God Is Love

Two responses to Benedict’s first Encyclical. The first can be found here. Money quote:

Benedict’s understanding of eros is also redeeming; it is explicitly not anti-body and acknowledges that romantic love needn’t be selfless and chaste from the get-go to be positive:

Even if eros is at first mainly covetous and ascending, a fascination for the great promise of happiness, in drawing near to the other, it is less and less concerned with itself, increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants to "be there for" the other.

The second came in an email:

On one hand, Benedict suggests that erotic love is intrinsic to mankind; an immutable desire to (re-)unite in "one flesh" that implicitly parallels the notion (for which Rahner gets a lot of credit) of the immutable desire to enter into a more perfect relationship of love with God. But by spelling this all out in the most literal terms of the Genesis creation narrative, the Pope makes sure we know who is given license for eros, and what kinds of erotic love are natural:

"man is somehow incomplete, driven by nature to seek in another the part that can make him whole; only in communion with the opposite sex can he become ‘complete’ … Adam is a seeker, who ‘abandons his mother and father’ in order to find woman; only together do the two represent complete humanity and become ‘one flesh’. The second aspect is equally important. From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfil its deepest purpose."

So all humankind is made complete in marriage. Except, of course, for some.