved on earth ‘the paradise of absolute justice.’ (John Paul II. Homily during the Beatification of Mother Boleslawa Lament, June 5, 1991)

  • Systems that auto-proclaimed themselves as scientific social renovations proved to be tragic utopias. Faith in Christ has shown that, far from being the opium of the people, it is the best guarantee and the stimulus of their liberty

A common sentiment that seems to dominate the great human family today. All wonder what future must be built on peace and solidarity, in this transition from one cultural era to another. The great ideologies have shown their failure in the face of the harsh trail of events. Systems, that auto-proclaimed themselves to be a scientific social renovation, or even the redemption of man by himself, myths of man’s fulfillment by means of revolution, have been revealed to the eyes of the world for what they were: tragic utopias which entailed a regression without precedent in the tormented history of humanity. In the midst of their brethren, the heroic resistance of Christian communities against inhuman totalitarianism has aroused admiration. Today’s world rediscovers that, far from being the opium of the people, faith in Christ is the best guarantee and the stimulus of their liberty. (John Paul II. Speech to the participants of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Counsel for Culture, no. 2, January 12, 1990)

…judges Francis’ ideas on faith being revolutionary

  • This idea of Christ as a revolutionary, the subversive man from Nazareth, does not tally with the Church’s catechesis

In fact, today there occur in many places —the phenomenon is not a new one— ‘re-readings’ of the Gospel, the result of theoretical speculations rather than authentic meditation on the word of God and a true commitment to the Gospel. They cause confusion by diverging from the central criteria of the faith of the Church, and some people have the temerity to pass them on, under the guise of catechesis, to the Christian communities. In some cases either Christ’s divinity is passed over in silence, or some people in fact fall into forms of interpretation at variance with the Church’s faith. Christ is said to be merely a ‘prophet’, one who proclaimed God’s Kingdom and love, but not the true Son of God, and therefore not the centre and object of the very Gospel message. In other cases people claim to show Jesus as politically committed, as one who fought against Roman oppression and the authorities, and also as one involved in the class struggle. This idea of Christ as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive man from Nazareth, does not tally with the Church’s catechesis. (John Paul II. Address, Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, no. I.4, January 28, 1979)

  • We need a praying and adoring faith, shown in moral integrity of life

The mystical doctor, [Saint John of the Cross], overcoming these obstacles, helps, with his example and his doctrine, to strengthen the Christian faith with the fundamental qualities of the adult faith, as Vatican Council II wishes: a personal faith, free and convinced, embraced with the whole being; an ecclesial faith, confessed and celebrated in the communion of the Church; a praying and adoring faith, matured in the experience of communion with God; a faith that is solid and committed, shown in moral integrity of life and in the dimension of service. This is the faith we need, and of which the Saint of Fontiveros gives his personal testimony and his always current teachings. (John Paul II. Apostolic letter Master in the Faith, no. 7, December 14, 1990)

  • The attachment to Christ should be strengthened by unshakable fidelity to the Gospel

My thoughts then turn to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Co-Patron of the Diocese, whom I had the opportunity to honor in Castiglione delle Stiviere, his birthplace, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of his death. Still today, this ardent young man, follower of Christ, addresses a pressing exhortation to us of coherence and fidelity to the Gospel, reminding us that God must have priority in our lives. […] Following in the footsteps of so many Saints and Blesseds, may the Christians of Mantua proceed in their journey of faith, every day building up their attachment to Christ and reinforcing the bonds of a fraternal union, strengthened by their unshakable fidelity to the Gospel. (John Paul II. To the Bishop of Mantua, no. 3, June 10, 2004)

  • The Church needs prayerful souls who ceaselessly sing the praises of the Most Holy Trinity

In this time of great shifts and changes, Croatia needs men and women with a living faith, who can bear witness to the love of God for man, and who are prepared to devote their energies to the service of the Gospel. Your nation needs apostles who will go among the people bearing the Good News; Croatia needs prayerful souls who ceaselessly sing the praises of the Most Holy Trinity and raise petitions to ‘God our Saviour, who wills that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth’ (cf. 1 Tim 2:4). (John Paul II. Message to the Bishops’ Conference of Croatia, no. 3, October 4, 1998)

  • Be convinced Christians!

What was the interior strength that formed your saints, and therefore continues to be valid to raise an authentic Christian? The response is simple: the conviction of the faith! The Saints were and are people entirely convinced of the absolute, decisive and exclusive value of the message of Christ. This conviction led them to embrace and follow Him, without hesitation, without uncertainty, without useless regression, even in the midst of struggles and suffering, with the help of the grace of God, always invoked and never rejected. Conviction! This is the great word! This is the secret and the strength of the Saints! The Saints acted as a consequence. And so it should be with all Christians in all times, but especially today in our times, so demanding and critical, in which when logical and personalized convictions are lacking, the faith is debilitated and finally gives way. […] Dearest faithful of Umbria: This is the exhortation I wish to make to you, together with your bishops, in the ever lively remembrance of your Saints: Be convinced Christians! (John Paul II. Address to pilgrims form the Umbria region, no. 2-3, May 17, 1980)

  • Obedience without reserve is the mark of the saints

Dearest brethren, my thoughts go directly to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, and to the example he left us. Yesterday, commemorating in Castiglione delle Stiviere the four hundredth anniversary of his death, I remembered how his life was entirely fulfilled because he lived in total and constant fidelity to God, in the generous fulfillment of the divine will. His existence was a yes without reserve to Christ, renewed in joy and in sorrow, imitating Mary, the Virgin of the Annunciation. How can we fail to recall that at just ten years of age, in the Church of the Annunciation in Florence, he offered himself totally to God? The Fiat of Mary became his Fiat, he commended himself to the cares of his Mother and, as an obedient son, he followed her footsteps with humility and docile abandon. (John Paul II. Angelus, Pastoral visit to Mantua, no. 1-2, June 23, 1991)

  • Young people should be willing to live and die for Christ

‘We die for Christ. All of us. We die willingly for not denying our holy Faith!’ Were they perhaps deluded? Were they behind the times? No, dear young people, they were men, authentic men, strong, decisive and coherent, deeply rooted in their history, they were men who intensely loved their city, who were strongly linked to their families, among them were young people, like yourselves, who, like yourselves desired joy, happiness. […] And they, with lucidity and firmness, opted for Christ! […] Faced with the suggestions of certain contemporary ideologies that exalt and proclaim theoretical and practical atheism, and I ask you, young people of Otranto and of Pulla: Are you willing to repeat, with full conviction and conscience, the words of the Blessed Martyrs: ‘We choose to die any kind of death for Christ, rather than denying him’? To be willing to die for Christ implies the decision to accept with generosity and coherence the demands of Christian life, that is, it means living for Christ. The Blessed Martyrs left us – and above all, have left you – two fundamental testimonies: love of the earthly homeland, and the authenticity of the Christian faith. (John Paul II. Address to youth, no. 2-3, October 5, 1980)

  • The faith of a young person should be strong, joyful, and hardworking

Be young people of faith! Of true, profound Christian faith! […] May your faith, young people, be sure, that is to say, based on the word of Christ, on the deep knowledge of the Gospel message, and especially in the life, the person, and the work of Christ; and in the same way, on the interior testimony of the Holy Spirit.
May your faith be strong; may it not waver, not vacillate when faced with doubts, with uncertainties that philosophical systems or fashionable currents suggest to you; my it not compromise with certain conceptions that wish to present Christianity as if it were merely an ideology of a historical character, and therefore, put on the same level as many others that have already been surpassed.
May your faith be joyful, as based on the certainty of possessing a divine gift. When you pray and dialogue with God, and when you speak to people, show the joy of this enviable possession.
May your faith be hardworking, may it be shown and made visible in active and generous charity towards the brothers who live crushed by suffering and necessity; may it be shown in your serene adhesion to the teaching of the Church, Mother and Master of the truth; may it be expressed in your willingness towards all the initiatives of apostolate in which you are invited to participate for the expansion and the building of the Kingdom of Christ. (John Paul II. Address to youth, no. 3, October 5, 1980)

…judges Francis’ ideas on finding God

  • Ever since the olden times God could been encountered in his temple

The Psalmist reminds us that God was in constant touch with his people through Moses and Aaron, his mediators, and through Samuel, his prophet. He spoke and was heard, he punished offenses but also forgave. The sign of his presence among his people was ‘his footstool’, namely, the throne of the Ark of the Temple of Zion (cf. vv. 5-8). (John Paul II. Audience, November 27, 2002)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the Church closed and ailing

  • How can they preach the Gospel if they do not have a true understanding of the faith?

In order constantly to discover and maintain the joy of mission, it is most important that the Lord’s ministers strengthen their spiritual life, particularly through daily prayer, which is ‘the remedy of salvation’ (St. Paulinus of Nola, Letters 34, 10), and through the intimate meeting with the Lord in the Eucharist, which is the focal point of the priest’s day (cf. General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, n. 1). In the same way, regular reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, which re- establishes the sinner in grace and restores friendship with God, helps the priest in turn to bring forgiveness to his brothers and sisters. These are a source of indispensable nourishment for Christ’s disciples, and even more for those who are responsible for leading and sanctifying the Christian people. I would also like to insist on the need to celebrate worthily the Liturgy of the Hours, which helps to enrich the People of God with a mysterious apostolic fruitfulness (cf. General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, n. 18), and on time for daily prayer: in this way the priest revives the gift of God within him, prepares for his mission, strengthens his priestly identity and builds up the Church. Indeed, it is before God that the priest becomes aware of the call he has received and renews his availability for the particular mission entrusted to him by the Bishop in the Lord’s name, thereby showing that he is available for the work of the Holy Spirit, who gives growth to every action (cf. 1 Cor 3:7). Priests are called to be joyful witnesses to Christ through their teaching and the witness of an upright life corresponding to the commitment they made on the day of their ordination. They are your ‘sons and friends’ (Christus Dominus, n. 16; cf. Jn 15:15). You must remain attentive to their spiritual and intellectual needs, reminding them that, although they live among men and take modern life into account, like all the faithful they must not model themselves on today’s world, but must conform their lives to the Word they proclaim and the sacraments they celebrate (cf. Rom 12:2; Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 3); thus they will express ‘the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 2). Encourage them to pray personally and to support one another in this regard. Also, invite them constantly to deepen their knowledge of theology, which is necessary to spiritual and pastoral life. In fact, how can they preach the Gospel and be ‘dispensers of a life other than that of this earth’ (Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 3), if they do not remain close to the heart of Christ like the Apostle he loved, and if they do not apply themselves through continuing formation to a true understanding of the faith? (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Netherlands on the occasion of their ad limina visit, no. 2, June 18, 1998)

  • An urgent need for powerful proclamation of the Gospel and solid Christian formation

In our world, often dominated by a secularized culture which encourages and promotes models of life without God, the faith of many is sorely tested, and is frequently stifled and dies. Thus we see an urgent need for powerful proclamation and solid, in-depth Christian formation. There is so much need today for mature Christian personalities, conscious of their baptismal identity, of their vocation and mission in the Church and in the world! There is great need for living Christian communities! And here are the movements and the new ecclesial communities: they are the response, given by the Holy Spirit, to this critical challenge at the end of the millennium. You are this providential response. […] You have learned in the movements and new communities that faith is not abstract talk, nor vague religious sentiment, but new life in Christ instilled by the Holy Spirit. (John Paul II. Address during the meeting with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, no. 7, May 30, 1998)

  • Any life planning that is not in accordance with the design of God for man is destined to failure

Never forget that any life planning that is not in accordance with the design of God for man, is destined – sooner or later – to failure. In effect, it is only in God and with God that man can entirely fulfill himself and reach the plenitude of that which he aspires to in his inmost heart. […] It is decisive to choose true, not transitory values; the authentic truth, and not half truths or pseudo-truths. (John Paul II. Address during the Encounter with Catechists and Ecclesial Movements, October 4, no. 6, 1998)

  • The mission of teaching proper to Bishops: courageously proclaiming the faith

The Second Vatican Council, advancing along the path indicated by the Church’s tradition, explains that the mission of teaching proper to Bishops consists in reverently safeguarding and courageously proclaiming the faith. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, no. 28, October 16, 2003)

  • The ‘nets’ we are called upon to cast among men are the Sacraments

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate! Christ repeats to us today: ‘Duc in altum – Put out into the deep!’ (Lk 5,4). Following His invitation, we may reread the triple munus entrusted to us in the Church: munus docendi, sanctificandi et regendi (the ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing. Duc in docendo! (Lead in teaching). With the Apostle we will say: ‘Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort – be unfailing in patience and in teaching’ (2 Tim 4:2). Duc in sanctificando! (Lead in sanctifying). The ‘nets’ we are called upon to cast among men are, first of all, the Sacraments, of which we are the principal dispensers, governors, guardians and promoters. (John Paul II. Homily at the inauguration of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 6, September 30, 2001)

  • Teaching and example of an authentic life of faith are inseparable

No full treatment of the ministry of the Bishop, as the preacher of the Gospel and guardian of the faith among the People of God, can fail to mention the duty of personal integrity: the Bishop’s teaching is prolonged in his witness and his example of an authentic life of faith. He teaches with an authority exercised in the name of Jesus Christ 125 the word which is heard in the community; were he not to live what he teaches, he would be giving the community a contradictory message. […] The witness of his life becomes for a Bishop a new basis for authority alongside the objective basis received in episcopal consecration. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, no. 31, October 16, 2003)

  • The primacy of grace is the essential principle for any pastoral ministry

The Bishop must be the first to show by the example of his own life the need to re-establish the primacy of ‘being’ over ‘doing’ and, more importantly, the primacy of grace, which, in the Christian vision of life, remains the essential principle for any ‘planning’ of pastoral ministry. A Bishop can be considered a genuine minister of communion and hope for God’s holy people only when he walks in the presence of the Lord. It is not possible to be a servant of others unless one is first a ‘servant of God’. And one can only be a servant of God if one is a ‘man of God’. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, nos. 12-13, October 16, 2003)

 …judges Francis’ words in his first appearance

  • The See of Rome has a universal mission

Today the new Bishop of Rome solemnly begins his ministry and the mission of Peter. In this city, in fact, Peter completed and fulfilled the mission entrusted to him by the Lord. […] Yes, Brothers and sons and daughters, Rome is the See of Peter. Down the centuries new Bishops continually succeeded him in this See. Today a new, Bishop comes to the Chair of` Peter in Rome, a Bishop full of trepidation, conscious of his unworthiness. And how could one not tremble before the greatness of this call and before the universal mission of this See of Rome! (John Paul II. Homily for the inauguration of his Pontificate, October 22, 1978)

  • The bishop of Rome is more obliged than other bishops to work for the good of the universal Church

The Good Shepherd, the Lord Christ Jesus (cf. Jn 10:11,14), conferred on the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, and in a singular way on the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the mission of making disciples in all nations and of preaching the Gospel to every creature. […] This applies to each and every bishop in his own particular Church; but all the more does it apply to the bishop of Rome, whose Petrine ministry works for the good and benefit of the universal Church. The Roman Church has charge over the “whole body of charity” and so it is the servant of love. It is largely from this principle that those great words of old have come — ‘The servant of the servants of God’—, by which Peter’s successor is known and defined. (John Paul II. Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, no. 1-2, June 28, 1988)

  • To the ministry of Peter is confided both flock and the shepherds

But just as the ministry of Peter as the ‘servant of the servants of God’ is exercised in relationship with both the whole Church and the bishops of the entire Church, similarly the Roman Curia, as the servant of Peter’s successor, looks only to help the whole Church and its bishops. (John Paul II. Apostolic constitution Pastor bonus, no. 7, June 28, 1988)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the norms of the Church

  • The Code of Canon Law is founded on the juridical-legislative heritage of Revelation and Tradition

A second question arises concerning the very nature of the Code of Canon Law. To reply adequately to this question, one must mentally recall the distant patrimony of law contained in the books of the Old and New Testament from which is derived, as from its first source, the whole juridical – legislative tradition of the Church.

Christ the Lord, indeed, did not in the least wish to destroy the very rich heritage of the Law and of the Prophets which was gradually formed from the history and experience of the People of God in the Old Testament, but He brought it to completion (cf. Mt. 5:17), in such wise that in a new and higher way it became part of the heritage of the New Testament. Therefore, although Saint Paul, in expounding the Paschal Mystery, teaches that justification is not obtained by the works of the Law, but by means of faith (cf. Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16), he does not thereby exclude the binding force of the Decalogue (cf. Rom 13:28; Gal 5:13-25; 6:2), nor does he deny the importance of discipline in the Church of God (cf. 1 Cor. chapters 5, 6). Thus the writings of the New Testament enable us to understand still more the importance itself of discipline and make us see better how it is more closely connected with the saving character of the evangelical message itself. […] A second question arises concerning the very nature of the Code of Canon Law. To reply adequately to this question, one must mentally recall the distant patrimony of law contained in the books of the Old and New Testament from which is derived, as from its first source, the whole juridical – legislative tradition of the Church. The Code, as the principal legislative document of the Church, founded on the juridical – legislative heritage of Revelation and Tradition, is to be regarded as an indispensable instrument to ensure order both in individual and social life, and also in the Church’s activity itself. Therefore, besides containing the fundamental elements of the hierarchical and organic structure of the Church as willed by her divine Founder, or as based upon apostolic, or in any case most ancient, tradition, and besides the fundamental principles which govern the exercise of the threefold office entrusted to the Church itself, the Code must also lay down certain rules and norms of behavior. (John Paul II. Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, January 25, 1983)

  • The Code of Canon Law is extremely necessary for the Church: by their very nature canonical laws must be observed

In actual fact the Code of Canon Law is extremely necessary for the Church. Since, indeed, it is organized as a social and visible structure, it must also have norms: in order that its hierarchical and organic structure be visible; in order that the exercise of the functions divinely entrusted to her, especially that of sacred power and of the administration of the sacraments, may be adequately organized; […] Finally, the canonical laws by their very nature must be observed. The greatest care has therefore been taken to ensure that in the lengthy preparation of the Code the wording of the norms should be accurate, and that they should be based on a solid juridical, canonical and theological foundation. (John Paul II. Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, January 25, 1983)

…judges Francis’ ideas present in Laudate Si

  • Christian culture has always recognized the creatures that surround man as gifts of God: unbridled exploitation is due to secularization

Ecology, which arose as a name and a cultural message more than a century ago, very soon caught the attention of experts and is demanding ever greater interdisciplinary efforts from biologists, physicians, economists, philosophers and politicians. It takes the form of a study of the relationship between living organisms and their environment, and especially between man and his surroundings. […] At the same time, biblical anthropology has considered man, created in God’s image and likeness, as a creature who can transcend worldly reality by virtue of his spirituality, and therefore, as a responsible custodian of the environment in which he has been placed to live. The Creator offers it to him as both a home and a resource. The consequence of this doctrine is quite clear: it is the relationship man has with God that determines his relationship with his fellows and with his environment. This is why Christian culture has always recognized the creatures that surround man as also gifts of God to be nurtured and safeguarded with a sense of gratitude to the Creator. Benedictine and Franciscan spirituality in particular has witnessed to this sort of kinship of man with his creaturely environment, fostering in him an attitude of respect for every reality of the surrounding world. In the secularized modern age we are seeing the emergence of a twofold temptation: a concept of knowledge no longer understood as wisdom and contemplation, but as power over nature, which is consequently regarded as an object to be conquered. The other temptation is the unbridled exploitation of resources under the urge of unlimited profit-seeking, according to the capitalistic mentality typical of modern societies. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the International Congress on ‘Environment and Health’, no. 1, 3-4, March 24, 1997)

  • Exaggerated ecological positions demand to limit the birth rate, or inspired by egocentrism and biocentrism propose an egalitarian ‘dignity’ of all living beings

Today we often witness the taking of opposite and exaggerated positions: on the one hand, in the name of the exhaustibility and insufficiency of environmental resources, demands are made to limit the birth rate, especially among the poor and developing peoples. On the other, in the name of an idea inspired by egocentrism and biocentrism it is being proposed that the ontological and axiological difference between men and other living beings be eliminated, since the biosphere is considered a biotic unity of indifferentiated value. Thus man’s superior responsibility can be eliminated in favour of an egalitarian consideration of the ‘dignity’ of all living beings. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the International Congress on ‘Environment and Health’, no. 5, March 24, 1997)

  • A moral question: the environmental problem results from unheeding the Creator’s will that man should communicate with nature as an intelligent and noble ‘master’ and ‘guardian’

This state of menace for man from what he produces shows itself in various directions and various degrees of intensity. We seem to be increasingly aware of the fact that the exploitation of the earth, the planet on which we are living, demands rational and honest planning. At the same time, exploitation of the earth not only for industrial but also for military purposes and the uncontrolled development of technology outside the framework of a long-range authentically humanistic plan often bring with them a threat to man’s natural environment, alienate him in his relations with nature and remove him from nature. […] Yet it was the Creator’s will that man should communicate with nature as an intelligent and noble ‘master’ and ‘guardian’, and not as a heedless ‘exploiter’ and ‘destroyer’. The development of technology and the development of contemporary civilization, which is marked by the ascendancy of technology, demand a proportional development of morals and ethics. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, no. 15, March 4, 1979)

  • The true nature of the evil which faces us with respect to the development of peoples: it is a question of a moral evil, the fruit of many sins which lead to ‘structures of sin’

