(The Encyclical follows the Pope's general audience address just below. For the Encyclical text, click here
(Official Introduction and Summary, and other commentaries at the end of the text: click here)
The Encyclical Abridged by John Gueguen
(A summary of the Encyclical by Jeff Mirus: click here)
Evangelical response: Doing the Truth in Love Click here
ON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN CHARITY AND TRUTH
Pope Benedict comments on his third Encyclical:
The following address Benedict XVI gave July
8, 2009, during the general audience in Paul VI Hall. He
on his third encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate."
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters:
My new encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," which was officially presented yesterday, was fundamentally inspired in a passage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, in which the apostle speaks of acting according to truth in charity: "Rather," we have just heard, "living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ" (4:15).
Charity in truth is, therefore, the principal propelling force for the true development of each person and all of humanity. Because of this, the whole of the Church's social doctrine revolves around the principle "caritas in veritate." Only with charity, enlightened by reason and faith, is it possible to achieve objectives of development with a human and humanizing value. Charity in the truth "is the principle around which the Church's social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action" (No. 6).
In the introduction, the encyclical immediately refers to two fundamental criteria: justice and the common good. Justice is an integral part of this love "in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18), to which the Apostle John exhorts us (cf. No. 6). And "to love someone is to desire that person's good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society. &h ellip; The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbors, the more effectively we love them." Therefore, there are two operative criteria: justice and the common good. In this second element, charity acquires a social dimension. Every Christian, the encyclical says, is called to this charity and, it adds, "This is the institutional path … of charity" (cf. No. 7).
Like other documents of the magisterium, this encyclical also takes up again and goes deeper into the analysis and reflection of the Church on social issues of vital interest to humanity in our times. In a special way, it is linked to what Paul VI wrote now more than 40 years ago in "Populorum Progressio," the cornerstone of the Church's social teaching, in which the great Pontiff outlined certain decisive and ever relevant ideas for the integral development of man and of the modern world. The world situation, as the chronicle of recent mon ths amply demonstrates, continues presenting not a few problems and the "scandal" of outrageous inequalities, which remain despite commitments made in the past. On one hand, signs of grave social and economic inequalities are evident; on the other hand, peoples from all over are calling for reform that will overcome the discrepancy of development among peoples, and this cannot wait.
The phenomenon of globalization can, in this sense, be a real opportunity, but for this, it is important to undertake a profound moral and cultural renewal and responsible discernment of the decisions that must be made for the common good. A better future for everyone is possible, if it is founded on the discovery of fundamental ethical values. A new economic plan is needed that will reshape development in a global way, basing itself on the fundamental ethics of responsibility before God and before man as a creature of God.
The encyclical certainly doesn't look to give technical solutions to the great social problems of the world today -- this is not the role of the Church's magisterium (cf. No. 9). It recalls, however, the great principles that show themselves to be indispensable for building human development in the coming years. Among these: In the first place, attention to the life of the person, considered as the center of all true progress; respect for the right to religious liberty, always closely linked to the development of the person; rejection of a Promethean vision of the human being, which considers him the absolute author of his own destiny. An unlimited trust in the power of technology in the end shows itself to be illusory.
Upright people are needed as much in politics as in the economy, people who are sincerely attentive to the common good. In particular, looking at world emergencies, it is urgent to call the attention of public opinion to the drama of hunger and food security, which affects a considerable porti on of humanity. A drama of such proportions piques our consciences: It must be decisively confronted, eliminating the structural causes that bring it about and promoting agricultural development in the poorest countries.
I am sure that this path of solidarity toward the development of the poorest countries will certainly help to elaborate a solution to the current global crisis. Undoubtedly, the role and political power of the state should be attentively re-evaluated, in an age in which limitations to its sovereignty exist as a result of the new economic-commercial and international financial situation.
And on the other hand, the participation of citizens in national and international politics should not be lacking, thanks as well to a renewed commitment from the associations of workers called to establish new synergies at the local and international level. The means of social communication also have a primary role in this field, to advance dialogue among cult ures and distinct traditions.
In wanting to make a plan for development that is not tainted by the malfunctions and distortions amply present today, serious reflection on the very meaning of the economy and its goals is required from everyone. The ecological state of the planet demands it; the cultural and moral crisis of man that is apparent in every corner of the globe requires it. The economy needs ethics for its correct functioning; it needs to recover the important contribution of the principle of gratuitousness and the "logic of gift" in the economy of the market, in which the norm cannot be personal gain.
But this is only possible thanks to a commitment from everyone, economists and politicians, producers and consumers, and presupposes formation of the conscience that gives strength to moral criteria in the elaboration of political and economic projects. Rightly so, many places pay recourse to the fact that rights presuppose corresponding dut ies, without which rights run the risk of becoming arbitrary.
It is said more and more that it is necessary for all of humanity to have a different style of life, in which the duties of everyone toward the environment are united with those of the person considered in himself and in relation with others. Humanity is one family and fruitful dialogue between faith and reason cannot but enrich it, making the work of charity more effective in society, moreover establishing the appropriate framework to stimulate collaboration between believers and non-believers, in the shared perspective of working for justice and peace in the world.
As guidelines for this fraternal interaction, in the encyclical I indicate the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, which are interconnected. I have indicated, finally, faced with such vast and deep problems in the world of today, the need for a world political Authority regulated by law, which abides by the principles of subsid iarity and solidarity already mentioned and which is firmly oriented toward the fulfillment of the common good, in respect of the great moral and religious traditions of humanity.
The Gospel reminds us that man does not live on bread alone: not just with material goods can he satisfy the deep thirst of his heart. The horizons of man are undoubtedly higher and broader. Because of this, every development program should have present, together with the material, the spiritual growth of the human person, who is gifted with soul and body.
This is integral development, to which the Church's social doctrine constantly refers -- development that has its guiding criteria in the propelling strength of "charity in truth." Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray so that this encyclical too can help humanity to feel that it is one family committed in bringing about a world of justice and peace. Let us pray that believers who work in economics and politics realize h ow important is the coherence of their Gospel testimony in the service they offer society.
In particular, I invite you to pray for the leaders of states and governments of the G-8 who are meeting during these days in L'Aquila. That from this important world summit might come decisions and useful guidelines for the true progress of all peoples, especially of the poorest. Let us entrust these intentions to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church and of humanity.
[The Holy Father then greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today I wish to reflect on my Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. Some forty years after Pope Paul VI's Encyclical Populorum Progressio, it too addresses social themes vital to the well-being of humanity and reminds us that authentic renewal of both individuals and society requires living by Christ’s truth in love (cf . Eph 4:15) which stands at the heart of the Church’s social teaching. The Encyclical does not aim to provide technical solutions to today’s social problems but instead focuses on the principles indispensable for human development. Most important among these is human life itself, the centre of all true progress. Additionally, it speaks of the right to religious freedom as a part of human development, it warns against unbounded hope in technology alone, and it underlines the need for upright men and women -- attentive to the common good -- in both politics and the business world. In regard to matters of particular urgency affecting the word today, the Encyclical addresses a wide range of issues and calls for decisive action to promote food security and agricultural development, as well as respect for the environment and for the rule of law. Stressed is the need for politicians, economists, producers and consumers alike ensure that ethics shape economics so that profit al one does not regulate the world of business. Dear friends: humanity is a single family where every development programme -- if it is to be integral -- must consider the spiritual growth of human persons and the driving force of charity in truth. Let us pray for all those who serve in politics and the management of economies, and in particular let us pray for the Heads of State gathering in Italy for the G8 summit. May their decisions promote true development especially for the world’s poor. Thank you.
ENCYCLICAL LETTER CARITAS IN VERITATE OF POPE BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS, MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS,
THE LAY FAITHFUL AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL
1. Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:22). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).
2. Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones). For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.
I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, with the consequent risk of being misinterpreted, detached from ethical living and, in any event, undervalued. In the social, juridical, cultural, political and economic fields — the contexts, in other words, that are most exposed to this danger — it is easily dismissed as irrelevant for interpreting and giving direction to moral responsibility. Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.
3. Through this close link with truth, 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. Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space. In the truth, charity reflects the personal yet public dimension of faith in the God of the Bible, who is both Agápe and Lógos: Charity and Truth, Love and Word.
4. Because it is filled with truth, charity can be understood in the abundance of its values, it can be shared and communicated. Truth, in fact, is lógos which creates diá-logos, and hence communication and communion. Truth, by enabling men and women to let go of their subjective opinions and impressions, allows them to move beyond cultural and historical limitations and to come together in the assessment of the value and substance of things. Truth opens and unites our minds in the lógos of love: this is the Christian proclamation and testimony of charity. In the present social and cultural context, where there is a widespread tendency to relativize truth, practising 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. A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance. In other words, there would no longer be any real place for God in the world. Without truth, charity is confined to a narrow field devoid of relations. It is excluded from the plans and processes of promoting human development of universal range, in dialogue between knowledge and praxis.
5. Charity is love received and given. It is “grace” (cháris). Its source is the wellspring of the Father's love for the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Love comes down to us from the Son. It is creative love, through which we have our being; it is redemptive love, through which we are recreated. Love is revealed and made present by Christ (cf. Jn 13:1) and “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). As the objects of God's love, men and women become subjects of charity, they are called to make themselves instruments of grace, so as to pour forth God's charity and to weave networks of charity.
This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church's social teaching, which is caritas in veritate in re sociali: the proclamation of the truth of Christ's love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth. Truth preserves and expresses charity's power to liberate in the ever-changing events of history. It is at the same time the truth of faith and of reason, both in the distinction and also in the convergence of those two cognitive fields. Development, social well-being, the search for a satisfactory solution to the grave socio-economic problems besetting humanity, all need this truth. What they need even more is that this truth should be loved and demonstrated. Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present.
6. “Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church's social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action. I would like to consider two of these in particular, of special relevance to the commitment to development in an increasingly globalized society: justice and the common good.
First of all, justice. Ubi societas, ibi ius: every society draws up its own system of justice. Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting. I cannot “give” what is mine to the other, without first giving him what pertains to him in justice. If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is inseparable from charity, and intrinsic to it. Justice is the primary way of charity or, in Paul VI's words, “the minimum measure” of it, an integral part of the love “in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18), to which Saint John exhorts us. On the one hand, charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples. It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice. On the other hand, charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving. The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God's love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world.
7. Another important consideration is the common good. To love someone is to desire that person's good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. It is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. 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, making it the pólis, or “city”. The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them. Every Christian is called to practise this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis. This is the institutional path — we might also call it the political path — of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbour directly, outside the institutional mediation of the pólis. When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have. Like all commitment to justice, it has a place within the testimony of divine charity that paves the way for eternity through temporal action. Man's earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.
8. In 1967, when he issued the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, my venerable predecessor Pope Paul VI illuminated the great theme of the development of peoples with the splendour of truth and the gentle light of Christ's charity. He taught that life in Christ is the first and principal factor of development and he entrusted us with the task of travelling the path of development with all our heart and all our intelligence, that is to say with the ardour of charity and the wisdom of truth. It is the primordial truth of God's love, grace bestowed upon us, that opens our lives to gift and makes it possible to hope for a “development of the whole man and of all men”, to hope for progress “from less human conditions to those which are more human”, obtained by overcoming the difficulties that are inevitably encountered along the way.
At a distance of over forty years from the Encyclical's publication, I intend to pay tribute and to honour the memory of the great Pope Paul VI, revisiting his teachings on integral human development and taking my place within the path that they marked out, so as to apply them to the present moment. This continual application to contemporary circumstances began with the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, with which the Servant of God Pope John Paul II chose to mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Populorum Progressio. Until that time, only Rerum Novarum had been commemorated in this way. Now that a further twenty years have passed, I express my conviction that Populorum Progressio deserves to be considered “the Rerum Novarum of the present age”, shedding light upon humanity's journey towards unity.
9. Love in truth — caritas in veritate — is a great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized. The risk for our time is that 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. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value. The sharing of goods and resources, from which authentic development proceeds, is not guaranteed by merely technical progress and relationships of utility, but by the potential of love that overcomes evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), opening up the path towards reciprocity of consciences and liberties.
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.
THE MESSAGE OF POPULORUM PROGRESSIO
10. A fresh reading of Populorum Progressio, more than forty years after its publication, invites us to remain faithful to its message of charity and truth, viewed within the overall context of Paul VI's specific magisterium and, more generally, within the tradition of the Church's social doctrine. Moreover, an evaluation is needed of the different terms in which the problem of development is presented today, as compared with forty years ago. The correct viewpoint, then, is that of the Tradition of the apostolic faith, a patrimony both ancient and new, outside of which Populorum Progressio would be a document without roots — and issues concerning development would be reduced to merely sociological data.
11. The publication of Populorum Progressio occurred immediately after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and in its opening paragraphs it clearly indicates its close connection with the Council. Twenty years later, in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, John Paul II, in his turn, emphasized the earlier Encyclical's fruitful relationship with the Council, and especially with the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes. I too wish to recall here the importance of the Second Vatican Council for Paul VI's Encyclical and for the whole of the subsequent social Magisterium of the Popes. The Council probed more deeply what had always belonged to the truth of the faith, namely that the Church, being at God's service, is at the service of the world in terms of love and truth. Paul VI set out from this vision in order to convey two important truths. The first is that the whole Church, in all her being and acting — when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity — is engaged in promoting integral human development. She has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities: all the energy she brings to the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity is manifested when she is able to operate in a climate of freedom. In not a few cases, that freedom is impeded by prohibitions and persecutions, or it is limited when the Church's public presence is reduced to her charitable activities alone. The second truth is that authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension. Without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space. Enclosed within history, it runs the risk of being reduced to the mere accumulation of wealth; humanity thus loses the courage to be at the service of higher goods, at the service of the great and disinterested initiatives called forth by universal charity. Man does not develop through his own powers, nor can development simply be handed to him. In the course of history, it was often maintained that the creation of institutions was sufficient to guarantee the fulfilment of humanity's right to development. Unfortunately, too much confidence was placed in those institutions, as if they were able to deliver the desired objective automatically. In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone. Moreover, such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development. Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature, to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that “becomes concern and care for the other.”
12. The link between Populorum Progressio and the Second Vatican Council does not mean that Paul VI's social magisterium marked a break with that of previous Popes, because the Council constitutes a deeper exploration of this magisterium within the continuity of the Church's life. In this sense, clarity is not served by certain abstract subdivisions of the Church's social doctrine, which apply categories to Papal social teaching that are extraneous to it. 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. It is one thing to draw attention to the particular characteristics of one Encyclical or another, of the teaching of one Pope or another, but quite another to lose sight of the coherence of the overall doctrinal corpus. Coherence does not mean a closed system: on the contrary, it means dynamic faithfulness to a light received. The Church's social doctrine illuminates with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging. This safeguards the permanent and historical character of the doctrinal “patrimony” which, with its specific characteristics, is part and parcel of the Church's ever-living Tradition. Social doctrine is built on the foundation handed on by the Apostles to the Fathers of the Church, and then received and further explored by the great Christian doctors. This doctrine points definitively to the New Man, to the “last Adam [who] became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45), the principle of the charity that “never ends” (1 Cor 13:8). It is attested by the saints and by those who gave their lives for Christ our Saviour in the field of justice and peace. It is an expression of the prophetic task of the Supreme Pontiffs to give apostolic guidance to the Church of Christ and to discern the new demands of evangelization. For these reasons, Populorum Progressio, situated within the great current of Tradition, can still speak to us today.
13. In addition to its important link with the entirety of the Church's social doctrine, Populorum Progressio is closely connected to the overall magisterium of Paul VI, especially his social magisterium. His was certainly a social teaching of great importance: he underlined the indispensable importance of the Gospel for building a society according to freedom and justice, in the ideal and historical perspective of a civilization animated by love. Paul VI clearly understood that the social question had become worldwide  and he grasped the interconnection between the impetus towards the unification of humanity and the Christian ideal of a single family of peoples in solidarity and fraternity. In the notion of development, understood in human and Christian terms, he identified the heart of the Christian social message, and he proposed Christian charity as the principal force at the service of development. Motivated by the wish to make Christ's love fully visible to contemporary men and women, Paul VI addressed important ethical questions robustly, without yielding to the cultural weaknesses of his time.
14. In his Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens of 1971, Paul VI reflected on the meaning of politics, and the danger constituted by utopian and ideological visions that place its ethical and human dimensions in jeopardy. These are matters closely connected with development. Unfortunately the negative ideologies continue to flourish. Paul VI had already warned against the technocratic ideology so prevalent today, fully aware of the great danger of entrusting the entire process of development to technology alone, because in that way it would lack direction. Technology, viewed in itself, is ambivalent. If on the one hand, some today would be inclined to entrust the entire process of development to technology, on the other hand we are witnessing an upsurge of ideologies that deny in toto the very value of development, viewing it as radically anti-human and merely a source of degradation. This leads to a rejection, not only of the distorted and unjust way in which progress is sometimes directed, but also of scientific discoveries themselves, which, if well used, could serve as an opportunity of growth for all. The idea of a world without development indicates a lack of trust in man and in God. It is therefore a serious mistake to undervalue human capacity to exercise control over the deviations of development or to overlook the fact that man is constitutionally oriented towards “being more”. Idealizing technical progress, or contemplating the utopia of a return to humanity's original natural state, are two contrasting ways of detaching progress from its moral evaluation and hence from our responsibility.
15. Two further documents by Paul VI without any direct link to social doctrine — the Encyclical Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968) and the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975) — are highly important for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes. It is therefore helpful to consider these texts too in relation to Populorum Progressio.
The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life. This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II's Encyclical Evangelium Vitae. The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that “a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.”
The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, for its part, is very closely linked with development, given that, in Paul VI's words, “evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man's concrete life, both personal and social.” “Between evangelization and human advancement — development and liberation — there are in fact profound links”: on the basis of this insight, Paul VI clearly presented the relationship between the proclamation of Christ and the advancement of the individual in society. Testimony to Christ's charity, through works of justice, peace and development, is part and parcel of evangelization, because Jesus Christ, who loves us, is concerned with the whole person. These important teachings form the basis for the missionary aspect of the Church's social doctrine, which is an essential element of evangelization. The Church's social doctrine proclaims and bears witness to faith. It is an instrument and an indispensable setting for formation in faith.
16. In Populorum Progressio, Paul VI taught that progress, in its origin and essence, is first and foremost a vocation: “in the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfil himself, for every life is a vocation.” This is what gives legitimacy to the Church's involvement in the whole question of development. If development were concerned with merely technical aspects of human life, and not with the meaning of man's pilgrimage through history in company with his fellow human beings, nor with identifying the goal of that journey, then the Church would not be entitled to speak on it. Paul VI, like Leo XIII before him in Rerum Novarum, knew that he was carrying out a duty proper to his office by shedding the light of the Gospel on the social questions of his time.
To regard development as a vocation is to recognize, on the one hand, that it derives from a transcendent call, and on the other hand that it is incapable, on its own, of supplying its ultimate meaning. Not without reason the word “vocation” is also found in another passage of the Encyclical, where we read: “There is no true humanism but that which is open to the Absolute, and is conscious of a vocation which gives human life its true meaning.” This vision of development is at the heart of Populorum Progressio, and it lies behind all Paul VI's reflections on freedom, on truth and on charity in development. It is also the principal reason why that Encyclical is still timely in our day.
17. A vocation is a call that requires a free and responsible answer. Integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples: no structure can guarantee this development over and above human responsibility. The “types of messianism which give promises but create illusions” always build their case on a denial of the transcendent dimension of development, in the conviction that it lies entirely at their disposal. This false security becomes a weakness, because it involves reducing man to subservience, to a mere means for development, while the humility of those who accept a vocation is transformed into true autonomy, because it sets them free. Paul VI was in no doubt that obstacles and forms of conditioning hold up development, but he was also certain that “each one remains, whatever be these influences affecting him, the principal agent of his own success or failure.” This freedom concerns the type of development we are considering, but it also affects situations of underdevelopment which are not due to chance or historical necessity, but are attributable to human responsibility. This is why “the peoples in hunger are making a dramatic appeal to the peoples blessed with abundance”. This too is a vocation, a call addressed by free subjects to other free subjects in favour of an assumption of shared responsibility. Paul VI had a keen sense of the importance of economic structures and institutions, but he had an equally clear sense of their nature as instruments of human freedom. Only when it is free can development be integrally human; only in a climate of responsible freedom can it grow in a satisfactory manner.
18. Besides requiring freedom, integral human development as a vocation also demands respect for its truth. The vocation to progress drives us to “do more, know more and have more in order to be more”. But herein lies the problem: what does it mean “to be more”? Paul VI answers the question by indicating the essential quality of “authentic” development: it must be “integral, that is, it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man”. Amid the various competing anthropological visions put forward in today's society, even more so than in Paul VI's time, the Christian vision has the particular characteristic of asserting and justifying the unconditional value of the human person and the meaning of his growth. The Christian vocation to development helps to promote the advancement of all men and of the whole man. As Paul VI wrote: “What we hold important is man, each man and each group of men, and we even include the whole of humanity”. In promoting development, the Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, nor even on the merits of Christians (even though these existed and continue to exist alongside their natural limitations), but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed. The Gospel is fundamental for development, because in the Gospel, Christ, “in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals humanity to itself”. Taught by her Lord, the Church examines the signs of the times and interprets them, offering the world “what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race”. Precisely because God gives a resounding “yes” to man, man cannot fail to open himself to the divine vocation to pursue his own development. The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development. This is the central message of Populorum Progressio, valid for today and for all time. Integral human development on the natural plane, as a response to a vocation from God the Creator, demands self-fulfilment in a “transcendent humanism which gives [to man] his greatest possible perfection: this is the highest goal of personal development”. The Christian vocation to this development therefore applies to both the natural plane and the supernatural plane; which is why, “when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose and the ‘good' begins to wane”.
19. Finally, the vision of development as a vocation brings with it the central place of charity within that development. Paul VI, in his Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, pointed out that the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order. He invited us to search for them in other dimensions of the human person: first of all, in the will, which often neglects the duties of solidarity; secondly in thinking, which does not always give proper direction to the will. Hence, in the pursuit of development, there is a need for “the deep thought and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew”. But that is not all. Underdevelopment has an even more important cause than lack of deep thought: it is “the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples”. Will it ever be possible to obtain this brotherhood by human effort alone? As society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers. Reason, by itself, is capable of grasping the equality between men and of giving stability to their civic coexistence, but it cannot establish fraternity. This originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is. Paul VI, presenting the various levels in the process of human development, placed at the summit, after mentioning faith, “unity in the charity of Christ who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all”.
20. These perspectives, which Populorum Progressio opens up, remain fundamental for giving breathing-space and direction to our commitment for the development of peoples. Moreover, Populorum Progressio repeatedly underlines the urgent need for reform, and in the face of great problems of injustice in the development of peoples, it calls for courageous action to be taken without delay. This urgency is also a consequence of charity in truth. It is Christ's charity that drives us on: “caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5:14). The urgency is inscribed not only in things, it is not derived solely from the rapid succession of events and problems, but also from the very matter that is at stake: the establishment of authentic fraternity.
The importance of this goal is such as to demand our openness to understand it in depth and to mobilize ourselves at the level of the “heart”, so as to ensure that current economic and social processes evolve towards fully human outcomes.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN OUR TIME
21. Paul VI had an articulated vision of development. He understood the term to indicate the goal of rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy. From the economic point of view, this meant their active participation, on equal terms, in the international economic process; from the social point of view, it meant their evolution into educated societies marked by solidarity; from the political point of view, it meant the consolidation of democratic regimes capable of ensuring freedom and peace. After so many years, as we observe with concern the developments and perspectives of the succession of crises that afflict the world today, we ask to what extent Paul VI's expectations have been fulfilled by the model of development adopted in recent decades. We recognize, therefore, that the Church had good reason to be concerned about the capacity of a purely technological society to set realistic goals and to make good use of the instruments at its disposal. Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. 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. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable. It is true that growth has taken place, and it continues to be a positive factor that has lifted billions of people out of misery — recently it has given many countries the possibility of becoming effective players in international politics. Yet it must be acknowledged that this same economic growth has been and continues to be weighed down by malfunctions and dramatic problems, highlighted even further by the current crisis. This presents us with choices that cannot be postponed concerning nothing less than the destiny of man, who, moreover, cannot prescind from his nature. The technical forces in play, the global interrelations, the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing, large-scale migration of peoples, often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention, the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources: all this leads us today to reflect on the measures that would be necessary to provide a solution to problems that are not only new in comparison to those addressed by Pope Paul VI, but also, and above all, of decisive impact upon the present and future good of humanity. The different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. The complexity and gravity of the present economic situation rightly cause us concern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future. The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones. The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. In this spirit, with confidence rather than resignation, it is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time.
