On December 25, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI published "Deus caritas est "("God Is Love"), the first encyclical of his papacy. In Part I, Benedict XVI analyzes human and divine love in terms of "eros "and "agape"; presenting love as a fundamental force, Benedict argues that in the Christian, biblical understanding, love is a single reality with many dimensions. He declares to the world that "the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others" also carries cultural, political, and legal implications, arising from the fact that "love of God and love of neighbor" are "inseparable" and form a single commandment.
"Caritas, "the "practice" of love of neighbor, is the theme of the second part of the encyclical. As Cardinal Cordes explains, "the encyclical represents the "Magna carta "of our work: to orient and to inspire the charitable work of the Catholic Church." In this volume, Cardinal Cordes offers his own studies and other reflections that investigate the meaning of Christian help, comment on the theological, spiritual, and canonical guidelines of "Deus caritas est," and illustrate concrete ways to help the needy and, in doing so, experience the goodness of God.