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God Is Love--Deus Caritas Est: Encyclical Letter [Paperback]

By Pope Benedict XVI (Author)
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Item description for God Is Love--Deus Caritas Est: Encyclical Letter by Pope Benedict XVI...

In today's high-tech, fast-paced world, love is often portrayed as being separate from Church teaching. With his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI hopes to overturn that perception and describe the essential place of love in the life of the Church. The Holy Father explains the various dimensions of love, highlighting the distinctions between "eros" and "agape," Jesus as the incarnate love of God, and the scriptural law of love. In part two, he links the Church's charitable work with the love of God as Trinity, noting that the Church must express love through acts of justice and charity. This encyclical is an ideal reflection for religious and civic leaders, those preparing for marriage, and those engaged in justice and charitable work

Publishers Description
In today's high-tech, fast-paced world, love is often portrayed as being separate from Church teaching. With his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI hopes to overturn that perception and describe the essential place of love in the life of the Church. The Holy Father explains the various dimensions of love, highlighting the distinctions between ?eros? and ?agape, ? Jesus as the incarnate love of God, and the scriptural law of love. In part two, he links the Church's charitable work with the love of God as Trinity, noting that the Church must express love through acts of justice and charity. This encyclical is an ideal reflection for religious and civic leaders, those preparing for marriage, and those engaged in justice and charitable work.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: USCCB Publisher
Pages   64
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.26"
Weight:   0.33 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2006
Publisher   USCCB Publisher
ISBN  1574557580  
ISBN13  9781574557589  

Availability  5 units.
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More About Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus XVI; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is Pope emeritus of the Catholic Church, having served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that position, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II, celebrated his papal inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.

Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university in 1976 and 1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such, the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.

He was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968. His prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position. He renewed the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, viewing the use of beauty as a path to the sacred, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics". He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s. Several of Pope Benedict's students from his academic career are also prominent churchmen today and confidantes of him, notably Christoph Schönborn.

On 11 February 2013, Benedict announced his resignation in a speech in Latin before the cardinals, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age. His resignation became effective on 28 February 2013. He is the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294. As pope emeritus, Benedict retains the style of His Holiness, and the title of Pope, and will continue to dress in the papal colour of white. He was succeeded by Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, and he moved into the newly renovated Mater Ecclesiae monastery for his retirement on 2 May 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927.

Pope Benedict XVI has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Benedict XVI
  2. Bioethics & Culture
  3. Communio Books
  4. Fathers (Our Sunday Visitor)
  5. Giniger Books
  6. John Ratzinger in Communio
  7. Publication
  8. Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought
  9. Spiritual Thoughts

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about God Is Love (Deus Caritas Est) (Benedict XVI)?

Readable, brilliant, soulful  Aug 20, 2008
Bias: I am a believing Catholic and a fan of the Pope, a fan of faith, hope, charity and love!

While I am regularly wowed by the profound depth of our Holy Father's writing (and speeches), so much that I can usually only go through a few pages per day in most of the former Cardinal Ratzinger's writing, Deus Caritas Est, which is directed to a wide audience, read pretty easily (two days). This is not to say that it is not profound or worth taking time to contemplate. It is a beautiful treatise on love, and the expression of love.

One of many ideas I will take from this is about love in charity. When we serve in charity, we are not somehow superior to they whom we serve. We are inseparable from them.

Very recommended!
Animated Inexhaustible Love   Apr 20, 2008
This is an Encyclical worth reading. Over the years I attempted to read several encyclicals and found them rather technical and often difficult to read. I concluded that Popes are not usually good writers and that I would read encyclicals only as reference books. Benedict XVI, for me, breaks the mold. He is an excellent writer and offers fresh insights into Christianity.

Deus Caritas Est is broken into two parts: The unity of Love in Creation and Salvation History; and Caritas, the practice of Love by the Church as a "Community of Love." This letter includes detailed explanations of Benedict's teaching points and would require a long summary. I will focus on several main points that are important to me.

In the Introduction Benedict refers to Scripture and teaches that we "come to believe" in the love of God and indicates that love is an encounter that animates and guides our lives. He proclaims the words of Jesus that the commandments are "united" into a single concept - love. God loves us and we respond by loving Him and our neighbors.

The Pope discusses Eros, the love between a man and a woman. He notes that some Christians want to avoid discussing Eros. He also notes that some Christian leaders forget that we were created as human beings. Christian Eros can be very positive and bring us closer to God. This occurs when Eros, worldly love, joins with agape, love "grounded and shaped by faith". By accepting our humanity we accept God's creation. That love, however, must not be self-centered, as Eros often is at the beginning of sexual attraction. With agape, love seeks the "good of the beloved" and is ready to sacrifice self for other. When fully formed love receives as well as gives, Eros-agape leads to a loving relationship.

