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Pope publishes third encyclical, 'Caritas in veritate'

2009-07-07

After two and a half years of work, Benedict XVI has published his third encyclical. In it, he asks that human beings return to the center of state and business interests.

It’s called Caritas in Veritate or Charity in Truth, and it follows Catholic doctrine on social topics like globalization, the economic crisis, and environmental issues.

Benedict XVI asks that the economic model of the west take into account justice and the common good, not just the monetary benefits.

Stefano Zamagni
Economist, University of Bologna (Italia)
"The encyclical sees capitalism in its historic dimension and suggests going beyond it. It highlights the intrinsic limits of capitalism, whose goal is to obtain the greatest possible benefit, and suggests that all society have this goal too".

Card. Renato Martino
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"The whole encyclical talks about ethics. Not only ethics in finances but in all actions by those responsible, because the world cannot be governed without moral principles".

With the title “Charity in Truth,” the pope warns of the dangers of a solidarity that’s merely sentimental, that does not take into account the real needs of people. For example, helping the poor, is helping them to not depend on the stronger one.

Stefano Zamagni
Economist, University of Bologna (Italy)

"If we eliminate debt but don’t fix the structures that produced the debt, then the problems will not go away".

Throughout the encyclical he defends workers rights and the liberty of unions, criticizes the rigidity of intellectual property laws on health patents, and encourages people to take part in the political process.

He asks everyone, from businesses owners to government officials, to make decisions with the common good of all people in mind. For example, he explains that any measure taken that violates the dignity of women, the family, or the unborn is not authentic progress.

He also criticized the politics of demographic control, especially in those countries that impose abortion or sterilization, and denounces organizations that only help countries that restrict or control family planning.

Among the 78 points of the encyclical the pope discusses a variety of topics like ecology, opportunity for work, and healthcare.

Benedict XVI
"Now we must study and go deeper into it".

The pope does not suggest concrete measures to end the economic crisis. He’d rather give general points to be used as guidelines.

It’s a call to the responsibility of each person to guide the progress of humanity.

JMB/RS