Cardinal Hume has described the Pope's first encyclical, ‘Redemptor Hominis'• as a wonderful exposition of the centrality of Christ, of "Christ as fundamental to the Church and to the meaning of man." The encyclical was not a manifesto or a policy document said the Cardinal but represented the deepest thoughts of the Pope on which he will build a programme. 'lie has brought into focus the person of Christ and makes Christ the central figure, the cornerstone. He shows how Christ gives man dignity and meaning." The Cardinal said that parts of sections 9 and 10 which concern the human and divine dimensions of the mystery of redemption were the key to the whole document.
From this basis he said, the Pope goes on to talk about his main concerns:—man's fear of what he has created, ecol9gy, man's slavery to economic systems and materialism,■ the gap between rich and poor, armaments, political rights and human rights.
It is, said the Cardinal a theology which all Christians can identify with although the Pope made no bones about what is the one true Church. The Cardinal added he had hesitated before commenting on it because of its length and rather stilted English and had decided to read it slowly and carefully first.
Other reactions to the document have been very favourable and it has found a welcome across a broad spectrum of beliefs and attitudes within the Church and outside it.
This may be due in part to the fact that it is so wide ranging that everyone found something in it that they liked and ignored the parts they did not. • According to Vatican sources Pope John Paul II is planning three further documents about catechetics, the priesthood and role of Catholic universities.