WASHINGTON (January 27, 2006)—"God Is Love" ("Deus Caritas Est"), the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, will be published in this country by USCCB Publishing, the publishing arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"God Is Love" was made public at the Vatican January 25. The encyclical was issued in eight languages, English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Polish, Portuguese, and Latin. It is addressed to bishops, priests and deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. "God Is Love" will be available from USCCB Publishing on February 14.
Bishop William S. Skylstad, President of the USCCB, called the encyclical "a profound meditation on the meaning of Christian love and the place of charity in the life of the Church." He said the encyclical provides "spiritual nourishment for every member of the Church."
Bishop Skylstad singled out the encyclical's affirmation that "the Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word," noting that this affirmation follows "a reflection in depth on the meaning of love as it appears in Sacred Scripture."
Bishop Skylstad also drew attention to the Holy Father's discussion of the relationship between justice and charity and between faith and politics. He pointed out that Pope Benedict cautions that the Church should not take on the political task of building a just society, leaving this to the state and its institutions. He noted that the Holy Father adds that "the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically."
The encyclical is divided into two parts. The first, entitled, "The Unity of Love in Creation and in Salvation History," gives a philosophical-theological reflection on love in its various dimensions, highlighting certain aspects of God's love for men and women and the inherent links that such love has with human love. The second part, entitled "The Practice of Love by the Church as a 'Community of Love,'" explains the implementation of the commandment to love others in the multiple ways in which this is carried out in the Church.
USCCB Publishing will be printing the encyclical in English (publication number 5-758) and Spanish (publication number 5-922). The estimated length of the encyclical is 64 pages and it will be priced at $6.95. Preorder requests can be made on the Web at www.usccbpublishing.org or by calling 800-235-8722.