Buy Salvifici doloris: el sufrimiento humano by Juan Pablo II (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on. Title, Carta apostólica Salvifici doloris. Author, Iglesia Católica. Papa ( Juan Pablo II). Edition, 2. Publisher, Paulinas, Length, 78 pages. by. John Paul II. · Rating details · ratings · 12 reviews. Letter of Pope John Paul II on the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, 11 February

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Declaring the power of salvific suffering, the Apostle Paul says: These words seem to be found at the end of the long road that winds through the suffering which forms part of the history of man and which is illuminated by the Word of God. These words have as it were the value of a final discovery, which is accompanied by joy.

For this reason Saint Paul writes: The joy comes from the discovery of the meaning of suffering, and this discovery, even if it is oablo personally shared in by Paul of Tarsus who wrote these words, is at the same time valid for others.

The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help—just as it helped him—to understand the salvific meaning of suffering. The theme of suffering – precisely under the aspect of this salvific meaning – seems to fit profoundly into the context of the Holy Year of the Redemption as an extraordinary Jubilee of the Church.

And this circumstance too clearly favours the attention it deserves during this period. Independently of this fact, it is a universal theme that accompanies man at every point on earth: Even though Paul, in the Letter to the Romans, wrote that “the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now” 3even though man knows and is close to the sufferings of the animal world, nevertheless what we express by the word “suffering” seems to be doliris essential to the nature of man.

It is as deep as man himself, precisely because it manifests in its own way that depth which is proper to man, and in its own way surpasses it. Suffering seems to belong to man’s transcendence: The theme of suffering in a special way demands to be faced in the context of the Holy Year of the Redemption, and this is so, in the first place, because the Redemption was accomplished through the Cross of Christ, that is, through his suffering.

And at the same time, during the Holy Year of the Redemption we recall the truth expressed in the Encyclical Redemptor Hominis: It can be said that man in a special fashion becomes the way for the Church when suffering enters his life. This happens, as we know, at different moments in life, it takes place in different ways, it assumes different dimensions; nevertheless, in whatever form, suffering seems to be, and is, almost inseparable from man’s earthly existence.

Assuming then that throughout his earthly life man walks in one manner or another on the diloris path of suffering, it is precisely on this path that the Church at all times – and perhaps especially during the Holy Year of the Redemption – should meet man. Born of the mystery of Redemption in the Cross of Christ, the Church has to try to meet man in a special way on the path of his suffering.

Salvufici this meeting man “becomes the way for the Church”, and this way is one of the most important ones. This is the origin also of the present reflection, precisely in the Year of the Redemption: Human suffering evokes compassion; it also evokes respect, and in its own way it intimidates.

For in suffering is contained the greatness of a specific mystery. This special respect for every form of human suffering must be set jhan the beginning of what will be expressed here later by the deepest need of the heart, and also by the deep imperative of faith.

About the theme of palo these two reasons seem to draw particularly close to each other and to jua one: Even though in its subjective dimension, as a personal fact contained within man’s concrete and unrepeatable interior, suffering seems almost inexpressible and not transferable, perhaps at the same time nothing else requires as much as does suffering, in its “objective reality”, to be dealt with, meditated upon, and conceived as an explicit problem; and that therefore basic questions be asked about it and the answers sought.

Carta apostólica Salvifici doloris – Iglesia Católica. Papa ( : Juan Pablo II) – Google Books

It is evident that it is not a question here merely of giving a description of suffering. There are other criteria which go beyond the sphere of description, and which we must introduce when we wish to penetrate the world of human suffering. Medicine, as the science and also the art of healing, discovers in the vast field of human sufferings the best known area, the one identified with greater precision and relatively more counterbalanced by the methods of “reaction” that is, the methods of therapy.

Nonetheless, this is only one area. The field of human suffering is much juxn, more varied, and multi-dimensional. Man suffers in different ways, ways not always considered by medicine, not even in its most advanced specializations. Suffering is something which is still wider than sickness, more complex and at the same time still more deeply rooted in humanity itself. A certain idea of this problem comes to us from the distinction between physical suffering and moral suffering.


This dolois is based upon the double dimension of the human being and indicates the bodily and spiritual element as the immediate or direct subject of suffering. Insofar as the words “suffering” and “pain”, can, up to a certain degree, be used as synonyms, physical suffering is present when “the body is hurting” in some way, whereas moral suffering is “pain of the soul”.

In fact, it is a question of pain of a spiritual nature, and not only of the “psychological” dimension of pain which accompanies both moral and physical suffering The vastness and the many forms of moral suffering dploris certainly no less in number than the forms of physical suffering. But at the same time, moral suffering seems as it were less identified and less reachable by therapy. Sacred Scripture is a great book about suffering.

Let us quote from the books of the Old Testament a few examples of situations which bear the signs of suffering, and above all moral suffering: In treating the human person as a psychological and physical “whole”, the Old Testament often links “moral” sufferings with the pain of specific parts of the body: In fact one cannot deny that moral sufferings have a “physical” or nuan element, and that they are often reflected in the state of the entire organism.

As we see from the examples quoted, we find in Sacred Scripture an extensive list of variously painful situations for man. This varied list certainly does not exhaust all that has been said and constantly repeated on the theme of suffering by the book of the history of man this is rather an “unwritten book”and even more by the book of the history of humanity, read through the history of every human individual.

It can be said that man suffers whenever he experiences any kind of evil. In the vocabulary of dolorix Old Testament, suffering and evil are identified with each other. In fact, that vocabulary did not have a specific word to indicate “suffering”.

Thus it defined as ” evil” everything that was suffering I experience a feeling, I suffer”; and, thanks to this verb, suffering is no longer directly identifiable with objective evil, but expresses a situation in which man experiences evil and in doing so becomes the subject of suffering.

