The Vatican has today published an Encyclical Letter from Pope Benedict XVI on Christian Love, entitled Deus Caritas Est. This is Pope. The following is a translation of the Summary of the Holy Father’s first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), which was published on Thursday, 26 January. Romanus Cessario, O.P. / Saint John’s Seminary, Boston. In the United States and Australia, the Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est enjoyed a.

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The document explains that eros and agape are both inherently good, but that eros risks being downgraded to mere sex if it is not balanced by an element of spiritual Christianity.

In order to define more accurately the relationship between the necessary commitment to justice and the ministry of charity, two fundamental situations need to be considered:. The entire activity of the Church is an expression of a love that seeks the integral good of man: The more we do for others, caritass more we understand and can appropriate the words of Christ: As Benedict XVI, however, only wanted to evoke one aspect of the action of the latter, the encyclical is encyclicaal into two long parts.

The criterion inspiring their activity should be Saint Caeitas statement in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: These words from the Encyclicap Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: Even though this Encyclical will deal primarily with the understanding and practice of love in sacred Scripture and in the Church’s Tradition, we cannot simply prescind from the meaning of the word in the different cultures and in present-day usage.

Like those neighbours in the McGahern story, all of us, from whatever point on the compass we come, are bearers of both burdens and encyclicql. In one of his letters, [16] he wrote that the sole aspect of Christianity which had impressed him was the Church’s charitable activity.

What do we expect when we are in despair and yet go to a man? An authentically religious attitude prevents man from presuming to judge God, accusing him of allowing poverty and failing to have compassion for his creatures.


We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.

In philosophical and theological debate, these distinctions have often been radicalized to the point of establishing a clear antithesis between them: It is true that the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the State and that the aim of a just social order is to guarantee to each person, according to the principle of subsidiarity, his share of the community’s goods.

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.

The epicure Gassendi used to offer Descartes the humorous greeting: Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift.

Letteer provides the Introduction and has some important questions to ask in an article of his own. Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united; the challenge of eros can be said to be truly overcome when this unification is achieved.

Deus caritas est (December 25, ) | BENEDICT XVI

However, in accordance with a practice initiated in the pontificate of John Paul II, the unofficial versions prepared by the Vatican in 7 other languages use the singular “I wish to speak of love”. They need heartfelt concern.

Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. It is also a result of the presence of Christianity in the world, since Christianity constantly revives and acts out this imperative, so often profoundly obscured in the edus of time.

Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed.

Amid this multiplicity of meanings, however, one in particular stands out: If we love all these things, how can we not love Him who gives them to us?


This is due first and foremost to the fact that man is a being made up of body and soul. Among all these bodies, the hope is for fruitful collaboration. Another path, that of the Franciscans of the thirteenth century, the heir of St. It is the first encyclical to be published since the Vatican decided to assert copyright in the official writings of the Pope. Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends. Deuw we cannot understand why God refrains from intervening.

Encyclical Letter ‘Deus Caritas Est’ on Christian Love from Pope Benedict XVI

It was in August Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply. Retrieved 19 October The second part is more concrete, since it treats the ecclesial exercise of the commandment of love of neighbour. Eros was thus celebrated as divine power, as fellowship with the Divine. We contribute to a better world only by personally doing good now, with full commitment and wherever we have the opportunity, independently of partisan strategies and programmes.

Against the double commandment of love these questions raise a double objection.

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Concretely, what does this path of ascent and purification entail? Ltter explains the great emphasis on hospitality, refuge and care of the infirm in the vicinity of the monasteries.

It is a milieu in which consumerism flourishes — where everything and everybody comes packaged with a sell-by date. Moreover, love cannot be commanded; it is ultimately a feeling that is either there or not, nor can it be produced by the will.