Sunday, December 02, 2007

Spe Salvi: Saved by Hope

In this photo released by the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper, Pope Benedict XVI signs his second encyclical document 'Spe Salvi' (Saved by Hope) as Bishop Fernando Filioni, right, looks on, at the Vatican, Friday Nov. 30, 2007. Benedict XVI strongly criticized modern-day atheism in the major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the 'greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice'' ever known to mankind. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO)

Pope Benedict XVI signed and promulgated his latest encyclical, Spe Salvi, on the theme of Christian hope. After previously releasing Deus Caritas Est, God is Love, one expects the next encyclical will be on the last theological virtue, Faith.

This encyclical is not notable among post-Conciliar Papal encyclicals for it's quoting of the Sacred Scriptures, the Catechism, the Fathers, the Sentences and the Summa and even Kant. It's conspicuous for what is not quoted, the documents of Vatican II and in the post Summorum Pontificum era, for quoting the Traditional Rite of Baptism.



1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?

Faith is Hope

2. Before turning our attention to these timely questions, we must listen a little more closely to the Bible's testimony on hope. “Hope”, in fact, is a key word in Biblical faith—so much so that in several passages the words “faith” and “hope” seem interchangeable.

Read on...

Addendum: The Pope in his Angelus address summarizes his encyclical.

Benedict XVI Sums Up "Spe Salvi"

Says God Is Hope of the World

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2007 ( The world needs God, otherwise it remains without hope, said Benedict XVI when he summarized the central message of his encyclical "Spe Salvi."

The Pope said this today before reciting the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. He also spoke on the meaning of Advent, which begins today.

Advent, the Holy Father said, "is the propitious time to reawaken in our hearts the expectation of him 'who is, who was and who is coming.'"

The Pontiff regarded the First Sunday of Advent as "a most appropriate day to offer to the whole Church and all men of good will my second encyclical, which I wanted to dedicate to the theme of Christian hope."

Benedict XVI noted that in the New Testament "the word hope is closely connected with the word faith." Hope, he added, "is a gift that changes the life of those who receive it, as the experience of so many saints demonstrates."

He asked: "In what does this hope consist that is so great and so 'trustworthy' as to make us say that 'in it' we have 'salvation'?

"In substance it consists in the knowledge of God, in the discovery of his heart as a good and merciful Father."

"With his death on the cross and his resurrection," added the Pope, Jesus "has revealed to us his countenance, the countenance of a God so great in love as to communicate to us an indestructible hope, a hope that not even death can crack, because the life of those who entrust themselves to this Father always opens onto the perspective of eternal beatitude."


The Pope, as he also did in the encyclical, observed that the "development of modern science has confined faith and hope more and more to the private and individual sphere, so much so that today it appears in an evident way, and sometimes dramatically, that the world needs God -- the true God! -- otherwise it remains deprived of hope."

"Science contributes much to the good of humanity -- without a doubt -- but it is not able to redeem humanity," he continued. "Man is redeemed by love, which renders social life good and beautiful.

"Because of this, the great hope, that one that is full and definitive, is guaranteed by God, by God who is love, who has visited us in Jesus and given his life to us, and in Jesus he will return at the end of time. It is in Christ that we hope and it is him that we await!"

The Holy Father concluded his address with an invitation to live this hope in Advent "with works of charity, because hope, like faith, is demonstrated in love."


Mike Rizzio said...

Beautiful site Andrew...and Spe Salvi is a key document to help turn the tide against the "dictaroship of relativism"

God bless your work and your country!

Andrew said...

Many thanks, Mike. And ditto!