Pope John Paul II on Tuesday urged more aggressive efforts to spread church teachings in the Third World and cautioned Roman Catholics against believing that “one religion is as good as another.”
He noted also the challenge posed to missionaries by the collapse of Communist regimes in 1989 in Eastern Europe, where an entire generation grew up in a society that suppressed or banned religion.
Catholics “cannot be content when we consider the millions of our brothers and sisters . . . who live in ignorance of the love of God,” he said in the eighth encyclical of his 12-year papacy, entitled “Redemptoris Missio"--Latin for “Mission of the Redeemer.” An encyclical is one of the most authoritative forms a papal pronouncement can take.
The document addresses the church’s relationships with other creeds and philosophies at a time of considerable tension between Christian and Islamic cultures in some parts of the world.