22. Today the picture of development has many overlapping layers. The actors and the causes in both underdevelopment and development are manifold, the faults and the merits are differentiated. This fact should prompt us to liberate ourselves from ideologies, which often oversimplify reality in artificial ways, and it should lead us to examine objectively the full human dimension of the problems. As John Paul II has already observed, the demarcation line between rich and poor countries is no longer as clear as it was at the time of Populorum Progressio. The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of “superdevelopment” of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation. “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. International aid has often been diverted from its proper ends, through irresponsible actions both within the chain of donors and within that of the beneficiaries. Similarly, in the context of immaterial or cultural causes of development and underdevelopment, we find these same patterns of responsibility reproduced. On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care. At the same time, in some poor countries, cultural models and social norms of behaviour persist which hinder the process of development.
23. Many areas of the globe today have evolved considerably, albeit in problematical and disparate ways, thereby taking their place among the great powers destined to play important roles in the future. Yet it should be stressed that progress of a merely economic and technological kind is insufficient. Development needs above all to be true and integral. The mere fact of emerging from economic backwardness, though positive in itself, does not resolve the complex issues of human advancement, neither for the countries that are spearheading such progress, nor for those that are already economically developed, nor even for those that are still poor, which can suffer not just through old forms of exploitation, but also from the negative consequences of a growth that is marked by irregularities and imbalances.
After the collapse of the economic and political systems of the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the end of the so-called opposing blocs, a complete re-examination of development was needed. Pope John Paul II called for it, when in 1987 he pointed to the existence of these blocs as one of the principal causes of underdevelopment, inasmuch as politics withdrew resources from the economy and from the culture, and ideology inhibited freedom. Moreover, in 1991, after the events of 1989, he asked that, in view of the ending of the blocs, there should be a comprehensive new plan for development, not only in those countries, but also in the West and in those parts of the world that were in the process of evolving. This has been achieved only in part, and it is still a real duty that needs to be discharged, perhaps by means of the choices that are necessary to overcome current economic problems.
24. The world that Paul VI had before him — even though society had already evolved to such an extent that he could speak of social issues in global terms — was still far less integrated than today's world. Economic activity and the political process were both largely conducted within the same geographical area, and could therefore feed off one another. Production took place predominantly within national boundaries, and financial investments had somewhat limited circulation outside the country, so that the politics of many States could still determine the priorities of the economy and to some degree govern its performance using the instruments at their disposal. Hence Populorum Progressio assigned a central, albeit not exclusive, role to “public authorities”.
In our own day, the State finds itself having to address the limitations to its sovereignty imposed by the new context of international trade and finance, which is characterized by increasing mobility both of financial capital and means of production, material and immaterial. This new context has altered the political power of States.
Today, as we take to heart the lessons of the current economic crisis, which sees the State's public authorities directly involved in correcting errors and malfunctions, it seems more realistic to re-evaluate their role and their powers, which need to be prudently reviewed and remodelled so as to enable them, perhaps through new forms of engagement, to address the challenges of today's world. Once the role of public authorities has been more clearly defined, one could foresee an increase in the new forms of political participation, nationally and internationally, that have come about through the activity of organizations operating in civil society; in this way it is to be hoped that the citizens' interest and participation in the res publica will become more deeply rooted.
25. From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI's day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today's profoundly changed environment. 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. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State. Systems of social security can lose the capacity to carry out their task, both in emerging countries and in those that were among the earliest to develop, as well as in poor countries. Here budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers' associations. 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, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.
The mobility of labour, associated with a climate of deregulation, is an important phenomenon with certain positive aspects, because it can stimulate wealth production and cultural exchange. Nevertheless, uncertainty over working conditions caused by mobility and deregulation, when it becomes endemic, tends to create new forms of psychological instability, giving rise to difficulty in forging coherent life-plans, including that of marriage. This leads to situations of human decline, to say nothing of the waste of social resources. In comparison with the casualties of industrial society in the past, unemployment today provokes new forms of economic marginalization, and the current crisis can only make this situation worse. 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. I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world's economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: “Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life”.
26. On the cultural plane, compared with Paul VI's day, the difference is even more marked. At that time cultures were relatively well defined and had greater opportunity to defend themselves against attempts to merge them into one. Today the possibilities of interaction between cultures have increased significantly, giving rise to new openings for intercultural dialogue: a dialogue that, if it is to be effective, has to set out from a deep-seated knowledge of the specific identity of the various dialogue partners. Let it not be forgotten that the increased commercialization of cultural exchange today leads to a twofold danger. First, one may observe a cultural eclecticism that is often assumed uncritically: cultures are simply placed alongside one another and viewed as substantially equivalent and interchangeable. This easily yields to a relativism that does not serve true intercultural dialogue; on the social plane, cultural relativism has the effect that cultural groups coexist side by side, but remain separate, with no authentic dialogue and therefore with no true integration. Secondly, the opposite danger exists, that of cultural levelling and indiscriminate acceptance of types of conduct and life-styles. In this way one loses sight of the profound significance of the culture of different nations, of the traditions of the various peoples, by which the individual defines himself in relation to life's fundamental questions. What eclecticism and cultural levelling have in common is the separation of culture from human nature. Thus, cultures can no longer define themselves within a nature that transcends them, and man ends up being reduced to a mere cultural statistic. When this happens, humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation.
27. Life in many poor countries is still extremely insecure as a consequence of food shortages, and the situation could become worse: hunger still reaps enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man's table, contrary to the hopes expressed by Paul VI. Feed the hungry (cf. Mt 25: 35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church, as she responds to the teachings of her Founder, the Lord Jesus, concerning solidarity and the sharing of goods. Moreover, the elimination of world hunger has also, in the global era, become a requirement for safeguarding the peace and stability of the planet. Hunger is not so much dependent on lack of material things as on shortage of social resources, the most important of which are institutional. What is missing, in other words, is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water for nutritional needs, and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises, whether due to natural causes or political irresponsibility, nationally and internationally. 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. This can be done by investing in rural infrastructures, irrigation systems, transport, organization of markets, and in the development and dissemination of agricultural technology that can make the best use of the human, natural and socio-economic resources that are more readily available at the local level, while guaranteeing their sustainability over the long term as well. All this needs to be accomplished with the involvement of local communities in choices and decisions that affect the use of agricultural land. In this perspective, it could be useful to consider the new possibilities that are opening up through proper use of traditional as well as innovative farming techniques, always assuming that these have been judged, after sufficient testing, to be appropriate, respectful of the environment and attentive to the needs of the most deprived peoples. At the same time, the question of equitable agrarian reform in developing countries should not be ignored. The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination. It is important, moreover, to emphasize that solidarity with poor countries in the process of development can point towards a solution of the current global crisis, as politicians and directors of international institutions have begun to sense in recent times. Through support for economically poor countries by means of financial plans inspired by solidarity — so that these countries can take steps to satisfy their own citizens' demand for consumer goods and for development — not only can true economic growth be generated, but a contribution can be made towards sustaining the productive capacities of rich countries that risk being compromised by the crisis.
28. 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. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.
Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. 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.
Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition.
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. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.
29. There is another aspect of modern life that is very closely connected to development: the denial of the right to religious freedom. I am not referring simply to the struggles and conflicts that continue to be fought in the world for religious motives, even if at times the religious motive is merely a cover for other reasons, such as the desire for domination and wealth. Today, in fact, people frequently kill in the holy name of God, as both my predecessor John Paul II and I myself have often publicly acknowledged and lamented. Violence puts the brakes on authentic development and impedes the evolution of peoples towards greater socio-economic and spiritual well-being. This applies especially to terrorism motivated by fundamentalism, which generates grief, destruction and death, obstructs dialogue between nations and diverts extensive resources from their peaceful and civil uses.
Yet it should be added that, as well as religious fanaticism that in some contexts impedes the exercise of the right to religious freedom, so too the deliberate promotion of religious indifference or practical atheism on the part of many countries obstructs the requirements for the development of peoples, depriving them of spiritual and human resources. God is the guarantor of man's true development, inasmuch as, having created him in his image, he also establishes the transcendent dignity of men and women and feeds their innate yearning to “be more”. Man is not a lost atom in a random universe: he is God's creature, whom God chose to endow with an immortal soul and whom he has always loved. If man were merely the fruit of either chance or necessity, or if he had to lower his aspirations to the limited horizon of the world in which he lives, if all reality were merely history and culture, and man did not possess a nature destined to transcend itself in a supernatural life, then one could speak of growth, or evolution, but not development. When the State promotes, teaches, or actually imposes forms of practical atheism, it deprives its citizens of the moral and spiritual strength that is indispensable for attaining integral human development and it impedes them from moving forward with renewed dynamism as they strive to offer a more generous human response to divine love. In the context of cultural, commercial or political relations, it also sometimes happens that economically developed or emerging countries export this reductive vision of the person and his destiny to poor countries. This is the damage that “superdevelopment” causes to authentic development when it is accompanied by “moral underdevelopment”.
30. In this context, the theme of integral human development takes on an even broader range of meanings: the correlation between its multiple elements requires a commitment to foster the interaction of the different levels of human knowledge in order to promote the authentic development of peoples. Often it is thought that development, or the socio-economic measures that go with it, merely require to be implemented through joint action. This joint action, however, needs to be given direction, because “all social action involves a doctrine”. In view of the complexity of the issues, it is obvious that the various disciplines have to work together through an orderly interdisciplinary exchange. Charity does not exclude knowledge, but rather requires, promotes, and animates it from within. Knowledge is never purely the work of the intellect. It can certainly be reduced to calculation and experiment, but if it aspires to be wisdom capable of directing man in the light of his first beginnings and his final ends, it must be “seasoned” with the “salt” of charity. Deeds without knowledge are blind, and knowledge without love is sterile. Indeed, “the individual who is animated by true charity labours skilfully to discover the causes of misery, to find the means to combat it, to overcome it resolutely”. Faced with the phenomena that lie before us, charity in truth requires first of all that we know and understand, acknowledging and respecting the specific competence of every level of knowledge. Charity is not an added extra, like an appendix to work already concluded in each of the various disciplines: it engages them in dialogue from the very beginning. The demands of love do not contradict those of reason. Human knowledge is insufficient and the conclusions of science cannot indicate by themselves the path towards integral human development. There is always a need to push further ahead: this is what is required by charity in truth. Going beyond, however, never means prescinding from the conclusions of reason, nor contradicting its results. Intelligence and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in intelligence and intelligence is full of love.
31. This means that moral evaluation and scientific research must go hand in hand, and that charity must animate them in a harmonious interdisciplinary whole, marked by unity and distinction. The Church's social doctrine, which has “an important interdisciplinary dimension”, can exercise, in this perspective, a function of extraordinary effectiveness. It allows faith, theology, metaphysics and science to come together in a collaborative effort in the service of humanity. It is here above all that the Church's social doctrine displays its dimension of wisdom. Paul VI had seen clearly that among the causes of underdevelopment there is a lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis, for which “a clear vision of all economic, social, cultural and spiritual aspects” is required. The excessive segmentation of knowledge, the rejection of metaphysics by the human sciences, the difficulties encountered by dialogue between science and theology are damaging not only to the development of knowledge, but also to the development of peoples, because these things make it harder to see the integral good of man in its various dimensions. The “broadening [of] our concept of reason and its application” is indispensable if we are to succeed in adequately weighing all the elements involved in the question of development and in the solution of socio-economic problems.
32. The significant new elements in the picture of the development of peoples today in many cases demand new solutions. These need to be found together, respecting the laws proper to each element and in the light of an integral vision of man, reflecting the different aspects of the human person, contemplated through a lens purified by charity. Remarkable convergences and possible solutions will then come to light, without any fundamental component of human life being obscured.
The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner, and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone. All things considered, this is also required by “economic logic”. Through the systemic increase of social inequality, both within a single country and between the populations of different countries (i.e. the massive increase in relative poverty), not only does social cohesion suffer, thereby placing democracy at risk, but so too does the economy, through the progressive erosion of “social capital”: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence.
Economic science tells us that structural insecurity generates anti-productive attitudes wasteful of human resources, inasmuch as workers tend to adapt passively to automatic mechanisms, rather than to release creativity. On this point too, there is a convergence between economic science and moral evaluation. Human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs.
It should be remembered that the reduction of cultures to the technological dimension, even if it favours short-term profits, in the long term impedes reciprocal enrichment and the dynamics of cooperation. It is important to distinguish between short- and long-term economic or sociological considerations. 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. Moreover, the human consequences of current tendencies towards a short-term economy — sometimes very short-term — need to be carefully evaluated. This requires further and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals, as well as a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations. This is demanded, in any case, by the earth's state of ecological health; above all it is required by the cultural and moral crisis of man, the symptoms of which have been evident for some time all over the world.
33. More than forty years after Populorum Progressio, its basic theme, namely progress, remains an open question, made all the more acute and urgent by the current economic and financial crisis. If some areas of the globe, with a history of poverty, have experienced remarkable changes in terms of their economic growth and their share in world production, other zones are still living in a situation of deprivation comparable to that which existed at the time of Paul VI, and in some cases one can even speak of a deterioration. It is significant that some of the causes of this situation were identified in Populorum Progressio, such as the high tariffs imposed by economically developed countries, which still make it difficult for the products of poor countries to gain a foothold in the markets of rich countries. Other causes, however, mentioned only in passing in the Encyclical, have since emerged with greater clarity. A case in point would be the evaluation of the process of decolonization, then at its height. Paul VI hoped to see the journey towards autonomy unfold freely and in peace. More than forty years later, we must acknowledge how difficult this journey has been, both because of new forms of colonialism and continued dependence on old and new foreign powers, and because of grave irresponsibility within the very countries that have achieved independence.
The principal new feature has been the explosion of worldwide interdependence, commonly known as globalization. Paul VI had partially foreseen it, but the ferocious pace at which it has evolved could not have been anticipated. Originating within economically developed countries, this process by its nature has spread to include all economies. It has been the principal driving force behind the emergence from underdevelopment of whole regions, and in itself it represents a great opportunity. Nevertheless, without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family. Hence charity and truth confront us with an altogether new and creative challenge, one that is certainly vast and complex. It is about broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces, animating them within the perspective of that “civilization of love” whose seed God has planted in every people, in every culture.
FRATERNITY, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
34. Charity in truth places man before the astonishing experience of gift. Gratuitousness is present in our lives in many different forms, which often go unrecognized because of a purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life. The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension. Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that follows from being selfishly closed in upon himself, and it is a consequence — to express it in faith terms — of original sin. The Church's wisdom has always pointed to the presence of original sin in social conditions and in the structure of society: “Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals”. In the list of areas where the pernicious effects of sin are evident, the economy has been included for some time now. We have a clear proof of this at the present time. The conviction that man is self-sufficient and can successfully eliminate the evil present in history by his own action alone has led him to confuse happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material prosperity and social action. Then, the conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from “influences” of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way. In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise. As I said in my Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, history is thereby deprived of Christian hope, deprived of a powerful social resource at the service of integral human development, sought in freedom and in justice. Hope encourages reason and gives it the strength to direct the will. It is already present in faith, indeed it is called forth by faith. Charity in truth feeds on hope and, at the same time, manifests it. As the absolutely gratuitous gift of God, hope bursts into our lives as something not due to us, something that transcends every law of justice. Gift by its nature goes beyond merit, its rule is that of superabundance. It takes first place in our souls as a sign of God's presence in us, a sign of what he expects from us. Truth — which is itself gift, in the same way as charity — is greater than we are, as Saint Augustine teaches. Likewise the truth of ourselves, of our personal conscience, is first of all given to us. In every cognitive process, truth is not something that we produce, it is always found, or better, received. Truth, like love, “is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings”.
Because it is a gift received by everyone, charity in truth is a force that builds community, it brings all people together without imposing barriers or limits. The human community that we build by ourselves can never, purely by its own strength, be a fully fraternal community, nor can it overcome every division and become a truly universal community. The unity of the human race, a fraternal communion transcending every barrier, is called into being by the word of God-who-is-Love. In addressing this key question, we must make it clear, on the one hand, that the logic of gift does not exclude justice, nor does it merely sit alongside it as a second element added from without; on the other hand, economic, social and political development, if it is to be authentically human, needs to make room for the principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity.
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. And today it is this trust which has ceased to exist, and the loss of trust is a grave loss. It was timely when Paul VI in Populorum Progressio insisted that the economic system itself would benefit from the wide-ranging practice of justice, inasmuch as the first to gain from the development of poor countries would be rich ones. According to the Pope, it was not just a matter of correcting dysfunctions through assistance. The poor are not to be considered a “burden”, but a resource, even from the purely economic point of view. It is nevertheless erroneous to hold that the market economy has an inbuilt need for a quota of poverty and underdevelopment in order to function at its best. It is in the interests of the market to promote emancipation, but in order to do so effectively, it cannot rely only on itself, because it is not able to produce by itself something that lies outside its competence. It must draw its moral energies from other subjects that are capable of generating them.
36. 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. Therefore, it must be borne in mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.
The Church has always held that economic action is not to be regarded as something opposed to society. In and of itself, the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak. Society does not have to protect itself from the market, as if the development of the latter were ipso facto to entail the death of authentically human relations. Admittedly, the market can be a negative force, not because it is so by nature, but because a certain ideology can make it so. It must be remembered that the market does not exist in the pure state. It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction. Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends. Instruments that are good in themselves can thereby be transformed into harmful ones. But it is man's darkened reason that produces these consequences, not the instrument per se. Therefore it is not the instrument that must be called to account, but individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility.
The Church's social doctrine holds that authentically human social relationships of friendship, solidarity and reciprocity can also be conducted within economic activity, and not only outside it or “after” it. The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor inherently inhuman and opposed to society. It is part and parcel of human activity and precisely because it is human, it must be structured and governed in an ethical manner.
The great challenge before us, accentuated by the problems of development in this global era and made even more urgent by the economic and financial crisis, is to demonstrate, in thinking and behaviour, not only that traditional principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility cannot be ignored or attenuated, but also that 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. This is a human demand at the present time, but it is also demanded by economic logic. It is a demand both of charity and of truth.
37. The Church's social doctrine has always maintained that justice must be applied to every phase of economic activity, because this is always concerned with man and his needs. Locating resources, financing, production, consumption and all the other phases in the economic cycle inevitably have moral implications. Thus every economic decision has a moral consequence. The social sciences and the direction taken by the contemporary economy point to the same conclusion. Perhaps at one time it was conceivable that first the creation of wealth could be entrusted to the economy, and then the task of distributing it could be assigned to politics. Today that would be more difficult, given that economic activity is no longer circumscribed within territorial limits, while the authority of governments continues to be principally local. Hence the canons of justice must be respected from the outset, as the economic process unfolds, and not just afterwards or incidentally. Space also needs to be created within the market for economic activity carried out by subjects who freely choose to act according to principles other than those of pure profit, without sacrificing the production of economic value in the process. The many economic entities that draw their origin from religious and lay initiatives demonstrate that this is concretely possible.
In the global era, the economy is influenced by competitive models tied to cultures that differ greatly among themselves. The different forms of economic enterprise to which they give rise find their main point of encounter in commutative justice. Economic life undoubtedly requires contracts, in order to regulate relations of exchange between goods of equivalent value. But it also needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics, and what is more, it needs works redolent of the spirit of gift. The economy in the global era seems to privilege the former logic, that of contractual exchange, but directly or indirectly it also demonstrates its need for the other two: political logic, and the logic of the unconditional gift.
38. My predecessor John Paul II drew attention to this question in Centesimus Annus, when he spoke of the need for a system with three subjects: the market, the State and civil society. He saw civil society as the most natural setting for an economy of gratuitousness and fraternity, but did not mean to deny it a place in the other two settings. Today we can say that economic life must be understood as a multi-layered phenomenon: in every one of these layers, to varying degrees and in ways specifically suited to each, the aspect of fraternal reciprocity must be present. In the global era, economic activity cannot prescind from gratuitousness, which fosters and disseminates solidarity and responsibility for justice and the common good among the different economic players. It is clearly a specific and profound form of economic democracy. Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State. While in the past it was possible to argue that justice had to come first and gratuitousness could follow afterwards, as a complement, today it is clear that without gratuitousness, there can be no justice in the first place. What is needed, therefore, is a market that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends. 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 behaviour to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. Charity in truth, in this case, requires that shape and structure be given to those types of economic initiative which, without rejecting profit, aim at a higher goal than the mere logic of the exchange of equivalents, of profit as an end in itself.
39. Paul VI in Populorum Progressio called for the creation of a model of market economy capable of including within its range all peoples and not just the better off. He called for efforts to build a more human world for all, a world in which “all will be able to give and receive, without one group making progress at the expense of the other”. In this way he was applying on a global scale the insights and aspirations contained in Rerum Novarum, written when, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the idea was first proposed — somewhat ahead of its time — that the civil order, for its self-regulation, also needed intervention from the State for purposes of redistribution. Not only is this vision threatened today by the way in which markets and societies are opening up, but it is evidently insufficient to satisfy the demands of a fully humane economy. What the Church's social doctrine has always sustained, on the basis of its vision of man and society, is corroborated today by the dynamics of globalization.
When both the logic of the market and the logic of the State come to an agreement that each will continue to exercise a monopoly over its respective area of influence, in the long term much is lost: solidarity in relations between citizens, participation and adherence, actions of gratuitousness, all of which stand in contrast with giving in order to acquire (the logic of exchange) and giving through duty (the logic of public obligation, imposed by State law). 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. The exclusively binary model of market-plus-State is corrosive of society, while economic forms based on solidarity, which find their natural home in civil society without being restricted to it, build up society. The market of gratuitousness does not exist, and attitudes of gratuitousness cannot be established by law. Yet both the market and politics need individuals who are open to reciprocal gift.
40. Today's international economic scene, marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding business enterprise. Old models are disappearing, but promising new ones are taking shape on the horizon. Without doubt, one of the greatest risks for businesses is that they are almost exclusively answerable to their investors, thereby limiting their social value. Owing to their growth in scale and the need for more and more capital, it is becoming increasingly rare for business enterprises to be in the hands of a stable director who feels responsible in the long term, not just the short term, for the life and the results of his company, and it is becoming increasingly rare for businesses to depend on a single territory. Moreover, the so-called outsourcing of production can weaken the company's sense of responsibility towards the stakeholders — namely the workers, the suppliers, the consumers, the natural environment and broader society — in favour of the shareholders, who are not tied to a specific geographical area and who therefore enjoy extraordinary mobility. Today's international capital market offers great freedom of action. Yet there is also increasing awareness of the need for greater social responsibility on the part of business. Even if the ethical considerations that currently inform debate on the social responsibility of the corporate world are not all acceptable from the perspective of the Church's social doctrine, there is nevertheless a growing conviction that 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. In recent years a new cosmopolitan class of managers has emerged, who are often answerable only to the shareholders generally consisting of anonymous funds which de facto determine their remuneration. By contrast, though, many far-sighted managers today are becoming increasingly aware of the profound links between their enterprise and the territory or territories in which it operates. Paul VI invited people to give serious attention to the damage that can be caused to one's home country by the transfer abroad of capital purely for personal advantage. John Paul II taught that investment always has moral, as well as economic significance. All this — it should be stressed — is still valid today, despite the fact that the capital market has been significantly liberalized, and modern technological thinking can suggest that investment is merely a technical act, not a human and ethical one. There is no reason to deny that a certain amount of capital can do good, if invested abroad rather than at home. Yet the requirements of justice must be safeguarded, with due consideration for the way in which the capital was generated and the harm to individuals that will result if it is not used where it was produced. What should be avoided is a speculative use of financial resources that yields to the temptation of seeking only short-term profit, without regard for the long-term sustainability of the enterprise, its benefit to the real economy and attention to the advancement, in suitable and appropriate ways, of further economic initiatives in countries in need of development. It is true that the export of investments and skills can benefit the populations of the receiving country. Labour and technical knowledge are a universal good. 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.
41. In the context of this discussion, it is helpful to observe that business enterprise involves a wide range of values, becoming wider all the time. The continuing hegemony of the binary model of market-plus-State has accustomed us to think only in terms of the private business leader of a capitalistic bent on the one hand, and the State director on the other. In reality, business has to be understood in an articulated way. There are a number of reasons, of a meta-economic kind, for saying this. Business activity has a human significance, prior to its professional one. It is present in all work, understood as a personal action, an “actus personae”, which is why every worker should have the chance to make his contribution knowing that in some way “he is working ‘for himself'”. With good reason, Paul VI taught that “everyone who works is a creator”. It is in response to the needs and the dignity of the worker, as well as the needs of society, that there exist various types of business enterprise, over and above the simple distinction between “private” and “public”. Each of them requires and expresses a specific business capacity. In order to construct an economy that will soon be in a position to serve the national and global common good, it is appropriate to take account of this broader significance of business activity. It favours 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.
“Political authority” also involves a wide range of values, which must not be overlooked in the process of constructing a new order of economic productivity, socially responsible and human in scale. As well as cultivating differentiated forms of business activity on the global plane, we must also promote a dispersed political authority, effective on different levels. The integrated economy of the present day does not make the role of States redundant, but rather it commits governments to greater collaboration with one another. Both wisdom and prudence suggest not being too precipitous in declaring the demise of the State. In terms of the resolution of the current crisis, the State's role seems destined to grow, as it regains many of its competences. In some nations, moreover, the construction or reconstruction of the State remains a key factor in their development. The focus of international aid, within a solidarity-based plan to resolve today's economic problems, should rather be on consolidating constitutional, juridical and administrative systems in countries that do not yet fully enjoy these goods. Alongside economic aid, there needs to be aid directed towards reinforcing the guarantees proper to the State of law: a system of public order and effective imprisonment that respects human rights, truly democratic institutions. The State does not need to have identical characteristics everywhere: the support aimed at strengthening weak constitutional systems can easily be accompanied by the development of other political players, of a cultural, social, territorial or religious nature, alongside the State. The articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy.
42. Sometimes globalization is viewed in fatalistic terms, as if the dynamics involved were the product of anonymous impersonal forces or structures independent of the human will. In this regard it is useful to remember that while globalization should certainly be understood as a socio-economic process, this is not its only dimension. Underneath the more visible process, humanity itself is becoming increasingly interconnected; it is made up of individuals and peoples to whom this process should offer benefits and development, as they assume their respective responsibilities, singly and collectively. The breaking-down of borders is not simply a material fact: it is also a cultural event both in its causes and its effects. If globalization is viewed from a deterministic standpoint, the criteria with which to evaluate and direct it are lost. As a human reality, it is the product of diverse cultural tendencies, which need to be subjected to a process of discernment. The truth of globalization as a process and its fundamental ethical criterion are given by the unity of the human family and its development towards what is good. Hence a sustained commitment is needed so as to promote a person-based and community-oriented cultural process of world-wide integration that is open to transcendence.
Despite some of its structural elements, which should neither be denied nor exaggerated, “globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what people make of it”. We should not be its victims, but rather its protagonists, acting in the light of reason, guided by charity and truth. Blind opposition would be a mistaken and prejudiced attitude, incapable of recognizing the positive aspects of the process, with the consequent risk of missing the chance to take advantage of its many opportunities for development. The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale; if badly directed, however, they can lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis. It is necessary to correct the malfunctions, some of them serious, that cause new divisions between peoples and within peoples, and also to ensure that the redistribution of wealth does not come about through the redistribution or increase of poverty: a real danger if the present situation were to be badly managed. For a long time it was thought that poor peoples should remain at a fixed stage of development, and should be content to receive assistance from the philanthropy of developed peoples. Paul VI strongly opposed this mentality in Populorum Progressio. Today the material resources available for rescuing these peoples from poverty are potentially greater than before, but they have ended up largely in the hands of people from developed countries, who have benefited more from the liberalization that has occurred in the mobility of capital and labour. The world-wide diffusion of forms of prosperity should not therefore be held up by projects that are self-centred, protectionist or at the service of private interests. Indeed the involvement of emerging or developing countries allows us to manage the crisis better today. The transition inherent in the process of globalization presents great difficulties and dangers that can only be overcome if we are able to appropriate the underlying anthropological and ethical spirit that drives globalization towards the humanizing goal of solidarity. Unfortunately this spirit is often overwhelmed or suppressed by ethical and cultural considerations of an individualistic and utilitarian nature. Globalization is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon which must be grasped in the diversity and unity of all its different dimensions, including the theological dimension. In this way it will be possible to experience and to steer the globalization of humanity in relational terms, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE - RIGHTS AND DUTIES - THE ENVIRONMENT
43. “The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty”. Many people today would claim that they owe nothing to anyone, except to themselves. They are concerned only with their rights, and they often have great difficulty in taking responsibility for their own and other people's integral development. Hence it is important to call for a renewed reflection on how rights presuppose duties, if they are not to become mere licence. Nowadays we are witnessing a grave inconsistency. On the one hand, appeals are made to alleged rights, arbitrary and non-essential in nature, accompanied by the demand that they be recognized and promoted by public structures, while, on the other hand, elementary and basic rights remain unacknowledged and are violated in much of the world. A link has often been noted between claims to a “right to excess”, and even to transgression and vice, within affluent societies, and the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and on the outskirts of large metropolitan centres. The link consists in this: individual rights, when detached from a framework of duties which grants them their full meaning, can run wild, leading to an escalation of demands which is effectively unlimited and indiscriminate. An overemphasis on rights leads to a disregard for duties. Duties set a limit on rights because they point to the anthropological and ethical framework of which rights are a part, in this way ensuring that they do not become licence. Duties thereby reinforce rights and call for their defence and promotion as a task to be undertaken in the service of the common good. Otherwise, if the only basis of human rights is to be found in the deliberations of an assembly of citizens, those rights can be changed at any time, and so the duty to respect and pursue them fades from the common consciousness. Governments and international bodies can then lose sight of the objectivity and “inviolability” of rights. When this happens, the authentic development of peoples is endangered. Such a way of thinking and acting compromises the authority of international bodies, especially in the eyes of those countries most in need of development. Indeed, the latter demand that the international community take up the duty of helping them to be “artisans of their own destiny”, that is, to take up duties of their own. The sharing of reciprocal duties is a more powerful incentive to action than the mere assertion of rights.
44. The notion of rights and duties in development must also take account of the problems associated with population growth. This is a very important aspect of authentic development, since it concerns the inalienable values of life and the family. To consider population increase as the primary cause of underdevelopment is mistaken, even from an economic point of view. Suffice it to consider, on the one hand, the significant reduction in infant mortality and the rise in average life expectancy found in economically developed countries, and on the other hand, the signs of crisis observable in societies that are registering an alarming decline in their birth rate. Due attention must obviously be given to responsible procreation, which among other things has a positive contribution to make to integral human development. The Church, in her concern for man's authentic development, urges him to have full respect for human values in the exercise of his sexuality. It cannot be reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment, nor can sex education be reduced to technical instruction aimed solely at protecting the interested parties from possible disease or the “risk” of procreation. This would be to impoverish and disregard the deeper meaning of sexuality, a meaning which needs to be acknowledged and responsibly appropriated not only by individuals but also by the community. It is irresponsible to view sexuality merely as a source of pleasure, and likewise to regulate it through strategies of mandatory birth control. In either case materialistic ideas and policies are at work, and individuals are ultimately subjected to various forms of violence. Against such policies, there is a need to defend the primary competence of the family in the area of sexuality, as opposed to the State and its restrictive policies, and to ensure that parents are suitably prepared to undertake their responsibilities.
Morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource. Populous nations have been able to emerge from poverty thanks not least to the size of their population and the talents of their people. On the other hand, formerly prosperous nations are presently passing through a phase of uncertainty and in some cases decline, precisely because of their falling birth rates; this has become a crucial problem for highly affluent societies. The decline in births, falling at times beneath the so-called “replacement level”, also puts a strain on social welfare systems, increases their cost, eats into savings and hence the financial resources needed for investment, reduces the availability of qualified labourers, and narrows the “brain pool” upon which nations can draw for their needs. Furthermore, smaller and at times miniscule families run the risk of impoverishing social relations, and failing to ensure effective forms of solidarity. These situations are symptomatic of scant confidence in the future and moral weariness. It is thus becoming a social and even economic necessity once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. In view of this, States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society, and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs, while respecting its essentially relational character.
45. Striving to meet the deepest moral needs of the person also has important and beneficial repercussions at the level of economics. The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred. Today we hear much talk of ethics in the world of economy, finance and business. Research centres and seminars in business ethics are on the rise; the system of ethical certification is spreading throughout the developed world as part of the movement of ideas associated with the responsibilities of business towards society. Banks are proposing “ethical” accounts and investment funds. “Ethical financing” is being developed, especially through micro-credit and, more generally, micro-finance. These processes are praiseworthy and deserve much support. Their positive effects are also being felt in the less developed areas of the world. It would be advisable, however, to develop a sound criterion of discernment, since the adjective “ethical” can be abused. When the word is used generically, it can lend itself to any number of interpretations, even to the point where it includes decisions and choices contrary to justice and authentic human welfare.
Much in fact depends on the underlying system of morality. On this subject the Church's social doctrine can make a specific contribution, since it is based on man's creation “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27), a datum which gives rise to the inviolable dignity of the human person and the transcendent value of natural moral norms. When business ethics prescinds from these two pillars, it inevitably risks losing its distinctive nature and it falls prey to forms of exploitation; more specifically, it risks becoming subservient to existing economic and financial systems rather than correcting their dysfunctional aspects. Among other things, it risks being used to justify the financing of projects that are in reality unethical. The word “ethical”, then, should not be used to make ideological distinctions, as if to suggest that initiatives not formally so designated would not be ethical. Efforts are needed — and it is essential to say this — not only to create “ethical” sectors or segments of the economy or the world of finance, but to ensure that the whole economy — the whole of finance — is ethical, not merely by virtue of an external label, but by its respect for requirements intrinsic to its very nature. The Church's social teaching is quite clear on the subject, recalling that the economy, in all its branches, constitutes a sector of human activity.
46. When we consider the issues involved in the relationship between business and ethics, as well as the evolution currently taking place in methods of production, it would appear that the traditionally valid distinction between profit-based companies and non-profit organizations can no longer do full justice to reality, or offer practical direction for the future. 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”. This is not merely a matter of a “third sector”, but of a broad new composite reality embracing the private and public spheres, one which does not exclude profit, but instead considers it a means for achieving human and social ends. Whether such companies distribute dividends or not, whether their juridical structure corresponds to one or other of the established forms, becomes secondary in relation to their willingness to view profit as a means of achieving the goal of a more humane market and society. It is to be hoped that these new kinds of enterprise will succeed in finding a suitable juridical and fiscal structure in every country. Without prejudice to the importance and the economic and social benefits of the more traditional forms of business, they steer the system towards a clearer and more complete assumption of duties on the part of economic subjects. And not only that. The very plurality of institutional forms of business gives rise to a market which is not only more civilized but also more competitive.
47. The strengthening of different types of businesses, especially those capable of viewing profit as a means for achieving the goal of a more humane market and society, must also be pursued in those countries that are excluded or marginalized from the influential circles of the global economy. In these countries it is very important to move ahead with projects based on subsidiarity, suitably planned and managed, aimed at affirming rights yet also providing for the assumption of corresponding responsibilities. In development programmes, the principle of the centrality of the human person, as the subject primarily responsible for development, must be preserved. The principal concern must be to improve the actual living conditions of the people in a given region, thus enabling them to carry out those duties which their poverty does not presently allow them to fulfil. Social concern must never be an abstract attitude. Development programmes, if they are to be adapted to individual situations, need to be flexible; and the people who benefit from them ought to be directly involved in their planning and implementation. The criteria to be applied should aspire towards incremental development in a context of solidarity — with careful monitoring of results — inasmuch as there are no universally valid solutions. Much depends on the way programmes are managed in practice. “The peoples themselves have the prime responsibility to work for their own development. But they will not bring this about in isolation”. These words of Paul VI are all the more timely nowadays, as our world becomes progressively more integrated. The dynamics of inclusion are hardly automatic. Solutions need to be carefully designed to correspond to people's concrete lives, based on a prudential evaluation of each situation. Alongside macro-projects, there is a place for micro-projects, and above all there is need for the active mobilization of all the subjects of civil society, both juridical and physical persons.
International cooperation requires people who can be part of the process of economic and human development through the solidarity of their presence, supervision, training and respect. From this standpoint, international organizations might question the actual effectiveness of their bureaucratic and administrative machinery, which is often excessively costly. At times it happens that those who receive aid become subordinate to the aid-givers, and the poor serve to perpetuate expensive bureaucracies which consume an excessively high percentage of funds intended for development. Hence it is to be hoped that all international agencies and non-governmental organizations will commit themselves to complete transparency, informing donors and the public of the percentage of their income allocated to programmes of cooperation, the actual content of those programmes and, finally, the detailed expenditure of the institution itself.
48. 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. When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes. In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God's creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God's creation.
Nature expresses a design of love and truth. It is prior to us, and it has been given to us by God as the setting for our life. Nature speaks to us of the Creator (cf. Rom 1:20) and his love for humanity. It is destined to be “recapitulated” in Christ at the end of time (cf. Eph 1:9-10; Col 1:19-20). Thus it too is a “vocation”. Nature is at our disposal not as “a heap of scattered refuse”, but as a gift of the Creator who has given it an inbuilt order, enabling man to draw from it the principles needed in order “to till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). But it should also be stressed that it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person. This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism — human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a “grammar” which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation. Today much harm is done to development precisely as a result of these distorted notions. Reducing nature merely to a collection of contingent data ends up doing violence to the environment and even encouraging activity that fails to respect human nature itself. Our nature, constituted not only by matter but also by spirit, and as such, endowed with transcendent meaning and aspirations, is also normative for culture. Human beings interpret and shape the natural environment through culture, which in turn is given direction by the responsible use of freedom, in accordance with the dictates of the moral law. Consequently, projects for integral human development cannot ignore coming generations, but need to be marked by solidarity and inter-generational justice, while taking into account a variety of contexts: ecological, juridical, economic, political and cultural.
49. Questions linked to the care and preservation of the environment today need to give due consideration to the energy problem. The fact that some States, power groups and companies hoard non-renewable energy resources represents a grave obstacle to development in poor countries. Those countries lack the economic means either to gain access to existing sources of non-renewable energy or to finance research into new alternatives. The stockpiling of natural resources, which in many cases are found in the poor countries themselves, gives rise to exploitation and frequent conflicts between and within nations. These conflicts are often fought on the soil of those same countries, with a heavy toll of death, destruction and further decay. 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, in order to plan together for the future.
On this front too, there is a pressing moral need for renewed solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and those that are highly industrialized. The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens. It should be added that at present it is possible to achieve improved energy efficiency while at the same time encouraging research into alternative forms of energy. What is also needed, though, is a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them. The fate of those countries cannot be left in the hands of whoever is first to claim the spoils, or whoever is able to prevail over the rest. Here we are dealing with major issues; if they are to be faced adequately, then everyone must responsibly recognize the impact they will have on future generations, particularly on the many young people in the poorer nations, who “ask to assume their active part in the construction of a better world”.
50. This responsibility is a global one, for it is concerned not just with energy but with the whole of creation, which must not be bequeathed to future generations depleted of its resources. Human beings legitimately exercise a responsible stewardship over nature, in order to protect it, to enjoy its fruits and to cultivate it in new ways, with the assistance of advanced technologies, so that it can worthily accommodate and feed the world's population. On this earth there is room for everyone: here the entire human family must find the resources to live with dignity, through the help of nature itself — God's gift to his children — and through hard work and creativity. At the same time we must recognize our grave duty to hand the earth on to future generations in such a condition that they too can worthily inhabit it and continue to cultivate it. This means being committed to making joint decisions “after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying”. Let us hope that the international community and individual governments will succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment. It is likewise incumbent upon the competent authorities to make every effort to ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations: the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate obliges all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet. One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of “efficiency” is not value-free.
51. The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences. What is needed is an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments”. Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment, just as environmental deterioration in turn upsets relations in society. Nature, especially in our time, is so integrated into the dynamics of society and culture that by now it hardly constitutes an independent variable. Desertification and the decline in productivity in some agricultural areas are also the result of impoverishment and underdevelopment among their inhabitants. When incentives are offered for their economic and cultural development, nature itself is protected. Moreover, how many natural resources are squandered by wars! Peace in and among peoples would also provide greater protection for nature. The hoarding of resources, especially water, can generate serious conflicts among the peoples involved. Peaceful agreement about the use of resources can protect nature and, at the same time, the well-being of the societies concerned.
The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology, correctly understood. The deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when “human ecology” is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits. Just as human virtues are interrelated, such that the weakening of one places others at risk, so the ecological system is based on respect for a plan that affects both the health of society and its good relationship with nature.
In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents; not even an apposite education is sufficient. These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society.
52. Truth, and the love which it reveals, cannot be produced: they can only be received as a gift. Their ultimate source is not, and cannot be, mankind, but only God, who is himself Truth and Love. This principle is extremely important for society and for development, since neither can be a purely human product; the vocation to development on the part of individuals and peoples is not based simply on human choice, but is an intrinsic part of a plan that is prior to us and constitutes for all of us a duty to be freely accepted. That which is prior to us and constitutes us — subsistent Love and Truth — shows us what goodness is, and in what our true happiness consists. It shows us the road to true development.
THE COOPERATION OF THE HUMAN FAMILY
53. One of the deepest forms of poverty a person can experience is isolation. If we look closely at other kinds of poverty, including material forms, we see that they are born from isolation, from not being loved or from difficulties in being able to love. Poverty is often produced by a rejection of God's love, by man's basic and tragic tendency to close in on himself, thinking himself to be self-sufficient or merely an insignificant and ephemeral fact, a “stranger” in a random universe. Man is alienated when he is alone, when he is detached from reality, when he stops thinking and believing in a foundation. All of humanity is alienated when too much trust is placed in merely human projects, ideologies and false utopias. Today humanity appears much more interactive than in the past: this shared sense of being close to one another must be transformed into true communion. The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.
Pope Paul VI noted that “the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking”. He was making an observation, but also expressing a wish: a new trajectory of thinking is needed in order to arrive at a better understanding of the implications of our being one family; interaction among the peoples of the world calls us to embark upon this new trajectory, so that integration can signify solidarity rather than marginalization. Thinking of this kind requires a deeper critical evaluation of the category of relation. This is a task that cannot be undertaken by the social sciences alone, insofar as the contribution of disciplines such as metaphysics and theology is needed if man's transcendent dignity is to be properly understood.
As a spiritual being, the human creature is defined through interpersonal relations. The more authentically he or she lives these relations, the more his or her own personal identity matures. It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God. Hence these relations take on fundamental importance. The same holds true for peoples as well. A metaphysical understanding of the relations between persons is therefore of great benefit for their development. In this regard, reason finds inspiration and direction in Christian revelation, according to which the human community does not absorb the individual, annihilating his autonomy, as happens in the various forms of totalitarianism, but rather values him all the more because the relation between individual and community is a relation between one totality and another. Just as a family does not submerge the identities of its individual members, just as the Church rejoices in each “new creation” (Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17) incorporated by Baptism into her living Body, so too the unity of the human family does not submerge the identities of individuals, peoples and cultures, but makes them more transparent to each other and links them more closely in their legitimate diversity.
54. The theme of development can be identified with the inclusion-in-relation of all individuals and peoples within the one community of the human family, built in solidarity on the basis of the fundamental values of justice and peace. This perspective is illuminated in a striking way by the relationship between the Persons of the Trinity within the one divine Substance. The Trinity is absolute unity insofar as the three divine Persons are pure relationality. The reciprocal transparency among the divine Persons is total and the bond between each of them complete, since they constitute a unique and absolute unity. God desires to incorporate us into this reality of communion as well: “that they may be one even as we are one” (Jn 17:22). The Church is a sign and instrument of this unity. Relationships between human beings throughout history cannot but be enriched by reference to this divine model. In particular, in the light of the revealed mystery of the Trinity, we understand that true openness does not mean loss of individual identity but profound interpenetration. This also emerges from the common human experiences of love and truth. Just as the sacramental love of spouses unites them spiritually in “one flesh” (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:5; Eph 5:31) and makes out of the two a real and relational unity, so in an analogous way truth unites spirits and causes them to think in unison, attracting them as a unity to itself.
55. The Christian revelation of the unity of the human race presupposes a metaphysical interpretation of the “humanum” in which relationality is an essential element. Other cultures and religions teach brotherhood and peace and are therefore of enormous importance to integral human development. Some religious and cultural attitudes, however, do not fully embrace the principle of love and truth and therefore end up retarding or even obstructing authentic human development. There are certain religious cultures in the world today that do not oblige men and women to live in communion but rather cut them off from one other in a search for individual well-being, limited to the gratification of psychological desires. Furthermore, a certain proliferation of different religious “paths”, attracting small groups or even single individuals, together with religious syncretism, can give rise to separation and disengagement. One possible negative effect of the process of globalization is the tendency to favour this kind of syncretism by encouraging forms of “religion” that, instead of bringing people together, alienate them from one another and distance them from reality. At the same time, some religious and cultural traditions persist which ossify society in rigid social groupings, in magical beliefs that fail to respect the dignity of the person, and in attitudes of subjugation to occult powers. In these contexts, love and truth have difficulty asserting themselves, and authentic development is impeded.
For this reason, while it may be true that development needs the religions and cultures of different peoples, it is equally true that adequate discernment is needed. Religious freedom does not mean religious indifferentism, nor does it imply that all religions are equal. Discernment is needed regarding the contribution of cultures and religions, especially on the part of those who wield political power, if the social community is to be built up in a spirit of respect for the common good. Such discernment has to be based on the criterion of charity and truth. Since the development of persons and peoples is at stake, this discernment will have to take account of the need for emancipation and inclusivity, in the context of a truly universal human community. “The whole man and all men” is also the criterion for evaluating cultures and religions. Christianity, the religion of the “God who has a human face”, contains this very criterion within itself.
56. The Christian religion and other religions can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic, and particularly its political dimensions. The Church's social doctrine came into being in order to claim “citizenship status” for the Christian religion. Denying the right to profess one's religion in public and the right to bring the truths of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development. The exclusion of religion from the public square — and, at the other extreme, religious fundamentalism — hinders an encounter between persons and their collaboration for the progress of humanity. Public life is sapped of its motivation and politics takes on a domineering and aggressive character. Human rights risk being ignored either because they are robbed of their transcendent foundation or because personal freedom is not acknowledged. Secularism and fundamentalism exclude the possibility of fruitful dialogue and effective cooperation between reason and religious faith. Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development.
57. Fruitful dialogue between faith and reason cannot but render the work of charity more effective within society, and it constitutes the most appropriate framework for promoting fraternal collaboration between believers and non-believers in their shared commitment to working for justice and the peace of the human family. In the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, the Council fathers asserted that “believers and unbelievers agree almost unanimously that all things on earth should be ordered towards man as to their centre and summit”. For believers, the world derives neither from blind chance nor from strict necessity, but from God's plan. This is what gives rise to the duty of believers to unite their efforts with those of all men and women of good will, with the followers of other religions and with non-believers, so that this world of ours may effectively correspond to the divine plan: living as a family under the Creator's watchful eye. A particular manifestation of charity and a guiding criterion for fraternal cooperation between believers and non-believers is undoubtedly the principle of subsidiarity, an expression of inalienable human freedom. Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility. Subsidiarity respects personal dignity by recognizing in the person a subject who is always capable of giving something to others. By considering reciprocity as the heart of what it is to be a human being, subsidiarity is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state. It is able to take account both of the manifold articulation of plans — and therefore of the plurality of subjects — as well as the coordination of those plans. Hence the principle of subsidiarity is particularly well-suited to managing globalization and directing it towards authentic human development. 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. Globalization certainly requires authority, insofar as it poses the problem of a global common good that needs to be pursued. This authority, however, must be organized in a subsidiary and stratified way, if it is not to infringe upon freedom and if it is to yield effective results in practice.
58. 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. This general rule must also be taken broadly into consideration when addressing issues concerning international development aid. Such aid, whatever the donors' intentions, can sometimes lock people into a state of dependence and even foster situations of localized oppression and exploitation in the receiving country. Economic aid, in order to be true to its purpose, must not pursue secondary objectives. It must be distributed with the involvement not only of the governments of receiving countries, but also local economic agents and the bearers of culture within civil society, including local Churches. Aid programmes must increasingly acquire the characteristics of participation and completion from the grass roots. Indeed, the most valuable resources in countries receiving development aid are human resources: herein lies the real capital that needs to accumulate in order to guarantee a truly autonomous future for the poorest countries. It should also be remembered that, in the economic sphere, the principal form of assistance needed by developing countries is that of allowing and encouraging the gradual penetration of their products into international markets, thus making it possible for these countries to participate fully in international economic life. Too often in the past, aid has served to create only fringe markets for the products of these donor countries. This was often due to a lack of genuine demand for the products in question: it is therefore necessary to help such countries improve their products and adapt them more effectively to existing demand. Furthermore, there are those who fear the effects of competition through the importation of products — normally agricultural products — from economically poor countries. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that for such countries, the possibility of marketing their products is very often what guarantees their survival in both the short and long term. Just and equitable international trade in agricultural goods can be beneficial to everyone, both to suppliers and to customers. For this reason, not only is commercial orientation needed for production of this kind, but also the establishment of international trade regulations to support it and stronger financing for development in order to increase the productivity of these economies.
59. Cooperation for development must not be concerned exclusively with the economic dimension: it offers a wonderful opportunity for encounter between cultures and peoples. If the parties to cooperation on the side of economically developed countries — as occasionally happens — fail to take account of their own or others' cultural identity, or the human values that shape it, they cannot enter into meaningful dialogue with the citizens of poor countries. If the latter, in their turn, are uncritically and indiscriminately open to every cultural proposal, they will not be in a position to assume responsibility for their own authentic development. Technologically advanced societies must not confuse their own technological development with a presumed cultural superiority, but must rather rediscover within themselves the oft-forgotten virtues which made it possible for them to flourish throughout their history. Evolving societies must remain faithful to all that is truly human in their traditions, avoiding the temptation to overlay them automatically with the mechanisms of a globalized technological civilization. In all cultures there are examples of ethical convergence, some isolated, some interrelated, as an expression of the one human nature, willed by the Creator; the tradition of ethical wisdom knows this as the natural law. This universal moral law provides a sound basis for all cultural, religious and political dialogue, and it ensures that the multi-faceted pluralism of cultural diversity does not detach itself from the common quest for truth, goodness and God. Thus adherence to the law etched on human hearts is the precondition for all constructive social cooperation. Every culture has burdens from which it must be freed and shadows from which it must emerge. The Christian faith, by becoming incarnate in cultures and at the same time transcending them, can help them grow in universal brotherhood and solidarity, for the advancement of global and community development.
60. In the search for solutions to the current economic crisis, development aid for poor countries must be considered a valid means of creating wealth for all. What aid programme is there that can hold out such significant growth prospects — even from the point of view of the world economy — as the support of populations that are still in the initial or early phases of economic development? From this perspective, more economically developed nations should do all they can to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations that the international community has undertaken in this regard. One way of doing so is by reviewing their internal social assistance and welfare policies, applying the principle of subsidiarity and creating better integrated welfare systems, with the active participation of private individuals and civil society. In this way, it is actually possible to improve social services and welfare programmes, and at the same time to save resources — by eliminating waste and rejecting fraudulent claims — which could then be allocated to international solidarity. A more devolved and organic system of social solidarity, less bureaucratic but no less coordinated, would make it possible to harness much dormant energy, for the benefit of solidarity between peoples.
One possible approach to development aid would be to apply effectively what is known as fiscal subsidiarity, allowing citizens to decide how to allocate a portion of the taxes they pay to the State. Provided it does not degenerate into the promotion of special interests, this can help to stimulate forms of welfare solidarity from below, with obvious benefits in the area of solidarity for development as well.
61. 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, which is at the same time an essential precondition for effective international cooperation. The term “education” refers not only to classroom teaching and vocational training — both of which are important factors in development — but to the complete formation of the person. In this regard, there is a problem that should be highlighted: in order to educate, it is necessary to know the nature of the human person, to know who he or she is. The increasing prominence of a relativistic understanding of that nature presents serious problems for education, especially moral education, jeopardizing its universal extension. Yielding to this kind of relativism makes everyone poorer and has a negative impact on the effectiveness of aid to the most needy populations, who lack not only economic and technical means, but also educational methods and resources to assist people in realizing their full human potential.
An illustration of the significance of this problem is offered by the phenomenon of international tourism, which can be a major factor in economic development and cultural growth, but can also become an occasion for exploitation and moral degradation. The current situation offers unique opportunities for the economic aspects of development — that is to say the flow of money and the emergence of a significant amount of local enterprise — to be combined with the cultural aspects, chief among which is education. In many cases this is what happens, but in other cases international tourism has a negative educational impact both for the tourist and the local populace. The latter are often exposed to immoral or even perverted forms of conduct, as in the case of so-called sex tourism, to which many human beings are sacrificed even at a tender age. It is sad to note that this activity often takes place with the support of local governments, with silence from those in the tourists' countries of origin, and with the complicity of many of the tour operators. Even in less extreme cases, international tourism often follows a consumerist and hedonistic pattern, as a form of escapism planned in a manner typical of the countries of origin, and therefore not conducive to authentic encounter between persons and cultures. We need, therefore, to develop a different type of tourism that has the ability to promote genuine mutual understanding, without taking away from the element of rest and healthy recreation. Tourism of this type needs to increase, partly through closer coordination with the experience gained from international cooperation and enterprise for development.
62. Another aspect of integral human development that is worthy of attention is the phenomenon of migration. This is a striking phenomenon because of the sheer numbers of people involved, the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises, and the dramatic challenges it poses to nations and the international community. We can say that we are facing a social phenomenon of epoch-making proportions that requires bold, forward-looking policies of international cooperation if it is to be handled effectively. Such policies should set out from close collaboration between the migrants' countries of origin and their countries of destination; it should be accompanied by adequate international norms able to coordinate different legislative systems with a view to safeguarding the needs and rights of individual migrants and their families, and at the same time, those of the host countries. No country can be expected to address today's problems of migration by itself. We are all witnesses of the burden of suffering, the dislocation and the aspirations that accompany the flow of migrants. The phenomenon, as everyone knows, is difficult to manage; but there is no doubt that foreign workers, despite any difficulties concerning integration, make a significant contribution to the economic development of the host country through their labour, besides that which they make to their country of origin through the money they send home. Obviously, these labourers cannot be considered as a commodity or a mere workforce. They must not, therefore, be treated like any other factor of production. Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.
63. 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, either because work opportunities are limited (through unemployment or underemployment), or “because a low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it, especially the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family”. For this reason, on 1 May 2000 on the occasion of the Jubilee of Workers, my venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II issued an appeal for “a global coalition in favour of ‘decent work”', supporting the strategy of the International Labour Organization. In this way, he gave a strong moral impetus to this objective, seeing it as an aspiration of families in every country of the world. What is meant by the word “decency” in regard to work? It means work that expresses the essential dignity of every man and woman in the context of their particular society: work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers, both men and women, with the development of their community; work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination; work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for their children, without the children themselves being forced into labour; work that permits the workers to organize themselves freely, and to make their voices heard; work that leaves enough room for rediscovering one's roots at a personal, familial and spiritual level; work that guarantees those who have retired a decent standard of living.
64. While reflecting on the theme of work, it is appropriate to recall how important it is that labour unions — which have always been encouraged and supported by the Church — should be open to the new perspectives that are emerging in the world of work. Looking to wider concerns than the specific category of labour for which they were formed, union organizations are called to address some of the new questions arising in our society: I am thinking, for example, of the complex of issues that social scientists describe in terms of a conflict between worker and consumer. Without necessarily endorsing the thesis that the central focus on the worker has given way to a central focus on the consumer, this would still appear to constitute new ground for unions to explore creatively. 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. The protection of these workers, partly achieved through appropriate initiatives aimed at their countries of origin, will enable trade unions to demonstrate the authentic ethical and cultural motivations that made it possible for them, in a different social and labour context, to play a decisive role in development. The Church's traditional teaching makes a valid distinction between the respective roles and functions of trade unions and politics. This distinction allows unions to identify civil society as the proper setting for their necessary activity of defending and promoting labour, especially on behalf of exploited and unrepresented workers, whose woeful condition is often ignored by the distracted eye of society.
65. Finance, therefore — through the renewed structures and operating methods that have to be designed after its misuse, which wreaked such havoc on the real economy — now needs to go back to being an instrument directed towards improved wealth creation and development. Insofar as they are instruments, the entire economy and finance, not just certain sectors, must be used in an ethical way so as to create suitable conditions for human development and for the development of peoples. It is certainly useful, and in some circumstances imperative, to launch financial initiatives in which the humanitarian dimension predominates. However, this must not obscure the fact that the entire financial system has to be aimed at sustaining true development. Above all, the intention to do good must not be considered incompatible with the effective capacity to produce goods. Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers. Right intention, transparency, and the search for positive results are mutually compatible and must never be detached from one another. If love is wise, it can find ways of working in accordance with provident and just expediency, as is illustrated in a significant way by much of the experience of credit unions.
Both the regulation of the financial sector, so as to safeguard weaker parties and discourage scandalous speculation, and experimentation with new forms of finance, designed to support development projects, are positive experiences that should be further explored and encouraged, highlighting the responsibility of the investor. 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. This is all the more necessary in these days when financial difficulties can become severe for many of the more vulnerable sectors of the population, who should be protected from the risk of usury and from despair. The weakest members of society should be helped to defend themselves against usury, just as poor peoples should be helped to derive real benefit from micro-credit, in order to discourage the exploitation that is possible in these two areas. Since rich countries are also experiencing new forms of poverty, micro-finance can give practical assistance by launching new initiatives and opening up new sectors for the benefit of the weaker elements in society, even at a time of general economic downturn.
66. Global interconnectedness has led to the emergence of a new political power, that of consumers and their associations. This is a phenomenon that needs to be further explored, as it contains positive elements to be encouraged as well as excesses to be avoided. It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral — and not simply economic — act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility, which goes hand-in- hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise. Consumers should be continually educated regarding their daily role, which can be exercised with respect for moral principles without diminishing the intrinsic economic rationality of the act of purchasing. In the retail industry, particularly at times like the present when purchasing power has diminished and people must live more frugally, it is necessary to explore other paths: for example, forms of cooperative purchasing like the consumer cooperatives that have been in operation since the nineteenth century, partly through the initiative of Catholics. In addition, it can be helpful to promote new ways of marketing products from deprived areas of the world, so as to guarantee their producers a decent return. However, certain conditions need to be met: the market should be genuinely transparent; the producers, as well as increasing their profit margins, should also receive improved formation in professional skills and technology; and finally, trade of this kind must not become hostage to partisan ideologies. A more incisive role for consumers, as long as they themselves are not manipulated by associations that do not truly represent them, is a desirable element for building economic democracy.
67. 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. One also senses the urgent need to find innovative ways of implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect and of giving poorer nations an effective voice in shared decision-making. This seems necessary in order to arrive at a political, juridical and economic order which can increase and give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples in solidarity. To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago. 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, and to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth. Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights. Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums. Without this, despite the great progress accomplished in various sectors, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations. The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order, to the interconnection between moral and social spheres, and to the link between politics and the economic and civil spheres, as envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES AND TECHNOLOGY
68. The development of peoples is intimately linked to the development of individuals. The human person by nature is actively involved in his own development. The development in question is not simply the result of natural mechanisms, since as everybody knows, we are all capable of making free and responsible choices. Nor is it merely at the mercy of our caprice, since we all know that we are a gift, not something self-generated. Our freedom is profoundly shaped by our being, and by its limits. No one shapes his own conscience arbitrarily, but we all build our own “I” on the basis of a “self” which is given to us. Not only are other persons outside our control, but each one of us is outside his or her own control. A person's development is compromised, if he claims to be solely responsible for producing what he becomes. By analogy, the development of peoples goes awry if humanity thinks it can re-create itself through the “wonders” of technology, just as economic development is exposed as a destructive sham if it relies on the “wonders” of finance in order to sustain unnatural and consumerist growth. In the face of such Promethean presumption, we must fortify our love for a freedom that is not merely arbitrary, but is rendered truly human by acknowledgment of the good that underlies it. To this end, man needs to look inside himself in order to recognize the fundamental norms of the natural moral law which God has written on our hearts.
69. The challenge of development today is closely linked to technological progress, with its astounding applications in the field of biology. Technology — it is worth emphasizing — is a profoundly human reality, linked to the autonomy and freedom of man. In technology we express and confirm the hegemony of the spirit over matter. “The human spirit, ‘increasingly free of its bondage to creatures, can be more easily drawn to the worship and contemplation of the Creator'”. Technology enables us to exercise dominion over matter, to reduce risks, to save labour, to improve our conditions of life. It touches the heart of the vocation of human labour: in technology, seen as the product of his genius, man recognizes himself and forges his own humanity. Technology is the objective side of human action whose origin and raison d'etre is found in the subjective element: the worker himself. For this reason, technology is never merely technology. It reveals man and his aspirations towards development, it expresses the inner tension that impels him gradually to overcome material limitations. Technology, in this sense, is a response to God's command to till and to keep the land (cf. Gen 2:15) that he has entrusted to humanity, and it must serve to reinforce the covenant between human beings and the environment, a covenant that should mirror God's creative love.
70. Technological development can give rise to the idea that technology is self-sufficient when too much attention is given to the “how” questions, and not enough to the many “why” questions underlying human activity. For this reason technology can appear ambivalent. Produced through human creativity as a tool of personal freedom, technology can be understood as a manifestation of absolute freedom, the freedom that seeks to prescind from the limits inherent in things. The process of globalization could replace ideologies with technology, allowing the latter to become an ideological power that threatens to confine us within an a priori that holds us back from encountering being and truth. Were that to happen, we would all know, evaluate and make decisions about our life situations from within a technocratic cultural perspective to which we would belong structurally, without ever being able to discover a meaning that is not of our own making. The “technical” worldview that follows from this vision is now so dominant that truth has come to be seen as coinciding with the possible. But when the sole criterion of truth is efficiency and utility, development is automatically denied. True development does not consist primarily in “doing”. The key to development is a mind capable of thinking in technological terms and grasping the fully human meaning of human activities, within the context of the holistic meaning of the individual's being. Even when we work through satellites or through remote electronic impulses, our actions always remain human, an expression of our responsible freedom. Technology is highly attractive because it draws us out of our physical limitations and broadens our horizon. But human freedom is authentic only when it responds to the fascination of technology with decisions that are the fruit of moral responsibility. Hence the pressing need for formation in an ethically responsible use of technology. Moving beyond the fascination that technology exerts, we must reappropriate the true meaning of freedom, which is not an intoxication with total autonomy, but a response to the call of being, beginning with our own personal being.
71. This deviation from solid humanistic principles that a technical mindset can produce is seen today in certain technological applications in the fields of development and peace. Often the development of peoples is considered a matter of financial engineering, the freeing up of markets, the removal of tariffs, investment in production, and institutional reforms — in other words, a purely technical matter. All these factors are of great importance, but we have to ask why technical choices made thus far have yielded rather mixed results. We need to think hard about the cause. Development will never be fully guaranteed through automatic or impersonal forces, whether they derive from the market or from international politics. Development is impossible without upright men and women, without financiers and politicians whose consciences are finely attuned to the requirements of the common good. Both professional competence and moral consistency are necessary. When technology is allowed to take over, the result is confusion between ends and means, such that the sole criterion for action in business is thought to be the maximization of profit, in politics the consolidation of power, and in science the findings of research. Often, underneath the intricacies of economic, financial and political interconnections, there remain misunderstandings, hardships and injustice. The flow of technological know-how increases, but it is those in possession of it who benefit, while the situation on the ground for the peoples who live in its shadow remains unchanged: for them there is little chance of emancipation.
72. Even peace can run the risk of being considered a technical product, merely the outcome of agreements between governments or of initiatives aimed at ensuring effective economic aid. It is true that peace-building requires the constant interplay of diplomatic contacts, economic, technological and cultural exchanges, agreements on common projects, as well as joint strategies to curb the threat of military conflict and to root out the underlying causes of terrorism. Nevertheless, if such efforts are to have lasting effects, they must be based on values rooted in the truth of human life. That is, the voice of the peoples affected must be heard and their situation must be taken into consideration, if their expectations are to be correctly interpreted. One must align oneself, so to speak, with the unsung efforts of so many individuals deeply committed to bringing peoples together and to facilitating development on the basis of love and mutual understanding. Among them are members of the Christian faithful, involved in the great task of upholding the fully human dimension of development and peace.
73. Linked to technological development is the increasingly pervasive presence of the means of social communications. It is almost impossible today to imagine the life of the human family without them. For better or for worse, they are so integral a part of life today that it seems quite absurd to maintain that they are neutral — and hence unaffected by any moral considerations concerning people. Often such views, stressing the strictly technical nature of the media, effectively support their subordination to economic interests intent on dominating the market and, not least, to attempts to impose cultural models that serve ideological and political agendas. Given the media's fundamental importance in engineering changes in attitude towards reality and the human person, we must reflect carefully on their influence, especially in regard to the ethical-cultural dimension of globalization and the development of peoples in solidarity. Mirroring what is required for an ethical approach to globalization and development, so too the meaning and purpose of the media must be sought within an anthropological perspective. This means that they can have a civilizing effect not only when, thanks to technological development, they increase the possibilities of communicating information, but above all when they are geared towards a vision of the person and the common good that reflects truly universal values. Just because social communications increase the possibilities of interconnection and the dissemination of ideas, it does not follow that they promote freedom or internationalize development and democracy for all. To achieve goals of this kind, they need to focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity. In fact, human freedom is intrinsically linked with these higher values. The media can make an important contribution towards the growth in communion of the human family and the ethos of society when they are used to promote universal participation in the common search for what is just.
74. 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. In this most delicate and critical area, the fundamental question asserts itself force-fully: is man the product of his own labours or does he depend on God? Scientific discoveries in this field and the possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a choice between two types of reasoning: reason open to transcendence or reason closed within immanence. We are presented with a clear either/ or. Yet the rationality of a self-centred use of technology proves to be irrational because it implies a decisive rejection of meaning and value. It is no coincidence that closing the door to transcendence brings one up short against a difficulty: how could being emerge from nothing, how could intelligence be born from chance? Faced with these dramatic questions, reason and faith can come to each other's assistance. Only together will they save man. Entranced by an exclusive reliance on technology, reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence. Faith without reason risks being cut off from everyday life.
75. Paul VI had already recognized and drawn attention to the global dimension of the social question. 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. In vitro fertilization, embryo research, the possibility of manufacturing clones and human hybrids: all this is now emerging and being promoted in today's highly disillusioned culture, which believes it has mastered every mystery, because the origin of life is now within our grasp. Here we see the clearest expression of technology's supremacy. In this type of culture, the conscience is simply invited to take note of technological possibilities. Yet we must not underestimate the disturbing scenarios that threaten our future, or the powerful new instruments that the “culture of death” has at its disposal. To the tragic and widespread scourge of abortion we may well have to add in the future — indeed it is already surreptiously present — the systematic eugenic programming of births. At the other end of the spectrum, a pro-euthanasia mindset is making inroads as an equally damaging assertion of control over life that under certain circumstances is deemed no longer worth living. Underlying these scenarios are cultural viewpoints that deny human dignity. These practices in turn foster a materialistic and mechanistic understanding of human life. Who could measure the negative effects of this kind of mentality for development? How can we be surprised by the indifference shown towards situations of human degradation, when such indifference extends even to our attitude towards what is and is not human? What is astonishing is the arbitrary and selective determination of what to put forward today as worthy of respect. Insignificant matters are considered shocking, yet unprecedented injustices seem to be widely tolerated. While the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human. God reveals man to himself; reason and faith work hand in hand to demonstrate to us what is good, provided we want to see it; the natural law, in which creative Reason shines forth, reveals our greatness, but also our wretchedness insofar as we fail to recognize the call to moral truth.
76. One aspect of the contemporary technological mindset is the tendency to consider the problems and emotions of the interior life from a purely psychological point of view, even to the point of neurological reductionism. In this way man's interiority is emptied of its meaning and gradually our awareness of the human soul's ontological depths, as probed by the saints, is lost. The question of development is closely bound up with our understanding of the human soul, insofar as we often reduce the self to the psyche and confuse the soul's health with emotional well-being. These over-simplifications stem from a profound failure to understand the spiritual life, and they obscure the fact that the development of individuals and peoples depends partly on the resolution of problems of a spiritual nature. Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth, since the human person is a “unity of body and soul”, born of God's creative love and destined for eternal life. The human being develops when he grows in the spirit, when his soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into dialogue with himself and his Creator. When he is far away from God, man is unsettled and ill at ease. Social and psychological alienation and the many neuroses that afflict affluent societies are attributable in part to spiritual factors. A prosperous society, highly developed in material terms but weighing heavily on the soul, is not of itself conducive to authentic development. The new forms of slavery to drugs and the lack of hope into which so many people fall can be explained not only in sociological and psychological terms but also in essentially spiritual terms. The emptiness in which the soul feels abandoned, despite the availability of countless therapies for body and psyche, leads to suffering. 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.
77. The supremacy of technology tends to prevent people from recognizing anything that cannot be explained in terms of matter alone. Yet everyone experiences the many immaterial and spiritual dimensions of life. Knowing is not simply a material act, since the object that is known always conceals something beyond the empirical datum. All our knowledge, even the most simple, is always a minor miracle, since it can never be fully explained by the material instruments that we apply to it. In every truth there is something more than we would have expected, in the love that we receive there is always an element that surprises us. We should never cease to marvel at these things. In all knowledge and in every act of love the human soul experiences something “over and above”, which seems very much like a gift that we receive, or a height to which we are raised. The development of individuals and peoples is likewise located on a height, if we consider the spiritual dimension that must be present if such development is to be authentic. It requires new eyes and a new heart, capable of rising above a materialistic vision of human events, capable of glimpsing in development the “beyond” that technology cannot give. By following this path, it is possible to pursue the integral human development that takes its direction from the driving force of charity in truth.
78. Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5) and then encourages us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice. Paul VI recalled in Populorum Progressio that man cannot bring about his own progress unaided, because by himself he cannot establish an authentic humanism. Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God's family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism. The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life — structures, institutions, culture and ethos — without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment. Awareness of God's undying love sustains us in our laborious and stimulating work for justice and the development of peoples, amid successes and failures, in the ceaseless pursuit of a just ordering of human affairs. God's love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral, it gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all, even if this cannot be achieved immediately and if what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish. God gives us the strength to fight and to suffer for love of the common good, because he is our All, our greatest hope.
79. Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us. For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God's love. Development requires attention to the spiritual life, a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. All this is essential if “hearts of stone” are to be transformed into “hearts of flesh” (Ezek 36:26), rendering life on earth “divine” and thus more worthy of humanity. All this is of man, because man is the subject of his own existence; and at the same time it is of God, because God is at the beginning and end of all that is good, all that leads to salvation: “the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's” (1 Cor 3:22-23). Christians long for the entire human family to call upon God as “Our Father!” In union with the only-begotten Son, may all people learn to pray to the Father and to ask him, in the words that Jesus himself taught us, for the grace to glorify him by living according to his will, to receive the daily bread that we need, to be understanding and generous towards our debtors, not to be tempted beyond our limits, and to be delivered from evil (cf. Mt 6:9-13).
At the conclusion of the Pauline Year, I gladly express this hope in the Apostle's own words, taken from the Letter to the Romans: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honour” (Rom 12:9-10). May the Virgin Mary — proclaimed Mater Ecclesiae by Paul VI and honoured by Christians as Speculum Iustitiae and Regina Pacis — protect us and obtain for us, through her heavenly intercession, the strength, hope and joy necessary to continue to dedicate ourselves with generosity to the task of bringing about the “development of the whole man and of all men”.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 29 June, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in the year 2009, the fifth of my Pontificate.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 22: AAS 59 (1967), 268; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 69.
 Address for the Day of Development (23 August 1968): AAS 60 (1968), 626-627.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 2002 World Day of Peace: AAS 94 (2002), 132-140.
 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 26.
 Cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris (11 April 1963): AAS 55 (1963), 268-270.
 Cf. no. 16: loc. cit., 265.
 Cf. ibid., 82: loc. cit., 297.
 Ibid., 42: loc. cit., 278.
 Ibid., 20: loc. cit., 267.
 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 36; Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (14 May 1971), 4: AAS 63 (1971), 403-404; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 43: AAS 83 (1991), 847.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 13: loc. cit., 263-264.
 Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 76.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address at the Inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (Aparecida, 13 May 2007).
 Cf. nos. 3-5: loc. cit., 258-260.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 6-7: AAS 80 (1988), 517-519.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 14: loc. cit., 264.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (25 December 2005), 18: AAS 98 (2006), 232.
 Ibid., 6: loc cit., 222.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, 22 December 2005.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 3: loc. cit., 515.
 Cf. ibid., 1: loc. cit., 513-514.
 Cf. ibid., 3: loc. cit., 515.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens (14 September 1981), 3: AAS 73 (1981), 583-584.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 3: loc. cit., 794-796.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 3: loc. cit., 258.
 Cf. ibid., 34: loc. cit., 274.
 Cf. nos. 8-9: AAS 60 (1968), 485-487; Benedict XVI, Address to the participants at the International Congress promoted by the Pontifical Lateran University on the fortieth anniversary of Paul VI's Encyclical “Humanae Vitae”, 10 May 2008.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (25 March 1995), 93: AAS 87 (1995), 507-508.
 Ibid., 101: loc. cit., 516-518.
 No. 29: AAS 68 (1976), 25.
 Ibid., 31: loc. cit., 26.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 41: loc. cit., 570-572.
 Cf. ibid.; Id., Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 5, 54: loc. cit., 799, 859-860.
 No. 15: loc. cit., 265.
 Cf. ibid., 2: loc. cit., 258; Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum (15 May 1891): Leonis XIII P.M. Acta, XI, Romae 1892, 97-144; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 8: loc. cit., 519-520; Id., Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 5: loc. cit., 799.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 2, 13: loc. cit., 258, 263-264.
 Ibid., 42: loc. cit., 278.
 Ibid., 11: loc. cit., 262; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 25: loc. cit., 822-824.
 Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 15: loc. cit., 265.
 Ibid., 3: loc. cit., 258.
 Ibid., 6: loc. cit., 260.
 Ibid., 14: loc. cit., 264.
 Ibid.; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 53-62: loc. cit., 859-867; Id., Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 13-14: AAS 71 (1979), 282-286.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 12: loc. cit., 262-263.
 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 13: loc. cit., 263-264.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Church in Italy, Verona, 19 October 2006.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 16: loc. cit., 265.
 Benedict XVI, Address to young people at Barangaroo, Sydney, 17 July 2008.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 20: loc. cit., 267.
 Ibid., 66: loc. cit., 289-290.
 Ibid., 21: loc. cit., 267-268.
 Cf. nos. 3, 29, 32: loc. cit., 258, 272, 273.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28: loc. cit., 548-550.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 9: loc. cit., 261-262.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 20: loc. cit., 536-537.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 22-29: loc. cit., 819-830.
 Cf. nos. 23, 33: loc. cit., 268-269, 273-274.
 Cf. loc. cit., 135.
 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 63.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 24: loc. cit., 821-822.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor (6 August 1993), 33, 46, 51: AAS 85 (1993), 1160, 1169-1171, 1174-1175; Id., Address to the Assembly of the United Nations, 5 October 1995, 3.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 47: loc. cit., 280-281; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42: loc. cit., 572-574.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the 2007 World Food Day: AAS 99 (2007), 933-935.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 18, 59, 63-64: loc. cit., 419-421, 467-468, 472-475.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the 2007 World Day of Peace, 5.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 2002 World Day of Peace, 4-7, 12-15: AAS 94 (2002), 134-136, 138-140; Id., Message for the 2004 World Day of Peace, 8: AAS 96 (2004), 119; Id., Message for the 2005 World Day of Peace, 4: AAS 97 (2005), 177-178; Benedict XVI, Message for the 2006 World Day of Peace, 9-10: AAS 98 (2006), 60-61; Id., Message for the 2007 World Day of Peace, 5, 14: loc. cit., 778, 782-783.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 2002 World Day of Peace, 6: loc. cit., 135; Benedict XVI, Message for the 2006 World Day of Peace, 9-10: loc. cit., 60-61.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Homily at Mass, Islinger Feld, Regensburg, 12 September 2006.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, 1: loc. cit., 217-218.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28: loc. cit., 548-550.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 19: loc. cit., 266-267.
 Ibid., 39: loc. cit., 276-277.
 Ibid., 75: loc. cit., 293-294.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, 28: loc. cit., 238-240.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 59: loc. cit., 864.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 40, 85: loc. cit., 277, 298-299.
 Ibid., 13: loc. cit., 263-264.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio (14 September 1998), 85: AAS 91 (1999), 72-73.
 Cf. ibid., 83: loc. cit., 70-71.
 Benedict XVI, Address at the University of Regensburg, 12 September 2006.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 33: loc. cit., 273-274.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 2000 World Day of Peace, 15: AAS 92 (2000), 366.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 407; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 25: loc. cit., 822-824.
 Cf. no. 17: AAS 99 (2007), 1000.
 Cf. ibid., 23: loc. cit., 1004-1005.
 Saint Augustine expounds this teaching in detail in his dialogue on free will (De libero arbitrio, II, 3, 8ff.). He indicates the existence within the human soul of an “internal sense”. This sense consists in an act that is fulfilled outside the normal functions of reason, an act that is not the result of reflection, but is almost instinctive, through which reason, realizing its transient and fallible nature, admits the existence of something eternal, higher than itself, something absolutely true and certain. The name that Saint Augustine gives to this interior truth is at times the name of God (Confessions X, 24, 35; XII, 25, 35; De libero arbitrio II, 3, 8), more often that of Christ (De magistro 11:38; Confessions VII, 18, 24; XI, 2, 4).
 Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, 3: loc. cit., 219.
 Cf. no. 49: loc. cit., 281.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 28: loc. cit., 827-828.
 Cf. no. 35: loc. cit., 836-838.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38: loc. cit., 565-566.
 No. 44: loc. cit., 279.
 Cf. ibid., 24: loc. cit., 269.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 36: loc. cit., 838-840.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 24: loc. cit., 269.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 32: loc. cit., 832-833; Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 25: loc. cit., 269-270.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 24: loc. cit., 637-638.
 Ibid., 15: loc. cit., 616-618.
 Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 27: loc. cit., 271.
 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation Libertatis Conscientia (22 March 1987), 74: AAS 79 (1987), 587.
 Cf. John Paul II, Interview published in the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix, 20 August 1997.
 John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, 27 April 2001.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 17: loc. cit., 265-266.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 2003 World Day of Peace, 5: AAS 95 (2003), 343.
 Cf. ibid.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the 2007 World Day of Peace, 13: loc. cit., 781-782.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 65: loc. cit., 289.
 Cf. ibid., 36-37: loc. cit., 275-276.
 Cf. ibid., 37: loc. cit., 275-276.
 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People Apostolicam Actuositatem, 11.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 14: loc. cit., 264; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 32: loc. cit., 832-833.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 77: loc. cit., 295.
 John Paul II, Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 6: AAS 82 (1990), 150.
 Heraclitus of Ephesus (Ephesus, c. 535 B.C. - c. 475 B.C.), Fragment 22B124, in H. Diels and W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Weidmann, Berlin, 1952, 6(th) ed.
 Pontifical Council for Justice And Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 451-487.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 10: loc. cit., 152-153.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 65: loc. cit., 289.
 Benedict XVI, Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, 7: AAS 100 (2008), 41.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, New York, 18 April 2008.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 13: loc. cit., 154-155.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 36: loc. cit., 838-840.
 Ibid., 38: loc. cit., 840-841; Benedict XVI, Message for the 2007 World Day of Peace, 8: loc. cit., 779.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 41: loc. cit., 843-845.
 Cf. ibid.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 20: loc. cit., 422-424.
 Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 85: loc. cit., 298-299.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 1998 World Day of Peace, 3: AAS 90 (1998), 150; Address to the Members of the Vatican Foundation “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice”, 9 May 1998, 2; Address to the Civil Authorities and Diplomatic Corps of Austria, 20 June 1998, 8; Message to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 5 May 2000, 6.
 According to Saint Thomas “ratio partis contrariatur rationi personae”, In III Sent., d. 5, q. 3, a. 2; also “Homo non ordinatur ad communitatem politicam secundum se totum et secundum omnia sua”, Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 21, a. 4, ad 3.
 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1.
 Cf. John Paul II, Address to the Sixth Public Session of the Pontifical Academies of Theology and of Saint Thomas Aquinas, 8 November 2001, 3.
 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 22: AAS 92 (2000), 763-764; Id., Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (24 November 2002), 8: AAS 96 (2004), 369-370.
 Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, 31: loc. cit., 1010; Address to the Participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Church in Italy, Verona, 19 October 2006.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 5: loc. cit., 798-800; Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Church in Italy, Verona, 19 October 2006.
 No. 12.
 Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo Anno (15 May 1931): AAS 23 (1931), 203; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 48: loc. cit., 852-854; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1883.
 Cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, loc. cit., 274.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 10, 41: loc. cit., 262, 277-278.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to Members of the International Theological Commission, 5 October 2007; Address to the Participants in the International Congress on Natural Moral Law, 12 February 2007.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of Thailand on their “Ad Limina” Visit, 16 May 2008.
 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.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 8: loc. cit., 594-598.
 Jubilee of Workers, Greeting after Mass, 1 May 2000.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 36: loc. cit., 838-840.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, New York, 18 April 2008.
 Cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, loc. cit., 293; Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 441.
 Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, 82.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 43: loc. cit., 574-575.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 41: loc. cit., 277-278; cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 57.
 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 5: loc. cit., 586-589.
 Cf. Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens, 29: loc. cit., 420.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Church in Italy, Verona, 19 October 2006; Id., Homily at Mass, Islinger Feld, Regensburg, 12 September 2006.
 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on certain bioethical questions Dignitas Personae (8 September 2008): AAS 100 (2008), 858-887.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 3: loc. cit., 258.
 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 14.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 42: loc. cit., 278.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, 35: loc. cit., 1013-1014.
 Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 42: loc. cit., 278.
© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
On the Economic Crisis and Cultural Values
"Providence Always Helps Those Who Do Good"
ROMANO CANAVESE, Italy, JULY 19, 2009 - Here is a translation of the public address Benedict XVI gave before praying the midday Angelus in Romano Canavese, close to Les Combes in the Aosta Valley of northern Italy where he spent some vacation days.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I have come with great joy to your beautiful city, to your beautiful church, the native city of my chief colleague, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, with whom I had already worked for many years in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
As you see, because of my accident, I am a bit limited in my movements, but my heart is fully present, and I am here with you with great joy!
At this moment I would like to say thank you with my whole heart to everyone: many have shown me, at this time, their closeness, their warmth, their affection and have prayed for me, and in this way they have reinforced the network of prayer that unites us in every part of the world.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to the doctors and the medical personnel of Aosta who have treated me with such diligence, with such competence and friendship and -- as you see -- with success -- we hope!
I would also like to say thank you to all the government and Church officials and to all the simple people who wrote me or showed me their affection and their closeness.
I would then like above all to greet your bishop, Bishop Arrigo Miglio, and thank him for the kind words, full of friendship, that also taught me a little about the historical and present situation of this city of yours. And I would also like to thank his Excellency Luigi Betazzi for his presence. I greet the mayor, who gave me a beautiful gift, [and] the civil and military authorities; I greet the pastor and the other priests, the men and women religious, the heads of the ecclesiastical associations and movements and all of the citizenry, with a special thought for the children, the young people, the families, the sick, the persons in need. To all and to each my most lively gratitude goes out for the welcome that you have reserved for me in this brief sojourn with you.
This morning you celebrated the Eucharist and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has certainly already explained the Word of God to you, which the liturgy offers for our meditation on this 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time. As the Lord invites the disciples to come away to listen to him in a more intimate setting, I also would like to be engaged with you, recalling that precisely listening to and welcoming the Gospel is what brought your local community about, whose name recalls the relationship of two millennia that the Canavese have with Rome. As his Excellency said, your land was bathed in the blood of martyrs at an early date. Among them was St. Solutore -- I must confess that until now I did not know his name but I am always grateful to discover new saint intercessors! -- and together with St. Peter the Apostle, he is the patron of your church.
Your imposing parish church is an eloquent witness to a long history of faith. This church dominates a large part of the Canavese landscape, whose inhabitants are known for their love and attachment to work. Presently, however, I know that here too, in Ivrea, many families are experiencing a difficult economic situation because of the scarcity of jobs. In regard to this problem -- as his Excellency also recalled -- I have spoken many times and I wanted to treat it more deeply in my recent encyclical "Caritas in Veritate." I hope that it will be able to mobilize forces to renew the world!
Dear friends, do not be discouraged! Providence always helps those who do good and dedicate themselves to justice; it helps those who do not think only of themselves but of those who are worse off. And you know this well, because your grandparents had to emigrate because there was a lack of work, but then economic development brought well-being and others immigrated here from [other parts of] Italy and from foreign countries. The fundamental values of the family and respect for human life, sensibility for social justice, the capacity to endure toil and sacrifice, the strong link to Christian faith through parish life and especially through participation at Holy Mass, have been your strength over the centuries. These same values will permit today's generations to build their future with hope, giving life to a true solidarity and a fraternal society, in which all the various spheres, institutions and economy are permeated by an evangelical spirit.
I address the young people in a special way, who must think about education. Here, as everywhere, you must ask what sort of culture is emerging around you; what examples and models are proposed to you, and you must determine whether they are such as to encourage you to follow the ways of the Gospel and authentic freedom. Youth is full of resources, but it must be helped to overcome the temptation of easy and illusory ways, to find the road of true and abundant life.
Dear brothers and sisters! In this land of yours, rich in Christian traditions and human values, numerous vocations have flourished among men and women, especially for the Salesian family, like that of Cardinal Bertone, who was born in this very parish of yours, was baptized in this church, and grew up in a family where he assimilated a genuine faith. Your diocese owes much to the sons and daughters of Don Bosco, to their widespread and fruitful presence in this whole area from the time when the holy founder was still alive. May this be a further encouragement to your diocesan community to commit itself more and more to the field of education and vocational accompaniment. For this let us invoke the protection of Mary, the Virgin Assumed, Patroness of the Diocese, Help of Christians, a mother loved and venerated in a special way in numerous shrines dedicated to her among the mountains of the Gran Paradiso and on the plain of the Po. May her maternal presence show the way of hope to all and lead them along it as the star led the Magi. May the Madonna of the Star watch over all you from the hill that dominates Ivrea, Monte Stella, which is dedicated to her and to the Magi Kings. Let us now entrust ourselves to the Madonna with filial confidence, invoking her with the prayer of the Angelus.
SOCIAL ENCYCLICAL: Introduction and commentaries
VATICAN CITY, 7 JUL 2009 (VIS) - On July 7, 2009, the Holy See Press Office held a press conference to present Benedict XVI's new Encyclical "Caritas in veritate". Participating in the event were Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, recently appointed as bishop of Trieste, Italy, and Stefano Zamagni, professor of political economy at the University of Bologna, Italy and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
In his remarks Cardinal Martini spoke of the need for a new social Encyclical twenty years after John Paul II's "Centesimus Annus" of 1991, and dedicated some attention to changes that have taken place over the last two decades.
"The political ideologies that characterised the period prior to 1989 seem to have lost their virulence, but have been replaced by the new ideology of technology", he said. "Various aspects of globalisation have been accentuated, due on the one hand to the fact that there are no longer two opposing power blocs and, on the other, to the worldwide computer network. ... Religions have returned to the centre of the world stage. ... Certain large countries have emerged from a situation of backwardness, notably changing the world geopolitical balance. ... The problem of international governance remains vital".
These "great novelties ... would be enough by themselves to motivate the writing of a new social Encyclical", said the cardinal, "yet there is another reason: ... 'Caritas in veritate' was conceived by the Holy Father as a commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of Paul VI's 'Populorum Progressio'" although the theme of this new Encyclical "is not the 'development of peoples', but 'integral human development'. ... We could say, then, that the perspective of 'Populorum Progressio' has been broadened".
"'Caritas in veritate' clearly shows not only that the pontificate of Paul VI was no 'backward step' for Church social doctrine, as has unfortunately often been said, but that that Pope made a significant contribution to forming a view of the social doctrine of the Church in the wake of 'Gaudium et spes' and earlier tradition, and provided the foundation upon which John Paul II could then build".
For his part, Archbishop Crepaldi spoke of various new topics dealt with in this Encyclical. "For the first time the two fundamental rights: to life and to religious freedom", he said, "are given explicit and extensive space in a social Encyclical. ... They are", he went on, "organically linked to the question of development. ... In 'Caritas in veritate' the so-called 'anthropological question' becomes to all intents and purposes a 'social question'".
Another two themes contained in the Encyclical are: the environment - in which nature is seen not as a "deposit of natural resources" but as "created word" entrusted to the human beings "for the good of everyone" - and technology - "the first time an Encyclical deals with this theme so fully". And the archbishop went on: "The continuous reference to Truth and Love infuses 'Caritas in veritate' with great freedom of thought which cuts through all the ideologies that unfortunately still weigh upon the question of development".
Cardinal Cordes explained how, "if the Pope's first Encyclical 'Deus caritas est' on the theology of charity contained certain indications on social doctrine, we now find ourselves with a text entirely dedicate to this subject".
After highlighting how "the social doctrine of the Church is an element of evangelisation", the cardinal warned against reading it "outside the context of the Gospel and its announcement", because doctrine "is born and must be interpreted in the light of the revelation".
The president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" explained that "the heart of social doctrine is always mankind", and he went on: "The anthropological question requires us to respond to a central question: what kind of man do we wish to promote?. ... Can a civilisation survive without fundamental points of reference, without looking to eternity, denying mankind an answer to his most profound questions? Can there be true development without God?"
Referring finally to the concept of progress, the cardinal highlighted the fact that the Encyclical, "apart from unifying the two dimensions [of human promotion and announcement of the faith], introduces a further element into the concept of progress, that of hope", to which the Pope dedicated his second Encyclical "Spe salvi".
Professor Zamagni pointed out that the Encyclical is favourable "to the concept of the market typical of the civil economy, according to which it possible to experience human coexistence within a normal economic framework, and not outside or on the margins thereof".
"There are", he explained, "three structural factors to the current crisis. The first concerns the radical change in the relationship between finance and the production of goods and services that has become consolidated over the last thirty years. ... The second factor is the spread, at the level of popular culture, of the ethos of efficiency as the ultimate criterion with which to judge and justify economic matters. ... The third cause is connected to the specificity of the cultural environment that has become consolidated over recent decades on the crest, on the one hand, of globalisation and, on the other, of the advent of the third industrial revolution, that of information technology".
SUMMARY OF ENCYCLICAL "CARITAS IN VERITATE"
VATICAN CITY, 7 JUL 2009 ( VIS ) - Given below is a summary of Benedict XVI's new Encyclical "Caritas in veritate" (Charity in Truth) on integral human development in charity and truth.
The Encyclical published today - which comprehends an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion - is dated 29 June 2009, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.
A summary of the Encyclical released by the Holy See Press Office explains that in his introduction the Pope recalls how "charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine". Yet, given the risk of its being "misinterpreted and detached from ethical living", he warns how "a Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance".
The Holy Father makes it clear that development has need of truth. In this context he dwells on two "criteria that govern moral action": justice and the common good. All Christians are called to charity, also by the "institutional path" which affects the life of the "polis", that is, of social coexistence.
The first chapter of the Encyclical focuses on the message of Paul VI's "Populorum Progressio" which "underlined the indispensable importance of the Gospel for building a society according to freedom and justice. ... The Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, ... but only on Christ". Paul VI "pointed out that the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order". They lie above all in the will, in the mind and, even more so, in "the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples".
"Human Development in Our Time" is the theme of the second chapter. If profit, the Pope writes, "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". In this context he enumerates certain "malfunctions" of development: financial dealings that are "largely speculative", migratory flows "often provoked by some particular circumstance and then given insufficient attention", and "the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources". In the face of these interconnected problems, the Pope calls for "a new humanistic synthesis", noting how "development today has many overlapping layers: ... The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase", and new forms of poverty are coming into being.
At a cultural level, the Encyclical proceeds, the possibilities for interaction open new prospects for dialogue, but a twofold danger exists: a "cultural eclecticism" in which cultures are viewed as "substantially equivalent", and the opposing danger of "cultural levelling and indiscriminate acceptance of types of conduct and lifestyles". In this context Pope Benedict also mentions the scandal of hunger and express his hope for "equitable agrarian reform in developing countries".
The Pontiff also dwells on the question of respect for life, "which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples", affirming that "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".
Another question associated with development is that of the right to religious freedom. "Violence", writes the Pope, "puts the brakes on authentic development", and "this applies especially to terrorism motivated by fundamentalism".
Chapter three of the Encyclical - "Fraternity, Economic Development and Civil Society" - opens with a passage praising the "experience of gift", often insufficiently recognised "because of a purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life". Yet development, "if it is to be authentically human, needs to make room for the principle of gratuitousness". As for the logic of the market, it "needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility".
Referring to "Centesimus Annus", this Encyclical highlights the "need for a system with three subjects: the market, the State and civil society" and encourages a "civilising of the economy". It highlights the importance of "economic forms based on solidarity" and indicates how "both market and politics need individuals who are open to reciprocal gift".
The chapter closes with a fresh evaluation of the phenomenon of globalisation, which must not be seen just as a "socio-economic process". Globalisation needs "to promote a person-based and community-oriented cultural process of world-wide integration that is open to transcendence" and able to correct its own malfunctions.
The fourth chapter of the Encyclical focuses on the theme: "The Development of People. Rights and Duties. The Environment". Governments and international organisations, says the Pope, cannot "lose sight of the objectivity and 'inviolability' of rights". In this context he also dedicates attention to "the problems associated with population growth".
He reaffirms that sexuality "cannot be reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment". States, he says, "are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family".
"The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly", the Holy Father goes on, and "not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred". This centrality of the human person must also be the guiding principle in "development programmes" and in international co-operation. "International organisations", he suggests, "might question the actual effectiveness of their bureaucratic and administrative machinery, which is often excessively costly".
The Holy Father also turns his attention to the energy problem, noting how "the fact that some States, power groups and companies hoard non-renewable energy resources represents a grave obstacle to development in poor countries. ... Technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption", he says, at the same time encouraging "research into alternative forms of energy".
"The Co-operation of the Human Family" is the title and focus of chapter five, in which Pope Benedict highlights how "the development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family". Hence Christianity and other religions "can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm".
The Pope also makes reference to the principle of subsidiarity, which assists the human person "via the autonomy of intermediate bodies". Subsidiarity, he explains, "is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state" and is "particularly well-suited to managing globalisation and directing it towards authentic human development".
Benedict XVI calls upon rich States "to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid", thus respecting their obligations. He also express a hope for wider access to education and, even more so, for "complete formation of the person", affirming that yielding to relativism makes everyone poorer. One example of this, he writes, is that of the perverse phenomenon of sexual tourism. "It is sad to note that this activity often takes place with the support of local governments", he says.
The Pope then goes on to consider the "epoch-making" question of migration. "Every migrant", he says, "is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance".
The Pontiff dedicates the final paragraph of this chapter to the "strongly felt need" for a reform of the United Nations and of "economic institutions and international finance. ... There is", he says, "urgent need of a true world political authority" with "effective power".
The sixth and final chapter is entitled "The Development of Peoples and Technology". In it the Holy Father warns against the "Promethean presumption" of humanity thinking "it can re-create itself through the 'wonders' of technology". Technology, he says, cannot have "absolute freedom".
"A particularly crucial battleground in today's cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics", says Benedict XVI, and he adds: "Reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence". The social question has, he says, become an anthropological question. Research on embryos and cloning is "being promoted in today's highly disillusioned culture which believes it has mastered every mystery". The Pope likewise expresses his concern over a possible "systematic eugenic programming of births".
In the conclusion to his Encyclical Benedict XVI highlights how "development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer", just as it needs "love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace".
Cardinal Bertone on "Caritas in Veritate"
"It Is Also Possible to Do Business by Pursuing Aims That Serve Society"
ROME, AUG. 22, 2009 - Here is a translation of a speech Benedict XVI's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, gave to the Italian Senate last month. The July 28 discourse was a reflection on the Pope's third encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate."
* * *
Benedict XVI begins his Encyclical with a deep, comprehensive introduction in which he reflects on and analyzes the words of the title which closely link "caritas" and "veritas": love and truth. This is not only a sort of "explicatio terminorum", an initial explanation which seeks to point out the fundamental principles and perspectives of his entire teaching. Indeed, like the musical theme of a symphony, the theme of truth and charity then recurs throughout the document precisely because, as the Pope writes, in it is "the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity" .
But, we ask ourselves, which truth and which love are meant? There is no doubt that today these very concepts give rise to suspicion especially the term "truth" or are the object of misunderstanding, and this is especially the case with the term "love". This is why it is important to make clear which truth and which love the Pope is addressing in his new Encyclical. The Holy Father explains that these two fundamental realities are neither extrinsic to man nor even imposed upon him in the name of any kind of ideological vision; rather, they are deeply rooted within the person. Indeed, "love and truth", the Pope says, "are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person" , the person who, according to Sacred Scripture, has been created precisely "as an image of the Creator", in other words of the "God of the Bible, who is both "Agápe" and "Lógos": Charity and Truth, Love and Word .
This reality is testified to us not only by biblical Revelation but can be grasped by every person of good will who uses right reason in reflecting on himself . In this regard, several passages of an important and meaningful Document that came out just before Caritas in veritate seem to illustrate this view clearly. The International Theological Commission in recent months has given us a text entitled "The Search for Universal Ethics: A New Look at Natural Law". It addresses topics of great importance which I wish to point out and to recommend especially in this context of the Senate, that is, an institution whose main function is legislative. Indeed, as the Holy Father said to the United Nations Assembly in New York during his Visit last year to their headquarters , sometimes called the "glass palace", speaking about the foundation of human rights: These rights "are based on the natural law inscribed on human hearts and present in different cultures and civilizations. Removing human rights from this context would mean restricting their range and yielding to a relativistic conception, according to which the meaning and interpretation of rights could vary and their universality would be denied in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks". These reflections do not apply solely to human rights. They apply to every intervention by the legitimate authority called to regulate the life of the community in accordance with true justice by means of legislation that is not the result of a mere conventional agreement but aims at the authentic good of the person and of society and hence refers to this natural law.
Now, expounding on the reality of natural law, the International Theological Commission describes precisely how truth and love are essential requirements of every person and are deeply rooted in his being. "In his search for moral good, the human person should recognize what he is and be aware of the fundamental inclinations of his nature" , which orient him toward the goods necessary for his moral fulfilment. As is well known, "a distinction has traditionally been made between three important forms of natural dynamism.... The first, in common with every essential being, is comprised of the fundamental instinct to preserve and develop one's own existence. The second, which is shared by all living beings, includes the inclination to reproduce in order to perpetuate the species. The third, which is proper to man as a rational being, constitutes the inclination to know the truth about God and to live in society" . Examining in depth this third form of dynamism which is found in every individual, the International Theological Commission declares that it is "specific to the human being as a spiritual being, endowed with reason, capable of knowing the truth, of entering into dialogue with others and of forming social relationships.... His integral well-being is thus closely linked to community life, which is organized in a political society by virtue of a natural inclination and not a mere convention. The person's relational character is also expressed in his tendency to live in communion with God or the Absolute....
Of course, it may be denied by those who refuse to admit the existence of a personal God, but it remains implicitly present in the search for truth and for meaning that is present in every human being" .
Man, therefore, through the "breadth of reason" , is made to know the truth in its full depth by "broadening [his] concept of reason", in other words, not limiting himself to acquiring technical knowledge in order to dominate material reality but rather opening himself to the very encounter with the Transcendent and to living fully the interpersonal dimension of love, "the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)" . "Veritas" and "caritas" themselves point out to us the requirements of the natural law which Benedict XVI places as a fundamental criterion for moral reflection on the current socio-economic reality: "'Caritas in veritate' is the principle around which the Church's social doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action" .
Using a cogent expression, the Holy Father thus affirms that "the Church's social teaching... is "caritas in veritate in re sociali": the proclamation of the truth of Christ's love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth" .
What the Encyclical suggests is neither ideological nor exclusively reserved to those who share belief in the divine Revelation. Rather, it is based on fundamental anthropological realities such as, precisely, truth and charity properly understood or, as the Encyclical itself says, given to the human being and received by him, but neither planned nor willed by him . Benedict XVI wants to remind everyone that it is only by being anchored to this double criterion of "veritas" and "caritas", inseparably bound together, that it is possible to build the authentic good of the human being who is made for truth and love. According to the Holy Father, "only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value" .
After this indispensable introduction, of which I have chosen to highlight some of the anthropological and theological aspects of the Papal text that may have attracted fewer comments from journalists, I would now like to explain just a few points, without claiming to cover the vast content of the Encyclical. Moreover, authoritative commentators have already published specific reflections on it in L'Osservatore Romano and elsewhere.
An important message that comes to us from Caritas in veritate is the invitation to supersede the now obsolete dichotomy between the financial sphere and the social sphere. Modernity has bequeathed to us the idea on the basis of which, if we are to be able to operate in the field of the economy, it is essential to achieve a profit and to be motivated chiefly by self-interest; as if to say that if we do not seek the highest profit we are not proper entrepreneurs. Should this not be the case, we must be content with belonging to the social sphere.
This conceptualization, that confuses the market economy that is the genus with its own particular species which is the capitalist system, has led to identifying the economy with the place where wealth or income is generated, and society with the place of solidarity for its fair distribution.
Caritas in veritate tells us instead that it is also possible to do business by pursuing aims that serve society and are inspired by pro-social motives. This is a practical way, if not the only one, of bridging the gap between the economic and the social spheres, given that an economic activity which did not incorporate the social dimension would not be ethically acceptable. It is likewise true that a social policy concerned only with redistribution, that failed to reckon with the available resources, would not be sustainable in the long run: in fact, production must precede distribution.
We should be particularly grateful to Benedict XVI for wishing to emphasize the fact that economic action is not separate from or alien to the cornerstones of the Church's social teaching such as: the centrality of the human person, solidarity, subsidariety, the common good.
It is necessary to supersede the current concept which expects the Church's social teaching and values to be confined to social activities, while experts in efficiency would be charged with guiding the economy. It is the merit and certainly not a secondary one of this Encyclical to contribute to remedying this gap which is both cultural and political.
Contrary to what people think, efficiency is not the fundamentum divisionis for distinguishing between what is business and what is not, for the simple reason that "efficiency" is a category that belongs to the order of means and not of ends. Indeed, efficiency is indispensable in order to achieve as well as possible the purpose one has freely chosen to give one's action. The entrepreneur who gives priority to efficiency that is an end in itself risks being caught by one of the most frequent causes of the destruction of wealth today, as the current economic and financial crisis sadly confirms.
To expand briefly on this theme, to say "market" means saying "competition", in the sense that the market cannot exist where there is no competition (even if the opposite is not true). And there is no one who can fail to see that the fruitfulness of competition lies in the fact that it implies tension, the dialectic that presupposes the presence of another and the relationship with another. Without tension there is no movement, but the movement this is the point to which tension gives rise can also be fatal; in other words it can generate death.
If the purpose of economic action is not synonymous with striving for a common goal as the Latin etymology "cum-petere" would clearly indicate but rather with Hobbes' theory, "mors tua, vita mea" [your death is my life], then the social bond is reduced to commercial relations and economic activity tends to become inhuman, hence ultimately inefficient. Therefore, even in competition, "the Church's social doctrine holds that authentically human social relationships of friendship, solidarity and reciprocity can also be conducted within economic activity, and not only outside it or "after" it. The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor inherently inhuman and opposed to society. It is part and parcel of human activity and precisely because it is human, it must be structured and governed in an ethical manner" .
Well, the advantage by no means small that Caritas in veritate offers us is to give special consideration to the concept of market, typical of the tradition of the thought of civil economics, according to which it is possible to live the experience of human sociality within a normal economic life and not outside or beside it. This concept might be defined as an alternative, both regarding the concept that sees the market as a place for the exploitation and abuse of the weak by the strong, and the concept which, in line with anarchic-liberalistic thought, sees it as a place that can provide solutions to all the problems of society.
This way of doing business is differentiated from that of the traditional Smithian economy, which sees the market as the only institution truly necessary for democracy and freedom. The Church's social doctrine, on the other hand, reminds us that a sound society is certainly the product of the market and of freedom, but there are needs that stem from the principle of brotherhood that can neither be avoided nor be referred solely to the private sphere or to philanthropy. Rather, the Church's social doctrine proposes a humanism with various dimensions, in which the market is not combated or "controlled" but is seen as an important institution in the public sphere a sphere which far exceeds State control which, if it is conceived of and lived as a place that is also open to the principles of reciprocity and of giving, can construct a healthy civil coexistence.
I shall now examine one of the themes in the Encyclical which seems to me to have attracted some public interest because of the newness of the principles of brotherhood and free giving in economic activity. "Social and political development, if it is to be authentically human", Pope Benedict XVI says, needs "to make room for the principle of gratuitousness" . "Internal forms of solidarity" are essential. The chapter on the cooperation of the human family is significant in this regard. In it the Pope stresses that "the development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family", which is why "thinking of this kind requires a deeper critical evaluation of the category of relation". And further: "The theme of development can be identified with the inclusion-in-relation of all individuals and peoples within the one community of the human family, built in solidarity on the basis of the fundamental values of justice and peace" .
The key word that today expresses this need better than any other is "brotherhood". It was the Franciscan school of thought that gave this term the meaning it has retained over the course of time and that constitutes the complement and exaltation of the principle of solidarity. In fact, whereas solidarity is the principle of social organization that permits those who are unequal to become equal through their equal dignity and their fundamental rights, the principle of brotherhood is that principle of social organization which permits equals to be different, in the sense that they are able to express their plan of life or their charism in different ways.
Let me explain more clearly. The periods we have left behind us, the 19th century and especially the 20th century, were marked by great battles both cultural and political in the name of solidarity. This was a good thing; only think of the history of the trade union movement and of the fight to obtain civil rights. The point is that a society oriented to the common good cannot stop at solidarity because it needs a solidarity that reflects brotherhood, given that while a fraternal society also shows solidarity, the opposite is not necessarily true.
If one overlooks the unsustainability of a human society in which the sense of brotherhood is lacking and in which everything revolves around improving transactions based on the exchange of equivalents or to increasing transfers actuated by public structures for social assistance it then becomes clear why, in spite of the quality of the intellectual forces at work, we have not yet found a credible solution to the great trade-off between efficiency and equity. Caritas in veritate helps us to realize that society can have no future if the principle of brotherhood is lost. In other words, society cannot progress if the logic of "giving in order to have" or of "giving as a duty" is the only one that exists and develops. This is why neither the liberal-individualistic vision of the world, in which (almost) everything is exchange, nor the State-centred vision of society, in which (almost) everything is based on obligation, are reliable guides to lead us out of the shallows in which our societies today have run aground.
Then we ask ourselves the question: why is the perspective of the common good as it has been formulated by the Church's social doctrine, which was banished from the scene for at least two centuries, re-emerging like an underground river? Why is the transition from national markets to the global market that has taken place over the last 25 years rendering the topic of the common good timely once again? I note in passing that what is occurring is part of a broader movement of ideas in economics, a movement whose goal is the link between a religious sense and economic performance. On the basis of the consideration that religious beliefs are of crucial importance in forging people's cognitive maps and in shaping the social norms of behaviour, this movement of ideas is seeking to investigate how far the prevalence in a specific country (or territory) of a certain religious matrix influences the formation of categories of economic thought, welfare programmes, educational policies and so forth. After a long period, during which the celebrated theses of secularization appeared to have had the last word on the religious question at least insofar as the economic field is concerned what is happening today appears truly paradoxical.
It is not difficult to explain the return to the contemporary cultural debate in the perspective of the common good, a true and proper symbol of Catholic ethics in the social and economic field. As John Paul ii explained on many occasions, the Church's social teaching should not be considered as yet another ethical theory as regards the numerous theories already available in literature. Instead it should be seen as their "common grammar", since it is based on a specific viewpoint, the preservation of the human good. In truth, while the various ethical theories are rooted either in the search for rules (as happens in the positivist doctrine of natural law), or in action (as in Rawls' neo-contractualism or neo-utilitarianism), the social doctrine of the Church embraces "being with" as its Archimedean point. The ethical sense of the common good explains that in order to understand human action we must see it from the perspective of the acting person  and not from the viewpoint of the third person (as does natural law) or of the impartial spectator (as Adam Smith had suggested). In fact since the moral good is a practical reality, it is known first and foremost by those who practise it rather than by those who theorize about it. They can identify it and hence choose it unhesitatingly every time it is questioned.
Next, let us speak of the principle of free giving in the economy. What would be the practical consequence of applying the principle of free giving in economic activity? Pope Benedict XVI replies that the market and politics need "individuals who are open to reciprocal gift" . The consequence of acknowledging that the principle of gratuitousness has a priority place in economic life has to do with the dissemination of culture and of the practice of reciprocity.
Together with democracy, reciprocity defined by Benedict XVI as "the heart of what it is to be a human being"  is a founding value of a society. Indeed, it could also be maintained that democratic rule draws its ultimate meaning from reciprocity.
In what "places" is reciprocity at home? In other words, where is it practised and nourished? The family is the first of these places: only think of the relationships between parents and children and between siblings. It is in the context of one's family that the relationship characteristic of brotherhood and based on giving develops. Then there are the cooperative, the social enterprise and associations in their various forms. Is it not true that the relationship between family members or the members of a cooperative are relations of reciprocity? Today we know that a country's civil and economic progress depends fundamentally on the extent to which reciprocity is practised by its citizens. Today there is an immense need for cooperation: this is why we need to extend the forms of free giving and to reinforce those that already exist. Societies that uproot the tree of reciprocity from their land are destined to decline, as history has been teaching us for years.
What is the proper role of the gift? It is to make people understand that beside the goods of justice are the goods of gratuitousness and, consequently, that the society whose members are content with the goods of justice alone is not authentically human. The Pope speaks of "the astonishing experience of gift" .
What is the difference? The goods of justice are those that derive from a duty. The goods of giving freely are those that are born from an obbligatio. That is, they are goods born from the recognition that I am bound to another and that, in a certain sense he is a constitutive part of me. This is why the logic of gratuitousness cannot be simplistically reduced to a purely ethical dimension. Indeed, gratuitousness is not an ethical virtue. Justice, as Plato formerly taught, is an ethical virtue, and we are all in agreement as to the importance of justice; but gratuitousness concerns rather the supra-ethical dimension of human action because its logic is superabundance, whereas the logic of justice is the logic of equivalence. Well, Caritas in veritate tells us that to function well and to progress, a society needs to have in its economic praxis people who understand what the goods of gratuitousness entail, in other words, who understand that we must let the principle of gratuitousness circulate anew in the channels of our society.
Benedict XVI asks us to restore the principle of gift to the public sphere. The authentic gift affirming the primacy of relationship over its reciprocation, of the inter-subjective bond over the good that is given, of personal identity over assets must find room for expression everywhere, in every context of human action, including the economy. The message that Caritas in veritate offers us is to think of gratuitousness hence brotherhood as a symbol of the human condition and thus to see the practice of giving as the indispensable prerequisite for the State and the market to function, with the common good as their goal. Without the widespread practice of giving, it would still be possible to have an efficient market and an authoritative (and even just) State, but people would certainly not be helped to achieve joie de vivre. Because, even if efficiency and justice are combined, they are not enough to guarantee people's happiness.
In Caritas in veritate Pope Benedict XVI reflects on the profound (and not on the immediate) causes of the current crisis. It is not my intention to review them and I shall limit myself to summing up the three principal factors of the crisis, identified and examined.
The first concerns the radical change in the relationship between finance and the production of goods and services which has gradually been consolidated in the past 30 years. From the mid-1970s various Western countries have based their promises of pension funds on investments that depended on the sustainable profitability of the new financial instruments, thereby exposing the real economy to the caprices of finance and generating the growing need to earmark value-added quotas to the remuneration of savings invested in these. The pressure on businesses deriving from stock exchanges and private equity funds have had repercussions in various directions: on directors, obliged to continuously improve the performance of their management in order to receive a growing number of stock options; on consumers, to convince them to buy more and more, even in the absence of purchasing power; on businesses of the real economy to convince them to increase the value for the shareholder.
And so it was that the persistent demand for increasingly brilliant financial results had repercussions on the entire economic system, to the point that it became a true and proper cultural model.
The second factor that contributed to causing the crisis was the dissemination in popular culture of the ethos of efficiency as the ultimate criterion of judgement and the justification of the financial reality. On the one hand, this ended by legitimizing greed which is the best known and most widespread form of avarice as a sort of civic virtue: the greed market that replaces the free market. "Greed is good, greed is right", preached Gordon Gekko, who starred in Wall Street, the famous 1987 film.
Lastly, in Caritas in veritate the Pope does not omit to reflect on the cause of the causes of the crisis: the specificity of the cultural matrix that was consolidated in recent decades on the wave of the globalization process on the one hand, and on the other, with the advent of the third industrial revolution, the revolution of information technology. One specific aspect of this matrix concerns the ever more widespread dissatisfaction with the way of interpreting the principle of freedom. As is well known, there are three constitutive dimensions of freedom: autonomy, immunity, and empowerment.
Autonomy means freedom of choice: one is not free unless one is in a position to choose. Immunity, on the other hand, means the absence of coercion by some external agent. It is substantially negative freedom (in other words it is "freedom from"). Lastly, empowerment (literally: the capacity for action) means the capacity to choose, that is, for achieving the objectives, at least in part or to some extent, that the person has set himself. One is not free even if one succeeds (even only partially) in realizing one's plan of life.
As can be understood, the challenge is to bring together all three dimensions of freedom: this is the reason why the paradigm of the common good appears as a particularly interesting perspective to explore.
In the light of what has been said above, we can understand why the financial crisis cannot claim to be an unexpected or inexplicable event. This is why, without taking anything from the indispensable interventions in a regulatory key or from the necessary new forms of control, we shall not succeed in preventing similar episodes from arising in the future unless the evil is attacked at the root, or in other words, unless we intervene by dealing with the cultural matrix that supports the economic system. This crisis sends a double message to the Government authorities. In the first place, that the sacrosanct criticism of the "intervening State" can in no way ignore the central role of the "regulatory State". Secondly, that the public authorities at different levels of government, must allow, indeed enhance, the emergence and reinforcement of a pluralist financial market. A market, in other words, should allow different people to work in conditions of objective parity to achieve the specific aim they have set themselves. I am thinking of the regional banks, of cooperative credit banks, ethical banks, of various ethical foundations. These are bodies that not only propose creative finance to their branches but above all play a complementary, hence balancing, role with regard to the agents of speculative finance. If in recent decades the financial authorities had removed the many restrictions that burden agents in alternative finance, today's crisis would not have had the devastating power that we are experiencing.
Before concluding, I would like to thank Hon. Mr Renato Schifani, President of the Senate of the Italian Republic, for permitting me to explain to this qualified audience several features of Benedict XVI's latest Encyclical.
In a certain way it is as if today the Holy Father were returning to the Headquarters of the Senate of the Republic, where, in the Library of the Senate on 13 May 2004, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gave an unforgettable "lectio magistralis" on the theme: "Europe. Its spiritual foundations yesterday, today and tomorrow".
It is interesting to note how, in that discourse, among other things the future Pontiff touched on certain topics that we rediscover today in his most recent Encyclical. Let us think, for example, of the affirmation of the profound reason for the dignity of the person and of his rights: "they are not created by the legislator", the then- Cardinal Ratzinger said, "nor are they conferred upon citizens, "but rather they exist through their own law, they are always to be respected by the legislator, they are given to him in advance as values of a superior order". This validity of human dignity prior to any political action and any political decision refers ultimately to the Creator; he alone can establish values that are based on the essence of the human being and are intangible. That there are values that cannot be manipulated by anyone is the true and proper guarantee of our freedom and of human greatness; the Christian faith sees in this the mystery of the Creator and of the condition of the image of God who has conferred them on man". In Caritas in veritate Benedict XVI repeats that "human rights risk being ignored" when "they are robbed of their transcendent foundation" , that is, when people forget that "God is the guarantor of man's true development, inasmuch as, having created him in his image, he also established the transcendent dignity of men and women" .
Further, in the "lectio magistralis" given five years ago, the current Pontiff recalled that "a second point in which the European identity appears is marriage and the family. Monogamic marriage, as a fundamental structure of the relationship between a man and a woman and at the same time as a cell in the formation of the State community, was forged on the basis of biblical faith. It has given its special features and its special humanity to Western and Eastern Europe, also and precisely because the form of fidelity and renunciation outlined here must always be acquired anew, with great effort and much suffering.
Europe would no longer be Europe if this fundamental cell of its social edifice were to disappear or to be essentially altered". In Caritas in veritate this warning is extended until it becomes universal, we might say global, and reaches all who are responsible for public life; we read in it, in fact: "It is thus becoming a social and even economic necessity once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. In view of this, States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society, and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs, while respecting its essentially relational character" .
Of course, Caritas in veritate is addressed, as it says in its official title, to all the members of the Catholic Church and to "all people of good will". Yet, because of the principles it illumines, the problems it tackles and the guidelines it offers, it seems to me that this Papal Document which gave rise to so many expectations beforehand and then to so much attention and appreciation, especially in the social, political and economic contexts can find a special echo in this institutional Headquarters of the Senate of the Republic. I am convinced that, over and above differences in training and in personal conviction, those who have the delicate and honourable responsibility of representing the Italian people and of exercising legislative power during their mandate, may find in the Pope's words a lofty and profound inspiration for carrying out their mission so as to respond adequately to the ethical, cultural and social challenges which call us into question today and which, with great lucidity and completeness, the Encyclical Caritas in veritate sets before us. My hope is that this document of the ecclesial Magisterium which I have endeavoured to describe to you today, at least in part, may find here the attention it deserves and thus bear positive and abundant fruit for the good of every person and of the entire human family, starting with the beloved Italian Nation.
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 Caritas in veritate, n. 1
 Ibid., n. 3.
 "Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity" (ibid.).
 Discourse to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, 18 April 2008.
 The Search for Universal Ethics: A New Look at Natural Law, n. 45.
 Ibid., n. 46.
 Ibid., n. 50.
 Discourse to the University of Regensburg, 12 September 2006.
 Caritas in Veritate, n. 2
 Ibid., n. 6.
 Ibid., n. 5.
 "Truth which is itself a gift, in the same way as charity is greater than we are, as St Augustine teaches. Likewise the truth of ourselves, of our personal conscience, is first of all given to us. In every cognitive process, truth is not something that we produce, it is always found, or better, received. Truth, like love, 'is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings'" (Caritas in Veritate, n. 34).
 Ibid., n. 9.
 Ibid., n. 36.
 Ibid., n. 34.
 Ibid., nn. 53-54.
 Cf. Veritatis Splendor, n. 78.
 Cf. ibid., nn. 35-39.
 Ibid., n. 57.
 Ibid., n. 34.
 Ibid., n. 56.
 Ibid., n. 29.
 Ibid., n. 44.
Caritas in Veritate, by
Pope Benedict XVI,
Abridged by Dr. John A. Gueguen
In view of the problem of development presented today as compared with forty years ago, a fresh reading of Populorum Progressio within the context of Paul VI’s magisterium, its connection with the Second Vatican Council, and the Church’s social doctrine, recalls that the Church is at the service of the world in terms of love and truth. According to Paul, the whole Church is engaged in promoting authentic development of the whole person: Integral human development is a vocation involving responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone. Without a transcendent vision of the person; without God, man ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development.
Pope Paul already recognized and drew attention to the global dimension of the social question. In his time, negative ideologies weakened cultures and idealized technical progress, detaching it from moral evaluation (the links between life ethics and social ethics). He repeatedly underlined the urgent need for reform in the face of great injustices and called for courageous action without delay. By turning the light of the Gospel on the social questions of his time, Paul VI saw that evangelization is the missionary aspect of the Church’s social doctrine, that progress is a vocation concerned with man’s pilgrimage through history, that a humanism open to the Absolute gives life its true meaning. This vision of development is what makes his encyclical still timely, amid the competing anthropological visions put forward in today’s society. A vocation requires a free and responsible answer, an assumption of shared responsibility. Because of the central place of charity in the Christian vocation to development, it helps to promote the whole man and the advancement and fraternity of all men, both on the natural and the supernatural plane: Christ fully reveals humanity to itself. This is the central message of Populorum Progressio, valid for today and for all time.
THE THEME OF DEVELOPMENT
Forty years from the Encyclical Populorum Progressio of Pope Paul VI, I intend to revisit his teachings on integral human development, applying them to the present moment. Love in truth is a great challenge for the Church in our time, when the interdependence of nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences that would give rise to truly human development. An empiricist and skeptical view of life is incapable of grasping the values by which to direct it.
The human race, a single family, must be transformed into true communion. It is not in isolation that man establishes his worth, but in his relations with others and with God. The theme of development is inclusive of all individuals and peoples within the one community of the human family illuminated by the relationship among the Persons of the Trinity. Human relationships cannot but be enriched by reference to this divine model. God desires to incorporate us into His Communion.
Some religious and cultural attitudes, however, retard or even obstruct authentic human development by giving rise to separation and disengagement, alienating people and distancing them from reality instead of bringing them together. It becomes difficult for love and truth to assert themselves, and development is impeded. In the universal human community discernment of and respect for the common good has to be based on charity and truth. Christianity contains this criterion within itself. Secularism and fundamentalism exclude the possibility of fruitful dialogue and effective cooperation between reason and religious faith. Religion always has to be purified by reason.
Human development, closely bound up with our understanding of the soul, must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth. Everyone experiences the many immaterial and spiritual dimensions of life. But the contemporary technological mindset loses awareness of the soul’s ontological depths, and man’s interiority is emptied of its meaning. A purely psychological point of view fails to understand the spiritual life. Despite the availability of countless therapies, when man is far from God he is unsettled and ill at ease. Social and psychological alienation, many neuroses, and slavery to drugs are attributable in part to spiritual factors. To be authentic, development requires new eyes and a new heart capable of rising above a materialistic vision of human events. By following this path, it is possible to pursue the integral development that takes its direction from charity in truth.
Charity in truth is the principal force behind development of every person and of all humanity. Charity “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). In Christ charity in truth becomes a vocation to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan: He himself is the Truth (Jn 14:6).
Truth needs to be sought, found, and expressed within charity, but charity needs to be understood, confirmed, and practiced in the light of truth. It is creative love, redemptive love. Charity promotes and animates the wisdom capable of directing man in light of his beginning and final end. Deeds without knowledge are blind, and knowledge without love is sterile. Charity in truth requires knowledge that goes beyond human understanding; science cannot indicate by itself the path toward integral human development. Intelligence and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in intelligence, and intelligence is full of love. Moral evaluation and scientific research must go hand in hand; charity must animate them as a harmonious interdisciplinary whole marked by unity and distinction.
The challenge of development is closely linked to technological progress. It is a response to God’s command to till and keep the land. Technology expresses the dominion of spirit over matter; ‘freed from bondage to creatures we are more easily drawn to worship and contemplation of the Creator.’
But if the development of technology gives rise to the intoxicating idea that it is self-sufficient—an expression of absolute freedom from the limits inherent in things—it holds us back from encountering being and truth by making efficiency and utility the sole criteria. Our actions always remain subject to human limitations; our freedom is authentic only when it responds to moral responsibility. Without formation in the ethically responsible use of technology, development could come to be considered a purely technical matter. True development is impossible without upright consciences tuned to the requirements of the common good. Professional competence must be accompanied by moral consistency.
Development goes awry if humanity thinks it can recreate itself through the ‘wonders’ of technology, just as economic development is exposed as a destructive sham if it relies on the ‘wonders’ of finance to sustain consumerist growth. In the face of such Promethean presumption, we must fortify love for a freedom that is truly human because of the good that underlies it. Our freedom is shaped by our being and by its limits (the natural moral law). A ‘self’ is given to us. Each of us is outside his own control. A person’s development is compromised if he claims to be solely responsible for producing what he becomes.
A particularly crucial battleground in today’s cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and moral responsibility is the field of bioethics, where the very possibility of integral human development is radically called into question. In this most delicate and critical area, the fundamental question asserts itself forcefully: Is man the product of his own labor or does he depend on God? In this field, scientific discoveries and the possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a choice between reason that is open to transcendence and reason that is closed within immanence. Self-centered use of technology proves to be irrational because it implies a decisive rejection of meaning and value. Entranced by exclusive reliance on technology, reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence. Only together will they save man.
Technological development is also linked to the increasingly pervasive presence of the means of social communication, an integral part of life today. The meaning and purpose of the media must be sought within an anthropological perspective: They can have a civilizing effect when geared toward a vision of the person and the common good that reflects universal values. The media can make an important contribution toward the growth in natural and supernatural communion of the human family when, inspired by charity at the service of truth, they promote the dignity of persons and universal participation in the common search for what is just.
Human beings interpret and shape the natural environment through culture, which is given direction by the responsible use of freedom in accordance with the moral law. Consequently integral human development cannot ignore coming generations, but needs to be marked by solidarity and intergenerational justice. Protection of the environment, of resources, and of the climate obliges international leaders to act jointly in good faith. The Church, too, has a responsibility to defend not only the earth, the ecological system; she must above all protect mankind (human ecology) from self-destruction. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it includes not only the environment but also life, education, sexuality, marriage, the family—the overall moral tenor of society.
Nature expresses a design of love and truth. It is prior to us; it has been given to us by God as the setting for our life. The Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God’s creation is closely related to the duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment, its responsible use with respect for the balance of creation. The Creator has given nature an inbuilt order. But nature is not more important than the human person—a naturalistic position that leads to neopaganism or a new pantheism. These distorted notions do as much harm to development as reckless exploitation of the environment. Besides care and preservation of the environment, responsible stewardship over nature requires improved energy efficiency through a worldwide redistribution of energy resources.
Humanity is becoming increasingly interconnected. Hence a commitment is needed to promote a person-based and community-oriented cultural process of world-wide integration that is open to transcendence. Guided by charity and truth, and acting in the light of reason, a possibility opens for large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale. But globalization also presents difficulties and dangers. The humanizing goal of solidarity is often overwhelmed or suppressed by individualistic and utilitarian ethical and cultural considerations. The principal concern must be to improve actual living conditions.
Basic rights are violated in much of the world. Hence it is important to call for a renewed reflection on how rights presuppose duties. The sharing of reciprocal duties is a more powerful incentive to action than the mere assertion of rights. The vocation to development is not based simply on human choice, but is an intrinsic part of a plan that is prior to us and constitutes a duty to be freely accepted. Subsistent Love and Truth shows us what goodness is and in what our true happiness consists. He shows us the path to true development.
Although the human being is made for gift, modern man is selfishly closed in upon himself as a consequence of original sin, present in social conditions and in the structure of society. This has given rise to serious errors in education, politics, social action and morals. The conviction that man is self-sufficient has led him to confuse happiness with material prosperity. Likewise, the conviction that the economy must be autonomous has led man to abuse the economic process in a destructive way. These convictions have led to economic, social, and political systems that trample on personal and social freedom.
Charity in truth feeds on hope. As a gratuitous gift of God, hope bursts into our lives. Truth, too, is a gift, in the same way as charity: the truth of ourselves is given to us. Truth, like love, is not something we produce; it imposes itself upon us. Because it is a gift received by everyone, charity in truth brings people together and builds community. Thus economic, social, and political development needs to make room for the principle of gratuitousness, the logic of gift, as an expression of fraternity.
THE WORLD TODAY
Another logic—commercial logic, the logic of the market—regulates giving and receiving between parties to a transaction (commutative justice). But without social cohesion, solidarity and mutual trust (distributive and social justice), the market cannot completely fulfill its proper economic function. Today this trust has ceased to exist—a grave loss. Economic activity (commercial logic) needs to be directed toward the pursuit of the common good. Economic activity must include friendship, solidarity, and reciprocity because that is part of human activity. It must be structured and governed in an ethical manner.
A great challenge before us is for gratuitousness and the logic of gift to find their place within normal economic activity. It is a demand of charity and of truth. For economic activity inevitably has moral implications: Every economic decision has moral consequences. Hence all the canons of justice must be respected. In a global era economic life needs both contracts (commutative justice—conditional exchanges) and the spirit of gift (forms of redistribution: distributive justice—unconditional gift). Fraternal reciprocity must be present, an economy of gratuitousness, to foster solidarity and the common good. Solidarity is a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone. Without gratuitousness there can be no justice.
Today’s economic scene (the corporate world) requires a new way of understanding business enterprise, the broader significance of business activity. With attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy, charity in truth aims at a higher goal than the mere commercial logic of exchange, profit-oriented private and public enterprise. The State’s role seems destined to grow, for political authority (local, national, international) is one of the best ways to give direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not undermine the foundations of democracy.
The new elements in the development of peoples today demand new solutions in the light of an integral vision of the human person purified by charity. Further and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals is required so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations—a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, of the earth’s ecological health, and of the cultural and moral crisis of man.
More than forty years after Populorum Progressio, its basic concern—progress—remains an open question. How difficult the process of decolonization has been because of new forms of colonialism, and because of continued dependence and grave irresponsibility within newly independent countries. The principal new feature has been the explosion of worldwide interdependence (globalization). Without the guidance of charity in truth this great opportunity could cause unprecedented damage. Hence charity in truth is about knowing and directing these powerful new forces within the perspective of that ‘civilization of love’ whose seed God has plantgged in every people, in every culture.
Today the social question has become a radically anthropological question. In today’s highly disillusioned culture the very origin of life is within our grasp. Biotechnology places it increasingly under man’s control: eugenic programming of births, in vitro fertilization, embryo research, the possibility of manufacturing clones and human hybrids. We must not underestimate the disturbing scenarios that threaten our future—indeed are already surreptitiously present—or the powerful new instruments the ‘culture of death’ has at its disposal. The scourge of abortion and a pro-euthanasia mindset are equally damaging assertions of control over life (its materialistic and mechanistic understanding).
Who could measure the negative effects for development of this kind of mentality? What is astonishing is the arbitrary and selective determination of what is put forward today as worthy of respect. Insignificant matters are considered shocking while unprecedented injustices seem to be widely tolerated and situations of human degradation are treated with indifference on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is from what is not human. God reveals man to man himself. Reason and faith work hand in hand to demonstrate what is good, provided we want to see it. The natural law reveals our greatness, but also our wretchedness insofar as we fail to recognize the call to moral truth.
The economic, social, and political goal of rescuing peoples from hunger, deprivation, diseases and illiteracy is weighed down by malfunction and dramatic problems of the current crisis, political irresponsibility, badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing, migration of peoples given insufficient attention, unregulated exploitation of the earth’s resources—all this requires a new humanistic synthesis taken up with confidence and hope. Cuts in social spending and downsizing of social security systems pose great danger for the fundamental human rights of workers. Our world is in need of cultural renewal to rediscover fundamental values. The current crisis requires us to re-plan our journey. It is an opportunity for discernment of a new vision of the future. It is appropriate to address the difficulties of the present time with confidence rather than resignation.
By liberating ourselves from ideologies that oversimplify reality, we can examine objectively the full human dimension of the problems: wealth is growing, but new forms of poverty are emerging along with dehumanizing deprivation, corruption and illegality, and diversion of international aid. A comprehensive new plan for development is a duty that needs to be discharged in the new context of international trade and finance that has brought new forms of political participation and altered the political powers of States. Those powers need to be remodeled in order to address the challenges of today’s profoundly changed environment. New forms of cooperation, international and local, are urgently needed.
In the face of human decline, food shortages, waste of social resources, unemployment and economic marginalization of persons and their families, I would like to remind everyone, especially governments, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man. What is missing is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to food and water and promoting agricultural development and agrarian reform. Today the possibility of interaction between cultures has increased, but cultural eclecticism, cultural relativism, and cultural leveling do not serve true intercultural dialogue. Humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation when culture is separated from our common human nature that transcends it.
The question of acceptance and respect for life cannot be detached from the development of peoples. Poverty still provokes high rates of infant mortality, while in developed countries an anti-birth mentality promotes legislation contrary to life that imposes mandatory birth control, as if cultural progress required demographic control, contraception, sterilization, and even abortion and euthanasia. Cultivating openness to life is at the center of true development. When a society moves toward the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. Acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help. Nations should promote productive action marked by solidarity and respect for the fundamental right to life of every person.
Morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource. Smaller, miniscule families risk impoverishing social relations. They are symptomatic of scant confidence in the future and moral weariness. It is thus becoming a social and even economic necessity to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. States are called to promote the centrality and integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman as the primary vital cell of society, and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs.
There is a special need to defend the primary competence of the family in the area of sexuality. Problems associated with population growth concern the inalienable values of life and the family. Attention must obviously be given to responsible procreation, especially in societies that are experiencing an alarming decline in their birth rate. The Church urges respect for human values in the exercise of sexuality. It cannot be reduced to pleasure or entertainment, nor can sex education be reduced to technical instruction aimed solely at protection from disease or the ‘risk’ of procreation. This would be to impoverish and disregard the deeper meaning of sexuality.
Another aspect of modern life that is closely connected to development is denial of the right to religious freedom (religious fanaticism, indifference, practical atheism). Some even kill in the holy name of God (terrorism, fundamentalism). God is the guarantor of man’s true development. As his beloved creatures endowed with an immortal soul, men and women have transcendent dignity and are destined to supernatural life. When the State deprives citizens of the moral and spiritual strength needed to respond generously to divine love it impedes integral human development.
In the face of unrelenting global interdependence there is a strongly felt need for reform of the United Nations and of international financial institutions in order to arrive at a political, juridical, and economic order that can direct international cooperator, bring about disarmament, food security, and peace, protect the environment, and regulate migration. For the overall management of globalization and a greater degree of international ordering (as Bl. John XXIII indicated some years ago), there is urgent need for a universally recognized world political authority vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice and respect for rights, inspired by charity in truth, regulated by international law, and observing the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity for the common good—a social order that conforms to the moral order.
Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples and contemplating the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice. As Paul VI said, man cannot bring about his own progress unaided, because by himself he cannot establish an authentic humanism. In the interest of a truly integral humanism, the greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, understanding life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity. A humanism that excludes God is inhuman. Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life—structures, institutions, culture, and ethos—without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment. Amid successes and failures, what we are able to achieve is always less than we might wish for.
THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE
The Church does not have technical solutions to offer; her mission is to truth in every time and circumstance. She searches for the truth that sets us free, proclaims it tirelessly, and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. Her social doctrine receives it, assembles into a unity the fragments in which it is found, and mediates it within changing life-patterns of peoples and nations. The Church’s social doctrine came into being in order to claim ‘citizenship status’ for the Christian religion, to bring the truths of faith to bear on public life, that this world may effectively correspond to the divine plan.
The Church’s social doctrine allows faith, theology, metaphysics, and science to collaborate in the service of humanity, formulating a guiding synthesis for the integral good of man in his various dimensions. What the Church’s social doctrine has always sustained, on the basis of its vision of man and society, is corroborated today by the dynamics of globalization.
There are not two typologies of social doctrine, one pre-conciliar and one post-conciliar. There is a single teaching, consistent and ever new. Coherence does not mean a closed system, but dynamic faithfulness to a light received, illuminating with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging. The social doctrine is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Fathers of the Church, as further explored by the great doctors, and attested by the saints and martyrs for justice and peace. It is the Prophetic task of the Supreme Pontiffs to give it apostolic guidance and to discern the new demands of evangelization. In this way, the Church, taught by her Lord, examines and interprets the signs of the times, offering the world ‘a global vision of the human race.’
In all cultures there are examples of ethical convergence as an expression of the one human nature willed by the Creator. A universal moral law (the natural law) ensures that the multi-faceted pluralism of cultural diversity does not become detached from the common quest for truth and goodness. Thus, adherence to the law etched on human hearts is the precondition for all constructive social cooperation. By becoming incarnate in cultures and at the same time transcending them, the Christian faith can help them grow in universal brotherhood (solidarity) for the advancement of global development.
The Church’s social doctrine is based on man’s creation ‘in the image of God’ (Gen 1:27); this gives rise to the inviolable dignity of the human person and the transcendent value of natural moral norms. “Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns; it takes practical form in the criteria that govern moral action. I would like to consider two of these with special relevance to development in a globalized society: justice and the common good.
Justice, the virtue that prompts us to give the other what is “his,” is the primary path of charity. It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice, rights and duties, relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. To strive toward the common good of the social community is a requirement of justice in charity. In a globalized society it extends to the whole human family, to all peoples and nations. When animated by charity, the common good is a principal factor of development.
The governance of globalization must be marked by the principle of subsidiarity as closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa. Subsidiarity is a form of assistance to the person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies when individuals and groups are unable to accomplish something on their own. It is stratified on different levels of government coordinated and working together (for just and equitable international trade, for example). It is always designed to foster freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility. Subsidiarity is the most effective antidote against an all-encompassing welfare state.
Specific areas where the Church’s traditional teaching can provide guidance: greater access to education, a precondition for the complete formation of persons; peace-building; tourism that is able to promote mutual understanding; collaboration in addressing today’s problems of migration; unemployment and underemployment; the right to a just wage and personal security for workers and their families; work freely chosen that expresses the essential dignity of every man and woman and permits workers to organize and make their voices heard; improved formation in professional skills and technology; welfare policies and systems; rediscovery of the ethical foundations of financial structures and operating methods that serve the interests of savers; protection from the risks of usury and despair for the weakest sectors of society; genuinely transparent marketing and purchasing procedures that respect moral principles and the social responsibility of consumers; harnessing energy. In all of these areas, if love is wise it can find ways to work in accord with provident and just expediency, especially at a time of general economic downturn.
Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine. It gives substance to personal relationships to God and neighbor—friends, family members, small groups; and to social, economic, and political relationships. In light of reason and faith, it gives direction to moral responsibility—social, juridical, cultural, political, and economic. In the present social and cultural context, where there is no longer any real place for God in the world, culture relativizes truth and falls prey to subjective emotions and opinions. Charity promotes communication and communion that leads to human development by moving beyond cultural and historical limitations.
Development needs Christians with their arms raised in prayer, moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate is given to us. Recognizing what is happening, even in the most difficult times, we must above all turn to God’s love, rendering life on earth ‘divine’ and thus more worthy of humanity. God is at the beginning of all that is good, all that leads to salvation. Through her intercession, may the Virgin Mary, proclaimed Mater Ecclesiae by Paul VI (Mother of the Church), and honored by Christians as Speculum Iustitiae and Regina Pacis (Mirror of Justice, Queen of Peace), protect us and obtain for us the strength, hope, and joy to continue our dedication to the task of bringing about ‘development of the whole man and of all men.’
[The Encyclical is documented by 159 notes, drawn almost entirely from the Papal and Conciliar Magisterium of the Church: Paul VI (principally Populorum Progressio) and the documents of the Second Vatican Council (principally Gaudium et Spes). Other quotations are from Leo XIII, Pius XI, John XXIII (Pacem in Terris), John Paul II (principally Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Populorum Progressio, and Centesimus Annus), and Benedict XVI.]
[This digest of Pope Benedict’s words and the organizational scheme were prepared by Dr. John A. Gueguen, Professor Emeritus, Illinois State University: firstname.lastname@example.org]
CARITAS IN VERITATE
“If all the sons and daughters of the Church would know how to be tireless missionaries of the Gospel, a new flourishing of holiness and renewal would spring up in this world that thirsts for love and for truth.” Pope John Paul I (1978).
“The Cross is being increasingly banished from theology and reinterpreted as just a vexing mischance or a purely political event. The Cross as reconciliation, as a means of forgiving and saving, is incompatible with a certain modern mode of thought. Only when the relationship between truth and love is rightly comprehended can the Cross be comprehensible in its true theological depth. Forgiveness has to do with truth. That is why it requires the Son’s Cross and our conversion. Forgiveness is, in fact, the restoration of truth, the renewal of being, and the vanquishing of the lies that lurk in every sin; sin is by nature a departure from the truth of one’s own nature and, by consequence, from the truth of God the Creator.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Co-Workers of the Truth (1992).
“Repentance is truth. It tries to see things as they really are…. Repentance seeks to know the truth. And with the truth of what he has done, man comes to God and says, “I am guilty before you. I admit it….I love you. I judge myself as you judge me. But you are love, and I appeal to this love. With all that I am I give myself to the mystery of your love….Human repentance corresponds to divine forgiveness. To the living God who is able to forgive there corresponds the man of living faith who is able to repent. Both constitute a single mystery of holy life.” Romano Guardini, The Living God (1997).
Some other commentaries
Caritas in Veritate Brendan MacPartlin SJ
(Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, was released on 7th July 2009. Brendan MacPartlin SJ considers the vision delivered in this long awaited document, which picks up on the themes of Populorum Progressio to look at issues of development and social action: ‘Charity in truth drives the authentic development of all persons.’)
Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, released on 7 July 2009, builds on the seminal work of Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio, published over forty years ago in 1967. Upon re-reading Populorum Progressio (‘On the Development of Peoples’) now, I am so taken by its relevance today and by the works of justice yet to be done that I feel the need for action rather than for another Papal letter. But having read Caritas in Veritate, I am glad to have taken the time to contemplate the learned discussion and the updated description of global social developments that it offers.
The first words and early paragraphs introduce the name of the encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (‘Charity in Truth’), and the integrating relationship between the two components of the title. The language used invites contemplation on the affective component: the introductory paragraphs describe love as an extraordinary force that has its origin in God and leads us to discover our own truth that reflects the face of Christ, who is Truth. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed in the relationships of charity, and charity needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth, if neither is to be emptied of meaning. Charity in truth drives the authentic development of all persons. It is the principle behind social teaching and gives rise to criteria for social action such as, for instance, justice and the common good. Love in truth when it comes to social affairs is the great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming globalised.
The first of six chapters revisits the message of Populorum Progressio. Benedict XVI endorses the work of his venerable predecessor Paul VI, not only this letter but the overall Magisterium of Paul VI, especially his social Magisterium. Specifically, Benedict refers to the earlier Pope’s vision of development as a vocation that derives from a transcendent call. This vision is still timely in our day. Caritas in Veritate urges us to mobilise ourselves at the level of the ‘heart’, so as to ensure that current economic and social processes evolve towards fully human outcomes.
Chapter two addresses ‘Human Development in our Time’. Paul VI’s vision of ‘development’ was multi-levelled and included economic participation, social solidarity, democratic stability and freedom from misery. His vision has not been achieved but instead technocratic models of development have been implemented. The malfunctions of these models and the succession of crises that they have inflicted suggest that we need a new humanistic synthesis that incorporates an ethics and an anthropology. The current crisis is an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future. Benedict provides a succinct, multi-layered analysis of the emergence of a global market since Populorum Progressio assigned a central role, now surpassed, to ‘public authorities’. Paul VI said that we needed to think more; Benedict says that, in a new and complex context, integral human development requires the interaction of different levels of human knowledge guided by intelligence and love. Truth and charity are not in different compartments, he says: love is rich in intelligence and intelligence is full of love.
Chapter three addresses the role of fraternity and civil society in economic development. Benedict notes that for some time now we have been able to include the economy in the list of areas where we experience the pernicious effects of sin. But the more astonishing experience is that of gratuitousness, which imposes itself on everyone in the gift of love and truth. It is a force that builds community, bringing all people together beyond barriers and limits in a fraternal communion. Benedict then addresses the market, an institution that permits exchange relations between economic subjects which, if governed by fairness and justice, generates trust and functions well. It is the responsibility of the political community to direct the logic of the market to the service of the common good. Human agency directs these systems, for good or ill, and therefore there is a need for personal and social responsibility. Authentic human relationships of friendship, solidarity and reciprocity can be conducted within economic activity, not only outside it or ‘after’ it. The demand of economic logic, the demand of humanity and the demand of charity and truth each require that the grace of intelligence and love, and the gift of fraternity, must find their place within normal economic activity. Benedict notes that recent scandals have given rise to a new appreciation of the role of social responsibility in business and politics. Similarly, globalisation is neither good nor bad of itself, but will be what people make of it. It is a complex phenomenon that must be grasped in all its dimensions, including the theological dimension, and steered in relational terms: that is, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods.
A criticism levelled in recent years at Populorum Progressio was that it overlooked, in an otherwise excellent social analysis, the issue of ecology and the environment. Benedict devotes his fourth chapter to the themes of justice and the environment and their relationship to development. He treats justice in terms of duties and rights and applies it to population growth, the defence of life, ethics in the economy and international cooperation. He then turns to our duties arising from our relationship with the natural environment. Nature expresses a design of love and truth; it contains a grammar that provides goals and criteria for its wise and respectful use. The challenges of intergenerational justice and the energy problem require international solidarity to achieve solutions: we need to review our lifestyles to include the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion if we are to achieve a human ecology that benefits environmental ecology. The decisive issue is the moral tenor of society and the Church must assert in the public sphere our responsibility towards creation. Truth and love show us what our happiness consists in, and this is the road to development.
Chapter five develops the theme of the cooperation of the human family. The development of peoples depends on recognising that the human race is a single family working together in communion and not merely a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. This requires a better understanding of the category of ‘relation’, which can be gained through theology and metaphysics as well as social sciences. In light of the revealed mystery of the Trinity we understand that communion and individual identity support each other. Our experience of love and truth between man and woman similarly reinforces our ideas of communion and individual identity. Reason and faith also contribute to a virtuous cycle of development which falters in the absence of either. Solidarity and subsidiarity, understood and articulated in many layers, can contribute to a globalisation that is cooperative rather than tyrannical. Cooperation for development is not just an economic phenomenon but also an opportunity for encounter between cultures and peoples.
