7 July 2009
Pope Benedict XVI publishes his new Encyclical Letter Caritas In Veritate (Love in Truth)
Globalisation is a key theme of Caritas in Veritate, which revisits the teachings on “integral human development” expounded by Pope Paul VI in his landmark 1967 Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, seeking to apply them to the contemporary world.
Pope Benedict’s first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) explored the centrality of the Christian call to love in the life and mission of the Church. Today’s encyclical highlights the inseparable connection between love and truth. In Pope Benedict’s own words “without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way.” Some of the key issues raised by Caritas in Veritate are:
- Love means the opting for engagement in the field of justice and peace.
- Christians need to be ready to proclaim this love in society.
- Truth is a necessary component of love because without truth the true meaning of love can be distorted, reducing it to an empty sentimentality.
- The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church derives from the dynamic of love given and received through our relationship with God and our neighbour on both the micro and macro-levels.
- Justice is inseparable from charity. Charity goes beyond justice, but never lacks justice.
- Promotion of the common good – of individuals, families, and groups in society – is a requirement of justice and charity.
- The chief challenge facing society today is that of globalization.
- In a globalised society our understanding of the common good must be extended to the relations between nations.
- We need to match the interdependence of nations with an ethical interaction of consciences and minds.
- We need to share goods and resources, not only technical progress.
- We need to ensure that, in the context of an ever more globalised labour market, measures taken by States to increase economic competitiveness do not militate against the fulfillment of their obligation to protect the poor and the most vulnerable (for example in pensions and child benefit payments).
- We need to recognise that while the mobility of labour can produce significant benefits, it can also give rise to “psychological instability”, resulting in “situations of human decline” as a consequence of the negative impact on areas such as family life.
- “The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life.” This has significant implications for the relations between developed and developing nations, in areas such as agrarian reform and overseas development aid.
- The Church does not offer technical solutions or interfere in politics, but cannot renounce its mission of truth.
- “The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.”
- “The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”
Notes for Editors
- The theme of Pope Benedict’s first encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) of December 2005 was love and the theme of the second encyclical Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), of November 2007, was hope.
- The full text of Caritas in Veritate is currently available on: http://Missing34/
- The Vatican website link for the archive of encyclicals of Pope Benedict XVI is: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/index_en.htm
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 233 7797