The text of the beatification decree issued by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints on January 14, 2011, concerning the beatification of Pope John Paul II, continued from the previous page:
After Vatican II, during the pontificates of Paul VI and of John Paul II, the manner of presentation, and thus of self-presentation of the papacy, has become quite expressive. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of John Paul II, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs published in 2004 a book entitled Go forth in the whole world. Giancarlo Zizola, a “vaticanist”, remarked on the fact that “the papacy has conquered its citizenship in the realm of public visibility, breaking away from the siege of worship marginalisation where it had been kept by decree of secular society, in the name of a militant vision of the liberal tenet of Separation of Church and State” (p. 17). A German historian, Jesuit Klaus Schatz, speaking of Paul VI and of John Paul II, underlined the meaning of the “papacy on the way” – thus in conformity with Vatican II – more in the manner of a missionary movement than as a static pole of unity. Schatz refers to the manner of interpreting the papal mission as a challenge to “confirm the brothers in the faith” (Lk 22, 32), in a way tied to structural authority, but with a strong spiritual and charismatic hint, in link with the personal credibility and rooted in God himself.
Let us pause a moment to consider Vatican II. The young archbishop of Cracow was one of the most active Council Fathers. He made a significant contribution to the “Scheme XIII” which was to become the Pastoral Constitution of the Council Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the Modern World, and to the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium. Thanks to his studies abroad, bishop Wojtyla had a concrete experience of evangelisation and of the mission of the Church, in Western Europe or in other continents, but above all of totalitarian atheism in Poland and in the other countries of the “Soviet Block”. He brought all this experience to the Council debates, which were certainly not like drawing-room conversations, extremely courteous but void of contents. Here was a substantial and decisive effort to insert the Gospel’s dynamism into the conciliar enthusiasm rooted on the conviction that Christianity is capable of furnishing a “soul” to the development of modernity and to the reality of the social and cultural world.
All this was to be of use in preparing for the future responsibilities of the Successor of Peter. As John Paul II said, he already had in his mind his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, and brought it to Rome from Cracow. All he had to do in Rome was to write down all these ideas. In this encyclical, there is a wide invitation to humankind to rediscover the reality of Redemption in Christ:
Man . . . remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer “fully reveals man to himself”. . . . man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly “expressed” and, in a way, is newly created. . . . The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must “appropriate” and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. (n° 10)
This union of Christ with man is in itself a mystery. From the mystery is born “the new man”, called to become a partaker of God’s life, and newly created in Christ for the fullness of grace and truth. . . . Man is transformed inwardly by this power as the source of a new life that does not disappear and pass away but lasts to eternal life. . . . This life, which the Father has promised and offered to each man in Jesus Christ . . . is in a way the fulfilment of the “destiny” that God has prepared for him from eternity. This “divine destiny” is advancing, in spite of all the enigmas, the unsolved riddles, the twists and turns of “human destiny” in the world of time. Indeed, while all this, in spite of all the riches of life in time, necessarily and inevitably leads to the frontier of death and the goal of the destruction of the human body, beyond that goal we see Christ. “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me… shall never die”. (n° 18)
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