Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est” as Want to Read:
God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est (Encyclicals & Exhortations of Benedict XVI)

4.51  ·  Rating Details ·  2,024 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
The First Encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI. Everyone needs love.  Everyone desires love.  But not everyone understands love.  In fact, love is probably the most misunderstood subject in history.  In his first encyclical, Pope Benedict sets out to help clarify the meaning of love.  He examines the nature of various kinds of love - human love and divine love, eros, affection, ...more
Hardcover, 108 pages
Published May 31st 2006 by Ignatius Press (first published January 25th 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about God Is Love, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about God Is Love

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Julie Davis
Jul 31, 2011 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2017. Rereading as a morning devotional. It's been 5 years. It's time to read it again.


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
Sep 28, 2008 booklady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to booklady by: lh
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
Apr 11, 2008 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
David Carignan
Mar 23, 2009 David Carignan rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 24, 2008 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Minh Quan Nguyen
Apr 09, 2014 Minh Quan Nguyen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, religion
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
Ivan Pašalić
Jan 19, 2014 Ivan Pašalić rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 18, 2014 Orpiment99 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Brice Higginbotham
Apr 15, 2013 Brice Higginbotham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catholic
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
I read this a few weeks after C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves and it is an excellent companion to it, with a different emphasis. While Lewis concentrates on defining four different kinds of love: affection, friendship, eros, and charity, Benedict XVI's focus is to differentiate two kinds of love as identified by the Greeks (eros and agape). Each offers a reflection of God's love in the lives of individuals as well as in the life of the Church. Very worthwhile read.
Jan 29, 2015 Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read
Amazing how I let this one slip through the cracks of life. I had never read it as whole so far

The clarity with which Pope Benedict XVI speaks of theology is always impressive. What irks me in C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves (which I consider a great book) are fully explained and explored in Deus Caritas Est. Considering I gave five stars to the former I think this one deserves six stars :)
Pope Benedict's first encyclical is a fantastic reflection on love. There is a lot of great content packed into this brief work and there is much to affirm here for any Christian. What I most appreciated is that Benedict strips away the cute stories and goofiness so prevalent in much contemporary Christian literature. In other words, he says more in 50 pages than many authors can say in 200 or 300. Highly highly recommended.
Emerson John Tiu Ng
One of the best book the describe the true meaning of Love.... Pope Benedict XVI encyclical Deus Caritas Est, describes the different types of love... How to Love God above all things and how to love our neighbors... And Justice can only be achieved is there is Love.... A must read encyclical..
Sep 10, 2014 verbava rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
любов, пише бенедикт, ніколи не буває закінчена чи завершена: вона весь час розвивається, зріє й саме так залишається вірною собі.
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...
Ján Pastorek
Jan 18, 2017 Ján Pastorek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toni Matošin
Feb 17, 2017 Toni Matošin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" Da, ljubav je 'ekstaza', ali ne u smislu trenutka opijenosti, već prije kao putovanje, kao trajno izlaženje iz vlastitog 'ja', zatvorenog u samoga sebe, prema svojem oslobađanju kroz sebedarje i upravo tako prema istinskom pronalaženju samoga sebe, štoviše, prema otkrivanju Boga: 'Tko god bude nastojao život svoj sačuvati, izgubit će ga; a tko ga izgubi, živa će ga sačuvati', kaže Isus - ta se njegova tvrdnja susreće u evanđeljima u različitim inačicama. Isus time opisuje svoj osobni put koji ...more
Mar 19, 2017 Feri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Veľmi dobrá kniha o láske. Najmä prvá časť ma oslovila o láske medzi mužom a ženou a v jej spojení s Božou láskou.

A taktiež prelínanie Erosu a Agapé bolo impozantne opísané....
Oct 28, 2013 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember when Pope Benedict first came out with this encyclical, shocking and surprising critics and admirers alike, as few guessed love to be the subject of a man perceived to be as doctrinaire as the former Cardinal Ratzinger. Nonetheless, he wrote it with not only his usual penetrating intellect, but also with heart and feeling. He delves into the wholeness of love for each individual, both eros and agape, and how such love is perfected in Jesus, especially through the Sacrament of the Euch ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 21, 2013 Dani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynn Dozeman
Jul 21, 2012 Lynn Dozeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alan Lampe
Oct 09, 2016 Alan Lampe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This powerful encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI focus' on how we are to share God's love with our neighbor. Using Biblical passages, the parable of the good Samaritan among others, Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes a Catholic's love for neighbor includes the whole world, not just the people we know. This, along with the other Catholic books I've read this year, really drive home the point about St. Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. When you love your neighbor, and everybody is your neighbor, ...more
Jul 19, 2013 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Inoffensive reminder of the value of charity from Pope Benedict XVI. The most political it gets is how it reminds people that there's a need for charity beyond what the government does (e.g., Benedict shows why Marxists shouldn't rely on distribution solely from the government, but I wish he had also reminded wealthy Americans not to be charitable solely for the purposes of tax deductions). Mostly, it's not about politics, and it focuses on why quiet, private charity brings people closer to God, ...more
Ben Daghir
Sep 12, 2016 Ben Daghir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
In Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, he goes right to the root of everything.

God is love.

Ratzinger analyzes eros and agape and thoroughly contemplates the crucifixion in this encyclical.

It's in both the wound of Christ's side and the womb of Mary that Ratzinger believes to be the source of love, of God.

In a compelling, quick, clear, and heartfelt piece of writing; Ratzinger leads the Church into the Heart of love.

Jul 28, 2011 Quilltips rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
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 20, 2012 Fr. Ryan Humphries rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Humanae Vitae: Of Human Life
  • Evangelium Vitae: The Gospel of Life
  • Theology of the Body for Beginners: A Basic Introduction to Pope John Paul II's Sexual Revolution
  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • Theology for Beginners
  • Lumen Fidei: The Light of Faith
  • Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God
  • Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • The Secret Of The Rosary
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Life of Christ
  • Death On A Friday Afternoon: Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross
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 Catholic Church. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and too ...more
More about Pope Benedict XVI...

Other Books in the Series

Encyclicals & Exhortations of Benedict XVI (6 books)
  • Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi
  • Charity in Truth: Caritas in Veritate
  • Sacramentum Caritatis: On the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church's Life and Mission
  • Verbum Domini: The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church
  • Africae Munus: On the Church in Africa

Share This Book

“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.” 30 likes
“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.” 30 likes
More quotes…