A Great Lesson of Spirituality and Humanism. Pope John Paul II at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris (2 June 1980)

Janusz Królikowski


The speech given by St. Pope John Paul II at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on June 2, 1980 has a special place among his numerous addresses concerning culture. Referring to the cultural changes which took place in the last three centuries the pope stood up for culture, emphasising that, in an individual dimension, culture represents the constitutive element of life of every man and, correspondingly, in a social dimension, it provides a support for self-determination and for the freedom of nations. Formulating such a message, the pope referred to Polish experiences, in order to highlight the significance and the primacy of the person and to point out the subjective meaning of a nation and the ethical dimension of culture. In the papal message one can also find a call for cultural opposition against contemporary subjectivism and other tendencies heading towards the disinheritance of man and to the shutting of the door of the universal horizon of hope and love, which is based on manifold human experiences from the past.


UNESCO; culture; nation; person; ethos; love; hope

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