Sunday, December 09, 2007

Spe Salvi: Further Comments

Fr. Juan R. Vélez in Zenit has interesting comments on Spe Salvi. In a short note, he writes:

"Father [Juan Pablo] Ledesma in Hope, an Encounter With Love manages to summarize well the salient points of this wonderful encyclical.

I would like to add that as expected, the Holy Father quotes often St. Augustine. In his reference to the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, one can see an allusion to Augustine's City of God and the city of man.

The city of man does not respond to man's need for hope and for God. But as in Deus Caritas Est, Benedict XVI emphasizes that man experiences God's love and salvation as a community. For this he refers to [Henri] De Lubac's Catholicisme.

As indicated in the article, the Pope warns us about so many false hopes.

For those of us in the United States and Western Europe, it is helpful to be reminded of the false hope that is the result of faith in progress understood in terms of science.

Lastly I wonder if by "recent theologians" who speak of purification as through fire by the encounter with Christ at the moment of death the Pope also has in mind John Henry Newman (1801-1890) who wrote about this in The Dream of Gerontius. Newman was following in the footsteps of St. Catherine of Genoa.

With this explanation about the searing power of God's love the Holy Father gives us a profound insight into personal judgment and purgatory understood as a transformation of love."

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