Throughout his 27-year papacy, St. John Paul II — a trained philosopher who had experienced the horrors of war — refocused the church on centering human dignity in the person of Christ. In this set of articles, we explore the pope’s first encyclical, “Redemptor Hominis,” which outlined this vision for a new millennium.

‘Redeemer of man,’ the vision and agenda of St. John Paul II’s papacy
The centrality of Christ and the mystery of the human person were two key themes of St. John Paul II’s papacy. In his first encyclical, the pope stressed that understanding humanity meant understanding Christ, and vice versa.

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Amazed by human dignity, St. John Paul II called on church to serve others
Throughout his papacy, St. John Paul II emphasized the need to honor the image of God in each individual. As the bride of Christ, the church must unite itself with every person, especially by serving humanity’s poorest and most vulnerable members.