the written introduction for the new edition of John Paul II’s, “Memory
and Identity,” Pope Benedict XVI notes that the key word of the entire
thinking of the late Pope is “redemption,” a concept that in
existential terms means “mercy.”
Last weekend the Italian daily Corriere della Sera published the prologue written by Pope Benedict XVI for the new edition of last book of his predecessor, in which the late pontiff reflected on the history of the 20th century and on good and evil.
For Benedict XVI, John Paul II’s book, which will be re-published on March 22, brings together “some of the fundamental experiences of his life” and gives readers a “glimpse of his interior biography.” He also points out that his recollections of the Nazi occupation and the Communist dictatorship of Poland reveal that John Paul II experienced “very personally” the oppression and enslavement of his homeland.
In recalling some of Karol Wojtyla’s reflections on the concept of redemption, Benedict XVI states that this is “the key word to all of John Paul II’s thought,” and he recalled that “his first programmatic encyclical begins with the significant words ‘Redemptor hominis,’ thus becoming ‘the summary of his theological and anthropological vision’.”
The Pope also underscored the references in the book to the Blessed Mother, “who was so central in the spiritual life of John Paul II,” and her role as “the bearer of memory.” “The memory of the Church is the point where the conscience of humanity widens and touches our origins, the foundations of our being;” because “where the past is not known, the future is also lost in favor of an empty present,” Benedict XVI added.
The Pontiff insisted that all of the different memories have their roots in the common memory of humanity, “conserved in an excellent way in the memory of the Church,” in which lies “the strength of peace and reconciliation of humanity.”