In Caritas in Veritate, the Holy Father grounds justice in charity and truth.
By Father Joseph Fessio, S.J.*
Pope Benedict has something for everyone in Caritas in Veritate
—from praising profit (21) to defending the environment (48). But in these cases, as in all the others, he calls for a discernment and a purification by faith and reason (56) that should temper immoderate and one-sided enthusiasms.
Once again Pope Benedict shows himself to be a theologian of synthesis and fundamental principles. In the titles of his three encyclicals he has used only five nouns: God, Love, Hope, Salvation, and Truth—the most fundamental of realities. And in the opening greeting of this encyclical he succinctly describes the contents: “on integral human development in charity and truth.” Note that from this very greeting Pope Benedict has changed the whole framework of the debate on “the social question.” This was expected to be—and is—his encyclical on “social justice.” And indeed “justice” and “rights” find their proper place in a larger synthesis. But the priority is established from the outset, the foundation is laid, with “charity” and “truth.”
Discussion welcomed and encouraged.
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