Wednesday, January 18, 2006

DEUS CARITAS EST: The Pope's Summary... Ad-Libbed

Apparently, Benedict XVI, himself, announced that his first encyclical would be released to the public a week from today during this morning's general audience, in the midst of a talk on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins today.

Here is the Whispers translation of the Pope's remarks. ANSA had its own text, which was sent to me, but it was all kinds of a mess -- it didn't read like Ratzi sounds.

So here is our translation of the text as recorded by the Sala Stampa of the Holy See:
In this sense and with many sentiments, I follow in the footprints of Pope John Paul II next Wednesday, 25 January, the Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle of the Gentiles, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to pray with our Orthodox and Protestant brothers: to pray with thanks for all the Lord has given us; to pray because the Lord guides us along the path to unity.

On the same day, January 25, will finally be published my first encyclical whose title is already well-known, "Deus caritas est," God is love.

It's not an immediately ecumenical theme, but in the grand sceheme of things it provides a backdrop to it, because God's love is our love, and the state of Christian life is the state of peace in the world. In this encyclical, I'd like to show this concept of love in its different dimensions. In today's terminology, love appears far, very far, away from that which a Christian thinks when speaking of true Christian charity but, for my part, I'd like to demonstrate that it expresses itself its one unique movement with different dimensions.

There is eros; this gift of love between man and woman which comes from the same font of the Creator's goodness, and with it the possibility of a love which gives itself in favor of another, that eros transforms itself in agape only by the measure by which two people who really love each other become, finally, no longer about more for themselves, their own joy and their own happiness, but above all become about the good of the other person. And this eros transforms itself in love in a path of purification, of greater depth. It opens itself then into the family, which then opens itself toward the larger family of society, toward the family of the Church, toward the family of the world.

And I'm eager also to show that the most personal act of love, which comes to us from God, is a singular act of love. This must express itself also as an ecclesial act, an organizational one. If it's really true that the Church is the expression of God's love, from that which God has made for his human creature must also come the fundamental act of the faith which creates and unites the Church and gives us the hope of eternal life and that the presence of God in the world, producing an ecclesial act. In practice, the Church, as with a Church, as with a community, must love in an institutional way.

And the so-called Caritas isn't a pure organization as there are organizations of philanthropy, but it's a necessary expression of the most profound act of the personal love which God has created us, sustaining in our hearts the impetus for love, reflected from the God Love who has made us in his image.

Before the text was ready and translated, some time passed. Therefore, finally, it seems to me yet another gift of Providence that on the proper day on which we pray for the unity of Christians, the text is to be published. I hope that it might illuminate and aid along our Christian life.