I have wished to introduce this type of analysis above all in order to point out the true nature of the evil which faces us with respect to the development of peoples: it is a question of a moral evil, the fruit of many sins which lead to ‘structures of sin’ To diagnose the evil in this way is to identify precisely, on the level of human conduct, the path to be followed in order to overcome it. This path is long and complex, and what is more it is constantly threatened because of the intrinsic frailty of human resolutions and achievements, and because of the mutability of very unpredictable and external circumstances. Nevertheless, one must have the courage to set out on this path, and, where some steps have been taken or a part of the journey made, the courage to go on to the end. In the context of these reflections, the decision to set out or to continue the journey involves, above all, a moral value which men and women of faith recognize as a demand of God’s will, the only true foundation of an absolutely binding ethic. One would hope that also men and women without an explicit faith would be convinced that the obstacles to integral development are not only economic but rest on more profound attitudes which human beings can make into absolute values. Thus one would hope that all those who, to some degree or other, are responsible for ensuring a ‘more human life’ for their fellow human beings, whether or not they are inspired by a religious faith, will become fully aware of the urgent need to change the spiritual attitudes which define each individual’s relationship with self, with neighbor, with even the remotest human communities, and with nature itself; and all of this in view of higher values such as the common good or, to quote the felicitous expression of the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, the full development ‘of the whole individual and of all people.’ For Christians, as for all who recognize the precise theological meaning of the word ‘sin,’ a change of behavior or mentality or mode of existence is called ‘conversion,’ to use the language of the Bible (cf. Mk 13:3, 5, Is 30:15). This conversion specifically entails a relationship to God, to the sin committed, to its consequences and hence to one’s neighbor, either an individual or a community. (John Paul II. Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, no. 37-38, December 30, 1987)

  • Fragments of the Centessimus annus omitted in the Laudato Si’: the root of the ecological problem is the loss of the sense of God the Creator, whereby man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth

Equally worrying is the ecological question […] In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. […] Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray. […] In all this, one notes first the poverty or narrowness of man’s outlook, motivated as he is by a desire to possess things rather than to relate them to the truth, and lacking that disinterested, unselfish and aesthetic attitude that is born of wonder in the presence of being and of the beauty which enables one to see in visible things the message of the invisible God who created them. In this regard, humanity today must be conscious of its duties and obligations towards future generations. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 37, May 1, 1991)

  • More parts of the Centesimus annus ‘forgotten’ in the citations of Laudato Si’ More than preserving the natural habitats of threatened species, greater effort must be made to safeguard the moral conditions of mankind

In addition to the irrational destruction of the natural environment, we must also mention the more serious destruction of the human environment, something which is by no means receiving the attention it deserves. Although people are rightly worried — though much less than they should be — about preserving the natural habitats of the various animal species threatened with extinction, because they realize that each of these species makes its particular contribution to the balance of nature in general, too little effort is made to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic ‘human ecology’. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 38, May 1, 1991)

  • Even more elements of Centesimus annus ‘forgotten’ in the citations of Laudato Si’: An ‘integral ecology’ presents an idea of the family that contrasts with the Catholic ideal, which is founded on marriage, cradle of the moral formation of man

The first and fundamental structure for ‘human ecology’ is the family, in which man receives his first formative ideas about truth and goodness, and learns what it means to love and to be loved, and thus what it actually means to be a person. Here we mean the family founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self by husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity and prepare to face their unique and individual destiny. But it often happens that people are discouraged from creating the proper conditions for human reproduction and are led to consider themselves and their lives as a series of sensations to be experienced rather than as a work to be accomplished. The result is a lack of freedom, which causes a person to reject a commitment to enter into a stable relationship with another person and to bring children into the world, or which leads people to consider children as one of the many ‘things’ which an individual can have or not have, according to taste, and which compete with other possibilities. It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 39, May 1, 1991)

  • The ecological question finds in the Bible clear and strong ethical direction, leading to a solution that respects the great good of life

To defend and promote life, to show reverence and love for it, is a task which God entrusts to every man, calling him as his living image to share in his own lordship over the world: ‘God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’ (Gen 1:28). The biblical text clearly shows the breadth and depth of the lordship which God bestows on man. It is a matter first of all of dominion over the earth and over every living creature, as the Book of Wisdom makes clear: ‘O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy … by your wisdom you have formed man, to have dominion over the creatures you have made, and rule the world in holiness and righteousness’ (Wis 9:1, 2-3). The Psalmist too extols the dominion given to man as a sign of glory and honour from his Creator: ‘You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea’ (Ps 8:6-8). As one called to till and look after the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15), man has a specific responsibility towards the environment in which he lives, towards the creation which God has put at the service of his personal dignity, of his life, not only for the present but also for future generations. It is the ecological question-ranging from the preservation of the natural habitats of the different species of animals and of other forms of life to ‘human ecology’ properly speaking – which finds in the Bible clear and strong ethical direction, leading to a solution which respects the great good of life, of every life. (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium vitae, no. 42, March 25, 1995)

  • True conversion fosters a new life, in which there is no separation between faith and works in our daily response to the universal call to holiness

In speaking of conversion, the New Testament uses the word metanoia, which means a change of mentality. It is not simply a matter of thinking differently in an intellectual sense, but of revising the reasons behind one’s actions in the light of the Gospel. In this regard, Saint Paul speaks of ‘faith working through love’ (Gal 5:6). This means that true conversion needs to be prepared and nurtured though the prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture and the practice of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Conversion leads to fraternal communion, because it enables us to understand that Christ is the head of the Church, his Mystical Body; it urges solidarity, because it makes us aware that whatever we do for others, especially for the poorest, we do for Christ himself. Conversion, therefore, fosters a new life, in which there is no separation between faith and works in our daily response to the universal call to holiness. In order to speak of conversion, the gap between faith and life must be bridged. Where this gap exists, Christians are such only in name. To be true disciples of the Lord, believers must bear witness to their faith, and ‘witnesses testify not only with words, but also with their lives’. We must keep in mind the words of Jesus: ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 7:21). Openness to the Father’s will supposes a total self-giving, including even the gift of one’s life: ‘The greatest witness is martyrdom’ (Propositio 30). (John Paul II. Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, no. 26, January 22, 1999)

  • True ecumenical activity in no way means giving up or diminishing the treasures of divine truth, constantly confessed and taught by the Church

True ecumenical activity means openness, drawing closer, availability for dialogue, and a shared investigation of the truth in the full evangelical and Christian sense; but in no way does it or can it mean giving up or in any way diminishing the treasures of divine truth that the Church has constantly confessed and taught. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, no. 6, March 4, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on Laudate Si

  • Pastors have the principal duty to be Teachers of the Truth that comes from God, not politicians, scientists or technologists

It is a great consolation for the universal Father to note that you come together here not as a symposium of experts, not as a parliament of politicians, not as a congress of scientists or technologists, however important such assemblies may be, but as a fraternal encounter of Pastors of the Church. And as Pastors you have the vivid awareness that your principal duty is to be Teachers of the Truth. Not a human and rational truth, but the Truth that comes from God, the Truth that brings with it the principle of the authentic liberation of man: ‘you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’ (Jn 8:32); that Truth which is the only one that offers a solid basis for an adequate ‘praxis’. (John Paul II. Address for the Inauguration of the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, January 28, 1979)

  • The guiding principle of the Church’s social doctrine: a correct view of the human person, made in God’ own image and likeness

From this point forward it will be necessary to keep in mind that the main thread and, in a certain sense, the guiding principle […] and of the Church’s social doctrine, is a correct view of the human person and of his unique value, inasmuch as ‘man … is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself’. God has imprinted his own image and likeness on man (cf. Gen 1:26), conferring upon him an incomparable dignity. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 11, May 1, 1991)

  • More than preserving the natural habitats of the various animal species threatened with extinction, greater effort must made to safeguard the natural and moral conditions of mankind

In addition to the irrational destruction of the natural environment, we must also mention the more serious destruction of the human environment, something which is by no means receiving the attention it deserves. Although people are rightly worried — though much less than they should be — about preserving the natural habitats of the various animal species threatened with extinction, because they realize that each of these species makes its particular contribution to the balance of nature in general, too little effort is made to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic ‘human ecology’. Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God’s gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 38, May 1, 1991)

  • The Church’s social teaching is a valid instrument of evangelization, and only in this light does it concern itself with everything else

Thus the Church’s social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization. As such, it proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself. In this light, and only in this light, does it concern itself with everything else: the human rights of the individual, and in particular of the ‘working class’, the family and education, the duties of the State, the ordering of national and international society, economic life, culture, war and peace, and respect for life from the moment of conception until death. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 54, May 1, 1991)

  • The Church’s social teaching is a valid instrument of evangelization, and only in this light does it concern itself with everything else

Thus the Church’s social teaching is itself a valid instrument of evangelization. As such, it proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself. In this light, and only in this light, does it concern itself with everything else: the human rights of the individual, and in particular of the ‘working class’, the family and education, the duties of the State, the ordering of national and international society, economic life, culture, war and peace, and respect for life from the moment of conception until death. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 54, May 1, 1991)

  • The morally coherent world view is grounded in religious convictions drawn from Revelation

Many ethical values, fundamental to the development of a peaceful society, are particularly relevant to the ecological question. The fact that many challenges facing the world today are interdependent confirms the need for carefully coordinated solutions based on a morally coherent world view. For Christians, such a world view is grounded in religious convictions drawn from Revelation. (John Paul II. Message for the 23rd World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 1990)

  • There can be no genuine solution of the ‘social question’ apart from the Gospel, where there context for the proper moral perspective is found

It was out of an awareness of his mission as the Successor of Peter that Pope Leo XIII proposed to speak out, and Peter’s Successor today is moved by that same awareness. Like Pope Leo and the Popes before and after him, I take my inspiration from the Gospel image of ‘the scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven’, whom the Lord compares to ‘a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old’ (Mt 13:52). The treasure is the great outpouring of the Church’s Tradition, which contains ‘what is old’ — received and passed on from the very beginning — and which enables us to interpret the ‘new things’ in the midst of which the life of the Church and the world unfolds. […] Now, as then, we need to repeat that morally coherent, and that the ‘new things’ can find in the Gospel the context for their correct understanding and the for judgment on them. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 3; 5, May 1, 1991)

  • In order to know man, one must know God

The Church receives ‘the meaning of man’ from Divine Revelation. ‘In order to know man, authentic man, man in his fullness, one must know God’, said Pope Paul VI, and he went on to quote Saint Catherine of Siena, who, in prayer, expressed the same idea: ‘In your nature, O eternal Godhead, I shall know my own nature’ (Paul VI, Homily at the Final Public Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, December 7, 1965: AAS 58, 1966, 58). (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 55, May 1, 1991)

  • Man’s future depends on the understanding he has of himself and of his destiny; and here is the Church’s specific and decisive contribution

Thus the first and most important task is accomplished within man’s heart. The way in which he is involved in building his own future depends on the understanding he has of himself and of his own destiny. It is on this level that the Church’s specific and decisive contribution to true culture is to be found. […] The Church renders this service to human society by preaching the truth about the creation of the world, which God has placed in human hands so that people may make it fruitful and more perfect through their work; and by preaching the truth about the Redemption, whereby the Son of God has saved mankind and at the same time has united all people, making them responsible for one another. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 51, May 1, 1991)

  • Ecological imbalance is born of a misuse use of creatures, ignoring or rejecting the purpose that is inherent to the work of creation

The ecological imbalance […] is born of an arbitrary – and overall harmful – use of creatures, whose laws and natural order are violated, ignoring or rejecting the purpose that is inherent to the work of creation. Also this way of behavior is derived from a false interpretation of the autonomy of earthly things. When man uses these things ‘without any reference to their Creator’ – to use the words of the conciliar Constitution – he does incalculable damage even to himself. The solution to the problem of the ecological threat is in intimate relation with the principles of the ‘legitimate autonomy of the earthly realities,’ that is to say, ultimately, with the truth regarding creation and regarding the Creator of the world. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 4, April 2, 1986)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Pope should not judge

  • The interior judgment of the conscience demands a ‘convincing concerning sin’

Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of the conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time a new beginning of the bestowal of grace and love: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (Jn 20:22.) Thus in this ‘convincing concerning sin’ we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Counselor. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, no. 31, May 18, 1986)

  • The Successor of Peter has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare certain opinions as irreconcilable with the unity of faith

With the power and the authority without which such an office would be illusory, the Bishop of Rome must ensure the communion of all the Churches. For this reason, he is the first servant of unity. This primacy is exercised on various levels, including vigilance over the handing down of the Word, the celebration of the Liturgy and the Sacraments, the Church’s mission, discipline and the Christian life. It is the responsibility of the Successor of Peter to recall the requirements of the common good of the Church, should anyone be tempted to overlook it in the pursuit of personal interests. He has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare at times that this or that opinion being circulated is irreconcilable with the unity of faith. When circumstances require it, he speaks in the name of all the Pastors in communion with him. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no.94, May 25, 1995)

  • The forceful expressions of the Roman Pontiffs are only the faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the Church’s permanent conviction

The Roman Pontiff in fact has the ‘sacra potestas’ to teach the truth of the Gospel, administer the sacraments and pastorally govern the Church in the name and with the authority of Christ, but this power does not include per se any power over the divine law, natural or positive. Neither Scripture nor Tradition recognizes any faculty of the Roman Pontiff for dissolving a ratified and consummated marriage; on the contrary, the Church’s constant practice shows the certain knowledge of Tradition that such a power does not exist. The forceful expressions of the Roman Pontiffs are only the faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the Church’s permanent conviction. (John Paul II. Address to members of the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota, no. 8, January 21, 2000)

  • Saint Paul declares that the immoral are excluded from the Kingdom of God

A doctrine which dissociates the moral act from the bodily dimensions of its exercise is contrary to the teaching of Scripture and Tradition. Such a doctrine revives, in new forms, certain ancient errors which have always been opposed by the Church, inasmuch as they reduce the human person to a ‘spiritual’ and purely formal freedom. This reduction misunderstands the moral meaning of the body and of kinds of behaviour involving it (cf. 1Cor 6:19). Saint Paul declares that ‘the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers’ are excluded from the Kingdom of God (cf. 1Cor 6:9). This condemnation — repeated by the Council of Trent — lists as ‘mortal sins’ or ‘immoral practices’ certain specific kinds of behaviour the wilful acceptance of which prevents believers from sharing in the inheritance promised to them. In fact, body and soul are inseparable: in the person, in the willing agent and in the deliberate act, they stand or fall together. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 49, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on reducing the precepts of the Church

  • Neither should the necessity and duty of practicing all of the immutable commandments of the Law of God in their entirety be mitigated in the eyes of the faithful

The faithful are obliged to acknowledge and respect the specific moral precepts declared and taught by the Church in the name of God, the Creator and Lord. When the Apostle Paul sums up the fulfilment of the law in the precept of love of neighbour as oneself (cf. Rom 13:8-10), he is not weakening the commandments but reinforcing them, since he is revealing their requirements and their gravity. Love of God and of one’s neighbour cannot be separated from the observance of the commandments of the Covenant renewed in the blood of Jesus Christ and in the gift of the Spirit. It is an honour characteristic of Christians to obey God rather than men (cf. Acts 4:19; 5:29) and accept even martyrdom as a consequence, like the holy men and women of the Old and New Testaments, who are considered such because they gave their lives rather than perform this or that particular act contrary to faith or virtue.
(Note 125: Cf. Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session VI, Decree on Justification Cum Hoc Tempore, Canon 19: DS, 1569. See also: Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius (September 8, 1713) against the Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, Nos. 53-56: DS, 2453-2456.) (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 76)

  • Rather than reducing the number of precepts, it is necessary to have a correct visualization of their worth to better understand that they serve to make us free in the service of God and free from the slavery of sin

Perfection demands that maturity in self-giving to which human freedom is called. Jesus points out to the young man that the commandments are the first and indispensable condition for having eternal life; on the other hand, for the young man to give up all he possesses and to follow the Lord is presented as an invitation: ‘If you wish…’. These words of Jesus reveal the particular dynamic of freedom’s growth towards maturity, and at the same time they bear witness to the fundamental relationship between freedom and divine law. Human freedom and God’s law are not in opposition; on the contrary, they appeal one to the other. The follower of Christ knows that his vocation is to freedom. ‘You were called to freedom, brethren’ (Gal 5:13), proclaims the Apostle Paul with joy and pride. But he immediately adds: ‘only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another’ (ibid.). The firmness with which the Apostle opposes those who believe that they are justified by the Law has nothing to do with man’s ‘liberation’ from precepts. On the contrary, the latter are at the service of the practice of love: ‘For he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,’and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (Rom 13:8-9). Saint Augustine, after speaking of the observance of the commandments as being a kind of incipient, imperfect freedom, goes on to say: ‘Why, someone will ask, is it not yet perfect? Because ‘I see in my members another law at war with the law of my reason’… In part freedom, in part slavery: not yet complete freedom, not yet pure, not yet whole, because we are not yet in eternity. In part we retain our weakness and in part we have attained freedom. All our sins were destroyed in Baptism, but does it follow that no weakness remained after iniquity was destroyed? Had none remained, we would live without sin in this life. But who would dare to say this except someone who is proud, someone unworthy of the mercy of our deliverer?… Therefore, since some weakness has remained in us, I dare to say that to the extent to which we serve God we are free, while to the extent that we follow the law of sin, we are still slaves’ (In Iohannis Evangelium Tractatus 41, 10). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 17)

… judges Francis’ ideas on the evangelization of the Americas

  • Overall positive evaluation of the labor of the first evangelizers – and a sentiment of vivid gratitude to the Lord

I wish, nevertheless, to reiterate the overall positive evaluation of the labor of the first evangelizers, who were in great part members of religious orders. […]

In this way, amid light and shadows – more light than shadows, if we think of the enduring fruits of faith and Christian life in the Continent – the first sowing of the word of life, born of so many fatigues and sacrifices, evokes the sentiments of the Apostle, that were a motto for so many missionaries: We were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well’ (1Thess 2:8). […]

The fruits of the first evangelization began to consolidate throughout the centuries and are characteristics of the Catholicism of the Latin American people, which also stands out for a profound communitarian sense, a desire for social justice, fidelity to the Church, profound Marian piety and love for the Successor of Peter. […] This rapid historic look over the ecclesial life of Latin America enflames me with a sentiment of vivid gratitude to the Lord for the labor of so many religious men and women who have sown the seed of the Gospel of Christ. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter for the Fifth Centenary of the Evangelization of the New World, June 29, 1990, no. 4,8)

  • Extending his arms of mercy and love, Christ embraces the New World in its entirety ever since the 12th of October 1492

I am filled with joy to be once again in this generous land, which in the plans of God was predestined to receive, five centuries ago, the Cross of Christ, which, by extending his arms of mercy and love, Christ embraces the New World in its entirety, that on the 12 of October 1492, appeared, radiant, before the astonished gaze of Christopher Columbus and his companions. (John Paul II. Address, Welcoming ceremony at Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo, October 19, 1992)

  • Five centuries ago, all of the inhabitants of these lands were called to be part of the Church

This is the meaning of the exhortation of Saint Peter contained in the first reading: ‘Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’(1Pet 2:5). These words, directed to the Christians of the early Church, ended up being a reality for the inhabitants of these lands, when, five centuries ago, the message of salvation was announced for the first time. They were all called to be part of the spiritual edifice which is the Church, whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ. (John Paul II. Homily, Mass for Priests and Religious, Santo Domingo, October 10, 1992)

  • The faith became a constitutive factor of the being and identity of the Americas – fruit of the blood of the martyrs

To this Continent arrived the Gospel of the beatitudes, the proclamation of Christ crucified and resurrected, of his compassionate and liberating sorrow, a way to a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more tears, nor death (cf. Rev 21: 1-4). ‘The kindness and generous love of God our Savior’ (Tit 3:4) have been proclaimed in these lands. In the open furrows of your history, the seed of the Gospel, watered by the blood of the martyrs, gave fruit as a believing people who welcomed the Lord of Life, and ‘the faith became a constitutive factor of their being and their identity’ (Puebla, 419), as five centuries of Christian life have demonstrated. (John Paul II. Homily at Mass for Priests and Religious, Santo Domingo, October 10, 1992)

  • America, open the doors wide to Christ! Let the seed planted five centuries ago give fruit in all the areas of your life

With the strength of the Holy Spirit the redeeming work of Christ is made present through that multitude of missionaries who, urged on by the mandate of the Lord to ‘proclaim the gospel to every creature’ (Mk 16:15), crossed the ocean to announce to their brothers the message of salvation. […] Today, together with the entire Church, we raise our thanks for the five centuries of evangelization. Truly the words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled, which said: ‘Your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you’ (Is 60:5). These are the riches of faith, of hope, of love. They are ‘the wealth of nations’ (Ibid): their values, knowledge, and culture. The Church, who throughout its history has known difficulties and divisions, feels enriched by He who is the Lord of history. America, open wide the doors to Christ! Let the seed that was planted five centuries ago give fruit in all the areas of your life: individuals and families, culture and work, economy and politics, the present and the future. (John Paul II. Homily of the Mass on the Fifth Centenary of Evangelization in the Americas, Santo Domingo, October 11, 1992)

  • In the baptismal waters you were born to a new life in the Mystical Body of Christ, common home to all who invoke God as Father

Latin America! As Successor of Peter and Bishop of Rome I salute you on this the 5th Centenary of your evangelization, recalling the year 1492 when the ships from Spain, guided by Columbus, brought to these fertile lands the seed of the Gospel, also making a reality the encounter between two worlds. […] I give thanks, over all, for your 500 years of Christian faith. In the baptismal waters you were born to a new life, integrated into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church; one, holy, Catholic and apostolic, ark of salvation and common home to all those who invoke God as Father. Your openness to grace and your welcome to the Word of life have made you go from darkness into that admirable light which, in your saints, is a shining lamp that from the Church, lights up the world. America of the third Christian millennium: always be faithful to Jesus Christ! Be worthy of those abnegated missionaries who planted in your midst the seed of the faith. Open yourself more and more, with humility and love, to the Good News that liberates and saves. Firmly resist the attacks of evil and the temptation to violence. (John Paul II. Message to Latin America from the ‘Faro a Colon’, Lighthouse dedicated to Christopher Columbus, Santo Domingo, October 12, 1992)

  • How can we fail to give thanks for the seed planted by so many and such courageous missionaries!

