Following is a small excerpt from a longer article by Antonio Socci on Spi Salvia ante Gaudium et spes.
“A bomb. It is the new encyclical of Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, in which there is not a single quotation from the Council (a choice of huge significance); in which at last Hell, Heaven, and Purgatory are spoken of again (and even the Anti-Christ, even though in an excerpt of Kant); in which horrors are called by their name (for instance, "Communism", a word which, at the Council, it was forbidden to pronounce and condemn); in which, instead of greeting the powerful of this world, the powerful witness of Christian martyrs, the victims, is mentioned; in which the rhetoric of the "religions" is wiped out, by affirming that the Savior is only one; in which Mary is shown as the "star of hope"; and in which it is shown that blind faith in progress (alone) and in science (alone) leads to Disaster and despair.Benedict XVI does not quote, from the Council, even "Gaudium et spes", which nonetheless had in its title the word "hope", but wipes out the very mistake disastrously introduced in the Catholic world by that which was the main Conciliar constitution, "On the Church in the Modern World". The Pope invites, in fact, at n. 22, to a "a self-critique of modern Christianity". Particularly on the concept of "progress".”
Being only a Benedict Catholic and having never been in a parish which abused the freedoms granted in V2, I can only understand what Socci is saying on an intellectual level. There is no “ah-ha at last” moment for me as I perceive there is for Socci and others.
I have been reading a lot of Benedict/Raztinger lately and find him to be solidly Catholic and uncompromising when it comes to philosophy and theology. He gives allowance where he understands an argument to be either speculative or non-essential but stands firm on church dogma. He is agressive but not rash. Paragraph 7 leaves no doubt that as far as this pope is concerned the rift between Catholicism and those that are separated is one of interpretation and the basic assumptions which drive it. He will not be a popular pope but he is formidable.
I would be interested in reading the reactions of others to Spe Salvi.