Go Read Caritas in Veritate

Did you ever think you'd read an encyclical that advocated:

  • energy efficiency, and the moral duty to reduce energy consumption
  • consumer co-ops
  • micro-finance
  • large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale
  • intergenerational justice—in the context of environmental resources
  • opening international markets, especially in agriculture

As Benedict shows, these ideas are merely consistent developments (or repetitions) of Catholic social teaching. But he is fearless in applying CST in today's arena.

Nor does he hesitate to dig into our dirty details:
  • NGOs peddling contraceptives and involuntary sterilization to poor countries
  • the decline in birth rates
  • the hoarding of resources, especially water
  • human embryos are sacrificed to research
  • the poverty of isolation
  • abusive tourism
  • usury
  • the havoc caused by the misuse of finance

There's far more to this encyclical then I can put in any bulleted list. As usual, you'll spot distributive justice (para. 35), obviously a favorite phrase around here, as well as classic principles like subsidiarity and a defense of labor unions.

But you can expect to hear many different spins on this document (including here). So you owe it to yourself to take the time to read the real thing.

Go read Caritas in Veritate.

If you want to print it out, consider this personal reading copy I prepared for myself. It's three columns and only 28 pages (as opposed to the 50 or so my browser quoted me).

Don't miss this!


Joe Grabowski Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 11:53:00 AM CDT  

Thanks a lot for the more readable text, Bill! Printing encyclicals has always been a tedious affair that I never looked forward to.

Peregrinus_PF Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 12:14:00 PM CDT  

All you are hearing is "globalist" spin on many commentaries. Now I need section numbers. I am only 20% through it and I do not know how much I will be able to get to tonight.

I have also Tweeted this.

Other related tweets:

On the encyclical. I hate getting bombarded with the pits from the cherry pickers.

Cleanup in Pew 16. Somebody head exploded from encyclical commentary overload.

Donald Goodman Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 12:58:00 PM CDT  


I think you've got a typo. It should be "Caritas in Veritate."

Dr. Matthew Wion Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 1:19:00 AM CDT  

I have been reading it. It's quite a fine peace of work. I think it is not only Benedict's finest Encyclical, but one of the finest in quite some time.

Thanks for the print friendly version!

Charlie Roy Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 5:58:00 PM CDT  

I'm halfway through and it is great. Probably will not be well received by the imperial west but a light in the darkness it is.

Bsdouglass Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 8:58:00 PM CDT  

This one has some real meat to it. Should keep the neo-Cons in a huff for quite some time. I must say, I didn't exepct them to come out and claim the Pope didn't write it all. Desperate, they must be.

I've read through it and annotated it. Will go back again and read it over, I believe. There seems to be quite a bit there for us to do now. It also seems to be a call for Catholics to not wait until we get a perfect system but to get going immediately. Work in the system, but not of the system.

Peregrinus_PF Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 9:21:00 PM CDT  


I do not think anyone at either end of the spectrum are happy.

Tanya Friday, July 10, 2009 at 4:39:00 AM CDT  

Hello, There is someone with same service provider in India called as FINO, it is a building technologies to enable financial institutions (FIs) to serve the under-served and the unbanked sector and also to service the technology requirements of entities engaged in servicing the bottom of pyramid customers. Would request you to spread the knowledge.

Building a Better Country Friday, July 10, 2009 at 9:42:00 AM CDT  

The Republicans and Libertarians have been screaming "One World Government" and "New World Order" since it was released. None of them seem to have read it, though.

It was very encouraging to read.

Janet Baker Friday, July 10, 2009 at 3:12:00 PM CDT  

Jan Baker said...
This comment is not on Caritas in Veritae, but I need some help, and this is the most current post. I hope the moderators will permit me. I am just working on a post on updating ASOC info, and noticed that Norm Kurland of the American Revolutionary Party is on the board of directors. Their website says, or used to say, they are 'pro-life,' but Mr. Kurland told me privately that he would not make the roll-back of Roe a deal breaker; it is "not worth starting a civil war over."

The bishops have made 'respect for life' a necessity for Catholic support of any health care reform proposal (and I think the wording specifically mentions abortion so that we might avoid all the democratic party circumlocutions about how choice is actually pro-life, etc. etc.), but the auto coop initiative is different. Or is it? I don't know whether to support ASOC now, with Kurland on the board and me knowing he's a sell out on abortion.

Would someone please comment or go to my blog and leave a comment in any post, giving me their thoughts on the subject?

Unknown Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 3:16:00 PM CDT  

Section 67 is horrific. The call for a global political government with ‘teeth’ as the solution to economic injustice and suffering couldn’t be more incompatible with traditional Catholic doctrine. How this could be reconciled with Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno or Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, (let alone natural law), is beyond me.

I wonder whether the Pontiff recognizes the true source of these problems, viz., the protestant reformation and the rejection of the role of government in promoting the natural end of man. So long as governments not only avoid, but ban the promotion of man’s natural end as part of the promotion of the common good, said governments will be working at odds with divine law.

