Skip to content

The Servant of God: Engaging Pope John Paul II’s Encyclicals

One of the ongoing commitments I have in doing this blog is a commitment to ecumenism.  One of the major ways that I have set out to continue such discussions this year is through a series of readings and reflections on the Papal encyclicals of the servant of God, Pope John Paul II.  This will be an on-going effort throughout the year (hopefully it will be done this year).  Following is a list of the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II, in chronological order, which is the order in which I’ll be reading and reflecting on them. 

  1. Redemptor Hominis “The Redeemer of Man” March 4, 1979
  2. Dives in Misericordia “Rich in Mercy” November 30, 1980
  3. Laborem Exercens “On Human Work” September 14, 1981
  4. Slavorum Apostoli “The Apostles of the Slavs”  June 2, 1985
  5. Dominum et Vivificantem “The Lord and Giver of Life” May 18, 1986
  6. Redemptoris Mater “Mother of the Redeemer” March 25, 1987
  7. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis “On Social Concerns”  December 30, 1987
  8. Redemptoris Missio “Mission of the Redeemer” December 7, 1990
  9. Centesimus Annus “The Hundredth Year” May 1, 1991
  10. Veritatis Splendor “The Splendor of Truth” August 6, 1993
  11. Evangelium Vitae “The Gospel of Life” March 25, 1995
  12. Ut Unum Sint “That They May Be One” May 25, 1995
  13. Fides et Ratio “Faith and Reason” September 14, 1998
  14. Ecclesia de Eucharistia “The Church of the Eucharist”  April 17, 2003

I am very much looking forward to this endeavor of cross-traditional theological and ecumenical engagement.  Hopefully it will be fun for some folks to read about, too!


  1. Aric Clark wrote:

    Definitely looking forward to this!

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  2. roflyer wrote:

    Looking forward to it! Welcome to my life…

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Ben wrote:

    roflyer, do you have some recommendations for us of any particular encyclicals that Halden mentioned? I have an odd aversion to reading encyclicals–not an aversion to the teaching itself, just the prose, I guess. They just don’t seem to grab me for some sad reason. This is something I want to overcome–cheers Halden!

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 at 10:37 pm | Permalink
  4. I am really looking forward to your series, Halden.

    As you meditate on Redemptor hominis, do you detect an almost-Barthian (or perhaps Torrancian) interpretation of the Incarnation and Christ’s redemptive work?

    Friday, February 15, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  5. Halden wrote:

    Fr. Kimel, I haven’t finished it yet, but I do detect something like that in his Christology. The key difference that I see operating is the Pope’s commitment to a personalist philosophy and his emphasis on human dignity. For Barth and Torrance, writing as they do from other contexts, I think the way they deploy their Christology serves different, if not incompatible ends.

    Friday, February 15, 2008 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  6. Halden an excellent blog. I look forward to your comments as well. I personally find myself refering back to Veritatis Splendor
    more then any other document.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 3:16 am | Permalink
  7. R.O. Flyer wrote:

    Ben, I tend to have an aversion to reading encyclicals as well, but I certainly do a lot of it.

    I definitely recommend Ut Unum Sint if you’re interested in the future of Catholic ecumenism. Veritatis Splendor has had an enormous impact on current Catholic moral theology. Also, in Centesimus Annus JPII gives a qualified defense of capitalism. I recommend reading the first 27 sections of Veritatis Splendor to start with.

    Monday, February 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  8. whimsy wrote:

    Is there a dead-tree collection of JPII’s encyclicals? I’ve not been able to find one past a 1996 publishing date.


    Friday, March 21, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink

Switch to our mobile site