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Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer) is the title of an apostolic exhortation by Pope John Paul II on Saint Joseph. It was delivered on August 15, 1989 in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome on the occasion of the centenary of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical epistle Quamquam Pluries.
This exhortation is part of the "redemption documents" issued by Pope John Paul II, and refers to the Marian encyclical Redemptoris Mater. It discusses the importance of Saint Joseph in the Holy Family, and presents the pope's view of Saint Joseph's role in the plan of redemption. John Paul II positions Saint Joseph as breaking the old vice of paternal familial domination, and suggests him as the model of a loving father.
The exhortation has six main parts:
- I. The Gospel Portrait
- II The guardian of the mystery of God
- III. A just man, a husband
- IV. Work as an expression of love
- V. The primacy of the interior life
- VI. Patron of the Church in our day
In this document, John Paul II reemphasized key elements of Quamquam Pluries regarding the position of St. Joseph in the Church and his connection to Mary, which he had already acknowledged in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater. He wrote:
Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. ... Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary's "pilgrimage of faith." It is a path along which - especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost - Mary will precede in a perfect way.
"The growth of Jesus "in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk 2:52) took place within the Holy Family under the eyes of Joseph, who had the important task of "raising" Jesus, that is, feeding, clothing and educating him in the Law and in a trade, in keeping with the duties of a father."
Recalling Quamquam Pluries, Pope John Paul II again stressed that the Church has implored the protection of St. Joseph on the basis of "that sacred bond of charity which united him to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God," and that the Church has commended to Joseph all of her cares, including those dangers which threaten the human family.
- Foundations of the Christian way of life by Jacob Prasad 2001 ISBN 88-7653-146-7 page 404
- Redemptoris CustosVatican website:
- Cradle of redeeming love: the theology of the Christmas mystery by John Saward 2002 ISBN 0-89870-886-9 page 230
- Divine likeness: toward a Trinitarian anthropology of the family by Marc Ouellet ISBN 0-8028-2833-7 page 102
- Redemptoris Custos", §16, August 15, 1989, Libreria Editrice VaticanaPope John Paul II,
- Mention Your Request Here: The Church's Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel, 2000 ISBN 0-87973-341-1 page 154
- Vatican website: Redemptoris Custos