8 July 2009


Commentators are still analyzing and reflecting on the long-awaited encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XVI Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”)", however some things are clear.

According to the National Catholic Reporter the encyclical offers a profoundly new way of understanding business enterprise and a global economic system that values the common good above private profits.

Whilst acknowledging that the church does not have "technical solutions to offer” the encyclical makes specific recommendations on a range of issues:-
- Resisting a “downsizing” of social security systems;
- Support for labor unions and the rights of workers in a global economy marked by mobility of labor;
- Combating hunger “by investing in rural infrastructures, irrigation systems, transport, organization of markets, and in the development and dissemination of agricultural technology”;
- Enshrining access to steady employment for all as a core economic objective;
- Protecting the earth’s “state of ecological health”;
- Seeing “openness to life,” meaning resistance to measures such as abortion and birth control, as not only morally obligatory but a key to long-term economic development;
- Ensuring that the targets of international aid programs are involved in their design and implementation, and trimming the bureaucracy sometimes associated with those programs;
- Lowering domestic energy consumption in developed nations, investing in renewable forms of energy, and adopting new more sustainable lifestyles;
- Curbing an “excessive zeal for protecting knowledge” among affluent nations, “through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care”;
- Opening up global markets to the products of developing nations, especially in agriculture;
- Commitment among developed nations to devote a larger share of their gross domestic product to development aid;
- Greater investment in education;
- More generous immigration policies, recognizing the economic contributions of migrants, both to their host countries and to their countries of origin by sending money home;
- Support for micro-finance, consumer cooperatives, and socially responsible forms of business;
- Reform of the United Nations and international institutions of economics and finance, in order to promote “a true world political authority ... with real teeth,” though one informed by the principle of subsidiarity – meaning respect for the liberty of individuals, families, and civil society;
- Opposition to abuses of biotechnology such as a new eugenics.

The full text of the encyclical is available here

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