Archbishop Wuerl Welcomes New Encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI

November 30, 2007

Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl today welcomed Pope Benedict XVI’s new encyclical on hope, Spe salvi (On Christian Hope):

“As we enter Advent and anticipate the birth of Christ, our thoughts naturally turn to hope for a better world in the here and now, but also hope for eternal life, for the second coming of Christ in glory.

“This year, we have a received a special gift for Advent: the new encyclical on hope by our Holy Father. In a deeply theological and profoundly spiritual letter, Pope Benedict challenges us to reflect on the theological virtue of hope and what it means in our lives. He recalls for us that ‘Christianity did not bring a message of social revolution…Jesus, who himself died on the cross, brought something totally different: an encounter with the Lord of all Lords…’ He offers us a hope that has the power to transform our life.

“Our Holy Father, through stories and images, helps explain various aspects of hope lived in the Church throughout time and helps us delve more deeply into the words of Sacred Scripture and an understanding of faith and hope. He leads us to an understanding of the Last Judgment and the hope that it brings to us. As Pope Benedict tells us, ‘faith in Christ has never looked merely backwards or merely upwards, but always also forwards to the hour of justice that the Lord repeatedly proclaimed. This looking ahead has given Christianity its importance for the present moment.’

“As we reflect on this Advent gift of the Holy Father and the message of Christian hope, we also look forward to the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Washington in April 2008, when the faithful will gather with our Universal Shepherd to thank God for the gift of faith, for the transforming power of hope and for the challenge of Christian love.”

Read the full text of Spe salvi online at the Vatican website.

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Susan Gibbs
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