"Caritas in Veritate" Presents a Challenge to Everyone
By James Stoner
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, JULY 10, 2009 (Zenit.org
).- Faithful Catholics in America today often seem tempted by cultural hostility to withdraw into our own circle of faith and family, asking of law and government only that we be left alone.
To this tendency, Pope Benedict's new encyclical on the social teaching of the Church, "Caritas in Veritate," is a thorough rebuke, for it is a call to engage the world—not only through evangelization, but through economic, social, and political thought and action; through commitment to the cause of integral human development and social progress.
One can see why liberal commentators quickly seized on the encyclical as friendly to their agenda. The Pope is critical of contemporary market society, with its "scandalous speculation," its emphasis on short-term profit, its ambivalent record in combating poverty, and its disregard of the cultural fabric of societies it would modernize; moreover, he calls for extensive global reform and even "for a reform of the United Nations...so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth."