Deus caritas est

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Coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI.

Deus caritas est ( lat. "God is [the] love", 1 Jn 4,16  EU ) from December 25, 2005 (published January 25, 2006 ) was the first of three encyclicals of Pope Benedict XVI. She deals with the concept of love in different dimensions.


In terms of content, the encyclical has two parts: the first part deals with God's love for man and man's response to it, as well as with love between people, the highest form of which is conjugal love. So there is a “desiring” love and a “giving” love both among people and in the relationship between people and God. The encyclical describes this difference using the terms eros and agape , where eros rather describes the sensual moment of love and agape the spiritual devotion to the person of the loved one or to God: We encounter “the two basic words eros as a representation of the ' worldly 'love and agape as an expression for the love which is founded in faith and is formed by it. Both are often contrasted with one another as 'ascending' and 'descending' love; Related to it are other classifications such as the distinction between desiring and giving love (amor concupiscentiae - amor benevolentiae) , to which sometimes the love that is concerned with benefit is added. "(No. 7)

The second part deals with Christian charity . Love of God and neighbor "belong together in such a way that the assertion of love of God becomes a lie if man closes himself off or even hates his neighbor." (No. 16) Both the helpfulness of the individual towards those in need and the organized form of In the Pope's view, charity (“ Caritas ”) is important.


The encyclical was published on January 25, 2006 . Initial reactions to the encyclical have been largely positive. It was almost unanimously welcomed that the Pope was thus turning to the fundamental message of the Christian faith and, as it were, starting with the “core competence” of the Church: the message of God's loving care for people and the human response in love for God and neighbor.

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