Wednesday, January 25, 2006

First Pope encyclical is on love - BBC/MS/Reuters

Correction to the first post.
The BBC didn't mention that the Pope implied that "eros" or sexe has a positive role in his opinion. (No much place for gay people though)
I have joined another article on the same issue.


First Pope encyclical is on love

By David Willey BBC News, Rome

Pope Benedict says the word love is abused in the modern world

Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, devoted to the meaning of human and divine love, is being published in Rome on Wednesday.

Deus est Caritas, the Latin for "God is Love", was written by the Pope last year but its publication has been delayed by translation problems.

One million copies are being distributed with this week's issue of Italy's most popular Catholic magazine.

Traditionally, the papal letters give an important clue to a Pope's thinking.

Pope Benedict has been dropping hints about his new teaching document during the past few days, saying that the word "love" has been abused in the modern world.

In his document, the Pope distinguishes between erotic love between man and woman, and idealised unselfish love.

He also explains how love means Christian charity - giving to those in need, particularly in the developing world.

Parts of the Pope's new encyclical were originally written by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, yet another example of the debt Pope Benedict feels he owes to the man whose place he has taken at the Vatican.

Pope encyclical to praise 'eros', not bury it

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -

Pope Benedict's first encyclical will praise the positive aspects of erotic love and human desire within the context of a greater spiritual love, officials familiar with the document said on Monday.

The eagerly awaited encyclical, called "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love), will be published officially on Wednesday. Vatican officials talked to Reuters about it on the sidelines of a conference on charity.

The main themes of the encyclical, the highest form of papal writing, are love and charity.
In the writing, about 50 pages long, the Pope discusses the relationship between "eros", or erotic love, and "agape", (pronounced ah-gah-pay) the Greek word referring to unconditional, spiritual and selfless love as taught by Jesus.

"The Pope is re-introducing a Catholic vision of eros into the teaching of the Church," Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, head of Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity arm, told Reuters.
"This means that eros is something good, nature is something good. It has to be purified and it has to mature but in itself it (erotic love) is a positive element," he said.

Addressing the group later, the Pope said he decided to dedicate his first encyclical to the theme of love because the word today had become so "wasted" and "abused".

The Pope said he wanted to show the concept of love in its various dimensions and the role of eros in a fully rounded relationship of mutual and self-giving love between a man and woman in life-long marriage.

Cordes said the encyclical was important because too many people still erroneously believed that eros had no role in Christian love or that Christian love was "an enemy of eros".


Cardinal Francis George of Chicago told Reuters the encyclical would try to show that "eros too, the sexual expression of our love, which is integral to ourselves, has a religious dimension".

Vatican sources have said that in explaining his position, the Pope quotes not only from Biblical writings, his predecessors and Church teachings, but also from lay philosophers.

The second part of the encyclical is dedicated to the theme of charity, the need for Catholics to do charitable works and support international aid organisations.

"The spectacle of suffering man touches our heart," the Pope said on Monday. "But the commitment to charity has a meaning that goes beyond simple philanthrophy. It is God himself that pushes us deep down in our hearts to alleviate this misery.

The encyclical was due to have been published on Dec. 8 but Vatican sources said it was delayed by a series of additions, deletions and changes after observations from various Vatican departments and cardinals who had read a draft.

Pope John Paul wrote 14 encyclicals during his nearly 27-year reign, including several so-called social encyclicals on themes such as the rights of workers and the relationship between the superpowers during the Cold War.

Pope Benedict has said he does not expect to write as much as his predecessor.

Copyright © 2005 Reuters


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