This Conference meets to celebrate Jesus Christ, to give thanks to God for His presence in these lands of America, where, 500 years ago today, the message of salvation started spreading; it meets in order to celebrate the implantation of the Church, which, in the New World, during these five centuries has given such abundant fruits of sanctity and love. […] Evangelization itself, however, began with the second journey of the explorers, who were accompanied by the first missionaries. In this way the sowing of the precious gift of the faith began. And, how can we fail to give thanks to God for it, together with you, dear Brother Bishops, who today make present in Santo Domingo all of the particular Churches of Latin America? How can we fail to give thanks for the abundant fruits of the seed planted throughout these five centuries by so many and such courageous missionaries! (John Paul II. Inaugural Address on the occasion of the 4th General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, October 12, 1992)

  • Through faith in Christ, God renewed his alliance with Latin America

With the arrival of the Gospel in America the history of salvation expands, the family of God grows, and is multiplied ‘for the glory of God more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow’ (2Cor 4:5). The people of the New World were ‘new people…totally unknown to the Old World since the year 1492’, but known by God from all eternity and by Him embraced with the paternity that was revealed by the Son in the fullness of time (cf. Gal 4:4) In the peoples of America, God has chosen a new people, has incorporated them to his redeeming plan, has made them participate in his Spirit. Through the evangelization and the faith in Christ, God has renewed his alliance with Latin America. (John Paul II. Inaugural Address on the occasion of the 4th General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, October 12, 1992)

  • Loving your past and purifying it, you will be faithful to yourselves

With my journey I had wished to awaken in you a remembrance of your Christian past and of the great moments of your religious history. That history for which – despite inevitable human failings – the Church owes you a testimony of gratitude. Without this signifying an invitation to live of nostalgias, gazing only to the past, I wished to incentivate your Christian potential: so that you may know how to illuminate your future from the light of faith and construct upon a Christian humanism the foundations of your current coexistence. For in loving your past and purifying it, you will be faithful to yourselves and capable of opening yourselves with originality to the future. (John Paul II. Farewell ceremony at the Labacolla Airport of Santiago de Compostela, November 9, 1982)

  • Thank you Spain for your fidelity to the Gospel and to the Spouse of Christ! – due to your incomparable evangelizing activity the most numerous portion of the Church of Christ today prays to God in Spanish

I come attracted by a admirable history of fidelity and service to the Church, written in apostolic undertakings and in so many great figures that renewed this Church, that strengthened its faith, defending it in difficult moments and giving it new children in entire continents. In effect, thanks above all for this incomparable evangelizing activity; the most numerous portion of the Church of Christ today, speaks and prays to God in Spanish. After my apostolic journeys, overall in Hispanic-American lands and the Philippines, I would like to say at this special moment: Thank you, Spain; thank you, Church of Spain, for your fidelity to the Gospel and to the Spouse of Christ! (John Paul II. Welcome address at Barajas Airport, October 30, 1982)

  • Men in whom pulsates concern for the weak, for the defenseless native

From the first moments of the discovery, there appears the concern of the Church to make the kingdom of God present in the heart of the new peoples, races, and cultures; in the first place, among your ancestors. If we wish to express our well-deserved thanks to those who transplanted the seeds of faith, this tribute must be paid in the first place to the religious orders which distinguished themselves, […] Nor is it a question, moreover, of a spreading of the faith detached from the life of those for whom it was intended; although it must always keep its essential reference to God. Therefore the Church in this island was the first to demand justice and to promote the defence of human rights in the lands that were opening to evangelization. Lessons of humanism, spirituality and effort to raise man’s dignity, are taught to us by Antonio Montesinos, Córdoba, Bartolomé de las Casas, echoed also in other parts by Juan de Zumárraga, Motolinia, Vasco de Quiroga, José de Anchieta, Toribio de Mogrovejo, Nóbrega and so many others. They are men in whom pulsates concern for the weak, for the defenseless, for the natives; subjects worthy of all respect as persons and as bearers of the image of God, destined for a transcendent vocation. The first International Law has its origin here with Francisco de Vitoria. The fact is that the proclamation of the Gospel and human advancement cannot be dissociated— this is the great lesson, valid also today. But for the Church, the former cannot be confused or exhausted, as some people claim, in the latter. That would be to close to man infinite spaces that God has opened to him. And it would be to distort the deep and complete meaning of evangelization, which is above all the proclamation of the Good News of Christ the Saviour. (John Paul II. Homily, Independence Square, Santo Domingo, January 25, 1979)

  • Apostles that put themselves side by side with the indigenous populations – he who evangelizes also civilizes

You wished that the mass of the Pope in his passage through this city be a remembrance of another Mass: that which was the first to be celebrated in the recently discovered land. What shall I say to you, then? The first observation to be made is that, while the majority of peoples came to know Christ and the Gospel after centuries of its history, the nations of the Latin American continent and, among them, in a special way Brazil, were born Christian. The caravels, which on April 3, 1500, docked at the bay of Porto Seguro, also brought the first missionaries and evangelizers, the sons of Saint Francis. When Pedro Álvares Cabral and the first colonizers disembarked, a cross was raised and the First Mass prayed, in which were present, some indigenous people, filled with admiration. To the new lands the name Land of the Holy Cross was given. These happenings, at the dawning of Brazil, would profoundly mark the five centuries of history of the new nation that was born to the West. […] It is certain that apostles, such as Father Jose Anchieta […] put themselves decidedly on the side of the indigenous populations, learning their language, assimilating their preferences, adapting themselves to their mentality, defending their lives and, simultaneously, announcing to them the saving truth of Jesus Christ, converting them to the Gospel, baptizing them and integrating them into the Church. Brazilian Catholicism rose in this way, evolving, as Brazil itself, into one of the most important fusions of human history. During three centuries, there were mixed here the native, European and the African, and, since last century, to the blood of the culture of the Arabs, such as the Christian Maronites, and the Asiatic Japanese immigrants, today constituting a great community, which is predominantly Catholic. In this way Brazil offers a highly positive testimony. Here a multi-racial community of Christian inspiration is being built. A real tapestry of races, as the sociologists affirm, all amalgamated through the bond of the same tongue and the same Faith. […] These are so many other proofs of the great religiosity of the Brazilians, Catholic in the absolute majority of its sons and daughters. The Christian Faith respects the cultural expressions of any people, as long as they are true and authentic values. But failing to transmit to all men the integral deposit of the Faith would be an infidelity to the very mission of the Church. […] It would be to not grant to men a fundamental right of theirs: the right to the truth. The true apostle of the Gospel is one who humanizes and evangelizes at the same time, in the certainty that, one who evangelizes, also civilizes. (John Paul II. Mass in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, July 7, 1980)

  • The Catholic Church: moved by the fidelity to the Spirit of Christ, an untiring defender of the Indians and protector of the values of their cultures

We give, then, thanks to God for the profusion of evangelizers who left their country and gave their lives to sow in the New World the new life of faith, hope and love. They were not moved by the legend of ‘El dorado’, or personal interests, but rather by the urgent call to evangelize some brothers that did not yet know Jesus Christ. They announced ‘the kindness and generous love of God our Savior, and His love for men’ to peoples who even offered human sacrifices to their gods. They testified, with their witnessing and with their word, the humane [conduct] that blossoms from the encounter with Christ. Through their testimony and their preaching, the number of men and women who opened themselves to the grace of Christ was multiplied ‘as the stars in the sky, and as countless as the sands on the sea shore’. Ever since the first steps of the evangelization, the Catholic Church, moved by fidelity to the Spirit of Christ, was an untiring defender of the Indians, protecting the values that existed in their cultures, being the defensor of humane treatment in face of the abuses of often unscruplous colonizers. The denouncing of the injustice and abuses through the work of Montesinos, Las Casas, Cordoba, Friar Juan del Valle and so many others, were as a clamor that proposed legislation inspired on the recognition of the sacred value of the person. The Christian conscience blossemed with prophetic bravery in this teaching of dignity and of liberty that was, in the University of Salamanca, the School of Victory, and in so many exemplary defenders of the natives, in Spain and in Latin America. Names which are well-known have, on the occasion of the 5th Centenary, been remembered with admiration and gratitude. On my part, and for the precision in defining the profiles of the historic truth, highlighting the Christian roots and the Catholic identity of the continent, I suggested that an International Symposium be held regarding the History of the Evangelization of America, organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The historic facts show that a valid, fruitful and admirable evangelizing work was undertaken, and that, through it, the truth about God and about man arrived to in such a point in America that, in fact, the evangelization itself constitutes a kind of tribunal of accusations for those responsible for such abuses. (John Paul II. Inaugural address on the occasion of the Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate – Santo Domingo, CELAM IV, October 12, 1992)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church reduced to a minority

  • The universal dimension of the missionary mandate

The different versions of the ‘missionary mandate’ contain common elements as well as characteristics proper to each. Two elements, however, are found in all the versions. First, there is the universal dimension of the task entrusted to the apostles, who are sent to ‘all nations’ (Mt 28:19); ‘into all the world and…to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15); to ‘all nations’ (Lk 24:47); ‘to the end of the earth’ (Acts 1:8). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 23, December 7, 1990)

  • The proclamation of the Gospel is one of the principal responsibilities of Bishops

The risen Jesus entrusted to his Apostles the mission of ‘making disciples’ of all nations, teaching them to observe all that he himself had commanded. The task of proclaiming the Gospel to the whole world has thus been solemnly entrusted to the Church, the community of the disciples of the crucified and risen Lord. It is a task which will continue until the end of time. From the beginning, this mission of evangelization has been an integral part of the Church’s identity. […] If the duty of proclaiming the Gospel is incumbent upon the whole Church and each of her children, it is particularly so upon Bishops, who on the day of their sacred ordination, which places them in apostolic succession, assume as one of their principal responsibilities the proclamation of the Gospel. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, no. 26, October 16, 2003)

  • It is not enough to help people exteriorly – every person has the right to hear the ‘Good News’ of the God

The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith. […] Nowadays the call to conversion which missionaries address to non-Christians is put into question or passed over in silence. It is seen as an act of ‘proselytizing’; it is claimed that it is enough to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion, that it is enough to build communities capable of working for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. What is overlooked is that every person has the right to hear the ‘Good News’ of the God who reveals and gives himself in Christ, so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her proper calling. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, 46, December 7, 1990)

  • The good news disposes a person for a new life according to the Spirit

The ‘good news’ is directed to stirring a person to a conversion of heart and life and a clinging to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour; to disposing a person to receive Baptism and the Eucharist and to strengthen a person in the prospect and realization of new life according to the Spirit. Certainly the command of Jesus: ‘Go and preach the Gospel’ always maintains its vital value and its ever-pressing obligation. Nevertheless, the present situation, not only of the world but also of many parts of the Church, absolutely demands that the word of Christ receive a more ready and generous obedience. Every disciple is personally called by name; no disciple can withhold making a response: ‘Woe to me, if I do not preach the gospel’ (1Cor 9:16). (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 33, December 30, 1988)

  • Jesus Christ embraces humanity yesterday, today and for ever

The Church has endured for 2000 years. Like the mustard seed in the Gospel, she has grown and become a great tree, able to cover the whole of humanity with her branches (cf. Mt 13:31-32). The Second Vatican Council, in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, thus addresses the question of membership in the Church and the call of all people to belong to the People of God: ‘All are called to be part of this Catholic unity of the new People of God’ […] Continuing this approach, we can also appreciate more clearly the Gospel parable of the leaven (cf. Mt 13:33): Christ, like a divine leaven, always and ever more fully penetrates the life of humanity, spreading the work of salvation accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. What is more, he embraces within his redemptive power the whole past history of the human race, beginning with the first Adam. The future also belongs to him: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Heb 13:8). (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Tertio millenio advenient, no. 56, November 10, 1994)

  • The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to a pseudo-science of well-being

But what moves me even more strongly to proclaim the urgency of missionary evangelization is the fact that it is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which has experienced marvelous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself. […] The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to merely human wisdom, a pseudo-science of well-being. In our heavily secularized world a ‘gradual secularization of salvation’ has taken place, so that people strive for the good of man, but man who is truncated, reduced to his merely horizontal dimension. We know, however, that Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 2.11, December 7, 1990)

  • Erroneous conceptions of the Church’s mission: silence about Christ

Nowadays the kingdom is much spoken of, but not always in a way consonant with the thinking of the Church. […] The Church’s task is described as though it had to proceed in two directions: on the one hand promoting such ‘values of the kingdom’ as peace, justice, freedom, brotherhood, etc,, while on the other hand fostering dialogue between peoples, cultures and religions, so that through a mutual enrichment they might help the world to be renewed and to journey ever closer toward the kingdom. Together with positive aspects, these conceptions often reveal negative aspects as well. First, they are silent about Christ… (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 2,11, December 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on Communism

  • Fidelity to Christ of the Ukrainian people in face of violent Communist persecution

In the first place I greet you, dear Brothers united by common faith in Christ who died and rose again. The violent Communist persecution did not succeed in eliminating the yearning for Christ and his Gospel from the spirit of the Ukrainian people, because this faith is part of its history and its very life. (John Paul II. Meeting with representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, Kyiv, June 24, 2001)

  • An intrepid witness during the Communist persecution

With the passage of time, Your Eminence, the eloquent witness that you have given to Christ stands out even more in the Church. Your name has crossed the threshold of your native land, touching and edifying the faithful in Europe and in the entire world. Where bishops, priests, religious and laity continue to be put to the test by the regimes that suppress religious freedom and freedom of conscience, it is a sure source of consolation and encouragement to know that persons like you have persevered in their intrepid witness during the Communist persecution. (John Paul II. Letter to Cardinal Alexandru Todea, May 28, 2002)

  • To proclaim mercy is a part of the life of the Church – She is the trustee and dispenser of the Savior’s mercy

The Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy – the most stupendous attribute of the Creator and of the Redeemer – and when she brings people close to the sources of the Savior’s mercy, of which she is the trustee and dispenser. (John Paul II. Dives in Misericordia, no. 13, November 30, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea on equality as the source of justice and happiness

  • Only love brings about unity in diversity – a society without classes is a utopia

I learnt that a Christian youth ceases to be young, and has long ceased to be Christian when he allows himself be seduced by doctrines and ideologies that preach hatred and violence. For a just society may not be constructed upon injustice. A society – one that deserves the title of human – cannot be built with lack of respect and, even worse, the destruction human liberty, denying individuals the most fundamental liberties. […] I learned that a youth begins to age dangerously when he lets himself be tricked by the easy and comfortable principle that ‘the end justifies the means’; when he starts believing that the only hope to improve society is to promote conflict and hatred between social groups, in the utopia of a society without classes, that soon reveals itself as the creator of new classes. I became convinced that only love brings together that which is different and brings about unity in diversity. The words of Christ ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you’ (Jn 13: 34), then seemed to me, beyond their incomparable theological profundity, to be the seed and principle of the only transformation radical to be appreciated by a young person. The seed and principle of the only revolution that does not betray man. Only true love erects. (John Paul II. Mass for Brazilian youth in Belo Horizonte, July 1, 1980)

  • Collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency

Marxism criticized capitalist bourgeois societies, blaming them for the commercialization and alienation of human existence. This rebuke is of course based on a mistaken and inadequate idea of alienation, derived solely from the sphere of relationships of production and ownership, that is, giving them a materialistic foundation and moreover denying the legitimacy and positive value of market relationships even in their own sphere. Marxism thus ends up by affirming that only in a collective society can alienation be eliminated. However, the historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 41, May 1, 1991)

…judges Francis’ idea on the immortality of the soul

  • Man is responsible for his actions and subject to the judgment of God

Consequently the moral life has an essential ‘teleological’ character, since it consists in the deliberate ordering of human acts to God, […] but this ordering to one’s ultimate end is not something subjective, dependent solely upon one’s intention. It presupposes that such acts are in themselves capable of being ordered to this end, insofar as they are in conformity with the authentic moral good of man, safeguarded by the commandments. This is what Jesus himself points out in his reply to the young man: ‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments’ (Mt 19:17). Clearly such an ordering must be rational and free, conscious and deliberate, by virtue of which man is ‘responsible’ for his actions and subject to the judgment of God. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 73, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s omnipotence

  • God is Lord of the work of creation

This God, omnipotent and omniscient, has the Power to create, to call from non-being, from nothing, into being. ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ – we read in Genesis 18:14 – […] ‘For with God, nothing will be impossible’ (Lk 1:37), said the Archangel Gabriel to Mary of Nazareth at the Annunciation. […] This God, infinitely perfect and omniscient spirit, is absolutely free and sovereign also with respect to the very act of creation. If he is the Lord of all that he created, he is, moreover, Lord of the very Will in the work of creation. He creates because he wants to create. He creates because this corresponds to his infinite Wisdom. In creating he acts with the unfathomable plenitude of his liberty, by an impulse of eternal love. (John Paul II. General Audience, September 18, 1985)

  • Nothing could have endured if God did not will it

The reflection regarding the truth of creation, with which God calls the world from nothing into existence, directs the gaze of our faith toward the contemplation of God-Creator, who reveals in creation his omnipotence, his wisdom and love. The omnipotence of the Creator is shown not only in his calling creatures from nothing into existence, but also in maintaining them in existence. ‘How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?’ asked the author of the book of Wisdom (11:25). (John Paul II. General Audience, March 5, 1986)

  • The world exists in virtue of divine omnipotence

‘I believe in God, creator of heaven and earth’, we will reflect on the mystery that contains all of created reality, in its proceeding from nothing, admiring at the same time the omnipotence of God and the joyful surprise of a contingent world that exists in virtue of this omnipotence. We may recognize that creation is the loving work of the Most Holy Trinity and revelation of his glory. (John Paul II. General Audience, January 8, 1986)

  • Creation manifests the exercise of the omnipotence of God, guided by His Wisdom and moved by Love

If creation manifests the omnipotence of the God-Creator, the exercise of the omnipotence is definitively explained through love. God has created because he was able to, because he is omnipotent; but his omnipotence was guided by Wisdom and moved by Love. This is the work of creation. (John Paul II. General Audience, October 2, 1985)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of non-christian religions

  • No one can enter into communion with God except through Christ

Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. […] No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ’s own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 5, December 7, 1990)

  • There is no way of salvation in a religion other than that founded in the faith in Christ

There are no lack of those who wish to interpret the missionary action [of the Church] as an attempt to impose on others one’s own convictions and options, in contrast with a certain modern spirit, which boasts, as though it was a definitive conquest, of an absolute liberty of thought and personal conscience. According to this perspective, evangelizing activity should be substituted with an interreligious dialogue, which would consist in an exchange of opinions and information, whereby each party would expose his own ‘creed’ and be enriched by the thoughts of others, without any preoccupation of arriving at conclusions. […] Consequently the path that each one wishes to follow according to one’s own education and religious tradition would be respected. But this conception is irreconcilable with the commandment of Christ to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15), transmitted by the Church […] [The Council] confirmed at the same time the role of the Church, in which it is necessary that man enter and persevere, if he wishes to be saved (Ad gentes, n. 7) […] This traditional doctrine of the Church exposes the inconsistency and superficiality of a relativistic and irenic attitude, regarding the way of salvation in a religion other than that founded in the faith in Christ. (John Paul II. General Audience, nos. 1-2, May 10, 1995)

  • The Church is necessary for all mankind for salvation

The Council makes frequent reference to the Church’s role in the salvation of mankind. While acknowledging that God loves all people and grants them the possibility of being saved (cf. lTim 2:4), the Church believes that God has established Christ as the one mediator and that she herself has been established as the universal sacrament of salvation. ‘To this catholic unity of the people of God, therefore,…all are called, and they belong to it or are ordered to it in various ways, whether they be Catholic faithful or others who believe in Christ or finally all people everywhere who by the grace of God are called to salvation’ (Lumen Gentium, 13). It is necessary to keep these two truths together, namely, the real possibility of salvation in Christ for all mankind and the necessity of the Church for salvation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris missio, no. 9, December 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on the multiplication of the loaves

  • The whole primitive Church saw in each one of the miracles the supreme power of Christ over nature and laws

As many as the discussions that would like to create, or that in fact, have been instigated regarding the subject of miracles (to which, on the other hand, the Christian apologists have already responded), it is certain that the ‘miracles, prodigies and signs’, attributed to Jesus and inclusively to his Apostles and disciples who worked ‘in his name’, may not be separated from the authentic context of the Gospel. […] Whatever may have been the subsequent rebuttals, from the genuine sources of the life and teachings of Jesus a first certainty emerges: the Apostles, the Evangelists and the whole primitive Church saw in each one of the miracles the supreme power of Christ over nature and laws. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1, December 2, 1987)

  • Christ’s miracles were not denied even by his adversaries – unable to do so, they sought to attribute them to the power of the devil

The analysis not only of the text, but also of the context, speaks in favor of their ‘historic’ character, testifying that they are facts which occurred in reality, and truly performed by Christ. Those who approach them with intellectual uprightness and scientific expertise cannot lay them aside with just a word, as if they were merely posterior inventions. With respect to this, it is well to observe that these facts are not only testified and narrated by the Apostles and by the disciples of Jesus, but they are also confirmed in many cases by his adversaries. For example, it is very significant that the latter did not deny the miracles performed by Jesus, but rather they sought to attribute them to the power of the ‘devil’. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3-4, November 11, 1987)

  • Saint John speaks of the miracles as ‘signs’ to demonstrate the action of God in person, Christ

In the Gospel of John we do not find similar forms, but rather the detailed description of the seven happenings that the Evangelist calls ‘signs’ (and not miracles). With this expression he wishes to indicate that which is most essential in these occurrences: the demonstration of the action of God in person, present in Christ, while the world ‘miracle’ indicates more the ‘extraordinary’ aspect that these happenings have in the eyes of those who have seen them or heard of them. However, before concluding his Gospel, John also tells us that ‘Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book’ (Jn 20: 30). And gives the reason for the choice that he made: ‘But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name’ (Jn 20: 31). To this purpose the Synoptics as well as the fourth Gospel are directed: to show through miracles the truth of the Son of God and lead to the faith, which is the beginning of salvation. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 6, November 11, 1987)

  • This miracle marks the beginning of the uninterrupted multiplication of the Bread of new life in the Church

This is an amazing miracle which marks in a way the beginning of a long historical process: the uninterrupted multiplication in the Church of the Bread of new life for the people of every race and culture. This sacramental ministry is entrusted to the Apostles and to their successors. And they, faithful to the divine Master’s command, never cease to break and distribute the Eucharistic bread from generation to generation. (John Paul II. Homily on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, June 22, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea on the formation of consciences

  • With the spread of relativism: stress on correct formation of the consciences of the faithful

At a time when in the sphere of morality there is a disturbing spread of relativism and subjectivism, the Church in America is called to proclaim with renewed vigor that conversion consists in commitment to the person of Jesus Christ, with all the theological and moral implications taught by the Magisterium of the Church. There is a need to recognize ‘the role played by theologians, catechists and religion teachers who, by setting forth the Church’s teaching in fidelity to the Magisterium, cooperate directly in the correct formation of the consciences of the faithful’ (Propositio 68). (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, January 22, 1999)

  • It is the mission of the Church to form consciences and to offer criteria in delicate matters

In fact, it is the mission of the Church to form consciences and to offer criteria in such delicate matters that have a great influence on behaviour and on the moral principles of people, especially on children and youth. (John Paul II. Address to Señor Manuel Antonio Hernández Gutiérrez, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See)

  • The Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth

Christians have a great help for the formation of conscience in the Church and her Magisterium. As the Council affirms: ‘In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church. For the Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth. Her charge is to announce and teach authentically that truth which is Christ, and at the same time with her authority to declare and confirm the principles of the moral order which derive from human nature itself’ (Dignitatis Humanae, 14). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 64, August 6, 1993)

  • The sphere of human hearts and consciences needs the direction of the Church

The Church’s fundamental function in every age and particularly in ours is to direct man’s gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity towards the mystery of God, to help all men to be familiar with the profundity of the Redemption taking place in Christ Jesus. At the same time man’s deepest sphere is involved – we mean the sphere of human hearts, consciences and events. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, no. 10, March 4, 1979)

  • To contest the Magisterium is to reject conscience; to speak of intangible dignity of conscience without posterior specifications brings on grave errors

Since the Magisterium of the Church has been instituted by Christ the Lord to enlighten the conscience, appealing to this conscience precisely in order to contest the truth of all that the Magisterium teaches comports a rejection of the Catholic concept of the Magisterium and of moral conscience. To speak of the intangible dignity of the conscience without posterior specifications, brings on the risk of grave errors. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the Second International Congress on Moral Theology, November 12, 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘good vibes

  • A new culture marked by widespread and growing religious agnosticism, that is illusory and incapable of satisfying the human heart

We are witnessing the emergence of a new culture, largely influenced by the mass media, whose content and character are often in conflict with the Gospel and the dignity of the human person. This culture is also marked by a widespread and growing religious agnosticism, connected to a more profound moral and legal relativism rooted in confusion regarding the truth about man as the basis of the inalienable rights of all human beings. At times the signs of a weakening of hope are evident in disturbing forms of what might be called a ‘culture of death’ (cf. Propositio 5a). […] Often those in need of hope believe that they can find peace in fleeting and insubstantial things. In this way, hope, restricted to this world and closed to transcendence, is identified, for example, with the paradise promised by science or technology, with various forms of messianism, with a hedonistic natural felicity brought about by consumerism, or with the imaginary and artificial euphoria produced by drugs, with certain forms of millenarianism, with the attraction of oriental philosophies, with the quest for forms of esoteric spirituality and with the different currents of the New Age movement (Propositio 5a. Pontifical Council for Culture and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Jesus Christ The Bearer of the Water of Life. A Christian Reflection on the New Age). All these, however, show themselves profoundly illusory and incapable of satisfying that yearning for happiness which the human heart continues to harbour. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, no. 9-10, June 28, 2003)

  • The basis of the spread of sects: the tendency to reduce religions and various spiritual experiences to a common denominator

You know well that the basis of the spread of the sects is often a great lack of religious formation, consequently leading to uncertainty about the need to believe in Christ and to belong to the Church he has established. The tendency is to reduce religions and the various spiritual experiences to a least common denominator that makes them practically equivalent, with the result that everyone would be free to follow any of the various paths proposed to reach the goal of salvation. If, in addition, one adds the brazen proselytism which is the hallmark of certain particularly active and invasive groups of these sects, one understands right away how urgently necessary it is today to support the faith of Christians, and to give them an opportunity for ongoing religious formation to deepen their personal relationship with Christ. Your endeavours must give priority to preventing this danger, consolidating in the faithful the practice of the Christian life and fostering the growth of a truly fraternal spirit in the heart of each of your ecclesial communities. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Brazil from the First Southern Region on their ad limina visit, no. 2, January 23, 2003)

  • The moral and spiritual Christian patrimony runs risk due to the spread of sects

On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a re-evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom. Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations. At this moment the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church. Their responsibility, in particular, is to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response-consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees-to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 34, December 30, 1988)

  • Saint Gregory the Great and the awareness of the dignity of the papacy: will respond before men and before God

Servus servorum Dei’: it is known that this title, chosen by him [Saint Gregory the Great] ever since he was a deacon – and used not a few of his letters – gradually became a traditional title and almost a definition of the person of the Bishop of Rome. It is also certain, that from sincere humility, he made it the motto of his ministry and that, precisely because of his universal function in the Church of Christ, he always considered and showed himself to be the maximum and primary servant – the servant of the servants of God – servant of all, following the example of Christ himself, who had explicitly affirmed that he ‘came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt 20:28). Most profound was, therefore, his consciousness of the dignity [of the Papacy], which he accepted with great trepidation after having unsuccessfully tried to remain hidden in an attempt to avoid it; but, at the same time, possessing a clear awareness of his duty to serve, convinced himself and attempting to instill in the others the conviction that all authority, above all within the Church, is essentially service. The awareness of his own pontifical office and, proportionally, of all pastoral ministry, is condensed in the word ‘responsibility’: he who exercises an ecclesiastical ministry should respond for what he does, not only to men, not only to the souls that were confided to him, but also and in the first place to God and to his Son, in whose name he acts each time he distributes the supernatural treasures of grace, announces the truths of the Gospel and undertakes activities of legislation and of government. (John Paul II. Letter Plurimum Significans on the 14th centenary of the elevation of Saint Gregory the Great to the Papacy, June 29, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on our sins drawing us close to Jesus

  • Grace is incompatible with grave sin

In fact, the remission of serious sin consists in the infusion of the sanctifying grace which has been lost, and grace is incompatible with any and every serious sin. (John Paul II. Message to the participants in the Course on the Internal Forum organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 20, 1998)

  • The true path of the Church is fidelity to Christ

The true path of the Church is fidelity to Christ. That is why the Church should persevere in ‘its truth’ and guard its ‘deposit’ in the spirit of love and for the love in which God fully reveals himself, for ‘God is love’ (Jn 4:8). It is not honestly possible to have this fidelity coexist while following other paths that distance oneself progressively from Christ and from the Church, disputing fixed points of doctrine and discipline, that, as such, have been confided to the Church and to its mandate, with the guarantee of fidelity assured by the Holy Spirit. (John Paul II. Address to the members of the Sacred College and the Roman Curia, June 28, 1980)

  • Recognize oneself a sinner so that God manifest his power

To recognize oneself a sinner before all, is above all to beseech God to manifest his power and his love, capable of working marvels in he who repents. (John Paul II. Homily on the Solemnity of Pentecost celebrated in the Cathedral of Brussels, July 4, 1995)

  • To acknowledge one’s sin is the essential first step in returning to God

To acknowledge one’s sin, indeed-penetrating still more deeply into the consideration of one’s own personhood-to recognize oneself as being a sinner, capable of sin and inclined to commit sin, is the essential first step in returning to God. […] In effect, to become reconciled with God presupposes and includes detaching oneself consciously and with determination from the sin into which one has fallen. It presupposes and includes, therefore, doing penance in the fullest sense of the term: repenting, showing this repentance, adopting a real attitude of repentance- which is the attitude of the person who starts out on the road of return to the Father. This is a general law and one which each individual must follow in his or her particular situation. For it is not possible to deal with sin and conversion only in abstract terms. […] The first conviction is that for a Christian the sacrament of penance is the primary way of obtaining forgiveness and the remission of serious sin committed after baptism. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, nos. 13, 31)

…judges Francis’ idea on knowing God’s will from the people

  • Every baptized person has the right to receive instruction from the Church

To begin with, it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right. On the one hand, it is certainly a duty springing from a command given by the Lord and resting above all on those who in the new covenant receive the call to the ministry of being pastors. On the other hand, one can likewise speak of a right: from the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely the reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, no. 14, October 16, 1979)

  • The successors of the Apostles should never be afraid of proclaiming the full truth about Jesus Christ, in all its challenging demands

Yours is the responsibility of constantly identifying the features of a pastoral plan adapted to the needs and aspirations of God’s people, a plan which will enable all to hear ever more clearly the Good News of Christ and bring the truths and values of the Gospel to bear ever more incisively on the family, on culture, on society itself. The successors of the Apostles should never be afraid of proclaiming the full truth about Jesus Christ, in all its challenging reality and demands, since the truth has an intrinsic power to draw the human heart to all that is good, noble and beautiful. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Korea on their ad limina visit, no. 2, March 24, 2001)

  • Bishops have the serious responsibility to make things clear in an epoch of confusion

Today especially, among the many dissonant voices that spread confusion and doubt in the minds of the faithful, the Bishop has the serious responsibility to make things clear. The preaching of the Gospel is the greatest act of love for man, his freedom and his thirst for happiness. (John Paul II. Address, Jubilee of Bishops, no. 5, October 7, 2000)

  • Courage to defend sound doctrine, showing that the true solution for the complicated problems of humanity is in returning to the Gospel

Master of the faith, the bishop promotes whatever is good and positive in the flock entrusted to him, sustains and guides those weak in faith (Rom 14:1), intervenes to unmask falsehoods and combat abuses. It is important that the bishop be aware of the challenges that faith in Christ has to face today on account of the mentality based on human criteria, that at times relativises the Law and the Plan of God. Above all, he must have the courage to announce and defend sound doctrine, even when it entails suffering. In fact, the bishop, in communion with the apostolic college and with the Successor of Peter, has the duty of protecting the faithful from any kind of temptation, showing in a wholehearted return to the Gospel of Christ the true solution for the complicated problems that burden humanity. (John Paul II. Homily during the conclusion of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 27, 2001)

  • The ‘answer’ to questions about morality was entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to Pastors – it is one of the chief areas for their pastoral vigilance

It is our common duty, and even before that our common grace, as Pastors and Bishops of the Church, to teach the faithful the things which lead them to God, just as the Lord Jesus did with the young man in the Gospel. Replying to the question: ‘What good must I do to have eternal life?’ Jesus referred the young man to God, the Lord of creation and of the Covenant. He reminded him of the moral commandments already revealed in the Old Testament and he indicated their spirit and deepest meaning by inviting the young man to follow him in poverty, humility and love: ‘Come, follow me!’ The truth of this teaching was sealed on the Cross in the Blood of Christ: in the Holy Spirit, it has become the new law of the Church and of every Christian.

This ‘answer’ to the question about morality has been entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to us, the Pastors of the Church; we have been called to make it the object of our preaching, in the fulfilment of our munus propheticum. At the same time, our responsibility as Pastors with regard to Christian moral teaching must also be exercised as part of the munus sacerdotale: this happens when we dispense to the faithful the gifts of grace and sanctification as an effective means for obeying God’s holy law, and when with our constant and confident prayers we support believers in their efforts to be faithful to the demands of the faith and to live in accordance with the Gospel (cf. Col 1:9-12). Especially today, Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which we exercise our pastoral vigilance, in carrying out our munus regale. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, August 6, 1993)

  • The Pope must keep watch so that the true voice of Christ be heard in all particular Churches

The mission of the Bishop of Rome within the College of all the Pastors consists precisely in ‘keeping watch’ (episkopein), like a sentinel, so that, through the efforts of the Pastors, the true voice of Christ the Shepherd may be heard in all the particular Churches. In this way, in each of the particular Churches entrusted to those Pastors, the una, sancta, catholica et apostolica Ecclesia is made present. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 84, May 25, 1995)

  • Shepherds must be Christ’s voice encouraging people in fidelity to the Lord’s law

In every age, men and women need to hear Christ the Good Shepherd calling them to faith and conversion of life (cf. Mk 1:15). As shepherds of souls, you must be Christ’s voice today, encouraging your people to rediscover ‘the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God’s love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord’s law, even in the most difficult situations’ (Veritatis Splendor, 107). (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Church in the States of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, U.S.A., on their ad limina visit, June 27, 1998)

  • A Bishop is the voice of Christ, the teacher of truth – no other task can exempt from the sacred mission of evangelizing

As Bishops you are the voice of Christ in your country. You are teachers of the truth. In a Church at the service of truth, you are the first evangelizers and no other task can exempt you from this sacred mission. You need, therefore, to be vigilant so that your communities advance continually in the knowledge and practice of the Word of God, encouraging and guiding those who teach in the Church. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Uruguay on their ad limina visit, no. 5, January 14, 1985)

  • The voice of Christ is heard in a lifelong Christian training

Today I wish to encourage you to direct your ministry and pastoral planning more and more to that lifelong Christian formation which is the essential support of a solid Christian life, a formation which begins in Baptism, develops through grace at every stage of life’s journey, and will end only when our eyes are fully opened in the beatific vision of heaven. It is this lifelong Christian training which enables us to hear the voice of Christ, our Teacher (cf. Mt 23:10), and adhere with heart and mind to the cause of his kingdom. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei on their ad limina visit, no. 2, November 10, 2001)

  • Bishops should watch over the holiness of ministers and faithful

By his words and example, and in his vigilance and paternal intervention, the Bishop fulfils his duty to offer the world the reality of a Church which is holy and chaste, in her ministers and in her faithful. When he does so, he walks as a pastor at the head of his flock, as did Christ the Bridegroom, who gave his life for us and who left to all the example of a love which is transparent and virginal, and therefore fruitful and universal. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, no. 21, October 16, 2003)

…judges Francis’ idea on the essence of divinity

  • Truly enormous error: theological immanence, which considers divine action as one with the action of nature – this destroys the supernatural order

And thus, Venerable Brethren, the road is open for us to study the Modernists in the theological arena – a difficult task, yet one that may be disposed of briefly. The end to be attained is the conciliation of faith with science, always, however, saving the primacy of science over faith. In this branch the Modernist theologian avails himself of exactly the same principles which we have seen employed by the Modernist philosopher, and applies them to the believer: the principles of immanence and symbolism. The process is an extremely simple one. The philosopher has declared: The principle of faith is immanent; the believer has added: This principle is God; and the theologian draws the conclusion: God is immanent in man. Thus we have theological immanence. So too, the philosopher regards as certain that the representations of the object of faith are merely symbolical; the believer has affirmed that the object of faith is God in Himself; and the theologian proceeds to affirm that: The representations of the divine reality are symbolical. And thus we have theological symbolism. Truly enormous errors both, the pernicious character of which will be seen clearly from an examination of their consequences. […] Concerning immanence it is not easy to determine what Modernists mean by it, for their own opinions on the subject vary. Some understand it in the sense that God working in man is more intimately present in him than man is in even himself, and this conception, if properly understood, is free from reproach. Others hold that the divine action is one with the action of nature, as the action of the first cause is one with the action of the secondary cause, and this would destroy the supernatural order. Others, finally, explain it in a way which savours of pantheism and this, in truth, is the sense which tallies best with the rest of their doctrines. (Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis no.19, September 8, 1907)

  • The theory of divine immanence leads directly to pantheism

And to Pantheism that other doctrine of the divine immanence leads directly. For does it, We ask, leave God distinct from man or not? If yes, in what does it differ from Catholic doctrine, and why reject external revelation? If no, we are at once in Pantheism. Now the doctrine of immanence in the Modernist acceptation holds and professes that every phenomenon of conscience proceeds from man as man. The rigorous conclusion from this is the identity of man with God, which means Pantheism. (Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis no.39, September 8, 1907)

  • Condemned: to consider what is divine in sacred tradition in a pantheistic sense

Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. […] Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. (Pius X. Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum. Iurisiurandi Formula, September 1, 1910)

  • The Word of God rejects all forms of pantheism

In the end, the word of God poses the problem of the meaning of life and proffers its response in directing the human being to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, who is the perfect realization of human existence. A reading of the sacred text would reveal other aspects of this problem; but what emerges clearly is the rejection of all forms of relativism, materialism and pantheism. (John Paul II, Encyclical Fides et ratio, no. 80, September 14, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea on contemplative life

  • The cloister does not ‘isolate’, but places in the heart of the Church, who manifests the pre-eminence of contemplation over action

The abandoning of the cloister would mean to fall short in what is characteristic to one of the forms of religious life, by which the Church manifests before the world the pre-eminence of contemplation over action, of what is eternal over that which is temporal. The cloister does not ‘isolate’ the contemplative souls from the communion of the Mystical Body. Rather, it places them in the heart of the Church. (John Paul II. Address to the Plenary Session of the Sacred Congregation for the Religious and Secular Institutes, March 7, 1980)

  • The life of the religious contemplatives proclaims the primacy of God

Your life – with its separation from the world expressed concretely and effectively – proclaims the primacy of God and is a constant reminder of the preeminence of contemplation over action, of the eternal over the transitory. Consequently it suggests, as an expression and anticipation of the goal towards which the ecclesial community is heading, the future recapitulation of all things in Christ. (John Paul II. Address to Women Religious of the Bologna Area, no. 4, September 28, 1997)

  • Religious devoted to contemplation are a reason for pride for the Church, and contribute to the growth of the People of God

Institutes completely devoted to contemplation, composed of either women or men, are for the Church a reason for pride and a source of heavenly graces. By their lives and mission, the members of these Institutes imitate Christ in his prayer on the mountain, bear witness to God’s lordship over history and anticipate the glory which is to come. In solitude and silence, by listening to the word of God, participating in divine worship, personal asceticism, prayer, mortification and the communion of fraternal love, they direct the whole of their lives and all their activities to the contemplation of God. In this way they offer the ecclesial community a singular testimony of the Church’s love for her Lord, and they contribute, with hidden apostolic fruitfulness, to the growth of the People of God. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, no. 8, March 25, 1996)

  • Contemplative vocations are very necessary and enrich the entire life of the Church. This life neither excludes from the Church nor impedes efficacious apostolate

The contemplative life has occupied and continues to occupy a place of honor in the Church. Dedicated to prayer and silence, adoration and penance from within the cloister. […] The Church knows well that your silent and isolated life, in the exterior solitude of the cloister, is the yeast of renovation and the presence of the Spirit of Christ in the world. That is why the Council said that the contemplative religious ‘maintain an eminent place in the Mystical Body of Christ’ […] Your life of enclosure, lived in entire fidelity, does not exclude you from the Church nor impede an efficacious apostolate. Remember the daughter of Teresa of Jesus, Theresa of Lisieux, who was so close, from her cloister, to the missions and missionaries of the world. That, like her, ‘in the heart of the Church you shall be love’ […] The world needs, more than we might realize, your presence and your testimony. […] With respect to this, I would like to call on the Christian communities and their Pastors, reminding them of the irreplaceable place that the contemplative life holds within the Church. We should all value and profoundly esteem the dedication of contemplative souls to prayer, to praise and sacrifice. They are very necessary for the Church. They are living prophets and teachers to all; the forerunners of the Church toward the kingdom. Their attitude toward the realities of this world, that they contemplate according to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, enlightens us regarding the final possessions and makes us comprehend the gratuitousness of the salvific love of God. I exhort all, therefore, to attempt to awaken vocations among the youth for the monastic life; in the certainty that these vocations enrich the entire life of the Church. (John Paul II. Speech to the Cloistered Sisters in the Monastery of the Incarnation in Avila, November 1, 1982)

  • The life of the cloister nuns is an anticipation of the contemplation of God

The monastic life of women and the cloister deserve special attention because of the greatesteem in which the Christian community holds this type of life […] Indeed, the life of cloistered nuns, devoted in a special way to prayer, to asceticism and diligent progress in the spiritual life, ‘is nothing other than a journey to the heavenly Jerusalem and an anticipation of the eschatological Church immutable in its possession and contemplation of God’. In the light of this vocation and ecclesial mission, the cloister responds to the need, felt as paramount, to be with the Lord. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, no. 59, March 25, 1996)

  • Even some Christians, more sensitive to concrete compromise, consider contemplative life as an antiquated activity and even useless

Though profoundly loving our epoch, it is necessary to recognize that modern thought easily closes itself in subjectivism with respect to religions, the faith of believers, and religious sentiments. And this vision makes no exceptions with respect to the monastic life. This occurs to such a point, that public opinion and at times, unfortunately, inclusively some Christians – who are more sensitive to concrete compromise – find themselves tempted to consider your contemplative life as an evasion from the real; an antiquated activity and even useless. This misunderstanding might bring you suffering, even humiliations. I say to you as Christ: ‘Fear not, little flock’ (cf. Lk 12:32). A certain monastic flowering, that is manifesting itself in your country, should maintain you, moreover, in hope. (John Paul II. Address to the contemplative Sisters of the Carmel of Lisieux, June 2, 1980)

