of his Holiness
John Paul II
For the third year of preparation
for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000
God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Father
of Jesus and our Father Blessed are you, Lord, Father in heaven, who, in
your infinite mercy, stooped down to us in our distress and gave us Jesus,
your Son, born of woman, to be our Savior and friend, our brother and redeemer.
We thank you, good Father, for the gift of the Jubilee Year; make it a
time of favor for us, the year of a great return to the Father's house,
where, full of love, you await your straying children to embrace them in
your forgiveness and welcome them to your table, in their festive garments.
We praise you, Father, forever! Father most merciful, during this Holy
Year may our love for you and for our neighbor grow ever stronger; may
Christ's disciples promote justice and peace; may they proclaim the Good
News to the poor; and may the Church our Mother direct her love especially
to the little ones and the neglected. We praise you, Father, forever! Father
of justice, may the Great Jubilee be the fitting time for all Catholics
to rediscover the joy of living by your word and obeying your will; may
they know the goodness of fraternal communion, as they break bread together
and praise you in hymns and inspired songs. We praise you, Father, forever!
Father, rich in mercy, may the holy Jubilee be a time of openness, of
dialogue and encounter, among all who believe in Christ and with the follower
of other religions: in your immense love, be bountiful in mercy to all.
We praise you, Father, forever! O God, Almighty Father, as we make our
way to you, our ultimate destiny, may all your children experience the
gentle company of Mary most holy, image of purest love, whom you chose
to be Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. We praise you, Father,
forever! To you, Father of life, eternal source of all that is, highest
good and everlasting light, be honor and glory, praise and thanksgiving,
with the Son and with the Spirit, for ages unending. Amen.
Holy Father's Prayer For The Celebration Of The Great Jubilee Of The Year
Interreligious dialogue cannot replace the task of
evangelization, but it is part of our demonstration of the Father’s love for
the people of all nations.
THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 28, 1999
Part of the Church's Evangelizing Mission
Interreligious dialogue is a part of the Church’s evangelizing
mission. Understood as a method and means of mutual knowledge and enrichment,
dialogue is not in opposition to the mission as gentes ["to the
nations"]; indeed, it has special links to that mission and is one of its
expressions. This mission, in fact, is addressed to those who do not know Christ
and his Gospel, and who belong for the most part to other religions.
In Christ, God calls all peoples to Himself and He wishes
to share with them the fullness of His revelation and love. He does not fail to
make Himself present in many ways, not only to individuals but also to entire
peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main
and essential expression, even when they contain "gaps, insufficiencies and
errors."10 All of this has been given ample emphasis by the
[Second Vatican] Council and the subsequent Magisterium, without detracting in
any way from the fact that salvation comes from Christ and that dialogue does
not dispense from evangelization.
In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees
no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue.
Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad
gentes. These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and
their distinctiveness; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated, or
regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable.
I recently wrote to the bishops of Asia: "Although
the Church gladly acknowledges whatever is true and holy in the religious
traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam as a reflection of that truth which
enlightens all people, this does not lessen her duty and resolve to proclaim
without fail Jesus Christ who is ‘the Way, and the Truth, and the Life….’
The fact that the followers of other religions can receive God’s grace and be
saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which He has established does not
thereby cancel the call to faith and Baptism which God wills for all
Indeed Christ Himself, "while expressly insisting on
the need for faith and Baptism, at the same time confirmed the need for the
Church, into which people enter through Baptism as through a door."
Dialogue should be conducted and implemented with the conviction that the Church
is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of
the means of salvation. [RM n. 55]
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 5, 1999
Dialogue Based on Respect, Hope and Love
[Inter-religious] dialogue does not originate from tactical concerns
or self-interest, but is an activity with its own guiding principles,
requirements, and dignity. It is demanded by deep respect for everything that
has been brought about in human beings by the Spirit who blows where He wills.
