November 30, 2007

No Wonder I Love Papa Ben

His new encyclical, Spe Salvi, sounds like the coolest thing ever, and not just because I had no idea nouns of a single syllable exist in Latin. Here's a bit of the Catholic News Agency's report on it.

Vatican City, Nov 30, 2007 / 09:14 am (CNA).- “Spe Salvi—by hope we were saved,” with these words Pope Benedict XVI begins his second encyclical, which was released today. He asserts in the second half of his teaching that what is needed today, in a world often considered hopeless, is a self-critique of modern society along with the rediscovery and living of Christian hope.

Beginning in number 22 of “Spe Salvi”, Pope Benedict challenges both modernity and Christianity to a self-critique. Modernity must enter into a “dialogue with Christianity and its concept of hope. In this dialogue Christians too, in the context of their knowledge and experience, must learn anew in what their hope truly consists, what they have to offer to the world and what they cannot offer. Flowing into this self-critique of the modern age there also has to be a self-critique of modern Christianity, which must constantly renew its self-understanding setting out from its roots,” the Pope writes.

The first step that he takes in this analysis is to say that “we must ask ourselves: what does “progress” really mean; what does it promise and what does it not promise?”

Once this is done, the Holy Father explains, “the ambiguity of progress becomes evident.” “Without doubt, it offers new possibilities for good, but it also opens up appalling possibilities for evil—possibilities that formerly did not exist.”

“Yes indeed, reason is God's great gift to man,” the Pope stresses, “and the victory of reason over unreason is also a goal of the Christian life.”

Benedict XVI’s conclusion is that “very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope.”

In this part of the encyclical, the Holy Father analyzes the ways that the condition of mankind affects society and what saves man from this state.

It only gets more interesting as the details open up, folks.

If you have a lot more free time than I do, you can read the encyclical itself here.

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