Deus Caritas Est
Many of my fellow Catholics have read Benedict’s first Encyclica the minute it came out and the days and weeks after. It was much talked about, discussed, praised, welcomed. However, when browsing the internet, I sometimes get the impression like some of its content went unnoticed. Let’s take a look:
The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable. For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being. (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 25a)
What Benedict states here is by no means new. The entire encyclica is not a work with originality claim. On the contrary, it deals with the oldest identity questions of the Catholic Church. Charity is a part of Christian identity, not by choice but by definition. As the bride of Christ, the Church is called to love and to help. In fact, that very part of the Church’s identity stems directly from Jesus’ final commandment (Jn 15:12).
Keeping the state of our planet in mind, it seems obvious and self-explanatory where the focus of Christian efforts should lie these days.
The Pope obviously stated the other two fundamental tasks of the Church’s identity, the kerygma and the leitourgia. While those two are undoubtedly extremely important as well, they seem to have a huge edge over the third one in terms of what is being dealt with on Catholic blogs these days – especially the latter.
This is by no means to say that spreading the word of God and discussing the liturgical challenges the Church faces in an age of post-counciliar confusion is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is much needed and appreciated.
But, in all honesty, sometimes I wish that when browsing the Catholic blogosphere, I would find a tad bit more (positive) articles about the work of Caritas International and the Order of Malta in Myanmar than (negative and mocking articles) about the latest potato-head puppet liturgy by Call to Action. Those that frequently browse through the blogosphere themselves will easily understand what I am talking about.
Hoffnung means hope…