…judges Francis’ idea that no one is saved alone

  • The faith of the Church, founded upon divine Revelation: each one of us will be judged according to his works

The faith of the Church, founded upon divine Revelation teaches us that each one of us will be judged according to his works. Take note: it is our person that will be judged in accordance with our works. Thus one understands that in our works it is the person that is expressed and fulfills himself, and so to say, fashions himself. Each person is responsible not only for his own free actions, but also, through such actions, is responsible for himself. (John Paul II. General Audience, July 20, 1983)

…judges Francis’ idea on the flesh of Christ and poverty as a theological category

  • Love for the poor is not something new: the whole tradition of the Church bears witness to the exercise of Christian charity

Here I would like to indicate one of them: the option or love of preference for the poor. This is an option, or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness. (John Paul II. Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. 42, for the twentieth anniversary of Populorum Progressio)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Virgin Mary was capable to rebel against God

  • Accepting the sacrifice of her Son, Mary is the dawn of the Redemption – She consented to the immolation of the Victim which She had brought forth

Mary precedes and accompanies us. The silent itinerary that she initiates with her Immaculate Conception – passing to the ‘yes’ of Nazareth which made her the Mother of God – finds in Calvary a particularly crucial moment. There also, accepting and attending the sacrifice of her Son, Mary is the dawn of Redemption; and it is there that Her Son gives her to us as Mother.The Mother gazed with pity on the wounds of the Son, from whom she knew the redemption of the world would come’ (Saint Ambrose, De institutione virginis, no. 49). Crucified spiritually with her crucified Son, she contemplated with heroic charity the death of her God, ‘consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth’(Lumen Gentium, no. 58). She fulfilled the will of the Father in our favor and welcomed all as children, in virtue of the testament of Christ: ‘Woman, behold your son’ (Jn 19:26). (John Paul II. Papal Discourse in Guayaquil- Ecuador, no. 5, January 31, 1985)

  • St Bernard comments: ‘For our reconciliation, offer the heavenly victim pleasing to God’

In the West St Bernard, who died in 1153, turns to Mary and comments on the presentation of Jesus in the temple: ‘Offer your Son, sacrosanct Virgin, and present the fruit of your womb to the Lord. For our reconciliation with all, offer the heavenly victim pleasing to God’ (Serm. 3 in Purif., 2: PL 183, 370). (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, October 25, 1995)

  • Mary’s supreme ‘yes’ radiant with trusting hope began with the death of her crucified Son – Her hope contains a light stronger than the darkness

Mary’s supreme ‘yes’ is radiant with trusting hope in the mysterious future, begun with the death of her crucified Son. The words in which Jesus taught the disciples on his way to Jerusalem ‘that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again’ re-echo in her heart at the dramatic hour of Calvary, awakening expectation of and yearning for the Resurrection. Mary’s hope at the foot of the Cross contains a light stronger than the darkness that reigns in many hearts: in the presence of the redeeming Sacrifice, the hope of the Church and of humanity is born in Mary. (John Paul II. General Audience, April 2, 1997)

  • In the Cross there are two altars: one in Mary’s heart, the other in Christ’s body

A disciple and friend of Saint Bernard, Arnold of Chartres, sheds light particularly on Mary’s offering in the sacrifice of Calvary. He distinguished in the Cross ‘two altars: one in Mary’s heart, the other in Christ’s body. Christ sacrificed his flesh, Mary her soul’. Mary sacrificed herself spiritually in deep communion with Christ, and implored the world’s salvation: ‘What the mother asks, the Son approves and the Father grants’ (cf. De septem verbis Domini in cruce, 3: PL 189, 1694) (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, October 25, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on the origin of the Psalms

  • The Christian tradition is not limited to perpetuating Jewish practice – it innovated, using the Psalms in function of Christ’s paschal mystery

The Christian tradition is not limited to perpetuating Jewish practice but made certain innovations which end by giving a different character to the entire prayer experience lived by Jesus’ disciples. In fact, in addition to reciting the Our Father in the morning and evening, the Christians freely chose the Psalms with which to celebrate their daily prayer. Down through history, this process suggested the use of specific Psalms for certain particularly significant moments of faith. […] Christian prayer is born, nourished and develops around the event of faith par excellence: Christ’s paschal mystery. (John Paul II. General Audience, nos. 4-5, April 4, 2001)

  • Harmony between the Spirit present in Scripture and the Spirit dwelling in the baptized

Before beginning the commentary on the individual Psalms and Songs of Praise, let us complete today the introductory reflection which we began in the last catechesis. We will do so by starting with one aspect that is prized by our spiritual tradition: in singing the Psalms, the Christian feels a sort of harmony between the Spirit present in the Scriptures and the Spirit who dwells within him through the grace of Baptism. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1, April 4, 2001)

…judges Francis’ idea on evil in our times

  • The mission ad gentes is the normal outcome of Christian living

Reading the Acts of the Apostles helps us to realize that at the beginning of the Church the mission ad gentes, while it had missionaries dedicated ‘for life’ by a special vocation, was in fact considered the normal outcome of Christian living, to which every believer was committed through the witness of personal conduct and through explicit proclamation whenever possible. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 27, December 7, 1990)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christ at the Final Judgment

  • The judgment of Christ is a definitive salvific act

The divine power of judging has been linked to the mission of Christ as Savior, as Redeemer of the world. And the same judging pertains to the work of salvation; to the order of salvation: it is a definitive salvific act. In effect, the purpose of judgment is the full participation in the divine Life as the last gift granted to man: the definitive fulfillment of his eternal vocation. At the same time the power to judge is linked with the exterior revelation of the glory of the Father in his Son as the Redeemer of man. (John Paul II. General Audience, September 30, 1987)

  • Christ will put an end to a universe corrupted by falsehood

The Lord will appear in clouds, clothed in power and glory. He is the same Son of man, merciful and compassionate, whom the disciples knew during his earthly journey. When the moment comes for his manifestation in glory, he will come to give human history its definitive fulfillment. Through the symbolism of cosmological upheavals, the Evangelist Mark recalls that God will pronounce his last judgment on human events in the Son, putting an end to a universe corrupted by falsehood and torn by violence and injustice. (John Paul II. Homily, Jubilee of the Armed Forces and Police, November 19, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea on doing good

  • The idea of a universal truth, knowable by human reason, is necessary to correctly determine the criteria of good and evil

Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. This is the direction taken by doctrines which have lost the sense of the transcendent or which are explicitly atheist. The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one’s conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one’s moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and ‘being at peace with oneself’, so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. As is immediately evident, the crisis of truth is not unconnected with this development. Once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes. Conscience is no longer considered in its primordial reality as an act of a person’s intelligence […] Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 32)

  • The fundamental dependence of freedom upon truth

Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known. […] Certain tendencies in contemporary moral theology, under the influence of the currents of subjectivism and individualism just mentioned, involve novel interpretations of the relationship of freedom to the moral law, human nature and conscience, and propose novel criteria for the moral evaluation of acts. Despite their variety, these tendencies are at one in lessening or even denying the dependence of freedom on truth. […] in the light of the fundamental dependence of freedom upon truth, a dependence which has found its clearest and most authoritative expression in the words of Christ: ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (Jn 8:32). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 32)

…judges Francis’ idea on boasting of our sins

  • Sin is an abuse of the freedom received from God

Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another’ (Catechism, 387); it is refusal to live the life of God received in Baptism, to let ourselves be loved by the true Love: the human being has in fact the terrible power to be an obstacle to God who wills to give all that is good. Sin, which has its origin in the person’s free will (Mk 7:20), is failure in genuine love; it wounds the nature of the human person and injures human solidarity by attitudes, words and actions steeped in self-love (cf. Catechism, 1849-1850). (John Paul II. Message on the occasion of the 14th World Youth Day, January 9, 1999)

  • The Church believes and professes that sin is an offense against God

The Church, taking her inspiration from Revelation, believes and professes that sin is an offense against God. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem, no. 39, May 18, 1986)

  • Sin is aversio a Deo – and consequently choosing death

For man also knows, through painful experience, that by a conscious and free act of his will he can change course and go in a direction opposed to God’s will, separating himself from God (aversio a Deo), rejecting loving communion with him, detaching himself from the life principle which God is and consequently choosing death. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 17, December 2, 1984)

  • …and conversio ad creaturam, something contrary to the divine will

With the whole tradition of the church, we call mortal sin the act by which man freely and consciously rejects God, his law, the covenant of love that God offers, preferring to turn in on himself or to some created and finite reality, something contrary to the divine will (conversio ad creaturam). (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 17, December 2, 1984)

  • Disobedience to God destroys the bond that unites man with his life principle – an act gravely offensive to God

Man perceives that this disobedience to God destroys the bond that unites him with his life principle: It is a mortal sin, that is, an act which gravely offends God and ends in turning against man himself with a dark and powerful force of destruction. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia, no. 17)

  • Through the Sacrament of Confession man renews his friendship with God

As it is known, the Father that has made us his children through Baptism, remains faithful to his love even when, by his own fault, man separates from Him. His mercy is stronger than sin, and the Sacrament of Confession is it most expressive sign, like a second Baptism, as the Fathers of the Church call it. Effectively, in Confession the same grace of Baptism is renewed precisely by a newer and richer insertion into the mystery of Christ and the Church. (John Paul II. Address to the clergy of Todi and Orvieto, November 22, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on sin and mercy

  • Before injuring man, sin is first and foremost a betrayal of God – a violation of His law and a rejection of His plan

Sin is not just a psychological and social matter, but an event that corrodes the relationship with God, violating his law, refusing his plan in history and overturning his set of values, ‘putting darkness for light and light for darkness’, in other words, ‘calling evil good and good evil’ (Is 5:20). Before finally injuring man, sin is first and foremost a betrayal of God. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, May 8, 2002)

  • The Church believes in and professes that sin is an offense against God

The Church, taking her inspiration from Revelation, believes and professes that sin is an offense against God. What corresponds, in the inscrutable intimacy of the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, to this ‘offense,’ this rejection of the Spirit who is love and gift? The concept of God as the necessarily most perfect being certainly excludes from God any pain deriving from deficiencies or wounds; but in the ‘depths of God’ there is a Father’s love that, faced with man’s sin, in the language of the Bible reacts so deeply as to say: ‘I am sorry that I have made him’ (cf. Gen 6:7). (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominun et Vivificantem, no.39, May 18, 1986)

  • Sin may not be considered exclusively from its psychological consequences: it is not a simple human error, but an offense toward God

Above all, the Council recalls that an essential characteristic of sin is that of being an offense toward God. It is a deed of momentous importance that includes the perverse act of the creature who, knowingly and voluntarily, opposes the will of its Creator and Lord, violating the law of goodness, and entering, through free choice, under the yolk of evil. […] It is necessary to say that it is also an act of betrayal of the divine charity, inasmuch as it is an infraction of the law of friendship and the covenant that God established with his people and with every man through the blood of Christ; and, therefore, an act of infidelity, and, in practice, of rejection of his love. Sin, consequently, is not a simple human error, and does not merely result in a detriment to man: it is an offense toward God, for the sinner violates the law of him, who is Creator and Lord, and offends his fatherly love. One may not consider sin exclusively from the point of view of its psychological consequences: sin acquires its significance from the relation of man with God. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 4, April 15, 1992)

  • The death of Christ is a sacrifice of which makes us understand the gravity of sin

The death of Christ, arduous and excruciating, was also a ‘sacrifice of expiation,’ which makes us understand the gravity of sin, a rebellion against God and a rejection of his love, and also the marvelous redeeming work of Christ, who, in expiating for humanity, has restored grace in us, that is, the participation in the same Trinitarian life of God and the inheritance of his eternal happiness. (John Paul II, General Audience, no. 3, March 22, 1989)

  • God’s pardon must correspond to conversion of the one who repents

However, to the ‘return’ of God who forgives must correspond the ‘return’, that is, the ‘conversion’, of the one who repents. In fact, the Psalm says that peace and salvation are offered ‘to those who turn to him in their hearts’ (cf. Ps 84 v. 9). Those who set out with determination on the path of holiness receive the gifts of joy, freedom and peace. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, September 25, 2002)

  • Sin has a twofold consequence

Because it offends the holiness and justice of God and scorns God’s personal friendship with man, sin has a twofold consequence. In the first place, if it is grave, it involves deprivation of communion with God and, in consequence, exclusion from a share in eternal life. […] In the second place, ‘every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the ‘temporal punishment’ of sin’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1472), and this expiation removes whatever impedes full communion with God and with one’s brothers and sisters. (John Paul II. Bull Incarnationis Mysterium, no. 10, November 30, 1998)

  • Mortal sin is a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation – one turns away from God and loses charity

Likewise, care will have to be taken not to reduce mortal sin to an act of ‘fundamental option’- as is commonly said today – against God, intending thereby an explicit and formal contempt for God or neighbor. For mortal sin exists also when a person knowingly and willingly, for whatever reason, chooses something gravely disordered. In fact, such a choice already includes contempt for the divine law, a rejection of God’s love for humanity and the whole of creation; the person turns away from God and loses charity. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliation et paenitentia, no. 17, December 2, 1984)

…judges Francis’ idea on communion to divorced in second union

  • No Christian who is conscious of grave sin can receive the eucharist

However, it must be remembered that the Church, guided by faith in this great sacrament, teaches that no Christian who is conscious of grave sin can receive the Eucharist before having obtained God’s forgiveness. This we read in the instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium which, duly approved by Paul VI, fully confirms the teaching of the Council of Trent: ‘The eucharist is to be offered to the faithful also ‘as a remedy, which frees us from daily faults and preserves us from mortal sin’ and they are to be shown the fitting way of using the penitential parts of the liturgy of the Mass.’ (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, December 2, 1984)

  • Reasons why the Church reaffirms her practice of not admitting to Communion divorced persons who have ‘remarried’

The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 84, November 22, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on the incapacity of the Church to resolve the crisis of the family

  • The Church has the decisive answer to every one of man’s questions

Consequently the decisive answer to every one of man’s questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ, or rather is Jesus Christ himself […] Jesus Christ, the ‘light of the nations’, shines upon the face of his Church, which he sends forth to the whole world to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (Mk 16:15). Hence the Church, as the People of God among the nations, (cf. Lumen Gentium, 9) while attentive to the new challenges of history and to mankind’s efforts to discover the meaning of life, offers to everyone the answer which comes from the truth about Jesus Christ and his Gospel. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 2, August 6, 1993)

  • In the field of conjugal morality the Church is Teacher and Mother

In the field of conjugal morality the Church is Teacher and Mother and acts as such. As Teacher, she never tires of proclaiming the moral norm that must guide the responsible transmission of life. The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 33, November 22, 1981)

  • There is no difficult situation that cannot be adequately confronted by a genuine Christian life

Human frailty grows if the divorce mentality dominates, something that the Council denounced with such vigour because it leads so often to separations and definitive break-ups. Even a bad education for sexuality harms the life of the family. When there is lacking an integral preparation for marriage that respects the gradual stages of the maturation of the engaged couple (cf. Familiaris consortio, n. 66), in the family this lessens the possibility of defence. There is no difficult situation that cannot be adequately confronted when one cultivates a genuine atmosphere of Christian life. Love itself, wounded by sin, is still a redeemed love (cf. CCC, n. 1608). It is clear that, if sacramental life is weak, the family yields more easily to snares because it is deprived of any defences. (John Paul II. Address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, no. 3, October 18, 2002)

  • The Church has learned the right path for the family from Christ Himself

The Church knows the path by which the family can reach the heart of the deepest truth about itself. The Church has learned this path at the school of Christ and the school of history interpreted in the light of the Spirit. She does not impose it but she feels an urgent need to propose it to everyone without fear and indeed with great confidence and hope, although she knows that the Good News includes the subject of the Cross. But it is through the Cross that the family can attain the fullness of its being and the perfection of its love. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 86, November 22, 1981)

  • The Church’s task to announce the truth with respect to matrimony

Faced with the difficulties and the resources of the family today, the Church feels called to renew the awareness of the responsibility that it received from Christ with respect to the precious gift of matrimony and the family: the task of announcing it in its truth, of celebrating it in its mystery and of living it within daily existence by those who ‘God calls to serve him in matrimony.’ (John Paul II. Address to the representatives of the Episcopal Conferences on the 20th year of the Encyclical Humanae vitae, November 7, 1988)

  • A serious pastoral omission: not to proclaim the truth about marriage and the family

I am aware of your commitment to defending and promoting this institution which has its origin in God and in his plan of salvation (cf. Familiaris consortio, n. 49). Today we are seeing a trend, very widespread in certain areas, which is tending to reduce its true nature. Indeed, there is no lack of attempts, in public opinion and in civil legislation, to make equivalent to the family mere de facto unions or to recognize as such same-sex unions. These and other anomalies lead us with pastoral firmness to proclaim the truth about marriage and the family. Not to do so would be a serious pastoral omission that would lead people into error, especially those who have the important responsibility of making decisions for the common good of the nation. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Brazil (Leste II) on their ad limina visit, November 16, 2002)

  • Rediscovering the original divine plan for the family is of decisive importance

Today it is more urgent than ever […] to rediscover the value of the family, as a community based on the indissoluble matrimony of one man and one woman who in love establish their existence together and open themselves to the gift of life […]. The rediscovery of this original divine plan is of decisive importance, within the crises that humanity is passing through in our times. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 2, December 26, 1993)

  • Marriage and the family are ordained to Christ and need His graces

Illuminated by the faith that gives her an understanding of all the truth concerning the great value of marriage and the family and their deepest meaning, the Church […] The Church is deeply convinced that only by the acceptance of the Gospel are the hopes that man legitimately places in marriage and in the family capable of being fulfilled. Willed by God in the very act of creation (cf. Gen 1-2), marriage and the family are interiorly ordained to fulfillment in Christ (cf. Eph 5) and have need of His graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin (cf. GS 47; John Paul II, Apopropinquat Iam) and restored to their ‘beginning’(cf. Mt 19:4), that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God’s plan. At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 86, November 22, 1981)

  • Christ: the solution to protect the family from a destructive ‘anti-civilization

The family constitutes the fundamental ‘cell’ of society. But Christ—the ‘vine’ from which the ‘branches’ draw nourishment—is needed so that this cell will not be exposed to the threat of a kind of cultural uprooting which can come both from within and from without. Indeed, although there is on the one hand the ‘civilization of love’, there continues to exist on the other hand the possibility of a destructive ‘anti-civilization’, as so many present trends and situations confirm. (John Paul II. Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane, February 2, 1994)

  • Urgent need of a broad catechetical effort to strengthen families

Hence there is urgent need of a broad catechetical effort regarding the Christian ideal of conjugal communion and family life […] Also required is a serious preparation of young people for marriage, one which clearly presents Catholic teaching on this sacrament at the theological, anthropological and spiritual levels. […] Families should not fail to set time aside for prayer, in which spouses are united with each other and with their children. There is a need to encourage shared spiritual moments such as participating in the Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, daily prayer in the family and practical signs of charity. This will strengthen fidelity in marriage and unity in families. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, no. 46, January 22, 1999)

…judges Francis’ idea on eternal condemnation

  • Hell and eternal damnation: the state of those who definitively reject the Father’s mercy

God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell. […] In a theological sense however, hell is something else: it is the ultimate consequence of sin itself, which turns against the person who committed it. It is the state of those who definitively reject the Father’s mercy, even at the last moment of their life. (John Paul II. General Audience, July 28, 1999)

…judges Francis’ idea on the harmony among good and evil

  • The Council of Jerusalem: testimony of how truth should be served without compromise

Already in the apostolic era, the Council of Jerusalem had to unify the different perspectives of Christians of a Jewish background and those proceeding from paganism. That event continues to be a luminous testimony of how the truth should be served without compromise. (John Paul II. Angelus, no. 1, June 30, 1996)

Facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided: love for truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians

Love for the truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians. […] Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 36, May 25, 1995)

  • A ‘being together’ which betrays the truth is in contradiction with God, who is Truth

Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age, or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? […]A ‘being together’ which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 18, May 25, 1995)

  • The mission confided by Christ to his Church is unity in the identity of the faith

Unity in truth: this is the mission confided by Christ to his Church, for which it actively strives, invoking before all else from Him who is all powerful and was the first to pray to the Father, in the imminence of his Death and Resurrection, that all believers be ‘one’ (Jn 17: 21) […] It thus becomes clear the this mysterious and visible union may not be obtained without the identity of the faith, the participation in sacramental life, the consequent coherence in moral life, and continuous and fervent personal and communitarian prayer. (John Paul II. Official and solemn presentation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 8, December 7, 1992)

  • Over and above unity in love, unity in truth is always urgent for us

To be watchful for purity of doctrine, the basis in building up the Christian community, is therefore, together with the proclamation of the Gospel, the primary and irreplaceable duty of the Pastor, of the Teacher of the faith. How often Saint Paul emphasized this, convinced as he was of the seriousness of the accomplishment of this duty (cf. 1Tim 1:3-7; 18-20; 4:11, 16; 2Tim 1:4-14). Over and above unity in love, unity in truth is always urgent for us. (John Paul II. Address to the members of the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, Puebla, Republic of Mexico, no. 1, January 28, 1979)

  • The desire to hear novelties deviates from truth

It is in the same light and power that the Church’s Magisterium continues to carry out its task of discernment, accepting and living out the admonition addressed by the Apostle Paul to Timothy: ‘I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry’ (2Tim 4:1-5; cf. Tit 1:10, 13-14). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 30, August 6 1993)

  • The moral prescriptions of the law must be faithfully kept and continually put into practice

The moral prescriptions which God imparted in the Old Covenant, and which attained their perfection in the New and Eternal Covenant in the very person of the Son of God made man, must be faithfully kept and continually put into practice in the various different cultures throughout the course of history. […] This constant ‘putting into practice’ of the commandments […] can only confirm the permanent validity of Revelation and follow in the line of the interpretation given to it by the great Tradition of the Church’s teaching and life, as witnessed by the teaching of the Fathers, the lives of the Saints, the Church’s Liturgy and the teaching of the Magisterium. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, nos. 25, 27, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘culture of encounter’

  • There is no difficult situation that cannot be confronted when one cultivates a Christian life

There is no difficult situation that cannot be adequately confronted when one cultivates a genuine atmosphere of Christian life. Love itself, wounded by sin, is still a redeemed love (cf. CCC, 1608). It is clear that, if sacramental life is weak, the family yields more easily to snares because it is deprived of any defenses. (John Paul II. Address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, October 18, 2002)

  • Authentic development only occurs in light of the Gospel

Only in the light of the Gospel can solutions be found to achieve ‘whatever affects the dignity of individuals and peoples, such as authentic development’ (Sollicitudo rei socialis, 41). A society without fundamental values and ethical principles gradually deteriorates. (John Paul II. Address to Dr. Sergio Iván Búcaro Hurtarte, Ambassador of Guatemala to the Holy See, November 5, 1998)

  • To dialogue it is necessary to remain clear and consistent in the faith

Christians today must be formed to live in a world which largely ignores God or which, in religious matters, in place of an exacting and fraternal dialogue, stimulating for all, too often flounders in a debasing indifferentism, if it does not remain in a scornful attitude of ‘suspicion’ in the name of the progress it has made in the field of scientific ‘explanations.’ To ‘hold on’ in this world, to offer to all a ‘dialogue of salvation’ (cf. Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, part 3) in which each person feels respected in his or her most basic dignity, the dignity of one who is seeking God, we need a catechesis which trains the young people and adults of our communities to remain clear and consistent in their faith, to affirm serenely their Christian and Catholic identity, to ‘see him who is invisible’ (cf. Heb 11:27) and to adhere so firmly to the absoluteness of God that they can be witnesses to Him in a materialistic civilization that denies Him. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi tradendae, no. 57, October 16, 1979)

  • Interreligious dialogue can never be a substitute for the proclamation and propagation of the faith – truth must be affirmed with frankness

When Christians live side-by-side with persons of other religions, they have a particular obligation to testify to the oneness and universality of the saving mystery of Jesus Christ and to the consequent necessity of the Church as the means of salvation for all humanity. ‘This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another’ (CDF Christus Dominus (6/8/2000), 22). It is clear, then, that interreligious dialogue can never be a substitute for the proclamation and propagation of the faith, which constitute the primary goal of the Church’s preaching, catechesis and mission. A frank and unambiguous affirmation that human salvation depends on the redemption accomplished by Christ is not an obstacle to dialogue with other religions. In the context of our profession of Christian hope, it cannot be forgotten that it is precisely this hope which is the basis of interreligious dialogue. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, October 16, 2003)

  • Interreligious dialogue is not an exchange of opinions on one’s own ‘creed’ without any preoccupation of arriving at conclusions

They aren’t lacking who wish to interpret the missionary action [of the Church] as an attempt to impose on others one’s own convictions and options, in contrast with a certain modern spirit, which boasts, as though it was a definitive conquest, of an absolute liberty of thought and personal conscience. According to this perspective, evangelizing activity should be substituted with an interreligious dialogue, which would consist in an exchange of opinions and information, whereby each party would expose his own ‘creed’ and be enriched by the thoughts of others, without any preoccupation of arriving at conclusions. […] Consequently the path that each one wishes to follow according to one’s own education and religious tradition would be respected. But this conception is irreconcilable with the commandment of Christ to the Apostles (cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15), transmitted by the Church […] [The Council] confirmed at the same time the role of the Church, in which it is necessary that man enter and persevere, if he wishes to be saved (Ad gentes, n. 7) […] This traditional doctrine of the Church exposes the inconsistency and superficiality of a relativistic and irenic attitude, regarding the way of salvation in a religion other than that founded in the faith in Christ. (John Paul II. General Audience, nos. 1-2, May 10, 1995)

  • One may not invent the faith according to circumstances or individual tastes

There are two points that I would like to particularly emphasize with respect to the transmission of the faith. First of all that catechesis responds to objective and well determined subject matter. One may not invent the faith according to the circumstances or individual tastes. We must receive it in and from the universal community of faith, the Church, to which Christ himself confided the ministry to teach under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. (John Paul II. Address to the Hispanic Catholic community of United States and Canada, September 13, 1987)

…judges Francis’ idea on the evils in our times

  • Today too many people have a bitter experience of a society without values, which results in hostility to the individual

This brings me naturally to that other form of poverty: moral destitution. […] the means of social communication often transmit indulgent messages which excuse everything and result in an unrestrained permissiveness. Thus the dignity and stability of the family are not recognized or are changed. Many young people are coming to consider almost everything as objectively indifferent: the only reference is what suits the convenience of the individual, and quite often the end justifies the means. Now, as we can see, a society without values rapidly grows ‘hostile’ to the individual who becomes the victim of personal profit, of a brutal exercise of authority, of fraud and crime. Today too many people have a bitter experience of this, and I know that statesmen are conscious of these serious problems which they must face each day. (John Paul II. Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, January 16, 1993)

  • We must ask ourselves what our responsibilities are regarding today’s evils

Let us confess, even more, our responsibilities as Christians for the evils of today. We must ask ourselves what our responsibilities are regarding atheism, religious indifference, secularism, ethical relativism, the violations of the right to life, disregard for the poor in many countries. (John Paul II. Homily, Day of Pardon, March 12, 2000)

Today’s problems: religious indifference, loss of the transcendent sense of human life, loss of respect for life and the family, a crisis of obedience to the Church’s Magisterium

How can we remain silent, for example, about the religious indifference which causes many people today to live as if God did not exist, or to be content with a vague religiosity, incapable of coming to grips with the question of truth and the requirement of consistency? To this must also be added the widespread loss of the transcendent sense of human life, and confusion in the ethical sphere, even about the fundamental values of respect for life and the family. The sons and daughters of the Church too need to examine themselves in this regard. To what extent have they been shaped by the climate of secularism and ethical relativism? And what responsibility do they bear, in view of the increasing lack of religion, for not having shown the true face of God, by having ‘failed in their religious, moral, or social life?’ It cannot be denied that, for many Christians, the spiritual life is passing through a time of uncertainty which affects not only their moral life but also their life of prayer and the theological correctness of their faith. Faith, already put to the test by the challenges of our times, is sometimes disoriented by erroneous theological views, the spread of which is abetted by the crisis of obedience vis-à-vis the Church’s Magisterium. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Tertio Millenio Adveniente, November 10, 1994)

  • Sound catechetics and trustful openness to the Magisterium aid in restoring the proper sense of sin: the first way of facing today’s grave spiritual crisis

The restoration of a proper sense of sin is the first way of facing the grave spiritual crisis looming over man today. But the sense of sin can only be restored through a clear reminder of the unchangeable principles of reason and faith which the moral teaching of the church has always upheld. There are good grounds for hoping that a healthy sense of sin will once again flourish, especially in the Christian world and in the church. This will be aided by sound catechetics, illuminated by the biblical theology of the covenant, by an attentive listening and trustful openness to the Magisterium of the Church, which; never ceases to enlighten consciences, and by an ever more careful practice of the sacrament of penance. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, no. 18, December 12, 1984)

  • The Church has particular responsibility in forming the necessary ethical and religious values

Since then, many things have changed, especially in recent years. The world today is ever more aware that solving serious national and international problems is not just a matter of economic production or of juridical or social organization, but also calls for specific ethical and religious values, as well as changes of mentality, behavior and structures. The Church feels a particular responsibility to offer this contribution and, as I have written in the Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, there is a reasonable hope that the many people who profess no religion will also contribute to providing the social question with the necessary ethical foundation. (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus annus, no. 60, May 1, 1991)

  • Education of the moral conscience is a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced

‘Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming’ (Gaudium et Spes, no. 15). The education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced. Modern culture must be led to a more profoundly restored covenant with divine Wisdom. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 8, November 22, 1981)

  • Today it is more necessary than ever the mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the stable principle and fixed centre of the mission that God himself has entrusted to man. We must all share in this mission and concentrate all our forces on it, since it is more necessary than ever for modern mankind. If this mission seems to encounter greater opposition nowadays than ever before, this shows that today it is more necessary than ever and, in spite of the opposition, more awaited than ever. Here we touch indirectly on the mystery of the divine ‘economy’ which linked salvation and grace with the Cross. It was not without reason that Christ said that ‘the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force’ (Mt 11: 12). (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, no. 11, March 4, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on the impossibility of finding God with entire certainty

  • Man naturally seeks truth and rejects falsity

‘All human beings desire to know’, (Aristotle, Metaphysics, I, 1) and truth is the proper object of this desire. Everyday life shows how concerned each of us is to discover for ourselves, beyond mere opinions, how things really are. Within visible creation, man is the only creature who not only is capable of knowing but who knows that he knows, and is therefore interested in the real truth of what he perceives. People cannot be genuinely indifferent to the question of whether what they know is true or not. If they discover that it is false, they reject it; but if they can establish its truth, they feel themselves rewarded. It is this that Saint Augustine teaches when he writes: ‘I have met many who wanted to deceive, but none who wanted to be deceived’ (Confessions, X, 23, 33: CCL 27, 173). (John Paul II. Encyclical Fides et ratio, no. 25, September 14, 1998)

  • Man’s certainty comes from finding truth

This means that the human being – the one who seeks the truth – is also the one who lives by belief. […] Human perfection, then, consists not simply in acquiring an abstract knowledge of the truth, but in a dynamic relationship of faithful self-giving with others. It is in this faithful self-giving that a person finds a fullness of certainty and security. (John Paul II. Encyclical Fides et ratio, nos. 31-32, September 14, 1998)

  • It is a moral obligation to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known

Genuine freedom is an outstanding manifestation of the divine image in man. For God willed to leave man ‘in the power of his own counsel’ (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he would seek his Creator of his own accord and would freely arrive at full and blessed perfection by cleaving to God (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 17). Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 11). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 34, August 6, 1993)

  • The response to man’s search for the truth is given by Jesus Christ, by means of His Church

The light of God’s face shines in all its beauty on the countenance of Jesus Christ, ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:15), the ‘reflection of God’s glory’ (Heb 1:3), ‘full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14). Christ is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6). Consequently the decisive answer to every one of man’s questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ […] Jesus Christ, the ‘light of the nations’, shines upon the face of his Church, which he sends forth to the whole world to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15). (Cf. Lumen Gentium, 1). Hence the Church, as the People of God among the nations, (Cf. ibid., 9). while attentive to the new challenges of history and to mankind’s efforts to discover the meaning of life, offers to everyone the answer which comes from the truth about Jesus Christ and his Gospel. The Church remains deeply conscious of her ‘duty in every age of examining the signs of the times and interpreting them in the light of the Gospel, so that she can offer in a manner appropriate to each generation replies to the continual human questionings on the meaning of this life and the life to come and on how they are related’ (Gaudium et Spes, 4). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 2, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on absolute truth

  • Grave consequences of doctrinal relativism – heresies have been promoted

It is essential to realistically admit, with deep and pained sentiment, that in part, Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disillusioned; ideas conflicting with the revealed and consistently taught truth have been widely spread; real heresies in dogmatic and moral fields have been promoted, creating doubts, confusions, rebellions, even the Liturgy has been manipulated; immersed in the intellectual and moral ‘relativism’, and consequently permissiveness, Christians are tempted toward atheism, agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and a sociological Christianity, without defined dogmas and without objective morality. (John Paul II. Address to the First National Conference on ‘Popular Missions during the 80s’, February 6, 1981)

  • Errors of denying the moral implications of the existence of absolute truth

In their desire, however, to keep the moral life in a Christian context, certain moral theologians have introduced a sharp distinction, contrary to Catholic doctrine, (cf. Council of Trent, Cum Hoc Tempore: DS1569-1571) between an ethical order, which would be human in origin and of value for this world alone, and an order of salvation, for which only certain intentions and interior attitudes regarding God and neighbour would be significant. This has then led to an actual denial that there exists, in Divine Revelation, a specific and determined moral content, universally valid and permanent. The word of God would be limited to proposing an exhortation, a generic paraenesis, which the autonomous reason alone would then have the task of completing with normative directives which are truly ‘objective’, that is, adapted to the concrete historical situation. Naturally, an autonomy conceived in this way also involves the denial of a specific doctrinal competence on the part of the Church and her Magisterium with regard to particular moral norms which deal with the so-called ‘human good’. Such norms would not be part of the proper content of Revelation, and would not in themselves be relevant for salvation. No one can fail to see that such an interpretation of the autonomy of human reason involves positions incompatible with Catholic teaching. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, August 6, 1993)

…judges Francis’ idea on new customs among today’s youth

  • The danger of blurring the boundaries between the Church and world; and the duty to announce the truth without ambiguity

The underlying question concerns the relationship between the Church and the world. This question was fundamental to the Second Vatican Council and it remains fundamental to the life of the Church more than thirty years later. The answer we give to this question will determine the answer we give to a range of other important and practical questions. The advanced secularization of society brings with it a tendency to blur the boundaries between the Church and the world. Certain aspects of the prevailing culture are allowed to condition the Christian community in ways which the Gospel does not permit. There is sometimes an unwillingness to challenge cultural assumptions as the Gospel demands. This often goes hand in hand with an uncritical approach to the problem of moral evil, and a reluctance to recognize the reality of sin and the need for forgiveness. This attitude embodies a too optimistic view of modernity, together with an uneasiness about the Cross and its implications for Christian living. The past is too easily dismissed, and the horizontal is so stressed that the sense of the supernatural grows weak. A distorted respect for pluralism leads to a relativism which questions the truths taught by faith and accessible to human reason; and this in turn leads to confusion about what constitutes true freedom. All this causes uncertainty about the distinctive contribution which the Church is called to make in the world.
In speaking of the Church’s dialogue with the world, Pope Paul VI used the phrase colloquium salutis; not just dialogue for its own sake, but a dialogue which has its source in the Truth and seeks to communicate the Truth that frees and saves. The colloquium salutis requires that the Church be different precisely for the sake of dialogue. The unfailing source of this difference is the power of the Paschal Mystery which we proclaim and communicate. It is in the Paschal Mystery that we discover the absolute and universal truth – the truth about God and about the human person – which has been entrusted to the Church and which She offers to the men and women of every age. We Bishops must never lose confidence in the call we have received, the call to a humble and tenacious diakonia of that truth. The Apostolic faith and the Apostolic mission which we have received impose a solemn duty to speak that truth at every level of our ministry. (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of Australia on their ad limina visit, no. 3, December 14, 1998)

  • The Church’s motherhood can never be separated from her teaching mission – She should never hide true morality

The Church’s teaching, and in particular her firmness in defending the universal and permanent validity of the precepts prohibiting intrinsically evil acts, is not infrequently seen as the sign of an intolerable intransigence, particularly with regard to the enormously complex and conflict-filled situations present in the moral life of individuals and of society today; this intransigence is said to be in contrast with the Church’s motherhood. The Church, one hears, is lacking in understanding and compassion. But the Church’s motherhood can never in fact be separated from her teaching mission, which she must always carry out as the faithful Bride of Christ, who is the Truth in person. ‘As Teacher, she never tires of proclaiming the moral norm… The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection’ (Familiaris Consortio, Nov. 22, 1981 – AAS 74 (1982):120). In fact, genuine understanding and compassion must mean love for the person, for his true good, for his authentic freedom. And this does not result, certainly, from concealing or weakening moral truth, but rather from proposing it in its most profound meaning as an outpouring of God’s eternal Wisdom, which we have received in Christ, and as a service to man, to the growth of his freedom and to the attainment of his happiness. (Cf. Ibid., 34: loc. cit., 123-1 Z5.) (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 95, August 6, 1993)

  • The solution for moral relativism is found in the integrity of Jesus Christ’s message

The powerful forces of the media and the entertainment industry are aimed largely at young people, who find themselves the target of competing ideologies which seek to condition and influence their attitudes and actions. Confusion is created as youth are beset by moral relativism and religious indifferentism. How can they come to grips with the question of truth and the requirements of consistency in moral behaviour when modern culture teaches them to live as though absolute values did not exist, or tells them to be content with a vague religiosity? The widespread loss of the transcendent sense of human existence leads to failure in moral and social life. Your task, dear Brothers, is to show the tremendous relevance for contemporary men and women — and for the younger generation — of Jesus Christ and his Gospel: for it is here that the deepest human aspirations and needs find fulfillment. The saving message of Jesus Christ needs to be heard anew in all its freshness and power, so that it can be fully experienced and savoured! (John Paul II. Address to the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Scotland on their ad limina visit, March 4, 2003)

  • The best pastoral proposal for the family presupposes doctrinal clarity and nonconformity with opinions in vogue

A pastoral proposal for the family in crisis presupposes, as a preliminary requirement, doctrinal clarity, effectively taught in moral theology about sexuality and the respect for life. The opposing opinions of theologians, priests and religious that the media promote on pre-marital relations, birth control, the admission of divorced persons to the sacraments, homosexuality and artificial insemination, the use of abortion practices or euthanasia, show the degree of uncertainty and confusion that disturb and end by deadening the consciences of so many of the faithful. At the root of the crisis one can perceive the rupture between anthropology and ethics, marked by a moral relativism according to which the human act is not evaluated with reference to the permanent, objective principles proper to nature created by God, but in conformity with a merely subjective reflection on what is the greatest benefit for the individual’s life project. Thus a semantic evolution is produced in which homicide is called ‘induced death’, infanticide, ‘therapeutic abortion’, and adultery becomes a mere ‘extra-marital adventure’. No longer possessing absolute certainty in moral matters, the divine law becomes an option among the latest variety of opinions in vogue. (John Paul II. Address to the Brazilian Bishops from the ‘East Region II’ on their ad limina visit, no. 6, November 16, 2002)

  • In face of de facto free unions: urgency of a pastoral ministry that seeks regularization

De facto free unions: this means unions without any publicly recognized institutional bond, either civil or religious. This phenomenon, which is becoming ever more frequent, cannot fail to concern pastors of souls, also because it may be based on widely varying factors, the consequences of which may perhaps be containable by suitable action. Some people consider themselves almost forced into a free union by difficult economic, cultural or religious situations, on the grounds that, if they contracted a regular marriage, they would be exposed to some form of harm, would lose economic advantages, would be discriminated against, etc. In other cases, however, one encounters people who scorn, rebel against or reject society, the institution of the family and the social and political order, or who are solely seeking pleasure. Then there are those who are driven to such situations by extreme ignorance or poverty, sometimes by a conditioning due to situations of real injustice, or by a certain psychological immaturity that makes them uncertain or afraid to enter into a stable and definitive union. In some countries, traditional customs presume that the true and proper marriage will take place only after a period of cohabitation and the birth of the first child. Each of these elements presents the Church with arduous pastoral problems, by reason of the serious consequences deriving from them, both religious and moral (the loss of the religious sense of marriage seen in the light of the Covenant of God with His people; deprivation of the grace of the sacrament; grave scandal), and also social consequences (the destruction of the concept of the family; the weakening of the sense of fidelity, also towards society; possible psychological damage to the children; the strengthening of selfishness).
The pastors and the ecclesial community should take care to become acquainted with such situations and their actual causes, case by case. They should make tactful and respectful contact with the couples concerned, and enlighten them patiently, correct them charitably and show them the witness of Christian family life, in such a way as to smooth the path for them to regularize their situation. But above all there must be a campaign of prevention, by fostering the sense of fidelity in the whole moral and religious training of the young, instructing them concerning the conditions and structures that favor such fidelity, without which there is no true freedom; they must be helped to reach spiritual maturity and enabled to understand the rich human and supernatural reality of marriage as a sacrament. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familio consortio, no. 81, November 22, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on the liberty of conscience

  • An erroneous conscience cannot be compared with moral good. The evil fruit of ignorance is in fact an evil

In any event, it is always from the truth that the dignity of conscience derives. In the case of the correct conscience, it is a question of the objective truth received by man; in the case of the erroneous conscience, it is a question of what man, mistakenly, subjectively considers to be true. It is never acceptable to confuse a ‘subjective’ error about moral good with the ‘objective’ truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous conscience.  It is possible that the evil done as the result of invincible ignorance or a non-culpable error of judgment may not be imputable to the agent; but even in this case it does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good. Furthermore, a good act which is not recognized as such does not contribute to the moral growth of the person who performs it; it does not perfect him and it does not help to dispose him for the supreme good. Thus, before feeling easily justified in the name of our conscience, we should reflect on the words of the Psalm: ‘Who can discern his errors? Clear me from hidden faults’ (Ps 19:12). There are faults which we fail to see but which nevertheless remain faults, because we have refused to walk towards the light (cf. Jn 9:39-41). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 63, August 6, 1993)

  • Foreseeable consequences are part of the circumstances of an action, but cannot alter its moral species

 In order to offer rational criteria for a right moral decision, the theories mentioned above take account of the intention and consequences of human action. Certainly there is need to take into account both the intention — as Jesus forcefully insisted in clear disagreement with the scribes and Pharisees, who prescribed in great detail certain outward practices without paying attention to the heart (cf. Mk 7:20-21; Mt 15:19) — and the goods obtained and the evils avoided as a result of a particular act. Responsibility demands as much. But the consideration of these consequences, and also of intentions, is not sufficient for judging the moral quality of a concrete choice. The weighing of the goods and evils foreseeable as the consequence of an action is not an adequate method for determining whether the choice of that concrete kind of behaviour is ‘according to its species’, or ‘in itself’, morally good or bad, licit or illicit. The foreseeable consequences are part of those circumstances of the act, which, while capable of lessening the gravity of an evil act, nonetheless cannot alter its moral species. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor,no. 77, August 6, 1993)

  • True heresies in the moral field have been promoted – Christians are tempted toward a sociological Christianity, without objective morality

Today, for an efficacious work in the field of preaching, it is necessary to understand the spiritual and psychological reality of Christians living in modern society. It is essential to realistically admit, with deep and pained sentiment, that in part, Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disillusioned; ideas conflicting with the revealed and consistently taught truth have been  widely spread; true heresies in dogmatic and moral fields have been  promoted, creating doubts, confusions, rebellions, even the Liturgy has been manipulated; immersed in the intellectual and moral ‘relativism’, and consequently permissiveness, Christians are tempted toward atheism, agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and a sociological Christianity, without defined dogmas and without objective morality. (John Paul II. Address to the First National Conference on ‘Popular Missions during the 80s’, February 6, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on First Holy Communion

  • The Eucharist is the culmination of our assimilation to Christ

Sharing in the Eucharist, the sacrament of the New Covenant (cf. 1 Cor 11:23-29), is the culmination of our assimilation to Christ. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 21 August 6, 1993)

  • This banquet creates intimate communion between God and man

‘We have become Christ. For if he is the head we are the members; he and we together are the whole man’: St Augustine’s bold words (Tract. in Joh., 21, 8) extol the intimate communion that is created between God and man in the mystery of the Church, a communion which, on our journey through history, finds its supreme sign in the Eucharist. The commands, ‘Take, eat … Drink of it …’ (Mt 26:26-27), which Jesus gives his disciples in that room on the upper floor of a house in Jerusalem on the last evening of his earthly life (cf. Mk 14:15), are rich in meaning. The universal symbolic value of the banquet offered in bread and wine (cf. Is 25:6) already suggests communion and intimacy. Other more explicit elements extol the Eucharist as a banquet of friendship and covenant with God. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 1, October 18, 2000)

…judges Francis’ idea on the harmony of all christian faiths

  • Other communities do not have the fullness of the Catholic Church

Indeed, ‘the elements of this already-given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other Communities’ (cf. Uni. Redin., 4). (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, March 25, 1995)

  • The work of the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the one true Church

Whatever the Spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures and religions serves as a preparation for the Gospel and can only be understood in reference to Christ, the Word who took flesh by the power of the Spirit ‘so that as perfectly human he would save all human beings and sum up all things.’ Moreover, the universal activity of the Spirit is not to be separated from his particular activity within the body of Christ, which is the Church. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, December 7, 1990)

  • Ecumenical dialogue does not mean diminishing the treasures of the Church

True ecumenical activity means openness, drawing closer, availability for dialogue, and a shared investigation of the truth in the full evangelical and Christian sense; but in no way does it or can it mean giving up or in any way diminishing the treasures of divine truth that the Church has constantly confessed and taught. (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptor Hominis. no. 6, March 4, 1979)

…judges Francis’ idea on who decides what is good and evil

  • A crisis of truth results from the affirmation that moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in conscience

Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. This is the direction taken by doctrines which have lost the sense of the transcendent or which are explicitly atheist. The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one’s conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one’s moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and ‘being at peace with oneself’, so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. As is immediately evident, the crisis of truth is not unconnected with this development. Once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes. Conscience is no longer considered in its primordial reality as an act of a person’s intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgment about the right conduct to be chosen here and now. Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others. Taken to its extreme consequences, this individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of human nature. These different notions are at the origin of currents of thought which posit a radical opposition between moral law and conscience, and between nature and freedom. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 32, August 6, 1993)

  • The Decalogue is engraved in human nature

The same law that God had revealed through Moses, and confirmed by Christ in the Gospel (cf. Mt 5: 17-19), was engraved by the Creator in human nature. This is what we read in the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: ‘When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law’ (Rom 2: 14). In this way, then, the moral principles that God manifested to the chosen people through Moses, are the same that He inscribed in the nature of the human being. That is why every person, following that which since the beginning formed a part of his nature, knows the duty to honor father and mother and respect life; is conscious that no one must commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness; in a word, knows that unto others should not be done what one does not wish done to onself. St. Paul adds in the Letter to the Romans (Rom 2:15): ‘They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness.’ The conscience is thus presented as the witness, either accusing man when he violates the law inscribed in his heart, or justifying him when he is faithful to it. Consequently, according to the teaching of the Apostle, there exists a law that is intimately linked to the nature of man as an intelligent and free being, and this law resounds in his conscience: for man, living according to conscience means living according to the law of his own nature and, vice versa, living according to this law, means living according to conscience, obviously to a conscience that is true and upright, that is to say according to the conscience which correctly reads the meaning of the law inscribed by the Creator in human nature. (John Paul II. Angelus, June 12, 1994)

  • A destroying force of true humanity: to say ‘always follow your conscience’ without adding ‘does your conscience affirm truth?’ and ‘seek to know the truth’

It’s not sufficient to merely say to man: ‘always follow your conscience’. It is necessary to add immediately and always:  ‘ask yourself if your conscience affirms truth or falsity, and seek untiringly to know the truth.’  If this necessary clarification is not made, man would run the risk of encountering in his conscience a destroying force of his true humanity, instead of a holy place where God reveals his true goodness. (John Paul II, General Audience, August 17, 1983)

  • It is necessary to ‘form’ one’s own conscience aided by the doctrine of the Church

It is necessary to ‘form’ one’s own conscience. The Christian is aware that in this task he receives special assistance from the doctrine of the Church. ‘For the Church is, by the will of Christ, the teacher of the truth. It is her duty to give utterance to, and authoritatively to teach, that truth which is Christ Himself, and also to declare and confirm by her authority those principles of the moral order which have their origins in human nature itself’ (Dignitatis humanae, 14). (John Paul II, General Audience, August 17, 1983)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • Christ values the honor paid to him

A woman, whom John identifies as Mary the sister of Lazarus, pours a flask of costly ointment over Jesus’ head, which provokes from the disciples – and from Judas in particular (cf. Mt 26:8; Mk 14:4; Jn 12:4) – an indignant response, as if this act, in light of the needs of the poor, represented an intolerable ‘waste’. But Jesus’ own reaction is completely different. While in no way detracting from the duty of charity towards the needy, for whom the disciples must always show special care – ‘the poor you will always have with you’ (Mt 26, 11; Mk 14:7; cf. Jn 12:8) – he looks towards his imminent death and burial, and sees this act of anointing as an anticipation of the honour which his body will continue to merit even after his death, indissolubly bound as it is to the mystery of his person. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, no. 47, April 17, 2003)

  • A pretext of the aid for the poor may hide evil intentions

‘He came to his own home, and his own people received him not’ (Jn 1: 11) Mary’s action is in contrast to the attitude and words of Judas who, under the pretext of the aid to be given to the poor, conceals the selfishness and falsehood of a person closed into himself, shackled by the greed for possession and who does not let the good fragrance of divine love envelop him. Judas calculates what one cannot calculate, he enters with a mean mindset the space which is one of love, of giving, of total dedication. And Jesus, who had remained silent until that moment, intervenes defending Mary’s gesture: ‘Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial (Jn 12: 7). Jesus understands that Mary has intuited God’s love and points out that his ‘hour’ is now approaching, the ‘hour’ in which Love will find its supreme expression on the wood of the Cross: the Son of God gives himself so that many may have life. (Benedict XVI. Eucharistic Celebration on the fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II, March 29, 2010)

  • The essential significance of almsgiving: its value for conversion

We are here touching the heart of the problem. In Holy Scripture and according to the evangelical categories, ‘alms’ means in the first place an interior gift. It means the attitude of opening ‘to the other’. Precisely this attitude is an indispensable factor of ‘metanoia’, that is, conversion, just as prayer and fasting are also indispensable. St Augustine, in fact, expresses himself well: ‘how quickly the prayers of those who do good are granted! And this is man’s justice in the present life: fasting, alms, prayer’ (Enarrat. in Ps. 42:8): prayer, as an opening to God; fasting, as an expression of self-mastery also in depriving oneself of something, in saying ‘no’ to oneself; and finally alms, as opening ‘towards others’. The Gospel draws this picture clearly when it speaks to us of repentance, of ‘metanoia’. Only with a total attitude—in his relationship with God, with himself and with his neighbour—does man reach conversion and remain in the state of conversion. ‘Alms’ understood in this way has a meaning which is in a certain sense decisive for this conversion. […] It is very easy, in fact, to falsify the idea, as we noted at the beginning. Jesus also gave a warning about the superficial, ‘exterior’ attitude of almsdeeds (cf. Mt 6:4; Lk 11:41). This problem is still a living one. If we realize the essential significance that ‘alms’ has for our conversion to God for the whole of Christian life, we must avoid, at all costs, all that falsifies the meaning of alms, mercy, works of charity, all that may distort their image in ourselves. In this field, it is very important to cultivate interior sensitivity as regards the real needs of our neighbour, in order to know in what we must help him, how to act in order not to wound him, and how to behave in order that what we give, what we bring to his life, may be a real gift, a gift not dimmed by the ordinary negative meaning of the word ‘alms’. (John Paul II. General Audience, March 28, 1979)

  • The Church never feared ‘extravagance’ while celebrating the Eucharist in a setting worthy of so great a mystery

Like the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany, the Church has feared no “extravagance”, devoting the best of her resources to expressing her wonder and adoration before the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist. No less than the first disciples charged with preparing the “large upper room”, she has felt the need, down the centuries and in her encounters with different cultures, to celebrate the Eucharist in a setting worthy of so great a mystery. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 48, April 17, 2003)

  • Poverty is not a rejection of material goods, but submission of all goods to God and his plan

On the subject of evangelical poverty, the synod fathers gave a concise yet important description, presenting it as the subjection of all goods to the supreme good of God and his kingdom.  In reality, only the person who contemplates and lives the mystery of God as the one and supreme good, as the true and definitive treasure, can understand and practice poverty, which is certainly not a matter of despising or rejecting material goods but of a loving and responsible use of these goods and at the same time an ability to renounce them with great interior freedom – that is, with reference to God and his plan. […] Being personally involved in the life of the community and being responsible for it, the priest should also offer the witness of a total ‘honesty’ in the administration of the goods of the community, which he will never treat as if they were his own property, but rather something for which he will be held accountable by God and his brothers and sisters, especially the poor. Moreover, his awareness of belonging to the one presbyterate will be an incentive for the priest to commit himself to promoting both a more equitable distribution of goods among his fellow priests and a certain common use of goods (cf. Acts 2:42-47). (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, no. 30, March 25, 1992)

  • Possession and administration of temporal goods is a right of the Church for a threefold purpose

The Church has always claimed the right to possess and administer temporal goods. However, she does not ask for privileges in that area, but rather the possibility to use the means at her disposal for a threefold purpose: ‘to order divine worship; to provide decent support for the clergy and other ministers; to perform the works of the sacred apostolate and of charity, especially towards the needy’ (can. 1254, §2 of the Code of Canon Law). (John Paul II. Address to a delegation from the Croatian Episcopal Conference and the Government of Croatia, December 15, 1988)

…judges Francis’ relations with  ‘ordained’ women of the christian churches

  • Christ entrusted the task of being an ‘icon’ of His countenance through the ministerial priesthood only to men

In this perspective of ‘service’ -which, when it is carried out with freedom, reciprocity and love, expresses the truly ‘royal’ nature of mankind-one can also appreciate that the presence of a certain diversity of roles is in no way prejudicial to women, provided that this diversity is not the result of an arbitrary imposition, but is rather an expression of what is specific to being male and female. This issue also has a particular application within the Church. If Christ-by his free and sovereign choice, clearly attested to by the Gospel and by the Church’s constant Tradition-entrusted only to men the task of being an ‘icon’ of his countenance as ‘shepherd’ and ‘bridegroom’ of the Church through the exercise of the ministerial priesthood, this in no way detracts from the role of women, or for that matter from the role of the other members of the Church who are not ordained to the sacred ministry, since all share equally in the dignity proper to the ‘common priesthood’ based on Baptism. These role distinctions should not be viewed in accordance with the criteria of functionality typical in human societies. Rather they must be understood according to the particular criteria of the sacramental economy, i.e. the economy of ‘signs’ which God freely chooses in order to become present in the midst of humanity. (John Paul II, Letter to women, no. 11, June 29, 1995)

  • Definitive pronouncement regarding the impossibility of the priestly ordination of women

When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: ‘She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.’ ( Paul VI, Response to the Letter of His Grace the Most Reverend Dr. F.D. Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, November 30, 1975)  […] Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, no. 1, 4; May 22, 1994)

  • When He called only men as His apostles, Christ exercised the same freedom with which He emphasized the dignity of women

Against the broad background of the ‘great mystery’ expressed in the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church, it is possible to understand adequately the calling of the ‘Twelve’. In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time. Consequently, the assumption that he called men to be apostles in order to conform with the widespread mentality of his times, does not at all correspond to Christ’s way of acting. ‘Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men’ (Mt 22:16). These words fully characterize Jesus of Nazareth’s behavior. Here one also finds an explanation for the calling of the ‘Twelve’. They are with Christ at the Last Supper. They alone receive the sacramental charge, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24), which is joined to the institution of the Eucharist. On Easter Sunday night they receive the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins: ‘Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained’ (Jn 20:23). […] Since Christ, in instituting the Eucharist, linked it in such an explicit way to the priestly service of the Apostles, it is legitimate to conclude that he thereby wished to express the relationship between man and woman, between what is ‘feminine’ and what is ‘masculine’. It is a relationship willed by God both in the mystery of creation and in the mystery of Redemption. It is the Eucharist above all that expresses the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegroom towards the Church the Bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental ministry of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts ‘in persona Christi’, is performed by a man. This explanation confirms the teaching of the Declaration Inter Insigniores, published at the behest of Paul VI in response to the question concerning the admission of women to the ministerial priesthood. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem no. 26, August 15, 1988)

  • The vocation of women in the Church

The awareness that women with their own gifts and tasks have their own specific vocation, has increased and been deepened in the years following the Council and has found its fundamental inspiration in the Gospel and the Church’s history. In fact, for the believer the Gospel, namely, the word and example of Jesus Christ, remains the necessary and decisive point of reference. In no other moment in history is this fact more fruitful and innovative. Though not called to the apostolate of the Twelve, and thereby, to the ministerial priesthood, many women, nevertheless, accompanied Jesus in his ministry and assisted the group of Apostles (cf. Lk 8:2-3), were present at the foot of the Cross (cf. Lk 23:49), assisted at the burial of Christ (cf. Lk 23:55) received and transmitted the message of resurrection on Easter morn (cf. Lk 24:1-10), and prayed with the apostles in the Cenacle awaiting Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14). From the evidence of the Gospel, the Church at its origin detached herself from the culture of the time and called women to tasks connected with spreading the gospel. In his letters the Apostle Paul even cites by name a great number of women for their various functions in service of the primitive Christian community (cf. Rom 16:1-15; Phil 4:2-3; Col 4:15 and 1Cor 11:5; 1Tim 5:16). ‘If the witness of the Apostles founds the Church’, stated Paul VI, ‘the witness of women contributes greatly towards nourishing the faith of Christian communities’. Both in her earliest days and in her successive development the Church, albeit in different ways and with diverse emphases, has always known women who have exercised an oftentimes decisive role in the Church herself and accomplished tasks of considerable value on her behalf. History is marked by grand works, quite often lowly and hidden, but not for this reason any less decisive to the growth and the holiness of the Church. It is necessary that this history continue, indeed that it be expanded and intensified in the face of the growing and widespread awareness of the personal dignity of woman and her vocation, particularly in light of the urgency of a ‘re-evangelization’ and a major effort towards ‘humanizing’ social relations. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, no. 49, December 30, 1988)

  • The proclaiming of Christ and interreligious dialogue are not identical or interchangeable.

In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue. Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad gentes. These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and their distinctiveness; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated or regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable. […] Dialogue should be conducted and implemented with the conviction that the Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation. (Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 3; Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 7) (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 55, December 7, 1990)

  • Ecumenical dialogue should call to conversion, announcing the Catholic faith with clarity – all forms of facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided

Here once again the Council proves helpful. It can be said that the entire Decree on Ecumenism is permeated by the spirit of conversion.  In the Document, ecumenical dialogue takes on a specific characteristic; it becomes a dialogue of conversion’, and thus, in the words of Pope Paul VI, an authentic ‘dialogue of salvation’. Dialogue cannot take place merely on a horizontal level, being restricted to meetings, exchanges of points of view or even the sharing of gifts proper to each Community. It has also a primarily vertical thrust, directed towards the One who, as the Redeemer of the world and the Lord of history, is himself our Reconciliation. This vertical aspect of dialogue lies in our acknowledgment, jointly and to each other, that we are men and women who have sinned. It is precisely this acknowledgment which creates in brothers and sisters living in Communities not in full communion with one another that interior space where Christ, the source of the Church’s unity, can effectively act, with all the power of his Spirit, the Paraclete. […] With regard to the study of areas of disagreement, the Council requires that the whole body of doctrine be clearly presented. At the same time, it asks that the manner and method of expounding the Catholic faith should not be a hindrance to dialogue with our brothers and sisters. Certainly it is possible to profess one’s faith and to explain its teaching in a way that is correct, fair and understandable, and which at the same time takes into account both the way of thinking and the actual historical experiences of the other party. Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile ‘agreement’ must be absolutely avoided. Serious questions must be resolved, for if not, they will reappear at another time, either in the same terms or in a different guise. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, nos. 35-36, May 25, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on responsible parenthood

  • Even for family morality, the Magisterium is the only authentic guide

The Church is certainly aware of the many complex problems which couples in many countries face today in their task of transmitting life in a responsible way. She also recognizes the serious problem of population growth in the form it has taken in many parts of the world and its moral implications. However, she holds that consideration in depth of all the aspects of these problems offers a new and stronger confirmation of the importance of the authentic teaching on birth regulation reproposed in the Second Vatican Council and in the Encyclical Humanae vitae. […] A united effort by theologians in this regard, inspired by a convinced adherence to the Magisterium, which is the one authentic guide for the People of God is particularly urgent for reasons that include the close link between Catholic teaching on this matter and the view of the human person that the Church proposes: doubt or error in the field of marriage or the family involves obscuring to a serious extent the integral truth about the human person, in a cultural situation that is already so often confused and contradictory. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, November 22, 1981)

  • Systematic campaigns to control birth based on a distorted view of the demographic problem

In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life. Human ingenuity seems to be directed more towards limiting, suppressing or destroying the sources of life — including recourse to abortion, which unfortunately is so widespread in the world — than towards defending and opening up the possibilities of life. The Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis denounced systematic anti-childbearing campaigns which, on the basis of a distorted view of the demographic problem and in a climate of ‘absolute lack of respect for the freedom of choice of the parties involved’, often subject them ‘to intolerable pressures … in order to force them to submit to this new form of oppression’ (25:1. c., 544) (John Paul II. Encyclical Centesimus Annus, no. 39, May 1, 1991)

  • Parents are partners in a divine undertaking

Thus, a man and woman joined in matrimony become partners in a divine undertaking: through the act of procreation, God’s gift is accepted and a new life opens to the future. (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, no. 43, March 25, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on the obedience of a Religious

  • CLAR has the responsibility to manifest firm adhesion to the Holy See

The confidence that the religious men and women of this continent place in you, is a motive of great responsibility for CLAR to manifest in all things a firm adhesion to the Magisterium of the Pope, to the norms of the Holy See and of the Bishops, and that it promote the authenticity of the religious life and of the diverse charisms, respecting and favoring – in common dialogue – the particular character of each institute. (John Paul II. Apostolic Journey to Columbia: Meeting with members of the Conference of Latin American Religious (CLAR), no. 3, in Bogota, July 2, 1986)

  • Religious should act in accordance with the directives of the Pastors

The Church expresses to you, dear brothers and sisters, her gratitude for your consecration and for your profession of the evangelical counsels, which are a special witness of love. She also expresses anew her great confidence in you who have chosen a state of life that is a special gift of God to the Church. She counts upon your complete and generous collaboration in order that, as faithful stewards of this precious gift, you may ‘think with the Church’ and always act in union with her, in conformity with the teachings and directives of the Magisterium of Peter and of the pastors in communion with him, fostering, at the personal and community level, a renewed ecclesial awareness. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Redemptionis Donum, no. 14, March 25, 1984)

  • Living with filial obedience to the Magisterium of the Church

You belong to an ecclesial movement. The word “ecclesial” here is more than merely decorative. It implies a precise task of Christian formation, and involves a deep convergence of faith and life. The enthusiastic faith which enlivens your communities is a great enrichment, but it is not enough. It must be accompanied by a Christian formation which is solid, comprehensive and faithful to the Church’s Magisterium […] As an ecclesial movement, one of your distinguishing marks should be to sentire cum Ecclesia, to live, that is, in filial obedience to the Church’s Magisterium, to the Pastors and to the Successor of Peter, and with them to build the communion of the whole body. (John Paul II. Meeting of the Catholic Fraterninty of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, no.3, June 1, 1998)

  • The authority of the Magisterium impedes deviations

The moral conscience of the person grows and matures precisely within the Church; it is helped by the Church to ‘not let be carried by any wind of doctrine, by the errors of men.’ In effect, the Church is ‘pillar and bulwark of the truth’ (cf. 1Tim 3:15). Fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church impedes, thus, that moral conscience be deviated from the truth regarding the good of man. It is unjust, therefore, to conceive the individual moral conscience and the Magisterium of the Church as two opponents, as two realities in conflict. The authority which, by the will of Christ, is enjoyed by the Magisterium exists in order that the moral conscience attain truth with security and remain in it. (John Paul II. General Audience, no. 3, August 24, 1983)

