(From BusinessWorld (Philippines))
Byline: Benjamin G. Defensor
In Deus Caritas Est, the first encyclical of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI asserts that instead of considering love as two kinds, eros, or worldly love, and agape, or love "grounded in or shaped by faith," the two should be considered as having an underlying unity.
In everyday usage, erotic love is associated with physical love between man and woman, and agape is ordinarily referred to as charity as in St. Paul's tribute to love: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Pope Benedict says his philosophical reflections "on the essence of love have brought us to threshold of biblical faith."
"We began by asking whether the different, or even opposed, meanings of the word 'love' point to some profound underlying unity, or whether on the contrary they must remain unconnected, one alongside the other. More significantly, though, we questioned whether the message of love proclaimed to us by the Bible and the Church's tradition has some points of contact with the common human experience of love, or whether it is opposed to the experience ..."
Pope Benedict says the two notions of love - eros and agape - are often contrasted as "ascending" love and "descending" love. "There are other, similar classifications, such as the distinction between …