Sunday, July 12, 2009

Caritas in Veritate - Introduction

In starting to go through the new encyclical, and reading the commentary on the Internet, one over-arching theme of the Pope's critics is that "the Pope shouldn't be getting involved in politics/economics." In anticipation of such criticism, Benedict XVI states in the final paragraph of the introduction:

"The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States." She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. Without truth, it is easy to fall into an empiricist and sceptical view of life, incapable of rising to the level of praxis because of a lack of interest in grasping the values — sometimes even the meanings — with which to judge and direct it. Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce. Her social doctrine is a particular dimension of this proclamation: it is a service to the truth which sets us free. Open to the truth, from whichever branch of knowledge it comes, the Church's social doctrine receives it, assembles into a unity the fragments in which it is often found, and mediates it within the constantly changing life-patterns of the society of peoples and nations."

As I go through and comment on the encyclical (and if you choose to read it yourself), please keep this paragraph in mind. I will have more to offer as my schedule allows...

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