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God Is Love--Deus Caritas Est: Encyclical Letter

4.53 of 5 stars 4.53  ·  rating details  ·  1,315 ratings  ·  46 reviews
In today's high-tech, fast-paced world, love is often portrayed as being separate from Church teaching. With his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI hopes to overturn that perception and describe the essential place of love in the life of the Church. The Holy Father explains the various dimensions of love, highlighting the distinctions between ?eros? and ?agape, ? Jesus as...more
Paperback, 54 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by USCCB (first published December 25th 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Julie Davis
This was my third time through Pope Benedict's brilliant first encyclical God Is Love. Our Catholic women's book club read it for our May discussion.

Just reading the opening paragraphs made me remember what a wonderful piece of thinking and writing this is. And how brilliant Pope Benedict is at expressing not only the intellectual but also the heart of the matter. He also shows his practical side and that he is not isolated in an ivory tower but understands very well what it means to be human, c...more
Finished Deus Caritas Est or God is Love for the second time 15 January 2009. The first time I read Deus Caritas Est (DCE) was also my initial exposure to an Encyclical, a Papal Letter, as well as to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. I was not disappointed on either account; in fact just the opposite. This second reading, however, I really appreciated DCE and its author!

If you've never read any Church documents, I can't recommend a better place to begin. I'm sure PBXVI had that in mi...more
David Carignan
Excellent book. I especially liked where Pope Benedict stated, "Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities;I can give them the look of love which they crave." If we replace the common look of indifference with the look of love, even then the world would change.
Brice Higginbotham
my favorite encyclical, at least from Pope Benedict
My two favorite quotes:
"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction" (no. 1).

"Love of neighbour is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis o...more
любов, пише бенедикт, ніколи не буває закінчена чи завершена: вона весь час розвивається, зріє й саме так залишається вірною собі.
Minh Quan Nguyen
It is the first encyclical I have read and it turns out to be a good experience. After more than 100 years, the church finally has an answer to Nietzshce’s criticism of her view on love:

“Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it, certainly, but degenerated to Vice.
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil”

