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The Unexpected Papal Encyclical on Hope

The Pope is writing an encyclical about hope. The Roman daily paper `the IL Messaggero' stated yesterday in an exclusive report.

To date, all had counted on the fact that the next teaching letter of the Pope will be a social encyclical .

But IL Messaggero knows now that the encyclical which is already nearly finished will be on hope.

It will appear before the social encyclical, of which Pope Benedikt XVI. while on his holidays in Lorenzago di Cadore had previously spoken to journalists

I would not be surprised if the two rumored encyclicals are actually one and the same. Before Deus Caritas Est, we were told to expect a commentary on 1 John: it included some 1 John, but was more expansive than a simple commentary on 1 John. Perhaps, then, an encyclical on hope would also explore the social aspects of hope? It would not at all be difficult, as the social thought of il grande John Paul emphasized that labor which is divorced from the reverence and worship of God is cruel reduces man to an oppressive hopelessness.

It would also fit a general pattern in Benedict/Ratzinger's writing--an in-depth theoretical discourse followed by a subsequent practical application. In Deus Caritas Est, he followed the theoretical reflection with its application for Christian charities. Here, a reflection on hope could be followed with some form of social application. But: who knows?

A number of people have pointed out that if there is an encyclical on hope, then we have a pattern: First Love, then Hope, then... Faith?

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