In continuing the great task of implementing the Second Vatican Council, in which we can rightly see a new phase of the self-realization of the Church-in keeping with the epoch in which it has been our destiny to live-the Church herself must be constantly guided by the full consciousness that in this work it is not permissible for her, for any reason, to withdraw into herself. The reason for her existence is, in fact, to reveal God, that Father who allows us to “see” Him in Christ.(Cf. Jn. 14:9) No matter how strong the resistance of human history may be, no matter how marked the diversity of contemporary civilization, no matter how great the denial of God in the human world, so much the greater must be the Church’s closeness to that mystery which, hidden for centuries in God, was then truly shared with (people), in time, through Jesus Christ.
And the final blessing:
With my apostolic blessing.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the thirtieth day of November, the First Sunday of Advent, in the year 1980, the third of the pontificate.
It’s a stirring conclusion. Certainly from the pen of a man who urged his Church to make for the deep waters and not fear the shadows or self-doubts. Any last comments, my friends? It’s a fitting way to launch ourselves into the Jubilee of Mercy, isn’t it?
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana