By Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict's first encyclical seeks to clarify the meaning of love and show its place of love in the life of the Church. He examines the various kinds of love—human love and divine love, eros, friendship, and charity, explaining how we were made for love by the God who is love, the God who became one of us out of love—Jesus Christ. Benedict insists that we must take up the word love, which has been so abused, and purify it, showing how faith in this love might transforms us. In an age in which “hostility and greed have become superpowers”, and in which religion has been abused “to the point of culminating in hatred,” the burden of the encyclical is to show that on its own a neutral rationality can no longer protect us; that we need the God who has loved us unto death. This Love has a human face and a human heart.
In the second part, Benedict links the Church's charitable work with the love of the Trinitarian God, showing how the charitable activity of the Church and her works of justice express love. it is an excellent reflection for both religious and civic leaders, those involved in ministry and those preparing for marriage.