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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Reading -- Deus Caritas Est

With the elections in the rear view mirror, things have slowed down a bit here at Fumare. Here's a reading assignment to help keep you busy over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Everyone here probably knows that Pope Benedict XVI released his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, last Christmas. Additionally, everyone probably knows that the encyclical is about "love." But how many of us realize that the encyclical is actually about much more?

I admit that when Deus Caritas Est first came out, I didn't pay real close attention to it. That was a mistake. If anyone else here is guilty of the same mistake, I encourage you to remedy that this weekend and devote and hour or two to reading the encyclical. I don't want to give the whole thing away, but let me just say that, in addition to a thorough examination of "love," Deus Caritas Est provides an excellent overview of the institutional Church's role in interacting with the modern political world. Additionally, it provides some interesting conclusions regarding the respective roles of the laity and the Church in practicing charity in today's world. The encyclical also serves as an examination of conscience, i.e. a "gut check," for the Christian who seeks to fully participate in the life of the Church and to grow in holiness.

Lastly, I should note that Deus Caritas Est is very accessible. The first half is perhaps a little more challenging, but it's worth the effort.

OK. Happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

UPDATE: National Review Online has their Christmas Gift Symposium up. Father James Schall, S.J. recommends Deus Caritas Est:

"Ignatius Press has published a handsome edition of Benedict XVI’s Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. Its 108 pages contain as much wisdom as any pages I know. The reconciling of the various meanings of love -- eros, phila, agape -- is something fundamental to human, and yes, divine living. Benedict is clear, erudite, insightful, and succinct. If you are humble enough to learn from a pope, you and your friends, on finishing this really remarkable little tractate, will be delighted to focus on the things that count."

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