A circular or general
letter expressing the mind of the Pope, generally on matters of faith and morals. It may
be a letter (to the entire Church) or an epistle
(to a particular Church or people (e.g. Mit brennenden sorge, Pius XI to the German people on racism).
The Gospel of Life
Evangelium Vitae Encyclical of Pope John Paul II on the value and
inviolability of human life. Given in Rome on March 25, 1995.
On the Holy Spirit
Dominum Et Vivificantem Promulgated on May 30, 1986. This Encyclical on the
Holy Spirit has been drawn from the heart of the heritage of the Vatican Council. John
Paul desires to move us to penetrate ever deeper into the Trinitarian mystery of God
himself, through the Gospels, the Fathers and the Liturgy. JOHN PAUL II ENCYCLICAL HOLY
SPIRIT VATICAN COUNCIL TRINITY LITURGY
On Rerum Novarum
Centesimus Annus Promulgated May 1, 1991. This encyclical is one of four
recent documents (by Pope John Paul II) which serve as a framework of analysis for the
socio-political questions of the day. The Pope issues an invitation to 'look back' at
'Rerum Novarum' in order to discover anew its richness and an invitation to 'look around'
at the 'new things' which surround us. Finally, an invitation to 'look to the future' and
reawaken our responsibility to proclaim the gospel.
On Human Work
Laborem Exercens Promulgated on September 14, 1981. This encyclical is one of
four recent documents (by Pope John Paul II) which serve as a framework of analysis for
the socio-political questions of the day. The Pope devotes this document to human work and
to man in the vast context of the reality of work. Written on the ninetieth anniversary of
Leo XIII's 'Rerum Novarum'.
Redemptoris Missio Issued on December 7, 1990. The present document has as its
goal an interior renewal of faith and Christian life. The Pope seeks to inspire us to
renew the Church by missionary activity since faith is strengthened when it is given to
Mother of the Redeemer
Redemptoris Mater Promulgated on March 25, 1987. Discusses Mary's role in the
economy of salvation, particularly reflecting upon that 'pilgrimage of faith' in which
'the Blessed Virgin advanced,' faithfully preserving her union with Christ. The Pope
emphasizes the historical significance of the 'twofold bond' which unites the Mother of
God with Christ and with the Church.
On the Redemption of Man
Redemptor Hominis Promulgated on March 4, 1979. John Paul seeks to recall and
reawaken in us in a special way our awareness of the key truth of faith which Saint John
expressed at the beginning of his Gospel: 'The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.'
On the Mercy of God
Dives In Misericordia Promulgated on November 30, 1980. John Paul draws from
the language of revelation and faith to express the truth revealed by Christ about God the
'Father of mercies.' The truth that God is very close to man, especially when he is
suffering and under threat at the very heart of his existence and dignity.
Apostles of the Slavs
Slavorum Apostoli is the encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II on Saints
Cyril and Methodius, on the occasion of the the eleventh centenary of their evangelization
work (2 June 1985).
On the Social Teaching of the Church
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis Promulgated on December 30, 1987. In this encyclical,
John Paul, reaffirms the continuity of the Church's social doctrine in its vital link with
the Gospel and its constant renewal because it is subject to changing conditions and the
flow of events which are the setting of the life of people and society.
They May Be One
Ut Unum Sint Promulgated on May 25, 1995. The Holy Father calls for a new
discussion of the authority and ministry of the pope. He says that the unity of all
Christians is God's will and is at the heart of the mission Christ entrusted to His
followers. The Pope ends with a call to 'everyone to renew their commitment to work for
full and visible communion' and with a specific exhortation to the world's Catholic
bishops 'to be especially mindful' of their mission.
Splendor of the Truth
Veritatis Splendor Promulgated August 6, 1993, (Transfiguration). On Certain
Fundamental Questions of the Church's Moral Teaching. Reaffirms widely-attacked moral
teachings of the Church and condemns dissent. CONTENTS: (1) 'Teacher, What Good Must I
Do?'; (2) 'Do Not Be Conformed to the World' (Freedom & Law, Conscience & Truth,
Fundamental Choice and Specific Kinds of Behavior, and the Moral Act); (3) 'Lest the Cross
of Christ Be Emptied of its Power.'
Faith and Reason
Fides et ratio is the newest encyclical of the Holy Father. This long awaited
teaching on the intellectual relativism of our age, on the relationship of faith and
reason, of philosophy and theology is dated 14 September 1998 and was released 15 October
Ecclesia de Eucharistia
Signed by the Holy Father at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, 17
April 2003, this encyclical replaced his customary Holy Thursday
letter to priests, and was addressed to the whole of the Catholic
Church. His exposition of the centrality of the Eucharist in the
life of the Church is intended to remedy the liturgical abuses and
heterodox teachings that are found in some places. "It is my hope
that the present Encyclical Letter will effectively help to banish
the dark clouds of unacceptable doctrine and practice, so that the
Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery."