Encycli-bites for reading “Caritas in veritate”

L’Osservatore Romano of 8 July has a few articles pertaining to the new encyclical.

Here is one of them.  Some folks helped to ferret out the corresponding English.

These bullet points were offered to help a reading of the encyclical. 

Call them… call them…. "encycli-bites".

  1. It is not a case of two typologies of social doctrine, one pre-conciliar and one post-conciliar, differing from one another: on the contrary, there is a single teaching, consistent and at the same time ever new. (12)
  2. The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics,… (15).
  3. Only when it is free can development be integrally human; only in a climate of responsible freedom can it grow in a satisfactory manner. (17)
  4. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. (21)
  5. “The scandal of glaring inequalities” continues. Corruption and illegality are unfortunately evident in the conduct of the economic and political class in rich countries, both old and new, as well as in poor ones. Among those who sometimes fail to respect the human rights of workers are large multinational companies as well as local producers. (22)
  6. The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. (25)
  7. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers… (25)
  8. Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering. (25)
  9. The primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity. (25)
  10. The problem of food insecurity needs to be addressed within a long-term perspective, eliminating the structural causes that give rise to it and promoting the agricultural development of poorer countries. (27)
  11. It is necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and the access to water as a universal right of all humans, without distinction or discrimination. (27) (Cf. Benedict , Message for the 2007 World Food Day: (2007), 933-935.)
  12. One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. (28)
  13. In economically developed countries, legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress. (28)
  14. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition. (28)
  15. Charity does not exclude knowledge, but rather requires, promotes, and animates it from within. Knowledge is never purely the work of the intellect. (30)
  16. Moral evaluation and scientific research must go hand in hand, and charity must animate them in a harmonious interdisciplinary whole, marked by unity and distinction. (31)
  17. Human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs. (32)
  18. Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country’s international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development. (32)
  19. In the list of areas where the pernicious effects of sin are evident, the economy has been included for some time now. (34)
  20. Without internal forms of solidarity and mutual trust, the market cannot completely fulfil its proper economic function. And today it is this trust which has ceased to exist, and the loss of trust is a grave loss. (35)
  21. The poor are not to be considered a “burden”[91], but a resource, even from the purely economic point of view. (35) (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 28: loc. cit., 827-828.)
  22. Economic activity cannot solve all social problems through the simple application of commercial logic. This needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility. (36)
  23. In commercial relationships the principle of gratuitousness and the logic of gift as an expression of fraternity can and must find their place within normal economic activity. (36)
  24. Every economic decision has a moral consequence. (37)
  25. Alongside profit-oriented private enterprise and the various types of public enterprise, there must be room for commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends to take root and express themselves. It is from their reciprocal encounter in the marketplace that one may expect hybrid forms of commercial behavior to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. (38)
  26. In order to defeat underdevelopment, action is required not only on improving exchange-based transactions and implanting public welfare structures, but above all on gradually increasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion. (39)
  27. Business management cannot concern itself only with the interests of the proprietors, but must also assume responsibility for all the other stakeholders who contribute to the life of the business: the workers, the clients, the suppliers of various elements of production, the community of reference. (40)
  28. Yet it is not right to export these things merely for the sake of obtaining advantageous conditions, or worse, for purposes of exploitation, without making a real contribution to local society by helping to bring about a robust productive and social system, an essential factor for stable development. (40)
  29. The broader conception of business activity favors cross-fertilization between different types of business activity, with shifting of competences from the “non-profit” world to the “profit” world and vice versa, from the public world to that of civil society, from advanced economies to developing countries. (41)
  30. To consider population increase as the primary cause of underdevelopment is mistaken, even from an economic point of view. (44)
  31. The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centered. (45)
  32. “Ethical financing” is being developed, especially through micro-credit and, more generally, micro-finance. These processes are praiseworthy and deserve much support. (45)
  33. In recent decades a broad intermediate area has emerged between the two types of enterprise. It is made up of traditional companies which nonetheless subscribe to social aid agreements in support of underdeveloped countries, charitable foundations associated with individual companies, groups of companies oriented towards social welfare, and the diversified world of the so-called “civil economy” and the “economy of communion.” (46)
  34. Today the subject of development is also closely related to the duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment. The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. (48)
  35. The international community has an urgent duty to find institutional means of regulating the exploitation of non-renewable resources, involving poor countries in the process. (49)
  36. The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption. (49)
  37. In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. (57)
  38. Cooperation for development must not be concerned exclusively with the economic dimension: it offers a wonderful opportunity for encounter between cultures and peoples. (59)
  39. Greater solidarity at the international level is seen especially in the ongoing promotion — even in the midst of economic crisis — of greater access to education. (61)
  40. Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance. (62) (Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Instruction Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi (3 May 2004): AAS 96 (2004), 762-822.)
  41. No consideration of the problems associated with development could fail to highlight the direct link between poverty and unemployment. In many cases, poverty results from a violation of the dignity of human work. (63)
  42. The global context in which work takes place also demands that national labour unions, which tend to limit themselves to defending the interests of their registered members, should turn their attention to those outside their membership, and in particular to workers in developing countries where social rights are often violated. (64)
  43. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility, which goes hand-in- hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise. (66)
  44. In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. (67)
  45. A particularly crucial battleground in today’s cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics, where the very possibility of integral human development is radically called into question. (74)
  46. Following his lead, we need to affirm today that the social question has become a radically anthropological question, in the sense that it concerns not just how life is conceived but also how it is manipulated, as bio-technology places it increasingly under man’s control. (75)
  47. There cannot be holistic development and universal common good unless people’s spiritual and moral welfare is taken into account, considered in their totality as body and soul. (76)


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tom says:

    It’ll be fun to respond to the reactions of Weigel et al with the quotes from their attacks on the FSSPX and the Fatimites

  2. RSeminarian says:

    I see that I missed #15. Here it is.

    15. Charity does not exclude knowledge, but rather requires, promotes, and animates it from within. Knowledge is never purely the work of the intellect. (30)

  3. Johnny Domer says:

    I’m still really scratching my head over paragraph 67…I don’t think there’s anything else in the encyclical with which I have difficulties. I don’t see how an organization of the sort it describes could exist without certain nations getting totally getting screwed over by the majority bloc. And I’m guessing it’s the US that would be getting screwed…I mean, I don’t want radical leftist dictators having a say in international trade, and certainly not in a way that’s unfair to the US. Further, how would such an organization be able to require compliance from all its members, if not with a military force stronger than that of the strongest country in the world? Maybe I’m taking that bit the wrong way…

    Also, the encyclical keeps talking about respecting subsidiarity and the importance of subsidiarity, but an international governing body seems like the least subsidiarity-friendly idea I can think of. I mean, isn’t such an authority almost by its very nature dismissive of subsidiarity? Subsidiarity holds that problems should be addressed locally and privately, and then on larger and more public scales when the prior levels are unable to handle such problems…so an international public entity would seem to be the last alternative.

    I mean, in an ideal world where half the United Nations isn’t composed of faux-democratic or dictatorial banana republics (many of which are radically Islamic or leftist in nature), and where nations honestly seek the common good, this sort of organization would probably work. But we don’t…

    I guess I’m just hoping for someone to answer these questions. Maybe I’m misreading how the Pope is saying this…maybe he’s holding up this format of the UN as an ideal, but not necessarily something we need to work for if we feel it’s impossible and there are other effective options. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what sort of power and authority this hypothetical body would possess. I’m comforted by the fact that Benedict is A. a lot smarter than I am, and B. the successor of Peter, and I accept whatever it is that I must hold as Catholic teaching. These are difficulties, not doubts.

    PS – I would really like a Pope to make SOME sort of criticism of the manner in which some (most?) Western labor unions operate in our time. Greedy Capitalists might have been responsible throughout the years for lots of suffering and economic trouble, but you could just as well point the finger at labor unions in the US for the downfall of the Detroit auto companies, or labor unions in France for making their economy stagnant, or other examples I’m sure. And maybe he could point out how MANY of these organizations put higher wages for workers as a higher priority than the protection of innocent unborn life.

  4. Braadwijk says:

    I won’t go out of my way to try and prove that the Holy Father is being harshly critical about the Welfare State, himself European, but in a way he does seem to indirectly linking it to the spiritual decay of Europe. Economic situations have moral consequences, and dependence on such institutions has a spiritual consequence. His statement about politicians needing to take responsibility for their economic policies and the idea they can solve all social problems also seems to be a bit of a jab at European governments.

  5. I’ve got a highlighted reading with very short commentary linked at http://culturewarnotes.com.

    The quotes get VERY interesting in articles #55-61. Pope Benedict essentially provides very short thumbnail descriptions of several major world religions and essentially says none of them are really enough to bring about true development. He also points out that education is critical, but unless education is Catholic, it won’t really work. He says both things much more nicely than I have summarized it here, of course, but that’s the gist of it.

    The whole encyclical seems to discuss three interlocking “ecologies” or “economies”: financial, social and natural. God created the natural ecology, man (as sub-Creator) creates the financial, God and man together create the social. Each has its own grammar, each must be treated with respect, but they are linked together. He’s using enormous meta-principles to treat each in its own sphere. [Interesting comment.]

    It very much reminds me of what Isaac Newton did in the Principia Mathematica. In this encyclical, Benedict has created, or at least exposed for study, a theological version of calculus. Subsidiarity is the technique for deriving the solutions. I like Pope John Paul II a lot, but he was NEVER this good…

  6. Jordanes says:

    Tom: It’ll be fun to respond to the reactions of Weigel et al with the quotes from their attacks on the FSSPX and the Fatimites

    It’s interesting the things some people are amused by. . . .

  7. Agnes says:

    I like this very much: “24. Every economic decision has a moral consequence. (37)” That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it?

    Could you forego some fancy meals and donate to a food shelf, Fr. Z? Why am I spending $4 on a fancy coffee after driving past the steady stream of homeless or quasi-homeless that shuffle from the Dorothy Day to the Salvation Army every morning?

    Crap. Leave it to Benedict to make me feel guilt.

    Might be worthwhile to take a snippet each day and mull it over with a pen and paper (if people still use those). This is really good journaling fodder. [Start a blog of your own? It’s free and you can journal there all you want!]

  8. H B Palmaer says:

    “Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance. (62)”

    Let put this in perspective, simply by changing the scale: Any stranger who knocks on your door and wants in … possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.

    Isn’t this a very odd way of describing Church teaching i this area? And an equally odd way of describing the problem facing (Western) countries experincing mass immigration from the most remote parts of the world?

  9. magdalene says:

    I printed this summary out and as I leave on vacation with the entire encyclical also printed out, I think it will be of help.

    Thank yoU!

  10. thomas says:

    Section 76 could benefit, I think, by a clarification of the distinction intended between soul and psyche. Perhaps it’s clearer in Italian?

  11. Heather says:

    *The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption*

    Why? I hope the Holy Father hasn’t swallowed the global warming kool-aid.

    *Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country’s international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development.*

    Hmm. Maybe it’s the translation.

  12. Heather says:

    To H B Palmaer: in keeping with your stranger analogy, every stranger who knocks on your door has inalienable rights that must be respected, however, that doesn’t mean he’s entitled to live under your roof, sit at your table, receive an equal share of what you give your children, and call you Daddy.

  13. chironomo says:

    2.The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics

    THAT’S IT??? This is the fundamental message of the encyclical! Could the above summary at least define what “this link” is???

    In short…

    Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good.

    IOW… until the question of respect for life is addressed, there can be no true development. The Pope came out and said it very eloquently. It is IMHO the central message of the entire encyclical.

    The lefties will no doubt point to isolated passages of C in V and scream “See… the Pope is decrying Capitalism… the Pope is decrying Capitalism!!…We have to listen to the Pope! We have to build up the UN and form an International Government..”.

    But never will you hear something like “We have to first eliminate ALL abortion and ban embryonic stem-cell research worldwide as a starting point or none of this will work…”.

    Par.#28 cannot be separated out from the rest of this encyclical as though it were simply another plank in a party platform that can be voted on and discarded if not supported. It forms the moral and ethical foundation of the entire message.

  14. Maureen says:

    Re: energy consumption

    In general, Catholic teaching has always been against wasting anything. So yeah, it’s not a good idea to have the radio and the television both on, unless there’s a good reason.

    Also, I suppose that in some countries, if you save on energy consumption, you can wire the extra energy to folks who need it or make energy cheaper (thus helping the poor). Like our energy companies selling their surplus electricity to other energy companies, and thus lowering their customers’ rates.

  15. Charles R. Williams says:

    I find the teaching of the church for the last century about the economy to be long on platitudes and short on concrete guidance. Maybe this is all we should expect. The underlying principles of both socialism and libertarianism are rejected but socialist and libertarian policies are not. Consumerism is a potential problem with free market economics and the social welfare state can violate the principle of subsidiarity. We are left with practical issues where the hierarchy should defer to the laity.

    In my opinion making moral judgments does not help us very much in understanding the current economic crisis nor does it help us prevent future financial crises.

    It is difficult for me to get excited enough about the latest encyclical to read it. The summary and the comments don’t change that.

  16. chironomo says:


    I was a little curious as well how the strengthening of mechanisms for wealth redistribution would promote lasting development…this seems to be what is being said in the passage you quoted. Perhaps it is the translation…”wealth redistribution” in the US at least usually implies the combination of punitive Taxes at the top and Entitlements at the bottom, hardly a formula for promoting lasting development.

    As for the Global-Warming references here, we can only hope that the whole kit-n-kaboodle will be debunked soon enough to stop any long-term damage. There are certainly legitimate concerns about energy and non-renewable resources. One of those concerns is NOT that we are going to turn the planet into a giant crock-pot with ourselves as the stew…I would rather see an argument for what we need to START doing rather than a litany of things we need to STOP doing.

  17. Tim Ferguson says:

    The first thing that I noted in the encyclical is how few footnotes point to anything prior to John XXIII. There is, I believe, one citation of Aquinas, one of Augustine and one of Heraclitus of Ephesus (of whom I have not heard). Nothing of Leo XIII or Pius XI or XII, and nothing of a non-ecclesiastical or non-magisterial nature (like his fantastic use of Nietzsche in Deus Caritas Est).

    I admit I’ve only had the time, thus far, to skim the encyclical, but I have to say that I’m disappointed from the footnote perspective. One of the things I have loved about Benedict’s writings is how, rooted in the concept of the hermeneutic of continuity, he manages to pull the teaching of the Church from a broad spectrum of sources and show the interrelatedness and continuity of it all. The other thing I’ve loved is his way of facing “the world” on its own turf, and showing the genius of the Church in response to the world. I’m not sure that the world will be convinced of anything by more quotations from Populorum progressio without reference to secular economic and socio-political authorities.

    That’s just a gut reaction, and based, as I readily admit, on a mere skimming of the document and the footnotes. I hope that a more thorough reading will change my initial reaction.

  18. james says:

    My opinion – this “Global Authority” to rule over the
    manifold issues outlined in the encyclical… can only
    work if it is of God. Since the Roman Catholic Church is
    the TRUE Church of Jesus Christ, it must be this Guiding
    Light. The references to Catholic education (i.e. REAL
    Catholic education, as opposed to what, in general, exists
    as “parochial” today) to me are more proof that the true
    solution lies in an almost Distributist/Social Credit/
    Gulid System type of society as promoted by Chesterton,
    Belloc, Fr. Vincent McNabb, and Rerum Novarum.

    And perhaps here, by Pope Benedict.

    To me, Rerum Novarum IS the solution to the problems we
    see today. Following the guidelines of this wonderful
    encyclical would bring us all closer to God. Closer
    to the Truth. Closer to a society that actually works, on
    all levels. Neither left nor right, but Catholic. Absolute.
    Holy. Full of Grace.

    Perhaps this is what Pope Benedict is trying to say here,
    in a rather round-about/broad sense? Distributism is, by
    nature, all ORGANIC re-distribution of wealth….

    Also… Climate Change… as an issue… If we can get
    our political hats off… The fact is, pollution and
    destruction of natural habitiats, streams, landscapes
    (i.e the Tar Sands in my beloevd Alberta)… are, for the
    most part, anti-Catholic acts, driven by profit (note – I
    say for the most part). I see global cooling as the
    probable end. Clearly industrialization has not only
    destroyed the Catholic Family, but God’s creation. For
    profit. It is not a political issue. It is a Catholic

    Simple Living. Gospel Poverty. Benedictine principles.
    All quite Traditional. I am a Traditional FSSP, by the way/
    A parishioner, I mean. If we turn towards a simpler way
    of life, local living, perhaps even the Guild System
    Rerum Novarum works. Not to mention the broad vision
    of Pope Benedict in this encyclical.

    My opinion, of course!

  19. james says:

    ORGANIC on my last post not related to food production, of
    course, but the best word to use here. (As an aside, I was
    not a fan of the decision to support genetically-modified
    food and induistrial agriculture from the Holy See. But,
    I trust this papacy will bring us organically back to our
    Traditional roots.

  20. Ioannes Andreades says:

    I found the emphasis on solidarity in the encyclical quite interesting. I count its being used 40 times in the encyclical, four times more often than in Populorum Progressio. I found this one though-provoking:
    “The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need,” (58). There is no endnote on this statement, so I presume it is radically Pope Ratzinger’s. As a Lincoln-conservative, I am a big fan of subsidiarity, but I can understand the attractiveness of a sort of dialectic between subsidiarity and solidarity (cf. also 67). The balance of personal initiative with solidarity was present at Gaudium et Spes 75 but is only mentioned briefly.

    For those who are concerned about the world authority, see Fr. Z’s #37. It is interesting to note that Populorum Progressio never uses the term subsidiarity, and Gaudium et Spes uses it once. The pope’s insistence on subidiarity (13 times) and in-depth discussion of it in chapter 57 also makes it clear that he is not interested in socialism and that a world authority’s power needs to be closely defined.

  21. Alice says:

    Tim, footnote 35 is Leo XIII, 135 is Pius XI, 88 is from St. Augustine, 130 St. Thomas Aquinas. Admitted, that’s not a lot, but I think the point of a social encyclical is to give broad suggestion and condemn the actual errors of present day. As an example, look at paragraph 28, which condemns the current problem of exporting contraception and abortion under the guise of “health care”, which was not a common error in the time of Leo XIII or even Pius XI.

  22. Sal says:


    The Holy Father also refers to Quadragesimo anno in note 137 (on subsidiarity – no surprise there).

  23. thomas says:

    It seems caritas in veritate
    Would seek a fond fair goal for far off days:
    To gain just rule by one authority
    While keeping freedom’s subsidarity.

  24. Agnes says:

    Oh, Father Z, I enjoy your blog too much to start my own. [Might be an interesting project for you, however.] Not snipping – just wondering how we’re supposed to apply this. Thank you, james, for “Simple Living. Gospel Poverty. Benedictine principles.” I can certainly learn from that.

  25. Nicholas says:

    While discussing some passages of this encyclical with my wife, passages which have made us both scratch our heads, I did a comparison with the German text (which I presume is the original), and found several glaring gaffes in the English. For instance, the word Anteil in paragraph 39 was translated “quota,” but it makes more sense to me to translate it as “participation.” Also, the passage in paragraph 67 which suggests that the family of nations needs “real teeth” would be better rendered as saying that the family of nations needs “real and concrete form.”

    I suspect we’re being hobbled by a deficient translation.

  26. kgurries says:

    I think the relation between subsidiarity and solidarity becomes manifest when considered in relation to the two kinds of justice (commutative and distributive). The Holy Father seems to say that the first type of justice (commutative) is not the issue at the present moment. What is lacking is the solidarity required for distibutive (social) justice. The “binary” (market + state) model is not sufficent in this sense. This is where he calls for a convergence or synergy between the logic of the market and the “logic of gift”.


    35. In a climate of mutual trust, the market is the economic institution that permits encounter between persons, inasmuch as they are economic subjects who make use of contracts to regulate their relations as they exchange goods and services of equivalent value between them, in order to satisfy their needs and desires. The market is subject to the principles of so-called commutative justice, which regulates the relations of giving and receiving between parties to a transaction. But the social doctrine of the Church has unceasingly highlighted the importance of distributive justice and social justice for the market economy, not only because it belongs within a broader social and political context, but also because of the wider network of relations within which it operates. In fact, if the market is governed solely by the principle of the equivalence in value of exchanged goods, it cannot produce the social cohesion that it requires in order to function well. Without internal forms of solidarity and mutual trust, the market cannot completely fulfil its proper economic function.

  27. I am not Spartacus says:

    Furthermore, the experience of micro-finance, which has its roots in the thinking and activity of the civil humanists — I am thinking especially of the birth of pawnbroking — should be strengthened and fine-tuned

    I haven’t read much commentary on the Pope’s Pro Pawn Broker position but it seems solid to me.