Through dialogue, the Church seeks to uncover the "seeds of the Word,"12
a "ray of truth which enlightens all people"13; these are
found in individuals and in the religious traditions of humanity.
Dialogue is based on hope and love, and will bear fruit in
the Spirit. Other religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church: they
stimulate her both to discover and acknowledge the sign of Christ’s presence
and the working of the Spirit, as well as to examine more deeply her own
identity and to bear witness to the fullness of Revelation which she has
received for the good of all.
This gives rise to the spirit which must enliven dialogue
in the context of mission. Those engaged in this dialogue must be consistent
with their own religious traditions and convictions, and be open to
understanding those of the other party without pretense or close-mindedness, but
with truth, humility, and frankness, knowing that dialogue can enrich each side.
There must be no abandonment of principles nor false irenicism, but instead a
witness given and received for mutual advancement on the road of religious
inquiry and experience, and at the same time for the elimination of prejudice,
intolerance, and misunderstandings. Dialogue leads to inner purification and
conversion which, if pursued with docility to the Holy Spirit, will be
spiritually fruitful. [RM n. 56]
WORKING FOR PEACE
"Blessed are the peacemakers," Jesus
said; they have the high honor of being known as children of God, because they
are fulfilling the desire of their heavenly Father (Mt 5:9).
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 12, 1999
Precisely because of their faith, believers are
called—as individuals and as a body—to be messengers and artisans of peace.
Like others and even more than others, they are called to seek with humility and
perseverance appropriate responses to the yearnings for security and freedom,
solidarity and sharing, which are common to everyone in this world, which as it
were has become smaller. A commitment to peace of course concerns every person
of good will…. Yet this is a duty which is especially incumbent upon all who
profess faith in God and even more so upon Christians, who have as their guide
and master the "Prince of Peace" (Is 9:6)….
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to
you," Christ has said to us (Jn 14:27). This divine promise fills us with
the hope, indeed the certainty of divine hope, that peace is possible, because
nothing is impossible with God gift, and for us Christians it is a precious gift
of the risen Lord….
I wish to reaffirm the need for intense, humble,
confident, and persevering prayer, if the world is finally to become a dwelling
place of peace.
Prayer is par excellence the power needed to
implore that peace and obtain it. It gives courage and support to all who love
this good and desire to promote it in accordance with their own possibilities
and in the various situations in which they live. Prayer not only opens us up to
a meeting with our neighbor, helping us to establish with everyone, without
discrimination, relationships of respect, understanding, esteem, and love….
Prayer is the bond which most effectively unites us. It is
through prayer that believers meet one another at a level where inequalities,
misunderstandings, bitterness, and hostility are overcome, namely before God,
the Lord and Father of all. Prayer, as the authentic expression of a right
relationship with God and with others, is already a positive contribution to
peace. [TPS 37/3, 161-3, 166]
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 19, 1999
Peace and Justice
Peace is a fundamental good which involves respecting and promoting essential
human values: the right to life at every stage of its development; the right to
be respected, regardless of race, sex, or religious convictions; the right to
the material goods necessary for life; the right to work and to a fair
distribution of its fruits for a well-ordered and harmonious coexistence. As
individuals, as believers, and even more as Christians, we must feel the
commitment to living these values of justice, which are crowned by the supreme
law of love: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt 22:39). [TPS
37/3, 1992, 164-5]
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 26, 1999
Peace Is Possible
Peace is not a utopia, nor an inaccessible ideal, nor
an unrealizable dream.
War is not an inevitable calamity.
Peace is possible.
And because it is possible, peace is our duty: our grave duty, our supreme
Certainly peace is difficult; certainly it demands much
good will, wisdom, and tenacity. But man can and he must make the force of
reason prevail over the reasons of force…. And since peace, entrusted to the
responsibility of men and women, remains even then a gift of God, it must also
express itself in prayer to Him who holds the destinies of all peoples in His
hands. [NE n. 13]