Monday, January 23, 2006

More on the encyclical

Over the next two days, the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" is hosting a congress with the theme "...but the greatest of these is love." This morning, Pope Benedict XVI address the congress with some thoughts about his encyclical to be published this week. He refers to The Divine Comedy:

The God Who appears in Dante's central circle of light "has a human face and, we may add, a human heart. Dante's vision shows the continuity between the Christian faith in God and research based on reason; ... at the same time, however, there appears a novelty that goes beyond all human research: ... the novelty of a love that impelled God to assume a human face, to take on flesh and blood. ... The 'eros' of God is not just a primordial cosmic force, it is the love that created human beings and stretches reaches out towards them."

"The word 'love,' is so overused today," the Pope continued, "that one is almost afraid to pronounce it. Yet, ... it is the expression of a primordial reality, ... and we must retrieve it, ... so that it may illuminate our lives. ... This awareness is what induced me to choose love as the theme of my first Encyclical. I wanted to try and express, for our own times and our own lives, something of that which Dante encapsulated in his vision."

You can read the whole release from the Vatican here.

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Also, you can check out a story that the Catholic News Service released that includes a bit of analysis of the new encyclical, which contends -- among other things -- that Benedict is trying to drive home the simple message that "God is good, God cannot be shut out of personal and social life, and God reaches out to humanity through Jesus Christ," and that, in his own words "Christianity is actually very simple and consequently very rich."

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