Caritas in Veritate

Caritas in Veritate is Pope Benedict's latest encyclical. Even since it came out, I've tried to read it. I admit it's very difficult. People call documents from the Vatican, "Vaticanese," because to us, they are hard to understand. It takes getting use to. Alright, it takes a lot of getting use to. But if you try--consistently, somehow you'll find yourself developing the vocabulary, the literary manner that is used. It has to be written to be translated and to be applicable to many cultures. That's how I look at it--it's hard to write, therefore it's hard to understand.

What caught my attention was the section on social justice. Considering the economic condition of the world, B16's words seem providential. The collapse of the world's financial system made people think about their personal and national financial systems. B16 asked for reform. He asks countries to restructure their financial priorities. A financial order that works for "common good." He asks to combat hunger and to open agricultural markets to developing nations. Rich countries should share the wealth.

The blog, "Catholic Culture," quotes the reaction of Lord Brian Griffiths of Fforestfach. He is a former economic adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and a current member of the House of Lords, a vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International, a devout Evangelical Christian, and whose everyday work engages him in the future prospect of the global economic system, makes this extraordinary statement on encyclical:

Despite heavy competition from some of the world's finest minds, it is without a doubt the most articulate, comprehensive and thoughtful response to the financial crisis that has yet appeared.

I think so too, which is why I am, and will continue to, study it.


I've read this encyclical several times. I printed off a copy for notes, references, and questions that I have. Ben is a thorough scholar and chooses words for meaning and not so much for flourish. For the person who likes to sit down with a copy of VC2, it works out alright. For someone used to the philosophical writings of JP2, it can be a tough read.

I feel as though Caritas en Veritate is an easy read, with applications that extend to the farthest reaches of our economic system, and down to some of the smallest things. Then again, my "easy read" description could be considered pretentious. ;)

To read Caritas, I'd recommend reading Populum Progressio, Octogesima Adveniens, and Rerum Novarum as well.

My humble thoughts. Peace!


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