Redeemer of Man, The crisis of our time

The beginning point, the principle, of this encyclical is the life of Christ the Redeemer. The Incarnation and the Passion are the facts with which he begins.

He turns to the situation of “concrete man” to see the obstacles to good human living and to see the challenges which we face to live a life in keeping with human dignity and vocation.

In some respect we have lost the notion of a “crisis of our time.” Every day has become a crisis mode for the news cycles. And in fact, there are continual crises that bring uncertainty and fear into our lives — economic, political, educational, social. We are so inundated with the crisis mentality, we can barely think of an enduring crisis or “the crisis” of our times of which some classic authors would speak. But there is a crisis under the “crises.” Pope John Paul II will track a number of issues that persistently cause concern and alarm in the modern world. And he will track them to some basic principles — and discover a fundamental issue of a spiritual nature. Much like C. S. Lewis in Abolition of Man, John Paul will confront the fundamental challenges to human beings.

To begin with, he poses a series of questions already “being asked with greater or lesser explicitness by the thousands of millions of people living in the world today.”

“Do all the conquests attained until now and those projected for the future for technology accord with man’s moral and spiritual progress? In this context is man, as man, developing and progressing or is he regressing and being degraded in his humanity? In men and ‘in man’s world’, which in itself is a world of moral good and evil, does good prevail over evil? In men and among men is there a growth of social love, of respect for the rights of others-for every man, nation and people-or on the contrary is there an increase of various degrees of selfishness, exaggerated nationalism instead of authentic love of country, and also the propensity to dominate others beyond the limits of one’s legitimate rights and merits and the propensity to exploit the whole of material progress and that in the technology of production for the exclusive purpose of dominating others or of favoring this or that imperialism?” Redemptor hominis §15.

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