Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part Two

Now, let’s go on to the other two quotes, which are actually John Paul referring back to his own encyclical Redemtor Hominis. In fact in Redemptoris missio, John Paul II is reiterating the Church’s missionary mandate. Here is the relevant passage with the supposed controversial statement highlighted:
4. In my first encyclical, in which I set forth the program of my Pontificate, I said that "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 toward the mystery of Christ."4
The Church's universal mission is born of faith in Jesus Christ, as is stated in our Trinitarian profession of faith: "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father.... For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man."5 The redemption event brings salvation to all, "for each one is included in the mystery of the redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery."6 [Note: Quote from RH 13] It is only in faith that the Church's mission can be understood and only in faith that it finds its basis.[i]
In the context of the Church’s missionary mandate, that is “to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ,” it can be seen that “the redemption event brings salvation to all” is in reference to the missionary mandate of the Church. Because of the Incarnation, man’s salvation is within reach of every man, and it is His Church’s mission to bring that message to every man. Just as Jesus Christ said in John chapter three, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life.”(Jn 3:16 from memory of KJV) While God knows that not all of the “whosoever” will believe, it is the Church’s mission to act as if everyone is meant to be saved.

[i] Redemptoris mission, 4. Footnotes: 4. Encyclical Letter Redemtor Hominis, 10. 5. Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: DS150. 6. Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, 13.

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