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For the Love of God

Here is a good column from the New York Times about Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical about the love of God: For the Love of God. Here are a few highlights:

"When Pope Benedict XVI issued his first encyclical ("Deus Caritas Est" or "God Is Love") last month, it took some people by surprise. Many expected the document to focus on the 'dictatorship of relativism,' which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had denounced in a speech to his fellow cardinals before his election as pope. But love?"

"Hence the pope's insistence on the importance of emphasizing that God is, above all, love, and that love and truth are inseparable. 'In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred, this message is both timely and significant,' he wrote. 'For this reason I wish in my first encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us, and which we in turn must share with others.'"

"It's worth noting that in the second part of the encyclical, Benedict says that the charitable mission of the church is informed by the belief that human and divine love are inseparable. This is why believers and nonbelievers can come together to fight poverty and injustice — and why the church can be trusted not to impose its social teachings on 'political life.'"

"It is for this reason that believers and nonbelievers alike should welcome Benedict's reflection on love. In a time when we are rightfully suspicious of the power of religion to stir violence, Benedict has sent a clear message: No one has anything to fear from a God who is love."

Amen! It is great to see theological and public discussion about the love of God. As Christians this is a message we need to focus on much more.

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