Friday 7 February 2014

John Paul II on the religions as the work of the Spirit

From John Paul II, General Audience, 9 September 1998, on the Christian attitude towards other religions, and interreligious dialogue, in what is, according to Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the most positive statement of the magisterium regarding other religions:
2. It must first be kept in mind that every quest of the human spirit for truth and goodness, and in the last analysis for God, is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The various religions arose precisely from this primordial human openness to God. At their origins we often find founders who, with the help of God’s Spirit, achieved a deeper religious experience. Handed on to others, this experience took form in the doctrines, rites and precepts of the various religions.
In every authentic religious experience, the most characteristic expression is prayer. Because of the human spirit’s constitutive openness to God’s action of urging it to self-transcendence, we can hold that “every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person” (Address to the Members of the Roman Curia, 22 Dec. 1986, n. 11;L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 5 Jan. 1987, p. 7).
3. The Holy Spirit is not only present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer. “The Spirit’s presence and activity”, as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, “affect not only individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions” (n. 28).
Indeed, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, “since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of coming into contact, in a way known to God, with the paschal mystery” (Gaudium et spes, n. 22).
See http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/1998/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_09091998_en.html

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