1. Felicific Forest
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    25 Jan '06 02:231 edit
    In the following message Pope Benedict announces his first Encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" and its subject. The Encyclical will be published Wednesday, January 25, 2006 :


    LET US RETRIEVE THE WORD "LOVE"


    VATICAN CITY, JAN 23, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI participated in a congress organized by the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum." The event is being held in the Vatican's New Synod Hall on January 23 and 24, and its theme, taken from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, is: " ... But the greatest of these is love."

    In his address, the Holy Father made frequent reference to his first Encyclical, "Deus caritas est," which is due to be published on Wednesday, January 25.

    "The cosmic journey in which Dante, in his 'Divine Comedy,' wishes to involve the reader," the Pope began, "ends before the eternal light that is God Himself, before that Light which is, at the same time, 'the love that moves the sun and the other stars'."

    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."

    Faith should become "a vision-understanding that transforms us," said the Holy Father. "I wanted to highlight the centrality of faith in God, in the God Who assumed a human face and a human heart. ... In an age in which ... we are witnessing the abuse of religion even unto the apotheosis of hatred, ... we have need of the living God Who loved us even unto death. Thus, in this Encyclical, the themes of God, Christ and Love are fused together as a central guide to the Christian faith."

    "A first reading of the Encyclical could perhaps give rise to the impression that it is divided into two parts with little in common between them: a first theoretical part discussing the essence of love, and a second part covering ecclesial charity and charitable organizations. Yet I was interested precisely in the unity between the two themes, only if seen as a single thing can they be properly understood. ... On the basis of the Christian image of God, it was necessary to show how man was created to love, and how this love, which initially appears above all as 'eros' between man and woman, must then be internally transformed into 'agape,' into the giving of self to others."

    "On this basis, it was necessary to clarify how the essence of the love for God and for others, ... is the core of Christian life, the fruit of faith." Then, "in the second part, it was necessary to highlight that the totally personal act of 'agape' can never remain a purely individual issue, rather it must also become an essential act of the Church as community; in other words, it also needs the institutional form that finds expression in the community activity of the Church."

    The Pope concluded: "The ecclesial organization of charity is not a form of social assistance, a casual addition to the reality of the Church. ... Rather, it is part of the nature of the Church, ... [and] must in some way make the living God visible. ... The spectacle of suffering man touches our hearts. But charitable commitment has a meaning that goes well beyond simple philanthropy. It is God Himself Who encourages us from within our most intimate selves to alleviate misery. ... It is He Himself Whom we carry into a suffering world. The greater the awareness and clarity with which we bear Him as a gift, the more effectively will our love change the world."

    AC/ENCYCLICAL:LOVE/COR UNUM VIS (Vatican Information Service) 060123 (740)
  2. Standard membercheezwhiz
    Good with crackers!
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    I Love It!
  3. Forgotten
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    The Pope is very wise,because, he looks like Yoda.
  4. Felicific Forest
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    26 Jan '06 16:111 edit
    GOD IS LOVE: FIRST ENCYCLICAL OF BENEDICT XVI



    VATICAN CITY, JAN 25, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is a summary of Benedict XVI's first Encyclical, entitled "Deus caritas est" (God is love). Dated December 25, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, it considers the question of Christian love.

    The Encyclical is divided into two long parts. The first, entitled, "The Unity of Love in Creation and in Salvation History," presents a theological-philosophical reflection on "love" in its various dimensions - "eros," "philia," and "agape" - highlighting certain vital aspects of God's love for man and the inherent links that such love has with human love. The second part, entitled "The Practice of Love by the Church as a 'Community of Love'," concerns the concrete implementation of the commandment to love others.



    PART ONE

    The term "love" - one of the most used, and abused, words in today's world - has a vast field of meaning. In this multiplicity of meanings, however, the archetype of love par excellence that emerges is that between man and woman, which in ancient Greece was given the name of "eros." In the Bible, and above all in the New Testament, the concept of "love" is rendered more profound, a development expressed by the rejection of the word "eros" in favor of the term "agape" to express oblate love.

    This new view of love, an essential novelty of Christianity, has not infrequently been considered in a completely negative sense as the refusal of "eros" and of all things corporeal. Although there have been tendencies of this nature, the meaning of this development is quite different. "Eros," placed in the nature of man by his Creator, needs discipline, purification and maturity in order not to lose its original dignity, and not be degraded to the level of being pure "sex," becoming a mere commodity.

    The Christian faith has always considered man as a being in whom spirit and matter are mutually intertwined, drawing from this a new nobility. The challenge of "eros" may be said to have been overcome when man's body and soul are in perfect harmony. Then love truly becomes "ecstasy," but not ecstasy in the sense of a passing moment of euphoria, but as a permanent departure from the "I" closed within itself towards freedom in the giving of self and, precisely in this way, towards the rediscovery of self, or rather, towards the discovery of God. In this way, "eros" can raise the human being "in ecstasy" towards the Divine.

    Ultimately what is necessary is that "eros" and "agape" never be completely separated from one another; indeed, the greater the extent to which the two - though in different dimensions - find their right equilibrium, the more the true nature of love is realized. Although initially "eros" is, above all, desire, in approaching the other person it will ask ever fewer questions about itself and seek ever more happiness in the other, it will give itself and desire to "be there" for the other. Thus the one becomes part of the other and the moment of "agape" is achieved.

    In Jesus Christ, Who is the incarnate love of God, "eros-agape" achieves its most radical form. In His death on the cross, Jesus, giving Himself to raise and save mankind, expressed love in its most sublime form. Jesus ensured a lasting presence for this act of giving through the institution of the Eucharist, in which, under the species of bread and wine, He gives Himself as a new manna uniting us to Him. By participating in the Eucharist, we too become involved in the dynamics of His act of giving. We unite ourselves to Him, and at the same time unite ourselves with everyone else to whom He gives Himself. Thus we all become "a single body." In this way, love for God and love for others are truly fused together. The dual commandment, thanks to this encounter with the "agape" of God, is no longer just a requirement: love can be "commanded," because first it was given.



    PART TWO

    Love for others rooted in the love of God, in addition to being the duty of each individual faithful, is also the duty of the entire ecclesial community, which in its charitable activities must reflect Trinitarian love. An awareness of this duty has been of fundamental importance in the Church ever since her beginnings; and very soon the need became clear for a certain degree of organization as a basis for a more effective realization of those activities.

    Thus, within the fundamental structure of the Church, the "deaconry" emerged as a service of love towards others, a love exercised collectively and in an ordered fashion: a concrete service, but at the same time a spiritual one. With the progressive growth of the Church, the practice of charity was confirmed as being one of her essential aspects. The Church's intimate nature is thus expressed in a triple duty: announcing the Word of God ["kerygma-martyria"], celebrating the Sacraments ["leiturgia"], and the service of charity ["diakonia"]. These duties are inherent to one another and cannot be separated.

    Beginning in the nineteenth century, a fundamental objection was raised against the Church's charitable activity. Such activity, it was said, runs counter to justice and ends up by preserving the status quo. By carrying out individual acts of charity, the reasoning went, the Church favors the preservation of the existing unjust system, making it in some way bearable and thus hindering rebellion and potential transformation to a better world.

    In this way, Marxism sought to indicate in world revolution, and in the preparations for such revolution, a panacea for social ills; a dream that has since been shattered. Pontifical Magisterium - beginning with Leo XIII's Encyclical "Rerum novarum" (1891), and later with John Paul II's three social Encyclicals: "Laborem exercens" (1981), "Sollicitudo rei socialis" (1987), and "Centesimus annus" (1991) - has considered the social question with growing attention and, in facing ever new problems, has developed a highly complex social doctrine, proposing guidelines that are valid well beyond the confines of the Church.

    The creation of a just order in society and the State is the primary duty of politics, and therefore cannot be the immediate task of the Church. Catholic social doctrine does not want to give the Church power over the State, but simply to purify and illuminate reason, offering its own contribution to the formation of consciences so that the true requirements of justice may be perceived, recognized and put into effect. Nonetheless, there is no State legislation, however just it may be, that can make the service of love superfluous. The State that wishes to provide for everything becomes a bureaucratic machine, incapable of ensuring that essential contribution of which suffering man - all mankind - has need: loving personal dedication. Whoever wants to dispose of love, seeks to dispose of man.

    In our own time, one positive collateral effect of globalization appears in the fact that concern for others, overcoming the confines of national communities, tends to broaden the horizons of the whole world. Structures of State and humanitarian associations both support, in various ways, the solidarity expressed by civil society; thus, many charitable and philanthropic organizations have come into being. In the Catholic Church too, as in other ecclesial communities, new forms of charitable activity have arisen. It is to be hoped that fruitful collaboration may be established between these various elements. Of course, it is important that the Church's charitable work does not lose its own identity, lost against the background of widespread organized charity of which it is simply another alternative. Rather it must maintain all the splendor of the essence of Christian and ecclesial charity. Therefore:

    Christian charitable activity, apart from its professional competence, must be based on the experience of a personal encounter with Christ, Whose love touched believers' hearts, generating within them love for others.

    Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies. The program of Christians - the program of the Good Samaritan, the program of Jesus - is a "heart that sees." This heart sees where there is need of love and acts accordingly.

    Christian charitable activity, furthermore, must not be a function of that which today is called proselytism. Love is gratuitous, it is not exercised in order to achieve other goals. However, this does not mean that charitable activity must, so to say, leave God and Christ on one side. Christians know when the time is right to speak of God, and when it is right to be silent and let love alone speak. St. Paul's hymn of charity must be the "Magna Charta" for the entire ecclesial service, protecting it from the risk of degrading into mere activism.

    In this context, and faced with the impending secularism that also risks conditioning many Christians committed to charitable work, we must reaffirm the importance of prayer. Living contact with Christ ensures that the immensity of need coupled with the limits of individual activity do not, on the one hand, push charity workers into ideologies that seek to do now that which God, apparently, does not manage to do or, on the other, serve as a temptation to surrender to inertia and resignation. Those who pray do not waste their time, although a situation may seem to call only for action, nor do they seek to change and correct God's plan. Rather they aim - following the example of Mary and the saints - to draw from God the light and the strength of love that defeats all the darkness and selfishness present in the world.



    ENC/DEUS CARITAS EST/... VIS 060125 (1620)
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    26 Jan '06 18:561 edit
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    GOD IS LOVE: FIRST ENCYCLICAL OF BENEDICT XVI



    VATICAN CITY, JAN 25, 2006 (VIS) - Given below is a summary of Benedict XVI's first Encyclical, entitled "Deus caritas est" (God is love). Dated December 25, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, it considers the question of Christian love.

    The Encyclical is divided into two long parts. The first, en 620)
    The term "love" - one of the most used, and abused, words in today's world - has a vast field of meaning. In this multiplicity of meanings, however, the archetype of love par excellence that emerges is that between man and woman, which in ancient Greece was given the name of "eros." …

    Ultimately what is necessary is that "eros" and "agape" never be completely separated from one another; indeed, the greater the extent to which the two - though in different dimensions - find their right equilibrium, the more the true nature of love is realized. Although initially "eros" is, above all, desire, in approaching the other person it will ask ever fewer questions about itself and seek ever more happiness in the other, it will give itself and desire to "be there" for the other. Thus the one becomes part of the other and the moment of "agape" is achieved.


    In the Greek, and in the Greek Orthodox Church, eros and agape were never artificially separated, as they became in Western Protestantism—where eros came to mean sexual desire only, and agape came to mean a kind of charitable compassion. It appears from the Pope’s encyclical that either (1) eros and agape were never so artificially separated in Catholicism, or (2) to the extent that they have been, Benedict is redressing that error.

    A few examples from the Orthodox literature that I have collected thus far—

    Orthodox theologian Giorgios I. Mantzarides writes: “ Usually, the concept of love as agape is differentiated from the concept of love as eros, because the former manifests the disinterested movement of self-offering, while eros is the self-interested movement which seeks some satisfaction. Thus, for example, the movement of God toward man is characterized as agape, while the movement of man toward God is characterized as eros…But at other times the two terms are used in exactly the same way as synonyms… In the Aeropagitic writings we read, ‘Whether we consider eros to be divine, angelic, intellectual, psychic, or natural, we must understand it to be a unifying and binding power which moves superiors to provide for the weaker, which moves equals into a communion with one another…’ Here the word eros is used as a synonym for the word love (agape).” (from his book Orthodox Spiritual Life; my italics)

    Another Orthodox theologian, Olivier Clement, in his The Roots of Christian Mysticism, writes: “The inspired poet of eros is Dionysius the Aeropagite. And [St.] Maximus the Confessor, commenting on him, does not hesitate to equate eros with agape.” Maximus, in his commentary on Dionysius’ On The Divine Names, writes: “The Song of Songs calls him [God] agape, or ‘sensual pleasure,’ and ‘desire,’ which means eros.”*

    Orthodox theologian Christos Yannaras, in his The Elements of Faith, writes:

    “And especially in the Gospel of John, eternal life which Christ comes to give us is defined by the verb ‘to know’ [Greek: ginosko; noun: gnosis], which always renders the Hebrew word which means, in biblical language, the erotic relationship of a man and a woman: ‘Eternal life is this, to know [ginoskosin] you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’ (Jn 17:3)…

    “In the patristic tradition, God himself in his internal triadic life will be defined as ‘the whole of eros,’ the fullness of continuous erotic unity: ‘This eros is love, and it is written that God is love’.”**

    St. Gregory of Nyssa’s viewpoint was: “For agape which is aroused is called eros.”