  • Submission to ecclesiastical authority guarantees the charism

How is it possible to safeguard and guarantee a charism’s authenticity? It is essential in this regard that every movement submit to the discernment of the competent ecclesiastical authority. For this reason no charism can dispense with reference and submission to the Pastors of the Church. […] This is the necessary guarantee that you are taking the right road! In the confusion that reigns in the world today, it is so easy to err, to give in to illusions. May this element of trusting obedience to the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, in communion with the Successor of Peter never be lacking in the Christian formation provided by your movements! […] I ask you always to adhere to them with generosity and humility, bringing your experiences to the local Churches and parishes, while always remaining in communion with the Pastors and attentive to their direction. (John Paul II. Speech during the Meeting with Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, May 30, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea on all being saved

  • Man is condemned to eternal damnation for the misuse of his liberty

God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or Hell.  (John Paul II. General Audience, July 28, 1999)

  • The words of Christ are clear: there are those who will go to eternal punishment

The problem of Hell has always disturbed great thinkers in the Church […] In point of fact, the ancient councils rejected the theory of the ‘final apocatastasis,’ according to which the world would be regenerated after destruction, and every creature would be saved; a theory which indirectly abolished hell. But the problem remains. Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel He speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25:46). (John Paul II. Crossing the Threshold of Hope, pg. 96)

…judges Francis’ idea on the teaching of moral issues

  • Pastors have the duty to transmit doctrine in its integrity

The Church’s Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission, insisting that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected. ‘Never forgetting that he too is a member of the People of God, the theologian must be respectful of them, and be committed to offering them a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith’ (cf. Cong. for the Doct. of the Faith, Instruction Donum Veritatis). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 113, August 6, 1993)

  • A serious omission: not to proclaim the truth about marriage

Indeed, there is no lack of attempts, in public opinion and in civil legislation, to make equivalent to the family mere de facto unions or to recognize as such same-sex unions. These and other anomalies lead us with pastoral firmness to proclaim the truth about marriage and the family. Not to do so would be a serious pastoral omission that would lead people into error, especially those who have the important responsibility of making decisions for the common good of the nation. (John Paul II. Address to Bishops of Brazil on ad limina visit, no. 4, November 16, 2002)

  • The crises in the family requires doctrinal clarity

A pastoral proposal for the family in crisis presupposes, as a preliminary requirement, doctrinal clarity, effectively taught in moral theology about sexuality and the respect for life. The opposing opinions of theologians, priests and religious that the media promote on pre-marital relations, birth control, the admission of divorced persons to the sacraments, homosexuality and artificial insemination, the use of abortion practices or euthanasia, show the degree of uncertainty and confusion that disturb and end by deadening the consciences of so many of the faithful. (John Paul II. Address to Bishops of Brazil on ad limina visit, no. 4, November 16, 2002)

  • Before the acceptance of abortion, we must ‘call things by their proper name’

But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity [of abortion] has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behavior and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness’ (Is 5:20). (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, no. 58, March 25, 1995)

  • The negative precepts express the demands of the Gospel

The commandments of which Jesus reminds the young man are meant to safeguard the good of the person, the image of God, by protecting his goods. ‘You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness’ are moral rules formulated in terms of prohibitions. These negative precepts express with particular force the ever urgent need to protect human life, the communion of persons in marriage, private property, truthfulness and people’s good name. The commandments thus represent the basic condition for love of neighbor; at the same time they are the proof of that love. They are the first necessary step on the journey towards freedom, its starting-point.  (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 13, August 6, 1993)

  • If respect is due to the life of criminals, much more should it be to that of the innocent

If such great care must be taken to respect every life, even that of criminals and unjust aggressors, the commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenseless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God’s commandment.[…] Faced with the progressive weakening in individual consciences and in society of the sense of the absolute and grave moral illicitness of the direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its end, the Church’s Magisterium has spoken out with increasing frequency in defense of the sacredness and inviolability of human life. (John Paul II. Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, no. 58, March 25, 1995)

  • The Church condemns authorities who favor activities against the family

Thus the Church condemns as a grave offense against human dignity and justice all those activities of governments or other public authorities which attempt to limit in any way the freedom of couples in deciding about children. Consequently, any violence applied by such authorities in favor of contraception or, still worse, of sterilization and procured abortion, must be altogether condemned and forcefully rejected. Likewise to be denounced as gravely unjust are cases where, in international relations, economic help given for the advancement of peoples is made conditional on programs of contraception, sterilization and procured abortion. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no. 30, November 22, 1981)

…judges Francis’ idea on Catholic Education to the Youth

  • It is not correct to say that faith is an option for a mature age

May it not happen, dearest parents who are listening to me, that your offspring arrive at human, civil and professional maturity and remain still as children in religious matters! It is not correct to say that the faith is a choice to be made at a mature age. True choice implicates knowledge, and there can never be a choice between things that were not proposed wisely and adequately. Catechist parents, the Church has confidence in you, and expects much of you. (John Paul II. Mass for Catechists, no. 4, July 5, 1980)

  • Education of religious conscience is a right of the person

At school, the citizen is formed through cultural and professional preparation. The education of religious conscience is a right of the human person. A youth requires to be guided toward all dimensions of culture and also desires to find at school the possibility of knowing the fundamental problems of existence. Among these, the first place is held by the problem of the response that he must give to God. It is impossible to arrive at authentic options of life, when one intends to ignore religion, which has so much to say, or if one wishes to limit it to a vague and neutral instruction. […] The Church, in defending this responsibility of the school, has never tought of and does not think of privileges: She advocates for an ample integral education and for the rights of the family and the person. (John Paul II. Mass for Catechists, no. 4, July 5, 1980)

  • Every baptized person has the right to receive a truly Catholic formation

From the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely the reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life; and from the viewpoint of human rights, every human being has the right to seek religious truth and adhere to it freely. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, no.14, October 16, 1979)

  • Every disciple of Christ has the right to receive the word of the faith without amputations

The students of catholic schools have the right to receive permanent, profound, systematic and qualified catechism adapted to the requirements of their age and cultural preparation. And this religious teaching should be integral in its contents, for every disciple of Christ has the right to receive the word of the faith neither amputated, nor falsified, nor reduced, rather complete and integral, in all its rigor and in all its vigor. (John Paul II. Address to teachers and students of the Massimo and Santa Maria Institutes in Rome, no.3. February 9, 1980)

  • Catechesis: one of the primary tasks of the Church

The Church has always considered catechesis one of her primary tasks, for, before Christ ascended to His Father after His resurrection, He gave the apostles a final command – to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded. He thus entrusted them with the mission and power to proclaim to humanity what they had heard, what they had seen with their eyes, what they had looked upon and touched with their hands, concerning the Word of Life. He also entrusted them with the mission and power to explain with authority what He had taught them, His words and actions, His signs and commandments. And He gave them the Spirit to fulfill this mission. Very soon the name of catechesis was given to the whole of the efforts within the Church to make disciples, to help people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, so that believing they might have life in His name, and to educate and instruct them in this life and thus build up the Body of Christ. The Church has not ceased to devote her energy to this task. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, no.1, October 16, 1979)

  • At the apex of all interest should be the Person, work and message of Jesus Christ

At the center of school teaching, at the apex of all interest, should be the Person, work and message of Christ: He is our true Master (cf. Mt 23:8-10), He is our way, truth and life (cf. Jn 14:6), He is our Redeemer and Saviour (cf. Eph 1:7, Col 1:14). An irreplaceable obligation and priority, for teachers as well as for students, is that of knowing Jesus, studying, analyzing and meditating the Sacred Scripture, not as a mere history book, but as a perpetual testimony of He who Lives, because Jesus has risen and is ‘seated at the right hand of the Father’. (John Paul II. Address to teachers and studens of the Massimo and Santa Maria Institutes in Rome, no.4, February 9, 1980)

  • Catholic teaching is very important at all levels of education

This very quick outline would be sufficient to highlight the importance that I give to all Catholic teaching in general, at its diverse levels, and in particular to Catholic univerisity thought today. The Catholic ambience that you desire is situated much beyond a simple exteriority. It implies the will to form towards a Christian perspective of the world; a particular way to learn about reality and even to undertake all of your studies, no matter how diverse they may be.  I speak here, as you well understand, of a perspective that goes beyond the limits and methods of the particular sciences to arrive at the understanding that you should have of yourselves, of your role within society and the meaning of your life. (John Paul II. Speech on the visit to the Institut Catholique in Paris, no.4, June 1, 1980)

  • Catholic parents should give preference to Catholic schools

Together with and in connection with the family, the school provides catechesis with possibilities that are not to be neglected. In the unfortunately decreasing number of countries in which it is possible to give education in the faith within the school framework, the Church has the duty to do so as well as possible. This of course concerns first and foremost the Catholic school: it would no longer deserve this title if, no matter how much it shone for its high level of teaching in non-religious matters, there were justification for reproaching it for negligence or deviation in strictly religious education. Let it not be said that such education will always be given implicitly and indirectly. The special character of the Catholic school, the underlying reason for it, the reason why Catholic parents should prefer it, is precisely the quality of the religious instruction integrated into the education of the pupils. (John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, no. 69, October 16, 1979)

  • Religious instruction enables the advance in the students’ spiritual formation

I express the fervent wish that, […] all Catholic pupils may be enabled to advance in their spiritual formation with the aid of a religious instruction dependent on the Church, but which, according to the circumstances of different countries, can be offered either by the school or in the setting of the school, or again within the framework of an agreement with the public authorities regarding school timetables, if catechesis takes place only in the parish or in another pastoral center. (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, no. 69, October 16, 1979)

  •  Catholic education prepares one to assume future responsibilities

I am delighted to know that your Government is willing to help families […] to continue the programs of religious instruction in secondary schools. Indeed, the young generations must benefit from a sound formation to prepare them to assume their responsibilities in the society of the future. (John Paul II. Speech to the Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the Holy See, no.4, December 16, 2004)

  • Catholic schools form exemplary citizens

At times, unfortunately, when one speaks of the ‘Catholic’ school, it is considered only as a rival, or even in opposition, to other schools, especially the State schools. But this is not true! The Catholic school has always intended and intends to form Christians who are also exemplary citizens, capable of applying the entire contribution of their intelligence, their seriousness, and their competence for the right and ordered construction of the civil community. (John Paul II. Address to teachers and students of the Massimo and Santa Maria Institutes of Rome, no.4, February 9, 1980)

  • Catholic teaching enlightens the sciences with the light of faith

The Church exhorts the responsibility of lay persons in the formation of the youth in the light of the faith. And one of the privileged fields of this formation continues to be the Catholic school […] Every time that the Church emphasizes the interest and the advantage of Catholic teaching, it logically supposes that it may do so in a manner that realizes its objectives: create an atmosphere animated by an evangelical spirit of liberty and charity, permitting youth to develop their human personality and their being as baptized, such that the knowledge they acquire gradually from the world, from life and from man be illuminated by faith. (John Paul II. Speech to the members of the Central Office for Catholic Teaching in Holland, October 17, 1980)

  •  A Christian vision of man and the world

By assuring high quality teaching, Catholic schools present a Christian vision of man and of the world that offers young people the chance for a fruitful dialogue between faith and reason. Likewise, it is their duty to transmit values to be assimilated and values to be discovered, ‘with the awareness that all human values find their fulfillment and consequently their unity in Christ’. (John Paul II. Speech to the participants in the International Congress of the Catholic Schools of Europe, April 28, 2001)

  • Catholic schools cooperate for a transformation of all society

Cultural upheavals, the making relative of moral values and the worrisome weakening of the family bond generate a sincere anxiety in young people, which is inevitably reflected in their way of living, learning and planning their future. Such a context invites European Catholic schools to propose an authentic educational programme that will permit young people not only to acquire a human, moral and spiritual maturity, but also to commit themselves effectively to the transformation of society, while also being concerned about working for the coming of the Kingdom of God. (John Paul II. Speech to the participants in the International Congress of the Catholic Schools of Europe, April 28, 2001)

  • Teaching the doctrine of the Church affirms true human dignity

Ensuring the clear teaching of the fundamental truths presented by the moral doctrine of the Church, we will be promoting a new affirmation of the dignity of the human person, a correct understanding of conscience, which is the only solid basis for the exercise of human freedom, as well as the base for living together in solidarity and civic harmony. All this constitutes an essential service for the common good. How can modern society free from itself from the increasing decadence of its destructive behavior – which includes the violation of the rights of the human person – without recovering the inviolable character of the moral norms that must, always and everywhere, guide human conduct? (John Paul II. Speech to the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil, no. 3, Octubre 18, 1995)

  • Catholic schools prepare youth for the highest ideals

In a civilization that at times experiences the temptation  of leveling man and society, and possessing the technical means to do so,  it is more necessary than ever to promote – especially for young people hungering for reasons to live – educational spaces […] The Catholic school, without seeking predominance and much less triumphalism, has the ambition to simultaneously promote the most vast and profound acquisition of knowledge possible,  demanding and persevering education of the true human liberty, and the preparation of children and adolescents for the highest ideals: Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel. (John Paul II. Speech to the members of the Council of the World Union of Catholic Teachers, April 18, 1983)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Pope

  • Saint Gregory the Great and consciousness of the dignity of the Papacy

    Servus servorum Dei’: it is known that this title, chosen by him [saint Gregory the Great] ever since he was a deacon – and used not a few of his letters – gradually became a traditional title and almost a definition of the person of the Bishop of Rome. It is also certain, that from sincere humility,  he made it the motto of his ministry and that, precisely because of his universal function in the Church of Christ, he always considered and showed himself to be the maximum and primary servant – the servant of the servants of God – servant of all, folowing the example of Christ himself, who had explicitly affirmed that he ‘came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt 20:28). Most profound was, therefore, his consciousness of the dignity [of the Papacy], which he accepted with great trepidation after having unsuccessfully tried to remain hidden in an attempt to avoid it; but, at the same time, possessing a clear awareness of his duty to serve, convinced himself and attempting to instill in the others the conviction that all authority, above all within the Church, is essentially service. The awareness of his own pontifical office and, proportionally, of all pastoral ministry, is condensed in the word ‘responsibility’: he who exercises an ecclesiastical ministry should respond for what he does, not only to men, not only to the souls that were confided to him, but also and in the first place to God and to his Son, in whose name he acts each time he distributes the supernatural treasures of grace, announces the truths of the Gospel and undertakes activities of  legislation and of government. (John Paul II. Apostolic Letter Plurimum Significans, June 29, 1990)

  • The Bishop of Rome is more obliged than others to seek the good of the Universal Church

The Good Shepherd, the Lord Christ Jesus (cf. Jn 10: 11, 14), conferred on the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, and in a singular way on the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the mission of making disciples in all nations and of preaching the Gospel to every creature. […] This applies to each and every bishop in his own particular Church; but all the more does it apply to the bishop of Rome, whose Petrine ministry works for the good and benefit of the universal Church. The Roman Church has charge over the ‘whole body of charity’ and so it is the servant of love. It is largely from this principle that those great words of old have come — ‘The servant of the servants of God’ —, by which Peter’s successor is known and defined. (John Paul II. Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, no. 2, June 28, 1998)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Church should not be a Point of Reference

  • The light of Christ shines in the face of the Church

The Church lives not for herself, but for Christ. She wants to be the ‘star’, the point of reference which helps people find the path which leads to him. The theology of the Fathers loved to speak of the Church as mysterium lunae, in order to emphasize that, like the moon, she shines not with her own light, but reflects Christ, who is her Sun. And I gladly recall that this is how the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church begins: ‘Christ is the light of the nations, lumen gentium!’ And the Council Fathers went on to express their burning desire to ‘enlighten all people with the light of Christ reflected on the face of the Church’ (no. 1). (John Paul II, Homily during the Closing of the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, January 6, 2001)

  • Sanctity, identity and beauty of the Church

Sanctity constitutes the profound identity of the Church as the Body of Christ, vivified and participant of his Spirit. Sanctity gives spiritual health to the Body. Sanctity also determines its spiritual beauty: that beauty that surpasses all the beauty of nature and art; a supernatural beauty, in which the beauty of God himself is reflected, in a more essential and direct way than all of the beauty of creation, precisely because it is the Corpus Christi. (John Paul II, General Audience, November 28, 1990)

  • Those who desire a Church not concerned about Herself, despise Her

There are also conceptions which deliberately emphasize […] of a Church which is not concerned about herself, but which is totally concerned with bearing witness to and serving the kingdom. It is a ‘Church for others just as Christ is the ‘man for others.’ The Church’s task is described as though it had to proceed in two directions: on the one hand promoting such ‘values of the kingdom’ as peace, justice, freedom, brotherhood, etc., while on the other hand fostering dialogue between peoples, cultures and religions, so that through a mutual enrichment they might help the world to be renewed and to journey ever closer toward the kingdom. […] Furthermore, the kingdom, as they understand it, ends up either leaving very little room for the Church or undervaluing the Church in reaction to a presumed ‘ecclesiocentrism’ of the past. […] One need not fear falling thereby into a form of ‘ecclesiocentrism.’ Pope Paul VI, who affirmed the existence of ‘a profound link between Christ, the Church and evangelization,’ also said that the Church ‘is not an end unto herself, but rather is fervently concerned to be completely of Christ, in Christ and for Christ, as well as completely of men, among men and for men.’ (John Paul II. Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no.17, December 7, 1990)

 …judges Francis’ idea on the access to the sacraments

  • The Tridentine doctrine regarding the reception of the Sacraments is still in effect

And keep in mind that the teaching of the Tridentine Council regarding integral confession of mortal sins, is, and always will always be, in effect (Sess. XIV, ch. 5 and can. 7: Denz-Sch. 1679-1683; 1707); the norm inculcated by Saint Paul and by the Council of Trent itself, in virtue of which the worthy reception of the Eucharist should be preceded by the confession of sins – when one is conscious of mortal sin – is and will always be in effect in the Church (Sess. XIII, ch. 7,  and can. 11: Denz.-Sch. 1647-1661). (John Paul II, Speech to members of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary and the Penitentiaries of the Roman Patriarchal Basilicas, January 30, 1981)

  • One may not receive the Eucharist while conscious of grave sin without previous confession

However, it must be remembered that the church, guided by faith in this great sacrament, teaches that no Christian who is conscious of grave sin can receive the Eucharist before having obtained God’s forgiveness. This we read in the instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium which, duly approved by Paul VI, fully confirms the teaching of the Council of Trent: “The Eucharist is to be offered to the faithful also ‘as a remedy, which frees us from daily faults and preserves us from mortal sin’ and they are to be shown the fitting way of using the penitential parts of the liturgy of the Mass. The person who wishes to receive Holy Communion is to be reminded of the precept: Let a man examine himself” (1Cor 11:28). And the Church’s custom shows that such an examination is necessary, because no one who is conscious of being in mortal sin, however contrite he may believe himself to be, is to approach the holy Eucharist without having first made a sacramental Confession. (John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, no. 27, December 2, 1984)

  • The danger of seeking paths of mercy other than those established by God

The first principle is that of compassion and mercy, whereby the church, as the continuer in history of Christ’s presence and work, not wishing the death of the sinner but that the sinner should be converted and live, and careful not to break the bruised reed or to quench the dimly burning wick, ever seeks to offer, as far as possible, the path of return to God and of reconciliation with him. The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the Divine Mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions. (John Paul II. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, no. 34m December 2, 1984)

…judges Francis’ idea on happiness

  •  The temptation of reducing Christianity to a pseudo-science of well-being

The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to merely human wisdom, a pseudo-science of well-being. In our heavily secularized world a ‘gradual secularization of salvation’ has taken place, so that people strive for the good of man, but man who is truncated, reduced to his merely horizontal dimension. We know, however, that Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation. (John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, no. 11, December 7, 1990)

  • True happiness is a gift of the Holy Spirit

If a Christian ‘saddens’ the Holy Spirit, inhabiting his soul, he certainly cannot hope to possess true happiness, which comes from Him: ‘Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…’ (Gal 5:22). Only the Holy Spirit gives the profound, full and lasting happiness, to which every human heart aspires. Man is a being made for happiness, not sadness. […] True happiness is a gift of the Holy Spirit. (John Paul II, General Audience, no. 2, June 19, 1991)

  •  True happiness does not exist outside of friendship with God

True happiness includes the justice of the kingdom of God, which Saint Paul affirmed is ‘righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 14:17). This is the evangelical justice, which consists in conformity to the will of God, in the obedience to his laws and in a personal friendship with Him. Outside of this friendship, true happiness does not exist. […] Sin is a source of sadness, because it is a deviation and almost a separation of the soul from the true order of God, who gives  consistency  to life. The Holy Spirit, who works in man the new justice in charity, eliminates sadness and transmits happiness: that happiness which we see blossoming within the Gospel. (John Paul II, General Audience, no. 3, June 19, 1991)

  • Happiness is an inevitable consequence of being closer to God

Each time we come together for the Eucharist, we are strengthened in sanctity and renewed in happiness. Happiness and sanctity, in fact, are inevitable consequences of drawing closer to God. When we nourish ourselves with the living bread that came down from heaven, we grow in likeness to our resurrected Savior, who is the source of our happiness, a ‘great joy that will be for all the people’ (Lk 2:10). (John Paul II, Homily in the National Stadium of Karachi – Pakistan, no. 8, February 16, 1981)

  • The Ten Commandments are a sure path toward happiness

In fact, the Lord indicated a secure path for achieving happiness in the moral law, an expression of his creating and salvific will, that is in the Ten Commandments, engraved in each