    That aside, I read the entire Encyclical, slowly, and as I read it I had Word opened-up and copied and pasted and made comments as I went along. I thought I’d make a few comments here but I had so much material that I decided to not even make the attempt to synthesise it.

    I do want to write that I was not freaked-out about the Pope proposing to reform The UN so as to, potentially, serve (respecting subsidiarity etc)as the international organ the interdependent world needs.

    It seems to me he is just recognising the reality of globalisation and proposing a reform of The UN to meet the reality while leaving it to experts – certainly not me -to draft proposals and create the structures.

    I do LOVE the idea of having the have-nots have a say in the organisation.

    As far as I could understand it, I thought he Encyclical was brilliant – especially the first five or six paragraphs.

    The entire Encyclical makes me so proud to be a Catholic.

  28. kgurries says:

    …I should add that logic of market corresponds the “principle of equivalence” whereas the logic of gift corresponds to the “principle of gratuitousness”. Pope Benedict seems to stress that both are needed at the same time.

  29. I am not Spartacus says:

    For these reasons, Populorum Progressio, situated within the great current of Tradition, can still speak to us today.

    That use of the capital (pun intended) T really made me sit-up and take notice.

    Who can now boldly claim the Popes have no competence in the area of economics ?

  30. Heather says:

    To I am Not Spartacus,

    Economics is a science. It is neither moral, nor immoral. That is not to say that there isn’t a moral dimension to economic decisions, which certainly fall within the competence of the pope to speak on, but the cause and effect of economics just ‘is’. It is important to make the distinction.

  31. I am not Spartacus says:

    but the cause and effect of economics just ‘is’.

    That may be the ideological position of certain “schools” of economics. It is not the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Note how the Pope situates economics solidly within Love, Truth, Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Progress development etc whereas Capitalism sings hymns to creative destruction.

    Fr Henirich Pesch, S.J. talks about how economics is a human science.

  32. kgurries says:

    Nell-Breuning, a disciple of Pesch and principle drafter of Quadragessimo Anno, has some interesting insights on the relation between economics and other sciences. Scroll down to the heading: “Economics in Relation to other Sciences”


  33. Heather says:

    To I am Not Spartacus,

    I don’t think you really understand what you’re talking about.

    Economics is a science It deals with causal laws. (ex. increase the money supply, prices increase) Just like physics deals with gravity. Just like 2 + 2 =4.

    There is a moral dimension to economic relationships (ex. a butcher being honest in weights and measures, not selling dog in the place of beef) and that is certainly within the realm of papal authority. The best means of ensuring that all butchers are honest in their weights and measures is debatable and does not fall within the scope of papal authority.

  34. I am not Spartacus says:

    I don’t think you really understand what you’re talking about.

    Finally. An area of agreement for us, Heather.

    For the next fortnight I’ll be in a place with no access to a computer and I am leaving shortly so I don’t want to begin a dialogue I can’t finish.

  35. laminustacitus says:

    “That may be the ideological position of certain “schools” of economics. It is not the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church.”
    No, it is the position of the [b]entire[/b] body of economics outside of a couple German historicists with their heads buried in the sand.

    “Fr Henirich Pesch, S.J. talks about how economics is a human science.”
    It is still a science, and thus analyzes the causation, and concatenation of economic phenomena.

  36. Heather says:

    To Laminustacitus: Exactly.

    Another good analogy is when the pope speaks on sacred architecture. No one can argue that what Catholic Churches should look like is within his authority, where the tabernacle goes, placement of the crucifix, etc. But can the pope dogmatically declare the best means of constructing an structurally sound roof? I don’t think so.

  37. Nathan says:

    Steve Kellmeyer: After my first reading, it sure seems like you’re right on target.

    Johnny Domer: I see where your concerns with para 67 might arise. I had a different take-away from the paragraph. While the UN and Blessed John XXXIII are an introduction, the qualities that Pope Benedict places on his vision of international governance are pretty, well, Christian:

    “Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, to seek to establish the common good[147], and to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth.”

    The only historical example that I can think of with commitment to consistent principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, with values of charity in Truth, is medieval Christendom.

    I must stongly qualify my comment, though, because the encylical is rich theological fare and I’m sure I’m not thinking the whole thing through.

    In Christ,

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