That nowhere in this document does B16 call for the nations of the world to embrace the Social Kingship of Christ evidences how little he understands of the problem (or, worse, how little he understands of traditional Catholic doctrine).

Clearly he is a brilliant man, so not to have mentioned any of this seems to me an implicit rejection of them.

Peregrinus_PF Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 5:44:00 PM CDT  


The following was posted on another site, but could allay your fears:

Take the chapter as a whole. The first sections of chapter five deal with the neccesity of God and His law being the principle behind all action. Then the need for subsidiarity. More effort is taken to explain this than the solidarity of paragraph 67. Yet it seems the whole focus of media buzz is this one paragraph.

Look at the rest of the Chapter five and the evils addressed: aid to underdeveloped countries, sex tourism and the exploitation of children, migration, poverty, abuse of the work force, injustice in the world of finance. With this in mind he proposes a world authority to address these evils and abuses, with power to correct them. We should not be tripped up by the word "political" and think in terms of a federal government. That is an American way of viewing things. Yet we see the evils and injustices allowed (above) because globalization has allowed evil to hide in the shelter of any one of hundreds of independent politcal entities.

If a company wants to hire people at such a low wage that all in the family above eight have to work all day every day just to live, then find a third world country leader that will allow it. If a pedophile wants little children, find a country that allows that. If a company wants to cut corners by using dangerous procedures, outsource. These abuses are totally legal somewhere and todays globalization allows these things done with impunity. They are contrary to human dignity and the charity we should show to all people worldwide.

Bill Powell Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM CDT  

Don -- thanks for the note on the typo! Man. :) The encyclical is now properly "Veritate" (not "Veritae").

Aged parent Friday, July 17, 2009 at 3:03:00 PM CDT  


The only problem with your well-observed comments vis-a-vis the Pope's call for "global government" is that he knows perfectly well that any global government that will come to the fore will almost certainly be atheist, Masonic and violently anti-Catholic - barring a miracle. And since the Pope must certainly know this, for he is not a stupid man, then we can reasonably assume that he has no problem with this.

I'm afraid that Mark's concerns are very real. It is also interesting to point out that no matter how you spin it the Pope did not, repeat not, use the term "social kingship of Christ". It is all well and good that he brought in the name of God here and there. Bringing in that name will not bother the Jews or the Moslems, two groups he seems terrified of. But if he would on the other hand use the name of Our Lord, directly and unequivocally, and state without ambiguity the necessity of Christ and His Church in achieving the solutions to the world's problems he would risk offending the two groups mentioned above. Alas, his actions thus far would indicate that he'd rather cut his tongue out than offend Abe Foxman.

I will of course read the encyclical carefully and look assiduously for any mentions of the name of Christ but thus far, with one or two exceptions in his pontificate, the words and actions of our current Pope have signally failed to impress me, consisting as they are of empty platitudes and tiresome banalities or, worse, scandalous obsequiousness toward "world religions" who openly despise Christ.

If the Holy Father wants to "clean the house" of the world he has the right and the obligation to do so, and I will applaud any positive actions he will take in this. But first he needs to clean his own house, and he wont clean it by doing next-to-nothing about the homosexual problem in the Church, by making outrageous appointments like Levada, by keeping silent while Cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns continue to run amuck, by allowing his own Vatican newspaper to publish unspeakable rubbish, etc., etc., etc.

If there is good in this encyclical, great. But if that good is mixed up with modernist garbage then I think that more harm will be done than good. We shall have to wait and see, and keep praying for this less-than-courageous Benedict.

Bsdouglass Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 11:18:00 AM CDT  

"the Pope did not, repeat not, use the term "social kingship of Christ"

No, and neither did he use the word greed and it's certainly condemned. Nor did he use the words IMF or World bank and their policy of requiring states that get aid to cut social services is mentioned as a serious problem.

I fail to see why the word must be used when what the Pope describes is certainly that: recognition that God is the source of all justice and the proper view of the person that this entails, government world-wide under Catholic principles respecting God's Law, etc.

Kate Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 10:11:00 PM CDT  

Mark is right. This encyclical is not compatible with traditional Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church does not give us encyclicals full of confusion, or full of a mixture of truth and error, as explained by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos. B16 is speaking about building exactly what Pope Saint Pius X condemned in Notre Charge Apostolique.

I fear that "Distributism" on this blog is being confused with "redistribution of wealth" and embrace of Socialism which is contrary to anything I have read by Belloc or Chesterton in their defense of Distributism. I'm really sad to see this.
Best Wishes. CL

Septeus7,  Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 9:34:00 PM CDT  

I didn't understand how you can demand a reduction of energy consumption while saying people have a right to food. Isn't food the most basic more of biogenic energy and doesn't take energy to produce food?

So unless you think the already starving masses should reduce their food consumption you are saying we should increase energy consumption.

I don't understand the dislike of Benjamin Franklin's discovery or the demand that we take less command over nature as we can only subdue it using energy.

Martin Meenagh Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 8:47:00 AM CDT  

Thank you very much for producing such a practical copy of the encyclical--and keep up the great blog!

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