Fessio on Deus Caritas Est

Fessio on Deus Caritas Est

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, of Ignatius Press and publisher of Catholic World Report, offers his reflections on Pope Benedict’s new encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.” I like how he opens.

Benedict has done for magisterial documents what J.R.R. Tolkein did for literature: drawn on his immense erudition to express in clear and beautiful language the longings of the human heart.

It warms my heart to see Tolkien used in such illustrious comparison. He then talks about how the Pope develops the idea that “the human love of eros [is] an image of divine love,” and notes that one could easily miss the fact that the consequences of what he says is very controversial.

Controversy: the hot-button issues hidden in the document

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • It’s really an amazing encyclical!

    I think an awful lot of people are not getting it.  Like Fr. Fessio says, it addresses all of the problems because it is at the center of all the problems.  It’s a new philosophy ideally suited to our present point in history, but it is based on the teaching that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.

  • One of the things that struck me in reading some of the Holy Father’s books was his sense of history and tradition. When dealing with subjects like doctrine or practice he doesn’t just start from today, or last week, or ‘pre-Vatican 2’.  No, he goes back to the beginning and shows how things were and are throughout history – how we got from there to here.

    It is a very Augustinian approach. In the City of God, Augustine spends much of the work reviewing and debunking pagan practice and worship. Only when he has completed that does he get down to brass tacks – as it were – and talk about God’s eternal plan for mankind as revealed through Scripture and by Our Lord.

    We have become so self-centered and arrogant today, thinking that we are the only ones who matter, who have a voice, who know ‘more’. The Holy Father brings us up short and forces us to look at ourselves and at salvation history.

    It is an approach that Chesterton would have appreciated, as he said: “Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.”