Pope Benedict's second encyclical Spe Salvi published


Pope Benedict XVI has today (30 Nov) released the second Encyclical Letter of his pontificate. Entitled Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), the encyclical combines the concern of a true pastor with a rigorous use of the New Testament scriptures and an effective appeal to some great voices in the Catholic tradition: from St Augustine of Hippo down to St Josephine Bakhita of Darfur (who was sold five times in the slave-markets of Sudan before being taken to Italy and set free) and Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, a prisoner for thirteen years, five of them spent in solitary confinement.

"The Pope evokes the many lesser hopes that carry us forward in our lives,” said a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. “’Young people,’ the Pope writes, ‘can have the hope of a great and satisfying love; the hope of a certain position in their profession, or of some success that will prove decisive for the rest of their lives.’ But even when such hopes are fulfilled, it becomes evident that ‘only something infinite’ will satisfy us, that ‘great hope’ which is something more than we ‘ever attain’ or achieve for ourselves. One catches here an echo of St Augustine's words at the beginning of his CONFESSIONS: 'Our heart is restless until it finds rest in you, O Lord'.”

“This second encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI is a wonderful gift for Advent and Christmas, a luminous and inspiring text to be assimilated in quiet reflection and prayer."


Spe Salvi Papal Encyclical 154.18 kB

Listen to theologian Professor Gerald O'Collins SJ on the Encyclical

Spe Salvi Fr Gerald O'Collins SJ 4.31 MB

Rediscover the beauty and profundity of Christian hope

Pope Benedict XVI presents his Encyclical Letter ‘Spe Salvi’ on the first Sunday of Advent: "What is at stake," says the Holy Father, "is the relationship between existence in the here and now, and what we call the 'beyond:' this is not a place in which we will 'end up' after death, but rather the reality of God, the fullness of life to which each human being is, so to say, reaching out. To this expectation of mankind God responded in Christ with the gift of hope.