4 August 2009


In the aftermath of the issuing of the encyclical letter ‘Caritas in Veritate’ various commentators have attempted to analyse its significance. In some cases that has meant quoting selectively and placing their own ‘spin’ on the content.

In that context Pope Benedict’s recent comments elaborating on the message of his encyclical are significant.

Benedict stresses that his encyclical reaffirms the teaching set out in Pope Paul VI’s 1967 Encyclical >‘Populorum Progressio’ (On the Progress of Peoples), which addresses social themes vital to the well-being of humanity and reminds us that authentic renewal of both individuals and society requires living by Christ’s truth in love which stands at the heart of the Church’s social teaching.

The Encyclical does not aim to provide technical solutions to today’s social problems but instead focuses on the principles indispensable for human development. Most important among these is human life itself, the centre of all true progress.

Additionally, it speaks of the right to religious freedom as a part of human development, it warns against unbounded hope in technology alone, and it underlines the need for upright men and women – attentive to the common good – in both politics and the business world.

In regard to matters of particular urgency affecting the word today, the Encyclical addresses a wide range of issues and calls for decisive action to promote food security and agricultural development, as well as respect for the environment and for the rule of law. Stressed is the need for politicians, economists, producers and consumers alike to ensure that ethics shape economics so that profit alone does not regulate the world of business.

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