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John Paul II's Encyclicals

One of the great treasures that John Paul II gave to us, "to the Church and to all people of good will" were his 'encyclicals' - profound writings full of beauty and truth. Within months of becoming Pope, John Paul II had written his first one and it was on Jesus, the Redeemer of Man. His second was on the Mercy of our Father. He went on to write about the Holy Spirit, Mary, the Eucharist. The encyclicals reveal the depth of John Paul II"s thought on the identity of man, his search for truth and the crisis facing contemporary society. 3 encyclicals focused particularly on truth, life, and the need for both faith and intelligence. John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals in total and many of them are now listenable to / downloadable on Totus2us .. as they're ACE and so worth a read / listen!

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Dives in Misericordia - Rich in Mercy

JPII's 2nd encyclical - given on 30th November, the 1st Sunday of Advent, 1980.

The whole of this encyclical will be in a Totus2us Novena starting on Good Friday & leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday & JPII's beatification.

It is "God, who is rich in mercy" whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us as Father: it is His very Son who, in Himself, has manifested Him and made Him known to us. Memorable in this regard is the moment when Philip, one of the twelve Apostles, turned to Christ and said: "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied"; and Jesus replied: "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me...? He who has seen me has seen the Father." These words were spoken during the farewell discourse at the end of the paschal supper, which was followed by the events of those holy days during which confirmation was to be given once and for all of the fact that "God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ."

You can read Dives in Misericordia in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Redemptor Hominis - Redeemer of Man

JPII's 1st encyclical - given on 4th March, 1st Sunday of Lent, 1979.

The whole of this encyclical is read in a Totus2us novena - click here to read/listen/download mp3s.

THE REDEEMER OF MAN, Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and of history. To him go my thoughts and my heart in this solemn moment of the world that the Church and the whole family of present-day humanity are now living. In fact, this time, in which God in his hidden design has entrusted to me, after my beloved Predecessor John Paul I, the universal service connected with the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome, is already very close to the year 2000.

You can read Redemptor Hominis in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Dominum et Vivificantem - Lord and Giver of Life

JPII's 5th encyclical - given on 18th May, Solemnity of Pentecost, 1986.

Chunks of this encyclical are read in a Totus2us novena to the Holy Spirit - click here to read / listen / download the free mp3s.

The Church professes her faith in the Holy Spirit as "the Lord, the giver of life." .. These are words which the Church receives from the very source of her faith, Jesus Christ. In fact, according to the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit is given to us with the new life, as Jesus foretells and promises on the great day of the Feast of Tabernacles: "If any one thirst let him come to me and drink. He who believeth in me as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" And the Evangelist explains: "This he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive." It is the same simile of water which Jesus uses in his conversation with the Samaritan woman, when he speaks of "a spring of water welling up to eternal life," and in his conversation with Nicodemus when he speaks of the need for a new birth "of water and the Holy Spirit" in order to "enter the kingdom of God."

You can read Dominum et Vivificantem in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Redemptoris Mater - Mother of the Redeemer

JPII's 6th encyclical - given on 25th March, Feast of the Annunciation, 1987.

Chunks of this encyclical are read in a Totus2us novena to Our Lady - click here to read / listen / download the free mp3s.

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!'" 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. For they are words which celebrate together the love of the Father, the mission of the Son, the gift of the Spirit, the role of the woman from whom the Redeemer was born, and our own divine filiation, in the mystery of the "fullness of time."

You can read Redemptoris Mater in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Ecclesia de Eucharistia - Church of the Eucharist

JPII's 14th & last encyclical - given on 17th April, Holy Thursday, 2003.

The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age”, but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.

You can read Ecclesia de Eucharistia in Chinese, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Fides et Ratio - Faith and Reason

JPII's 13th encyclical - given on 14th September, Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, 1998.

The whole of this encyclical is read in a Totus2us novena - click here to hear.

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself — so that, by knowing and loving God, men & women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.

You can read Fides et Ratio Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Evangelium Vitae - Gospel of Life

JPII's 10th encyclical - given on 25th March, Feast of the Annunciation, 1995.

The whole of this encyclical is read in a Totus2us Novena - click here to read / listen / download the free mp3s.

The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as "good news" to the people of every age and culture.

You can read Evangelium Vitae in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

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Veritatis Splendor - The Splendour of Truth

JPII's 9th encyclical - given on 6th August, Feast of the Transfiguration, 1993

The encyclical got started on Totus2us ... but we're so short of time at the mo that we've only done day 1 so far!

The splendour of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God. Truth enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord. Hence the Psalmist prays: "Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord."

You can read Veritatis Splendor in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

Redemptoris Missio - Mission of the Redeemer

JPII's 8th encyclical - given on 7th December, 25th anniversary of the Conciliar Decree Ad Gentes, 1990

The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion. As the second millennium after Christ's coming draws to an end, an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service. It is the Spirit who impels us to proclaim the great works of God: "For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!"

You can read Redemptoris Missio in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

Ut Unum Sint - That They May be One

JPII's 12th encyclical - given on 25th May, Feast of the Ascension, 1995

Ut unum sint! The call for Christian unity made by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council with such impassioned commitment is finding an ever greater echo in the hearts of believers, especially as the Year 2000 approaches, a year which Christians will celebrate as a sacred Jubilee, the commemoration of the Incarnation of the Son of God, who became man in order to save humanity.

You can read Ut Unum Sint in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

Laborem Exercens - on Human Work

JPII's 3rd encyclical - given on 14th September, Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, 1981

Through work man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself. Man is made to be in the visible universe an image and likeness of God himself, and he is placed in it in order to subdue the earth3. From the beginning therefore he is called to work. Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. Thus work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of a person operating within a community of persons. And this mark decides its interior characteristics; in a sense it constitutes its very nature.

You can read Laborem Exercens in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis

JPII's 7th encyclical - given on 30th December 1987

The social concern of the Church, directed towards an authentic development of man and society which would respect and promote all the dimensions of the human person, has always expressed itself in the most varied ways. In recent years, one of the special means of intervention has been the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiffs which, beginning with the Encyclical Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII as a point of reference, has frequently dealt with the question and has sometimes made the dates of publication of the various social documents coincide with the anniversaries of that first document.

You can read Sollicitudo Rei Socialis in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

Centesimus Annus

JPII's 9th encyclical - given on 1st May, Feast of St Joseph the Worker, 1991

The Centenary of the promulgation of the Encyclical which begins with the words "Rerum novarum", by my predecessor of venerable memory Pope Leo XIII, is an occasion of great importance for the present history of the Church and for my own Pontificate. It is an Encyclical that has the distinction of having been commemorated by solemn Papal documents from its 40th anniversary to its 90th. It may be said that its path through history has been marked by other documents which paid tribute to it and applied it to the circumstances of the day.

You can read Centesimus Annus in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish.

Slavorum Apostoli - The Apostles of the Slavs

JPII's 4th encyclical - given on 2nd June, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, 1985

The Apostles of the Slavs Saints Cyril and Methodius, are remembered by the Church together with the great work of evangelization which they carried out. Indeed it can be said that their memory is particularly vivid and relevant to our day.

You can read Slavorum Apostoli in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish