New Papal Encyclical on Justice and the Common Good

ATLANTA, July 8 /Christian Newswire/ — Pope Benedict XVI’s first social encyclical, and third in total, Caritas in veritate or Love in Truth was made public Tuesday, July 7, 2009 by the Vatican. In the letter, the pope explains that “charity in truth… is the driving force behind the authentic development of every person and all humanity.” “Through this close link with truth,” said the pope, “charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations, including those of a public nature.” The pope warned that without truth, charity (or love) becomes meaningless, mistreated and vague. However, charity filled with truth “can be shared and communicated.”

“In the present social and cultural context, where there is a widespread tendency to relativize truth, practicing charity in truth helps people to understand that adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful but essential for building a good society and for true integral human development,” wrote Benedict.

The pope emphasizes that “charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine,” and said that this principle takes on “practical forms in the criteria that govern[s] moral action.” The pope reflected on two moral measures that contribute to an increasingly global society: justice and the common good.

“Justice is inseparable from charity,” said the pope. Not only does charity insist on justice–the respect for the rights of all peoples–charity also “transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving,”

The pope also commented on the common good for the individual as well as all of society. “To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally.”

One of the challenges Benedict addressed in Caritas in veritate is the “de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development.” While the pope did not offer procedural solutions to the world’s social problems, he said the Church has “a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity and to his vocations.”

The Maximus Group offers a variety of spokespersons who can comment on Caritas in veritate:

• Fr. Robert Barron — founder of Word on Fire Ministries and the Francis Cardinal George Chair of Faith and Culture at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary;

• Dr. Pia de Solenni — moral theologian and an expert on life issues;

• Dr. Matthew Bunson — Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, is one of the United States’ leading authorities on the papacy and the Church;

• Dr. James Keating — Director of Theological Formation at the Institute of Priestly Formation; and

• Fr. John Bartunek, LC — author and cultural commentator.

Please contact Christine Schicker with The Maximus Group at 404-610-8871 to schedule an interview. To schedule any of these commentators for speaking engagements, please contact Tina Remmert of The Maximus Group at 678-990-9032.

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