Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Universal Community of Hope?

As The Pope invited representatives of Islam to the Vatican to dialogue "common essentials between Islam and Christianity" for a "common commitment to promoting peace in the world", he also released his second encyclical of his papacy, "Saved in Hope".

The Pope seems to speak the same language as the Emergents: journey, hope, dialogue, community, peace, social justice. Both seem to be willing to embrace any religion that acknowledges a greater universal spiritualism for the benefit of mankind.

Highlights include:

  • focus on individual salvation has ignored Jesus' message that true Christian hope involves salvation for all.
  • Christianity provides the faithful with a "journey of hope" to the Kingdom of God.
  • salvation had in the earlier church been considered "communal" -- using the case of monks in the Middle Ages who cloistered themselves in prayer not just for their own salvation but for that of others.
  • The encyclical also included a criticism of contemporary Christianity, saying it has largely limited its attention to individual salvation instead of the wider world, and thus reduced the "horizon of its hope." "As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: How can I save myself? We should also ask: What can I do in order that others may be saved?" it said.

The Pope referenced the Catholic doctrine of purgatory and praying for the dead:

"...the idea of purgatory, as a place of atonement for sins, also has a place in the logic of Christian hope. Heaven is for the "utterly pure" and hell for those who have destroyed all desire for truth and love, but "neither case is normal in human life," he said. Thus, the souls of many departed may benefit from prayers, he said.

At the conclusion of his encyclical released today, Pope Benedict honored Mary as our model of hope and asked for her intercession in showing us the way to the Father.

"Using a title for Mary used for over a thousand years, the Holy Father explained how the “Star of the Sea” is our model for hope on our earthly journey. He described the dark, turbulent waters that we face in life and the need to have a star as a guide to follow the route."

The Pope prayed to Mary, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!”

Editor's note: The Pope will also entertain the head of Tibetan Buddhism, "His Holiness", the Dalai Lama on December 13, 2007.

Read related articles Emerging Catholicism, The UK's Emerging Liturgy ,Common Ground & Peace For The Sake of the World, Full communion between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, Mary: The Refuge, The Peace, The Path To God, The ABC's of Catholicism, Pope Casts The Next Stone, Papal Goal: No Converts to Protestantism, Vatican: Pope's Prayer In Mosque Is A 'New Horizon' In Interfaith


  1. no hope in the pope!

  2. Please, actually read Spe Salvi. All of it. It's pure gold.


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