The Pope's Encyclical on Christian Hope

Benedict XVI's second Encyclical, "Spe Salvi" which is dedicated to the theme of Christian hope, was published recently. The document - which has an introduction and eight chapters - begins with a quote from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: "spe salvi facti sumus" (in hope we are saved).

The chapter titles are as follows:

  1. Faith is Hope
  2. The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church
  3. Eternal life - what is it?
  4. Is Christian hope individualistic?
  5. The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age
  6. The true shape of Christian hope
  7. 'Settings' for learning and practicing hope:
    • Prayer as a school of hope
    • Action and suffering as settings for learning hope
    • Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope
  8. Mary, Star of Hope

The Holy Father explains in his Introduction that "according to the Christian faith, 'redemption' - salvation - is not simply a given.

Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey."