John Paul II Repeats That Man Is the Way of the Church

Offers a Synthesis of His Pontificate

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II's pontificate can be summarized in a phrase: The way of the Church is man, without any distinctions, to whom she proclaims the truth that makes him completely free, Christ.



The Pope himself stated this today when he met with the participants of the international congress that has initiated the series of celebrations for the forthcoming 25th anniversary of his pontificate.

The congress was convoked by the Lateran University, which from Wednesday to Saturday of this week has gathered in Rome representatives of the Catholic Church from all over the world, as well as intellectuals and journalists, to study the contributions of Karol Wojtyla's pontificate.

The symposium has summarized these contributions in the motto "The Church at the Service of Man," its primary theme.

The Holy Father told the participants that the motto was good because it reflects the central concept of his first encyclical, "Redemptor Hominis," which was to characterize the development of his ministry as Bishop of Rome.

"The Church cannot abandon man, for his 'destiny,' that is to say, his election, calling, birth and death, salvation or perdition, is so closely and unbreakably linked with Christ," No. 14 of that programmatic encyclical stated.

Addressing the participants, the Holy Father said: "The Gospel message is addressed to men of every race and culture, so that it will become their beacon of light and salvation in the different situations in which they have to live."

"This perennial service to the 'truth' of man excites all those who are concerned that Christ be ever better known, and perceive, consciously, the desire to encounter Christ, the complete fulfillment of man," he continued.

Here is the secret to find "new ways for the evangelization of cultures," the Pope said. "Christ is the truth that frees all those who seek him with sincerity and perseverance.

"He is the truth that the Church tirelessly proclaims in different ways, spreading the only Gospel of salvation to the utmost ends of the earth and inculturating it in the different regions of the world."