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du Garbandier

Caritas in Veritate

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Well, I might be mixing up my news stories there! It may have been that golden casket...

Anyway, what reporting on Caritas in Veritate I have seen seems to emphasize Benedict's statements on economic matters. However, I must say (speaking as a non-Catholic, I should add) I found most valuable the first five paragraphs or so, which delineate some general principles about truth's relationship to charity.

1. Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love

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I've been doing a lot of reading, both of the encyclical itself and commentaries. My favorite (by far, actually) is this one, by Dr. Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture. Clear-headed, neutral, and insightful.

Unlike Benedict’s first two encyclicals, which concisely presented a Catholic understanding of both love and hope in ways that every Christian can apply to his own spiritual development (that is, the encyclicals are squarely aimed at increasing our knowledge of the faith and deepening our spirituality), Caritas in Veritate provides a richer understanding of the nature of integral social development, especially in light of the intense globalization of the past generation. Like all the Church’s social teachings, it embraces this task without offering specific technical and organizational solutions to the many problems faced by the human family. In a sense, then, one could argue (and many do argue) that the Church has nothing of any use to offer.

But it is precisely to this challenge that Benedict responds: While there are many things the Church cannot offer, it can nonetheless offer the one thing necessary—the very foundation of authentic human development—which is a correct understanding of the nature of man. Specifically, in Caritas in Veritate, the Church offers again the necessary insight that social development cannot be reduced to mere trends, forces, ideologies or allegedly self-adjusting systems. Rather, it is always the result of specific decisions and must be guided in accordance with sound ethics that are based on a correct understanding of man’s nature and ends. What is required is integral human development of the whole man and of all men, in response to our Divine vocation to Love.

Edited by David Smedberg

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