A finales del segundo Milenio El Redentor del hombre, Jesucristo, es el centro del cosmos y de la historia. En este acto redentor, la historia del hombre ha alcanzado su cumbre en el designio de amor de Dios. Sin querer dar una respuesta concreta podemos decir que hemos conseguido unos progresos verdaderos e importantes. Es obvio que esta nueva etapa de la vida de la Iglesia exige de nosotros una fe particularmente consciente, profunda y responsable. Por esto precisamente, Cristo Redentor, como se ha dicho anteriormente, revela plenamente el hombre al mismo hombre. Advertimos en particular el gran sentido de responsabilidad ante esta verdad.
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John Paul II began his papacy during a crisis of self-doubt and internal criticism in the Catholic Church. Redemptor hominis proposes that the solution to these problems may be found through a fuller understanding of the person: both of the human person, and that of Christ. The encyclical also works to prepare the Church for the upcoming third millennium , calling the remaining years of the 20th century "a season of a new Advent , a season of expectation" in preparation for the new millennium.
Thus, he states, systems such as Communism that deny this essential aspect of human nature are fundamentally flawed and inherently unable to satisfy the deepest human longings for the fullest expression of human life.
He stresses that a proper expression of the missionary attitude is not destructive, but rather begins with building on what is already there. John Paul uses this as a foundation to another of the central themes of his papacy: that of religious freedom. Building on the declaration of the Second Vatican Council in Dignitatis humanae Declaration on Religious Freedom , Pope John Paul teaches that any missionizing work by the Church must begin with a "deep esteem for man, for his intellect, his will, his conscience and his freedom.
The encyclical teaches that even if contrary to its intention, any purely materialistic system that essentially ignores the human person must in the end condemn man to being a slave of his own production. Denouncing the imbalance of economic resources, another oft-repeated theme of his papacy, John Paul encourages an increased concern for the problems of the poor. Once more, he stresses that the key to this is an increased moral responsibility built on a deeper understanding of the dignity of the human person, as taught by Christ himself in his description of the Last Judgment in the Gospel of Matthew.
He also indicates the importance of catechesis—teaching the doctrines of the faith—which found fruit in his papacy, most notably in his promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. John Paul also brings in the personalist theme in his manner of responding to a controversy of the post-Vatican II Church: the issue of communal penance. In some cases, the sacrament of Penance at the time was being offered to groups of people together, without individual confession.
In particular, he invites the Church by which he means all members of the church, not only the hierarchy to take Mary as mother, as its model for nourishing the world.
Redemptor hominis – partes i e ii