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DOI 10.12887/27-2014-3-107-04

Fr. Eligiusz PIOTROWSKI – Christianity and Utopia, as seen in the Context of Benedict XVI’s Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi

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Hope belongs among the most important dimensions of human existence and manifests itself as a hope for a better time, a hope for a better life, or a hope for a better future. In his Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI points that hope constitutes the focal point of the message of the Bible. Christians believe that “hope does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5), as it is founded on the saving action of God.

Likewise, the authors of utopian social and political systems dream of a better future for the world, simultaneously trying to discover the golden rule of universal happiness, some of them actually confident to have found one. Paradoxically, the history of utopia begins with the work by Thomas More, a Catholic saint, who has included in it both an idea an a criticism of an ideal society.

On the one hand, the propensity towards thinking in terms of universal happiness in the temporal world was not unknown to the Christian thinkers, beginning with St. Augustine. On the other hand though, numerous masters of spirituality have rejected the existing world as merely an opportunity to gather merits that will qualify one for eternal happiness, and otherwise insignificant. In this context, the encyclical Spe Salvi provides an opportunity to deepen the reflection on hope, to seek solutions that will overcome the utopian fantasies about the ultimate fulfilment of humanity in the worldly and temporal dimensions, and simultaneously to discern the perspective of salvation which makes the temporal world the content of the eschatological fulfilment.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: St. Augustine, St. Thomas More, Benedict XVI, utopia, hope, eschatology, temporality, future, eternity

Contact: Katedra Teologii Dogmatycznej,
Wydział Teologiczny, Uniwersytet Szczeciński,
ul. Papieża Pawła VI 2,
71-459 Szczecin, Poland

E-mail: e.piotrowski@ep.edu.pl
Phone: +48 91 4441451

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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887