Suffering has indeed both a subjective and a passive character from “patior”. Even when man brings suffering on himself, when he is its cause, dokoris suffering remains something passive in its metaphysical essence.

This does not however mean pzblo suffering in the psychological sense is not marked by a specific “activity”. This is in fact that multiple and subjectively differentiated “activity” of pain, sadness, disappointment, discouragement or even despair, according to the intensity of the suffering subject and his or her specific sensitivity.

In the midst of what constitutes the psychological form of suffering there is always an experience of evil, which causes the individual to suffer. This questions seems, sapvifici a certain sense, inseparable from the theme of suffering. The Christian response to it is different, for example, from the one given by certain cultural and religious traditions which hold that existence is an evil from which one needs to be liberated. Christianity proclaims the essential good of existence and the good of that which exists, acknowledges the goodness of the Creator and proclaims the good of creatures.

Man suffers on account of evil, which is a certain lack, limitation or distortion of good. We could say that man suffers because of a good in which he does not share, from which in a certain sense he is cut off, or of which he has deprived himself.

He particularly suffers when he a ought”—in the normal order of things—to have a share in this good and does not have it. Thus, in the Christian view, the reality of suffering is explained through evil, which always, in some way, refers to a good. In itself human suffering constitutes as it were a specific “world” which exists together paglo man, which appears in him and passes, and sometimes does not pass, but which consolidates itself and becomes deeply dolooris in him.

This world of suffering, divided into many, very many subjects, exists as it were “in dispersion”.

On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering: Salvifici Doloris

Every individual, through personal suffering, constitutes not only a small part of that a world”, but at the same time” that world” is present in him as a finite and unrepeatable entity.

Parallel with this, however, is the interhuman and social dimension. The world of suffering possesses as it were its own solidarity. People who suffer become similar to one another through the analogy of their situation, the trial of their destiny, or through their need for understanding and care, and perhaps above all through the persistent question of the meaning of suffering.


Thus, although the world of suffering exists “in dispersion”, at the same time it contains within itself a. We shall also try to follow this appeal in the present reflection. Considering the world of suffering in its personal and at the same time collective meaning, one cannot fail to notice the fact that this world, at some periods of time and in some eras of human existence, as it were becomes particularly concentrated.


This happens, for example, in cases of natural disasters, epidemica, catastrophes, upheavals and various social scourges: One thinks, finally, of war.

I speak of this in a particular way. I speak of the last coloris World Wars, the second of which brought with it a much greater harvest of death and a much heavier burden of human sufferings.

The second sallvifici of our century, in its turn, brings with it—as though in proportion to the mistakes and transgressions of our contemporary civilization—such a horrible threat of nuclear war that we cannot think of this period except in terms of an incomparable accumulation of sufferings, even to the possible self-destruction of humanity.

In this way, that world of suffering which in brief has its subject in each human being, seems in our age to be transformed—perhaps more than at any other moment—into a special “world”: Within each form of suffering endured by man, and at the same time at the basis of the whole world of suffering, there inevitably arises the question: It is a question about the cause, the reason, and equally, about the purpose of suffering, and, in brief, a question about its meaning.

Not only does it accompany human suffering, but it seems even to determine its human content, what makes suffering precisely human suffering. It is obvious that pain, especially physical pain, is widespread in the animal world. But only the suffering human being knows that he is suffering and wonders why; and he suffers in a humanly speaking still deeper way if he does not find a satisfactory answer.

This is a difficult question, just as is a question closely akin to it, the question of evil. Why does evil exist? Why is there evil in the world? When we put the question in this way, we are always, at least to a certain extent, asking a doloriw about suffering too. Both questions are difficult, when an individual puts them to another dolooris, when people put them to other people, pabl also when man puts them to God.

For man does not put this question to the world, even though it is from the world that suffering often comes to him, but he puts it to God as the Creator and Lord of the world. And it is well known that concerning this question there not only arise many frustrations and conflicts in the relations of man with God, but it also happens that people reach the point of actually denying God. For, whereas the existence of the world opens as it were the eyes of the human soul to the existence of God, to his wisdom, power dolodis greatness, evil and suffering seem to obscure this image, sometimes in a radical way, especially in the daily drama of so many cases of undeserved suffering and of so many faults without proper punishment.

So this circumstance shows—perhaps more than any other—the importance of the question of the meaning of suffering; it also shows how much care must be taken both in dealing with the question itself and with all possible answers to it.

Man can put this question to God with all the emotion of his heart and with his mind full of dismay and anxiety; and God expects the question and listens to it, as we see in the Revelation of the Old Testament. In the Book of Job the question has found its most vivid expression. The story of this just man, huan without any fault of his own is tried by innumerable sufferings, is well known. He loses his possessions, his sons and daughters, and finally he himself is afflicted by a grave sickness.

In this horrible situation three old acquaintances come to his house, and each one saalvifici his own way tries to convince him that since he has been struck down by such varied and terrible sufferings, he must have done something seriously wrong.

For suffering—they say—always strikes a man as punishment for a crime; it is sent by the absolutely just God and finds its reason in the order of justice. It can be said that Job’s old friends wish not only to convince him of the moral justice of the evil, but in a certain sense they attempt to justify to themselves the moral meaning of suffering.

In their eyes suffering can have a meaning only as a punishment for sin, therefore only on the level of God’s justice, who repays good with good and evil with evil. The sxlvifici of reference in this case is the doctrine expressed in other Old Testament writings which show us suffering as punishment inflicted by God for human sins. The God of Revelation is the Lawgiver and Judge to a degree that no temporal authority can see.