EDITED TO ADD Amy Welborn--tried to add her yesterday, but Blogger wigged on me...:
Benedict's appealing to 3000 year old texts to weave his case: that eros is a dimension of divine love, evidenced by the paradigmatic Original Couple, created for each other for companionship and procreation, as well as in the revelation, through various insights of the prophets and Wisdom literature, that something about God's love can be learned from the passionate seeking of the beloved, as well as the forgiveness of the same when betrayed. This is not new. This is ancient.
(I would give you a link, but again, computer issues; so just go here and scroll....)
Dreadnought: The good life is out there somewhere, so stay on my arm you little charmer.... (Can't summarize, you should just click through. No clue if it will be as powerful to people who didn't grow up in a fairly specific '80s/'90s culture, but for those of us who cut our nails on The Liar and The Queen Is Dead and wondering if Edward II was too artsy or just artsy enough--this is for you. Oh, such a little thing; but the difference it made was great, yeah?)
"Are all forms of love basically one?" Benedict's answer is in the affirmative. Although Anders Nygren is not mentioned, the argument is clearly counter to his pitting of eros against agape, which had an enormous influence in the twentieth century. Nor is C.S. Lewis mentioned, but Benedict's argument is at important points at odds with Lewis' famous description of the "four loves." All love is one because the Trinitarian God is one, and God is love.
...He is especially eager to rebut Nietzsche's insistence that the Christian view of eros drained the blood out of human passion and the quest for transcendence.
The last half of the relatively short encyclical is devoted to making the connections between love as expressed in kerygma (witness), leitourgia (worship), and diakonia (service)--the three dimensions of the Church’s life and mission. Here Benedict is at pains to challenge the separation, common also among many Christians, of charity and justice. The idea proposed by Marxists and others that justice must replace charity is fundamentally false, Benedict insists, and leads to the defeat of both charity and justice. The contention here is familiar from Ratzinger's longstanding critique of Marxist-oriented liberation theology.
Take me out tonight....