The ever prolific Gerald O’Collins has reviewed Pope Benedict’s encyclical "Spe Salvi" for America. An early preview is now online. Here’s a taste:
The pope’s message combines a pastor’s concern for his people with a scholarly use of the scriptures and an effective appeal to some great voices in the Catholic tradition: from St Augustine of Hippo down to the late Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, a prisoner for thirteen years, nine of them spent in solitary confinement. The encyclical is peppered with references and insights of every kind: biblical, doctrinal, spiritual, philosophical, historical and artistic.
[Snip]
For all its richness, the encyclical does not include everything. It does not invoke the Second Vatican Council, which concluded by issuing as its longest document, Gaudium et Spes ("Joy and Hope") and declaring: "The future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping." The encyclical does not mention of the Holy Spirit, whose powerful presence works to bring all things to final salvation (Romans 8:23)."
As some readers may recall, O’Collins--the author of 50 (!) books--reviewed Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth for America in June. Tim Reidy

Comments

Anonymous | 12/13/2007 - 4:06pm
Did Pope Benedict cite Vatican II documents in Spe Salvi? No. Did he cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which the Church has put forward as the synthesis of the council's teachings? Yes, a number of times. Overall, in the pope's first two encyclicals, there weren't a lot of citations of any magisterial documents or the writings of individuals in general, especially when compared to the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II. I think that this may simply be attributable to Pope Benedict's own particular writing and teaching style and certainly not to any desire on his part to diminish the importance of Vatican II. In his own commentaries on the council, he has emphasized its desires to retrieve the earlier traditions of the Church. His own background in patristics would resonate with this and would naturally come out in his teaching documents where he has frequently called upon the writings of the Fathers.