Mon Jan 30th, 2006 at 07:35:59 PM EST
Thanks to DowneastDem and his diary on pope benedict's thoughts about love and social justice
At first I only wanted to comment, but then the comment developed into a fuller parsing of the text, so I decided to make my own diary. I meant to read the enzyclica anyway, since I wanted to write about it in my Church Magazine that I edit (not available online!)
Then I started reading and after a while I got bored and ran out of time and decided that I would not finish and blog about it at all, but then Agnes made this diary and so I thought, I want to contribut as well, and got this out of hiding
So here goes.
All quotes are from: ENCYCLICAL LETTER
DEUS CARITAS EST
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
Ratzi, in my non-catholic opinion, is both underrated and more radical than people assume. But he is also more dogmatically rigid than is good for the Catholic Church...
In a way I am live blogging the encyclica, so... lets start.
In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. 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.
I have found already quoted as the only outright political statement of the encyclica and I have to agree, if you only take one thing away from this diary it should be that the Pope likes nothing better than peace and love among people (a real child of the sixties - hehe - NOT) But he certainly speaks out, as also in other places about the God of love that he knows and the God of hate that is not and should not be part of Christian teaching, and he lays out why, not.
Having said that, as much as the heterosexual couple is at the core of the erotic love for Ratzi, he does not outright condemn guys. In fact, I would read:
That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called Eros by the ancient Greeks.
neither planned nor willed. well Ratzi thinks that is only possible between man and women, but my gay friends tell me, it is neither planned nor willed between them either. Ratzi is then referring it back to Eros. hmm, hmm, hmm. Of course he does not, cannot, might not want to allow homosexuality in the church, but in anyway it is not an outright ban either.
I would parse this especially in the context of imposes itself on human beings as at least open to interpretation.
Did Christianity really destroy Eros?
Well I always blame Augustine and his obsession with Gnosticism. But lets see, what Ratzi says.
they were human persons being exploited. An intoxicated and undisciplined Eros, then, is not an ascent in "ecstasy" towards the Divine, but a fall, a degradation of man.
Is this a comment on Chicago and paedophilia in the Catholic Church? No it is a statement on ancient cults, but, how fitting.
Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united;
right against those Gnostic thinking people, a left hand hook against Augustine. and who does he quote now? not a Church Father not Aquinas, NO, it is a little funny story about Descartes. Woah.
Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves.
Erich Fromm could not have said it better.
He then goes on criticising the modern obsession with the body.
as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will.
Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless.
Certainly a criticism of all Botoxfarms... but more over how can the Pope speak of freedom when he talks about our attitude towards our body, and as a criticism that we are not using this freedom fully? I think that is quite radical.
What does he mean by freedom? Freedom to do what?
Now he still has me in this next paragraph, good this distinction between the two words for love in the song of songs.
dodim, a plural form suggesting a love that is still insecure, indeterminate and searching. This comes to be replaced by the word ahabà, which the Greek version of the Old Testament translates with the similar-sounding agape, which, as we have seen, becomes the typical expression for the biblical notion of love.
but now... where are you going Ratzi, hallo, you started so well. don't lose me, please.
It is part of love's growth towards higher levels and inward purification that it now seeks to become definitive, and it does so in a twofold sense: both in the sense of exclusivity (this particular person alone) and in the sense of being "for ever".
suddenly come from. exclusivity? You were just talking about the Song of Songs, well, maybe being sung at weddings, but not ALL of it. Surely.
and now you are introducing the crucifixion, bang, right in there???? Did you sleep in your homiletic lessons? You don;t bring the crowbar when you are still in the introduction.
Eros and agape--ascending love and descending love--can never be completely separated.
Ah, that is better.
Consequently, his creation is dear to him, for it was willed by him and "made" by him.
I had to read this twice. Where is the critique of ID here? maybe, just maybe the "made" he could have said made but he said "made". Have we come to so far to distinguish between ID-nutters and Catholic teaching by simple quotation-mark?
The philosophical dimension to be noted in this biblical vision, and its importance from the standpoint of the history of religions,
a German perfesser
So, that's where my time ran out and this was only the first couple of lines.