Many people on the modern world agree with Nietzsche. The Church with its rules and prohibitions has really poisoned Eros. The view of the Church on contraception - which...more
Ivan Pašalić
This was the first document authored by pope Benedict XVI which I read completely. I have heard a lot about his works, mostly praise, and I had the opportunity to listen to him twice live, and to read excerpts of his works on many occasions. These small insights about his theology and his intellect were enough to give me an impression of a great theologian and a great man. I was eager to start reading, and I was definitely not disappointed.
The theme of the encyclical was a total success, especia...more
Deus Caritas Est is no esoteric, concise peroration on a single specific aspect of modern life. Rather, it is a broad sweep taking as its general subject matter what Christian charity is. It begs for more depth on each of the issues it takes on, but it is very impressive in weaving charity into a seamless garment.
I love it, but it isn't my favorite of his writings. As with all PBXVI writings, it requires reading more than once to catch everything....brilliant...
Simple and eloquent. In a world in which we say we love everything from a spouse to a pair of shoes, this book clearly explains what true love is.
Considered Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's (or Papa Benny as I like to call him) Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (translated from the Latin "God is love") is an inspiring work about love. As many English speakers know, the word "love" has multiple definitions. What exactly is meant by the word "love?" And how does this relate to God and humanity? In Benedict's encyclical, he describes how the words "agape" and "eros" differ as to how they are translated into English as "love." A "descending, oblative...more
An excellent, clear explication of a lot of stuff I already knew. This is a profound yet clear document (something rare, especially from Germans...) coming at a time when it is gravely needed. As Benedict put it, "Today the word "love" is so tarnished, so spoiled and so abused, that one is almost afraid to pronounce it with one's lips. And yet it is a primordial word, expression of the primordial reality; we cannot simply abandon it, we must take it up again, purify it and give back to it its or...more
My first time reading a Papal Encyclical--and this was a very good introduction both to the form and to the work of Pope Benedict XVI. I've heard a great deal about his being a very deep, profound theologian, and I was expecting the prose to be academic and perhaps a little dry. On the contrary, I found the book very approachable, laid out in such a manner as to make the finer points clear and easy to understand. Having finished this book, I'm looking forward to reading his Jesus of Nazareth: Fr...more
Mike Hacker
God is Love? What does this mean. This encyclical explains the Christian meaning of love. Is eros involved? You know, the sexual recieving love. The pope says yes! He calls eros ascending love, that the Church never got rid of. Even Christ on the cross has eros. Not specifically in the sexual sense, but it involves Christ effort to win our love. Christ gives himself on the cross-agape, and also recieves our love-eros. Pope Benedict explains the 3 forms of love known by the Greeks-eros, philia, a...more
Lynn Dozeman
Reading Pope Benedict XVI letter "God is Love" gives me the desire to love better and continually turn towards the light of Christ. He so beautifully writes: "Faith, which see the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light - and in the end, the only light - that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the...more
This was more of 3.5 stars for me than four. On the whole, this Encyclical is very thought provoking. It provides interesting philosophical statements on the varying natures of love and how they fit into Catholicism. It also provides an in depth explanation of the role of charity in contemporary society, especially for people of faith. While some of the Pope's points about the ability of the Church to delegate charity instead of engaging in charitable giving directly seemed questionable to me, o...more
Marc L
Gelezen in Nederlandse vertaling. Harde noot om te kraken, met soms zeer duistere verwoorden en voortdurende overlappingen. De verwijzingen naar de recente financiële crisis en naar het fenomeen van de globalisering zijn interessant, maar voor het overige voegt Benedictus weinig toe aan de sociale encyclieken van zijn voorgangers. Opvallend is dat weer alleen kerkelijke bronnen worden geciteerd (in tegenstelling tot eerste encyclieken), en dat Benedictus ervan profiteert om zijn mening te uiten...more
Very good read, there was a lot of quality information in there. However, most of it was over my head. With Pope Benedict's early encyclicals, some of his thoughts really grabbed a hold of me and gave me alot to think about. This one however, was a bit too much for me. I was often times left feeling a bit lost. I think I will return to this again later and see if my mind is ready for it, but at the moment, it wasn't as powerful to me as his other encyclicals. The intelligence needed for this one...more
Highly recommended, even if just for Paragraphs 1-8 in which Benedict discusses the different aspects of love. That section should be equally compelling regardless of the reader's faith (or non-belief). Absolutely beautiful.
Absolutely, mind-blowingly good. I've never read an encyclical before so I was a little intimidated, but Benedict writes in a very lucid, understandable style. His reflections on the nature of love and the ways that different forms of love fit together are fascinating, and his explanation of charity's role in Christianity made an enormous amount of sense. Best thing I've read in years, and probably the most important.
Fr. Ryan Humphries
Jun 21, 2012 Fr. Ryan Humphries rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All Catholics
Recommended to Fr. Ryan by: Pope Benedict XVI
This third in the series of the great encyclicals of Pope Benedict takes a different turn than expected. The work is masterful, but - i think - loses some of it's power when the social commentary sections start. They clearly weren't written by the Holy Father's hand and they make some odd and almost inconsistent arguments. Still, the first part of the document is astounding and a must read for all Catholics.
It's hard to believe that I read this on a long air trip (3 days). It was that easy to read. (Disclaimer: I have read many layman's theology books, the Bible and was raised Roman Catholic, pre-Vatican II, so don't be worried if it takes you longer). I recommend Kreeft's (former Protestant now Roman Catholic) "The God Who Loves You" first, if this is a bit too much.
The easiest way to sum up this book is to say: it should be required reading for anyone that can read. It's hard for me to see how a person could read this book with any seriousness and not be changed for the better. Pope Benedict XVI is the best writer around and this is one of the best books around.
I had high hopes for the Pope's first encyclical, having read his works as Cardinal Ratzinger.
Here, the Holy Father does not disappoint.
His casual conversational writing style sets the mood for the urgent message for the need for Christian love (and the lack of it) in our modern society.
Excelente reflexión teológica desde el punto de vista Cristiano (Católico).. Muchos critican a Ratzinger por la figura que representa, pero en realidad pocos conocen la riqueza filosófica de su obra. Sin duda un parteaguas en la literatura filosófica Católica.
J.T. Therrien
Deus Caritas Est is, I think, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical. I found it informative and thought-provoking.

I would recommend this encyclical to anyone seeking a better understanding of the Catholic Church's position on Charitable works.
The discussion on Agape vs Eros and the manifestation of Agape in the love and service of neighbor is one we need to meditate on. A good introduction to what the Church means when it refers to God as Love, and to what Christian love means.
La prima enciclica di Papa Benedetto XVI ti entra nel cuore e nella mente. E forse ti fa capire che dietro quel Papa sostituto del meraviglioso Giovanni Paolo II c'è un uomo di fede, un uomo colto e capace. Un uomo di Dio.
The first Encyclical by Benedict XVI. Short read on the love God gives to us and we share with others. True love, and charity, must involve the person giving of themselves. As a non-Catholic, I found this very insightful.
Zaujimave a silne myslienky o laske a ludoch. Vzdy sa oplati.

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Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) was the 265th Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, an...more
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Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection The Spirit of the Liturgy Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times - A Conversation with Peter Seewald Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

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“If in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be 'devout' and to perform my 'religious duties', then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely 'proper', but loveless.” 26 likes
“Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave.” 24 likes
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