The letter also addresses forgiveness. God's agape love is "completely gratuitous" and as such God's love forgives. Benedict refers to Hosea 11 and claims that God's love overcomes God's justice. " I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you."

The Pope suggests that there is an "unbreakable" bond between love of God and love of neighbor. If I "close my eyes" to neighbors, I "blind" myself to God. If I concentrate upon my religious duties and ignore others, I become arid and eventually loveless.

Benedict reminds us that the Church has three responsibilities: to proclaim the word of God, to celebrate the sacraments, and to exercise the ministry of charity. These three are inseparable. For the Church, charity must be the very essence of its activities. The
Church of today, with advances in communication and travel, must address the needs of all people everywhere. Our distinctiveness as a Church equals our charitable activities.

This encyclical has some deep insights. I plan to re-read it with much meditation and prayer. I highly recommend this encyclical.
"The command of love of neighbor is inscribed by the Creator in man's very nature...  Apr 7, 2008
...It is also a result of the presence of Christianity in the world, since Christianity constantly revives and acts out this imperative" (paragraph 31).

These two sentences nicely capture the heart of Benedict XVI's first encyclical, Deus caritas est. The first part of the encyclical is an effort to argue that there is no essential divide between eros and agape, but that the latter is a disciplined evolution of the former. Just as we can display both eros/passion and agape/self-sacrificing love of the other, so the biblical God (as opposed to the self-contained God of the philosophers) does likewise. We respond passionately to God's gift of love because we're made in God's image, and hence hardwired for love. The command of love is "inscribed" in our nature.

But how do we best love when faced with poverty, political oppression, military violence, environmental degradation? What specific ways should love express itself? These are genuine questions that cry out for responses, and abstract philosophizing won't answer them. So in the second half of the encyclical, Benedict moves from the abstract to the concrete by reflecting on the Church's role in the world and the relationship between justice and love (or charity). In the spirit of thinkers as diverse as Stanley Hauerwas and G.K. Chesterton, the Pope concludes that the Church isn't called to be a social agency or a political player. Rather, the Church, through word and example, is to serve as the world's conscience. When the Church sees injustice, her role is to name it and to urge its political and economic redress--that is, she is to advocate for justice. At the same time, she is to practice love, or charity, with heartfelt concern to alleviate suffering. There will always be need for love in a suffering world, even if all injustice was eliminated. Charity doesn't reinforce the status quo, as some critics maintain, especially if it's also accompanied with justice advocacy.

Toward the end of the encyclical (paragraphy 36), Benedict also suggests that prayer/meditation is a necessary ingredient for Christians who work to alleviate immediate suffering and promote justice. Otherwise, the risk of megalomania on the one hand or burn-out on the other is too great: "When we consider the immensity of others' needs, we can, on the one hand, be driven towards an ideology that would aim at doing what God's governance of the world apparently cannot: fully resolving every problem. Or we can be tempted to give in to inertia, since it would seem that in any event nothing can be accomplished. At such times, a living relationship with Christ is decisive if we are to keep on the right path..." This is not only a characteristic that distinguishes the Church from social agencies. It's also sage advice, as anyone involved in works of mercy probably knows from personal experience.

John Paul II was a sophisticated philosopher who nonetheless was able to write encyclicals that presented great truths in accessible ways. It's good to see that Benedict, a sophisticated theologian, follows in his predecessor's footsteps in this regard.
Love! What is it and how can you fill your life with it? Read on!  Aug 4, 2007
How many days have I wasted by not asking what love is just once within them? What could be more important?

I'd have to write a book like this to answer this question. I am a student, but the pope is an expert. He'll help you answer this question in his book.

Church Activities  Aug 3, 2007
This book by Pope Benedict should be recommended to every Christian, to go straight to the horse's mouth, THE Pope, and just go to even cheaper, obscure sources. The church is no joke. In England, Marilyn Manson would probably get treason and hung by the Prime Minister. For me as a born again Christian, ELCA pilgrim religion, I was just so sick of everyone jumping on the Manson bandwagon years later after he was an old man and retired. If each member of the Catholic church donated just 10 dollars, that's over 1 trillion dollars for Pope Benedict and the Vatican. Bible bashers need to wake up- Marilyn Manson is probably dead right now- Satanists are still fighting for their own credibility and are way behind. This is not just blind faith I'm talking about, I'm talking about being a member of a local church and being saved- the dark side of Christianity. Will you wake up, like NOW!!

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