Friday, November 30, 2007

Spe salvi

SPE SALVI facti sumus ait sanctus Paulus Romanis et nobis quoque.
"In hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us" so begins Pope Benedict's second encyclical, following Deus Caritas Est, God is Love.
Like the his first encyclical letter I found it very easy to read, full of deep Christian wisdom, filled with quotations from the Epistles and the writings of the Doctors of the Church and other philosophers both divine and diabolic.
Though not directed particularly at Liberation Theology the encyclical makes it quite clear that
The critique of Heaven is transformed into the critique of earth, the critique of theology into the critique of politics...

Thus Biblical hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world which would be the real “Kingdom of God”.
Striving for perfection on Earth, be it for social justice or economic fairness is a task which never ends
What this means is that every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs; this task is never simply completed.
Our hope is not hope for this world but for the hereafter:

Christians here on earth do not have a permanent homeland, but seek one which lies in the future.
In this future homeland, made available to us through Jesus Christ is where our hope lies.

Let us say once again: we need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day. But these are not enough without the great hope, which must surpass everything else. This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain.

The translation of the encyclical itself is very good. Better than some of the translations of the Holy Father's writings which have been professional published. It is posted on the Vatican web site here.

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