    Also:

    In Hastings. J Dictionary of the Bible under the reference for Love in the LXX we read:

    All these varieties of love, human and divine, may in the LXX be expressed by the verb agapao and noun 'agape'. In the story of Samson and Delilah agapao describes sexual relationship (Judges 16 v 4, 15) not to mention Solomon's legalised lust (3 K 11 v 2), besides expressing love in its higher reaches…. In the Greek Bible in the form that it must have been known to the NT writers, agapao does duty for every shade and variety of love, for divine pity and preference for Israel right down to erotic passion. It is true that agapao is not the only verb to express erotic love in the LXX, for there are also pro-aireomai and enthumeomai (Heb hshk ethelo hps); but it is very commonly used to render Hebrew hb when the context makes plain that this very type of love or passion is intended. Nor has agapao the monopoly for rendering what may be described as reasoning attachment; thus the more usual verbs for divine pity are eleeo and oikterio. The noun 'agape' is usually connected with sex, or at least with the love of women; or it is a passion comparable in intensity with hatred; it is not at all a higher love than philia. Indeed in the LXX agapesis may be said to be a higher type of love than AGAPE (c.f. especially Hosea 11 v 4, Zephaniah 3 v 17, Jeremiah 38 (31) v 3) [from http://www.agapetae.org/agape.html]

    * Despite the “ecclesial” interpretations of the Song of Songs, both in Judaism and Christianity, I still think it is best read as a passionate love poem without too much allegorization.

    ** Here again quoting Maximus Confessor’s commentary on Dionysius.
  6. Felicific Forest
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    26 Jan '06 22:33
    Here is the link to the full text of the new Encyclical "Deus Caritas Est":

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Jan '06 04:46
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Here is the link to the full text of the new Encyclical "Deus Caritas Est":

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html
    An excellent encyclical overall, I think. I took the following quotes out of context as ones that particularly struck me (bold print and bracketed comments are mine)—

    In considering this, we immediately find ourselves hampered by a problem of language. Today, the term “love” has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words, a word to which we attach quite different meanings. 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. [How much do we see this very issue in these threads.]

    In philosophical and theological debate, these distinctions have often been radicalized to the point of establishing a clear antithesis between them: descending, oblative love—agape—would be typically Christian, while on the other hand ascending, possessive or covetous love —eros—would be typical of non-Christian, and particularly Greek culture. Were this antithesis to be taken to extremes, the essence of Christianity would be detached from the vital relations fundamental to human existence, and would become a world apart, admirable perhaps, but decisively cut off from the complex fabric of human life. Yet eros and agape—ascending love and descending love—can never be completely separated.

    We have thus come to an initial, albeit still somewhat generic response to the two questions raised earlier. Fundamentally, “love” is a single reality, but with different dimensions; at different times, one or other dimension may emerge more clearly. Yet when the two dimensions are totally cut off from one another, the result is a caricature or at least an impoverished form of love.

    God loves, and his love may certainly be called eros, yet it is also totally agape. [This seems also to be what the Orthodox say.]

    Charity, furthermore, cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends…A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak.

    ______________________________________

    Benedict grounded his encyclical in 1 John 4:16. Here are some comments on that verse by Orthodox theologian John D. Zizioulas, from his book Being As Communion, which I have just begun re-reading:

    “Love is not an emanation or ‘property’ of the substance of God—this detail is significant in light of what I have said so far—but is constitutive of His substance, i.e. it is that which makes God what He is, the one God. Thus love ceases to be a qualifying—i.e. a secondary—property of being and becomes the supreme ontological predicate. Love as God’s mode of existence ‘hypostasizes’ God, constitutes His being.” (italics in the original)
  8. Standard memberwindmill
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    27 Jan '06 06:06
    Originally posted by aspviper666
    The Pope is very wise,because, he looks like Yoda.
    aha...i see now.this why so many seek him.
  9. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    27 Jan '06 08:56
    Originally posted by windmill
    aha...i see now.this why so many seek him.
    Thought I'd point out the spelling mistake in the thread title:

    LET US RETRIEVE THE WORD "LOVE" (ELVIS)
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