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Dossier

2006-02-04

INSTRUMENTUM MENSIS JANUARII PRO LECTURA MAGISTERII SUMMI PONTIFICI BENEDICTI XVI, PRO EVANGELIZATIONE IN TERRIS MISSIONUM

The principal event in the month of January was the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s first Encyclical Letter presented at the Holy See Press Office on 25 January. The document takes its title from the first words of the First Letter of St John: “Deus caritas est”. In fact the central theme is Christian love. “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God abide in him” says the Letter of St John (1 Jn 4,16), These words express “the heart of the Christian faith” the Holy Father explained in the introduction to the Encyclical. “In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence this message is both timely and significant”, he writes. The Encyclical is articulated in two parts. In the first the Pope proposes a theological-philosophical reflection on in its various dimensions - eros, philia, agape - explaining the essential traits of God’s love for man and the intrinsic connection between this love and human love. The second part treats the concrete exercise of the commandment to love neighbour. Another important event in January, now a custom, was the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which Pope Benedict XVI closed presiding Vespers at St Paul’s Basilica in the presence of other Christians on the 25 January the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. The Pope spoke frequently during the Week of Prayer about Ecumenism and he said Christians have a common mission to work for unity the “condition for the light of Christ to spread effectively in every corner of the world so that all men and women may convert their hearts and be saved”.

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