The chapter then moves from the synthesis of concepts to comment on concrete processes with a bearing on development. It comments perceptively on development aid, international tourism, migration, labour unions, the financial system, and consumer associations. Those of us who admire the contemplation of ideas may be grateful for the encyclical’s inclusion of these live issues. But I suspect that our more empirical colleagues in the field may generate controversy on specific points, such as the gentle suggestion that trade unions might look at wider concerns than the specific category of labour for which they were formed, or that they should identify civil society rather than politics as the proper setting for their necessary activity of defending labour. One wonders where actors in the labour market or in social partnership belong.
Chapter six addresses technological progress and its undisputed link to development. Against technocratic reductionism, Caritas in Veritate asserts that there cannot be holistic development and universal common good without taking into account people’s spiritual and moral welfare. This is a simple summary of a rich treatment of the technology of financial and political engineering, of peace building, of social communications, of biology and of psychology. Whereas Paul VI introduced the global dimension of the social question, Benedict affirms that the social question has become a radically anthropological question. Authentic human development requires the new eyes and new heart of a spirituality that is capable of glimpsing the ‘beyond’ that technology cannot give.
The conclusion follows from this. Development comes from people because they are the subjects of their own existences. But it is also from God, who freely gives us the truth and love that show us who we are and where we should go. God calls us to the communion of a family. God transforms our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that can give the greatest service of an authentic humanism to the integral development of peoples.
In this encyclical, Pope Benedict takes it from the top. He is noted for his talent in the contemplation of ideas and in the systematic ordering of concepts. He gives us, in this letter, an awesome synthesis of the concepts and concerns of Catholic Social Teaching. He enlightens the obscurities of our social discourses, restores direction to social debate and inspires hope and energy for social action and love for the future and its peoples. Caritas in Veritateis a magnificent gift to the world from Catholic Social Teaching. It does well in giving a descriptive account of the activities and perspectives found in the spheres of social action. But I suspect that the voice of those who accompany and serve the poor at the frontiers of marginalisation could add value to the experiential component of this otherwise admirable reflection and call to action for the development of peoples.
Brendan MacPartlin SJ works with migrant workers in Dublin and Northern Ireland and coordinates the social apostolate of the Conference of European Provincials.
Father Schall: Encyclical Reconnects Rights and Duties
"Caritas in Veritate" Is a Guide For Temporal Life
By Father James V. Schall, SJ
WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 8, 2009 - Benedict XVI's new social encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate," takes its place in the Church's on-going effort accurately to state the fundamentals of human living. It is not what our eternal life is about, but what our temporal life is about, seen in the light of our eternal life. We do not de-emphasize one or the other, but take them according to their own truth as related to each other.
Though it repeats many of the matters that were dealt with in "Deus Caritas Est" and "Spe Salvi," Benedict's two previous encyclicals, this new document is not really intelligible without the profound analy sis of modern ideology and the last things that were found in the earlier encyclicals on love and hope.
In "Spe Salvi," the Pope stated that politics could not be politics if it confused itself with eschatology. That is, if we think that our political life is our transcendent life, we in effect lose the proper dimensions of both. In the present encyclical, Benedict XVI basically states what we can and should do in this world seen now as the arena of the actions that form our souls.
The title of this encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate," is significant. Of the three basic kinds of love -- philia, eros and agape -- none is safe if it is not pursued according to the truth of things, of the proper object of love. Just as we cannot love something that is not loveable, so we cannot love something unless we know what it is, which is saying the same thing in other words. The separation of truth and love in the name of love or "kindness" is th e characteristic of our times. Love, it is said, covers a multitude of sins. In the modern world, it eliminates them altogether if truth is not a component of love. "Two loves built two cities," very opposite cities, as Augustine said.
One of the first things to note in this encyclical is that everything is seen against a metaphysical and theological background. Much is made of justice; even more of "gift." Our very existence is a "gift." We do not create ourselves, nor does God need to create us for some completion in himself.
The encyclical, distantly following Aristotle on friendship and benevolence, is quite aware that more is needed and expected of us than just what is our "right" or what is "due." An ancient criticism of Christians was that they were so interested in the next world that they did not have time for this world. This encyclical suggests the opposite is true. Only if we have the next world right will we act rightly and nobly in this one.
The encyclical is also a reflection on Paul VI's "Populorum Progressio," written just over 40 years ago. Benedict rethinks the notion of "development," a word that relates to the old Aristotelian notion of habits and how we acquire them. Benedict XVI follows a fine line that seeks to accept everything in modernity that is good and defensible, while at the same time pointing out its real problems. He is a natural law thinker.
But on the other hand, he always begins from where we are. Whether he speaks of business, finance, tourism, political structures, world poverty or economics, he begins with human beings already having acted in their public lives to make themselves into a certain kind of being based on what they are given to be in nature. Catholic social thought is not utopian, even when it insists that things can and ought to be better.
Particularly pleasing was the way in whic h Pope Benedict finally came to terms with the ambiguity from modern political philosophy in the word "rights." In many ways, nothing has been more destructive to Catholic social thought than its uncritical use of the word "rights." Benedict admonishes us that we first begin with "duties." We can use the word "rights" provided it has a fixed content and does not mean -- what it in fact means in modern philosophy -- whatever we want or legislate.
When it comes to essentials, "Caritas in Veritate" is frank and to the point -- that is, what it means to be "charitable," what it means to be "truthful."
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Jesuit Father James V. Schall is a professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University and a prolific author. He most recent book is "The Mind That Is Catholic" (C UA Press).
Gabriel Martinez: New Encyclical Reflects Common Sense
Pope Takes Business Ethics to Transcendent Level
By Gabriel Martinez
NAPLES, Florida, JULY 8, 2009 - As I read the latest encyclical by Benedict XVI, a thought arose: No one understands an encyclical on Catholic social teaching.
When prominent people in authority speak on the economy, politics, or society, we expect to express themselves in the categories of political parties. When they fail to toe the line, we find ways to discount or ignore we do not like.
The key insight of the free-marketeer is that voluntary exchange must be mutually beneficial. The key insight of the left-liberal is that fair outcomes must be deliberately planned for.
The key double insight of Catholic social teaching, on the other hand, is that we are created in the image of God and that we are sinner s. That is, we build an economy, politics, or culture that is human, if we remember that we are creatures who received our being as a gift, called by God to be like him and with him; and that our economy, our politics, and our culture are inhuman insofar as we forget it.
This position is often refreshingly commonsensical. Instead of, say, "idealizing technical progress, or contemplating the utopia of a return to humanity's original natural state," the Pope naturally mistrusts what comes from the hand of man, but also relies on the "human capacity to exercise control over the deviations of development." Capacity implies responsibility, but it also implies that this responsibility is often abdicated in the name of a system, an idea, or a vice.
Or take another example. Some thinkers give the benefit of the doubt to the forces of the market and strive to protect it from the depredations of religion, custom or the state. Common sense and Catholic social teaching tell us that it requires a special kind of faith to assume that what is personally vicious can be socially virtuous.
Other thinkers instinctively trust in the capacity of social deliberation and rational planning to achieve desirable outcomes, which are not defined in relation to nature, blind to the obvious point that even well-intentioned, law-abiding people can make mistakes. Good intentions are not enough, common sense and Catholic social teaching tell us: action unmoored from the truth is ultimately wasteful and always soul-destroying.
In one of its most lucid passages, the encyclical points out that the exclusive pursuit of shareholder-value maximization is a risk for businesses. Maximization of shareholder value encourages faceless management, distance from stakeholders, and a short-term focus. But the benefits are only temporary.
Over the long haul, business benefits from permanence and from social ties. Skeptical of outsourci ng (and doing honor to his name), Benedict XVI insists on geographical stability: cultivating stakeholders and making long-term profits are not substitutes, but complements.
Even more, Benedict XVI insists on the need to create a space for "the logic of gift" (which I wish he had explained more). This idea is one example of why encyclicals, like "Populorum Progressio" and "Caritas in Veritate," often sound appallingly naïve.
We are taught, from first grade to business school, that grown-ups with their feet on the ground look out for themselves -- and that they ought to look out for themselves, either to protect that fragile beauty called capitalism or because no one else looks after you anyway. We are taught that we should not care about the other fellow, unless it yields quantifiable results. We are fanatically brainwashed, and so we do not understand.
Accepting an "economy of communion" requires a dramati c expansion of the set of goods that one values, a huge increase in the virtue of patience, a drastic acceptance of uncertainty and unknowability, and a jarring openness to faith and hope. The human being so described is radically different from the human being of the business school, from what one would be taught in a Corporate Finance class. The "return on investment" is the fruit of not seeking the return, but of seeking the Kingdom of Heaven and its justice (and all the rest will be added unto you).
How different this is (and how hard it is to see the difference) from the nauseating insistence to follow our heart, to do what feels right, because there's no such thing as truth! We are told that any non-selfishness not only sounds naïve, but that it should sound naïve and as unmoored from common sense as possible.
While politicians give us slogans and pretty words, without reference to the truth of the human person, the Pope sounds th e warning note: "On this subject the Church's social doctrine can make a specific contribution, since it is based on man's creation 'in the image of God' (Genesis 1:27), a datum which gives rise to the inviolable dignity of the human person and the transcendent value of natural moral norms.
"When business ethics prescinds from these two pillars, it inevitably risks losing its distinctive nature and it falls prey to forms of exploitation; more specifically, it risks becoming subservient to existing economic and financial systems rather than correcting their dysfunctional aspects."
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Gabriel Martinez is chair of the Economics Department at Ave Maria University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and has worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., and at the Ministry of Government in Ecuador.
Father Barron: A First Look at "Caritas in Veritate"
Encyclical Connects "Life Ethics" With "Social Ethics"
By Father Robert Barron
SKOKIE, Illinois, JULY 8, 2009 - I've just finished a first reading of Benedict XVI's new encyclical "Caritas in Veritate." It is a dense and complex text, deeply in continuity with the mainstream of the Catholic social teaching tradition, but also fresh, filled with new ideas and proposals.
Let me highlight just a few of the major themes. Very much in line with his predecessor Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI insists on the tight connection between love and truth. In a telling phrase, the Pope says that love without truth devolves into sentimentality, and truth without love becomes cold and calculating. The coming together of the two, which is the structuring logic of the Church's social teaching, is grounded i n the God who is, simultaneously, Agape (love) and Logos (reason).
A real innovation of this letter is the connection that Benedict XVI makes between "social ethics" and "life ethics." He argues that Pope Paul VI's "Populorum Progressio" -- whose 40th anniversary "Caritas in Veritate" celebrates -- is best read in tandem with that Pope's controversial encyclical "Humanae Vitae." The radical openness to life, which Paul VI defended in "Humanae Vitae," should be the inspiration for the Church's social doctrine, which is intended to foster the full flourishing of communal life at all levels. Benedict XVI makes this point even clearer when he comments that societies that de-emphasize life, even to the point of fostering artificial contraception and abortion, suffer quite practical economic hardships.
Another "novum" in this remarkable text is the Pope's insistence that, alongside of the contract ual logic of the marketplace (one gives in order to receive), and the legal logic of the political realm (one gives because one is obliged to give), there must be the logic of sheer gratuity (one gives simply because it is good to do so). Without this third element, both the economic and political devolve into something less than fully human.
As many have already commented, Benedict XVI places special emphasis on the obligation to care for the environment. In fact, nowhere else in Catholic social teaching is there such an extended discussion of this issue. He makes the helpful clarification that, as believers in creation, we must avoid both an idolization of nature and an exploitation of it. As created, the world is not divine, but it is a kind of sacrament of God; hence it shouldn't be seen as absolute, but it should be cared for in a spirit of stewardship.
What might prove most controversial in the encyclical is Benedict XVI's call for a kind of world gove rnment, a truly international political entity with the requisite power to preside over world political and economic affairs. In saying so, he echoes Pope John XXIII's praise of the United Nations in "Pacem in Terris." One might be forgiven for suspecting that this proposal, given political realities on the ground, might be a bit utopian.
A final note concerning style. I must say that much of "Caritas in Veritate" didn't "sound" like Benedict XVI. Joseph Ratzinger is a very gracious writer, and his style is marked by a deep Scriptural and patristic sensibility. I must say I found this literary and theological élan missing in large sections of this letter.
Nonetheless, there is much to learn from this wonderful text -- a worthy addition to the impressive collection of papal letters that constitute the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
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Father Barron is the Francis Cardinal George Chair of Fait h and Culture at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. He is also the founder of Word on Fire Ministries.
Caritas in Veritate
When Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, was released on July 7, it sparked world-wide discussion and commentary. Catholic World Report asked a group of leading Catholic intellectuals to reflect on the encyclical, its place in the larger body of Catholic social teaching, and Pope Benedict's vision of a well-ordered and just society.
J. Brian Benestad, Francis J. Beckwith, Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., Richard Garnett, Thomas S. Hibbs, Paul Kengor, George Neumayr, Joseph Pearce, Tracey Rowland, Father James V. Schall, and Rev. Robert A. Sirico share their thoughts on Caritas in Veritate, below.
J. Brian Benestad:
In 1986 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued the Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation under the signature of its prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The Instructionsays that Catholic social doctrine (CSD) had to emerge from the practice of the Christian faith. “The Church’s social teaching is born of the encounter of the Gospel message and of its demands (summarized in the supreme commandment of love of God and neighbor in justice) with the problems emanating from the life of society” (no. 72). CSD helps people to know what love and justice require in the various circumstances of life, knowledge that would escape many without instruction. In his book on the morals of the Catholic Church St. Augustine had underscored the difficulty of carrying out the commandment to love’s one’s neighbor: “From this commandment are the duties pertaining to human society, about which it is difficult not to err.” In other words, it is easy for human beings to love one another badly both in personal encounters and in devising proposals for the common good of society. Pope Benedict’s new encyclical builds on the earlier CDF Instruction by emphasizing that love has to be guided by truth. “‘Caritas in veritate’ is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine turns.” If society’s work for justice (“the minimum measure” of love) were guided by truth, argues the Pope, society would not permit abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage, the priority of rights over duties, and the exclusion of religion from the public square. Love of neighbor is not compatible with these practices.
The 1986 Instruction also sheds light on the different levels of teaching found in Caritas in Veritateby distinguishing between permanently valid principles and “contingent judgments” in CSD (no. 72). Unlike Pope Benedict’s two previous encyclicals this one contains a number of contingent judgments aimed at overcoming the current economic crisis, such as the argument for a “true world political authority.”
Drawing upon Pope Paul VI’s 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio, Pope Benedict offers the world a vision of development that is richer and more complete than the common understanding. He reminds us of Paul VI’s teaching that “life in Christ is the first and principal factor in development.” This means development should aim at the “greatest possible perfection” for every single person, in addition to overcoming poverty, disease, unemployment, ignorance, etc.
By way of conclusion, I would simply say that Caritas in Veritate is proposing a Christian humanism to improve the productivity, ethics, and dignity of the economic life of nations. The practice of the virtues by all participants in modern economies, the Pope argues, is more important for a functioning market than any set of structures devised by policy makers.
J. Brian Benestad is professor of theology at the University of Scranton.
Francis J. Beckwith:
That theological anthropology is the proper starting point in discovering the good for which human beings were designed is the animating principle behind Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate (or “Charity in Truth”). For without true knowledge of the human person, one cannot know how to properly direct one’s love (or “charity”) to one’s fellow human being. As Benedict writes, “Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present” (5).
For Benedict, who and what we are, the question of theological anthropology, is the key to a proper understanding of our relationship to one another, our economic progress and regress, the nature of the family and marriage, humanity’s stewardship for the environment, the rule of law, intergenerational justice, as well as our openness to human life at its outset, its end, and the time in between. Yes, Caritas in Veritate mentions all these topics as well as several others. But the answer to the question of what constitutes integral human development—i.e., what are we and what is the good for us as individuals and as a whole?—is the unifying principle that connects them all.
The categories that dominate our public discourse in the United States—left, right, liberal, conservative, etc.—play no role in illuminating the message of Caritas in Veritate. This is why it is a fool’s errand to attempt to artificially divide Catholic social teachings into its left and right wings, as if the Church’s rejection of economic libertarianism and proclamation of the principles of subsidiary and solidarity is a call to socialism or the government ownership of the means of production, or that the Church’s embracing of the exclusivity of male-female marriage and its defense of the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death means that the Church does not believe in individual liberty.
This “binary model,” as Benedict calls it (41), unnaturally limits our vision of the multilayered and interdependent goods that lead to integral human development, and thus, results in true freedom for the individual to pursue the good. According to the Pope, if we believe that our faith and all that it entails for theological anthropology and the good life is true, we can coherently claim that liberty, rightly understood, prohibits us from rejecting certain unassailable truths about ourselves without which liberty loses its point.
For the Church, the Sermon on the Mount cannot be separated from “Honor thy Father and Mother,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not steal.” This is not a seamless garment. For it is not an artifice constructed by our wills. It is a living organism, made by God, whose parts work in concert for the benefit of the whole. Thus, the “justice” in social justice refers to a rightly ordered polity, not to the outcomes and/or processes advocated by the ideologies of a Ludwig Von Mises or a Karl Marx. In Christian theology, you can gain the whole world and lose your own soul (Luke 9:25). To paraphrase St. Paul, that’s a stumbling block to the Austrians and foolishness to the Marxists.
Francis J. Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, and Resident Scholar in the Institute for the Studies of Religion, Baylor University.
Father Joseph Fessio, S.J.:
Pope Benedict has something for everyone in Caritas in Veritate—from praising profit (21) to defending the environment (48). But in these cases, as in all the others, he calls for a discernment and a purification by faith and reason (56) that should temper immoderate and one-sided enthusiasms.
Once again Pope Benedict shows himself to be a theologian of synthesis and fundamental principles. In the titles of his three encyclicals he has used only five nouns: God, Love, Hope, Salvation, and Truth—the most fundamental of realities. And in the opening greeting of this encyclical he succinctly describes the contents: “on integral human development in charity and truth.” Note that from this very greeting Pope Benedict has changed the whole framework of the debate on “the social question.” This was expected to be—and is—his encyclical on “social justice.” And indeed “justice” and “rights” find their proper place in a larger synthesis. But the priority is established from the outset, the foundation is laid, with “charity” and “truth.”
Read more of Father Fessio's reflections on Caritas in Veritate here.
Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. is editor of Ignatius Press and publisher of Catholic World Report.
It was predictable, but is nevertheless regrettable, that many pundits and partisans would respond to Caritas in Veritate not so much by engaging Pope Benedict’s profoundly Christian humanism but instead by hunting through the text for quotations they could deploy in support of their own pet policies. (The Pope, for his part, urged “all people of good will” to “liberate [themselves] from ideologies, which often oversimplify reality in artificial ways.”) Rather than reflecting carefully on the Pope’s central proposal, namely, that “[f]idelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom and of the possibility of integral human development,” commentators who might ordinarily roll their eyes at policy suggestions from the bishop of Rome are happy to uproot from the encyclical’s inspiring, challenging vision a few talking points about environmental stewardship, trade unionism, or the redistribution of wealth.
Caritas in Veritate is not, however, merely a papal reflection on the current economic crisis or the implications of globalization. In keeping with the Catholic social teaching tradition, and with the work of his predecessor, the letter is about the person—about who we are and why it matters. Beneath, and supporting, the various statements and suggestions regarding specific policy questions is the bedrock of Christian moral anthropology, of the good news about the dignity, vocation, and destiny of man.
To content oneself with harvesting talking points in support of this or that policy is to miss the point, and the promise, of the letter. We cannot, however high-sounding our stated intentions, expect to achieve true human flourishing through a politics that does not care about or denies the truth—and there is a truth—about the person, namely, that by creating us in his image, God has “establish[ed] the transcendent dignity of men and women and feeds [our] innate yearning to ‘be more.’ Man is not a lost atom in a random universe: he is God’s creature, whom God chose to endow with an immortal soul and whom he has always loved.” “And now,” the Pope is challenging us to ask, “what follows?”
Richard Garnett is professor of law at Notre Dame University.
Thomas S. Hibbs:
“Democracy in good faith no longer has any essential reproach to make against the church. From now on it can hear the question the church poses, that it alone poses, the question, Quid sit homo?—What is man?”
The French political philosopher Pierre Manent frames in quite dramatic terms the situation of the Church in the democratic era. Amid the shallow media debates over whether the latest papal encyclical, Pope Bendict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate, leans left or right, there is a good chance that readers will miss the central philosophical claim of the document: “the social question has become a radically anthropological question” (italics in the original text). By subordinating all economic systems to the question of the common good, understood as integral human flourishing, the document opposes reductionism, whether in theory or practice, in liberal or conservative forms.
There is a lot of talk already about the document’s dizzying capaciousness, the way it seems to want to discuss everything and embrace almost everything, even things that seem on the surface incompatible. It is easy enough to affirm the Pope’s affirmation of both subsidiarity and globalism, but the document, largely because it does not say enough about the nature of the common good, leaves us guessing a bit as to the principles needed to spell out the relationship. Further reflection about these matters would have to begin, not just from the question, “What is man?”, but also from the queries such as, “What does it mean for human persons to hold things in common?” and “What are the peculiar forms of social life in which human persons now hold—and can learn how better to hold—things in common?”
Even to raise these questions is to sense how distant we are from the world of contemporary political discourse, where the tendency is toward the privatization, not just of religion, but of questions concerning the good, individual and communal. Indeed, a pressing question for a document such as Caritas in Veritate is this: why is it so easily ignored by the wider society, both by the media, political leaders, and ordinary citizens? Catholics fawning over Obama will quickly retort that he has embraced Catholic social thought, especially in the form of Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment.” Aside from the fact that he ignores Bernardin’s insistence on the non-negotiable priority of the sanctity of human life, as well as Benedict’s claim that “openness to life is at the center of true development,” Obama seems to need instruction in the dictionary definition of “seamless.”
For Manent, democracy—increasingly defined by the pursuit of a freedom unfettered by any external restraint, authority, or law—“neither wants to nor can respond” to the questions raised above. The Pope is not quite so despairing, but his own document gives us reason to think that its teaching will at best be distorted when not smugly dismissed. Benedict makes, as some in the media have noticed, numerous references to the current economic crisis, but he also speaks of other crises, including the one arising from a Promethean spirit of technological mastery, the will to remake both human life and the natural environment according to our unrestrained desires. Benedict astutely points to numerous signs of the fraying of the project of mastery. Our task, as sympathetic readers, is to communicate the teaching of Caritas in Veritate to others, so that they in turn may be better able to articulate the hopes and fears of our time—a time in which the meaning of humanity itself is very much in doubt.
Thomas S. Hibbs is Distinguished Professor of Ethics & Culture and Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University.
The truth will set you free, and the Truth is Jesus Christ. In this encyclical, the Holy Father is reminding us, exhorting us, to link charity to truth—to Christ. Doing so gives meaning not only to human charity but to human life and human development. As the Holy Father states in his opening, this linking of charity to Truth, to God—not to emotionalism, not to politics, not to purely selfish impulses—ought to be “the principle driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity.” Or, to the contrary, as the Holy Father states in his closing, “A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism.”
The timing for this encyclical is crucial, as the global economy suffers, and, by extension, as charitable giving suffers. Of course, suffering didn’t prevent Jesus Christ from offering the ultimate expression of charity, one that was human as well as divine. We who call ourselves Christians, or followers of Christ, need to emulate Christ and the cross he bore, during tough times as well as easy times.
Already, some are misinterpreting this encyclical in how it weighs the state versus the market. I personally see what I’ve always seen in the Church’s encyclicals: a healthy balance. In section 38, Pope Benedict warns of seeking “profit as an end in itself.” This is hardly controversial. As Christians, we must have charity, as we must have faith, and we must be mindful of a charitable purpose in our lives, sharing our economic blessings in a way that serves human dignity and the human family—a recurring theme of Caritas in Veritate. That is especially imperative in a modern society of unspeakable prosperity.
Charity needs to be coupled always to Christ. As the Holy Father says, it “needs Christians.” The message of this encyclical couldn’t be timelier.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
Woe to those who call good evil and evil good, says Holy Scripture. Modern political life largely revolves around this kind of lying. We witness daily the routine corruption of language in public life: a blizzard of noble-sounding words—among them, “hope,” “progress,” “development,” “the common good,” “rights,” “solidarity”—grossly disconnected from the God-determined realities to which they are supposed to refer.
In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI says in effect: Woe to those who call degradation “development,” selfishness “charity,” regress “progress,” and wrongs “rights.” His encylical letter is a sustained debunking of modern liberalism’s most complacent claims and habitual abuse of words.
How, he asks for example, can the “developed” nations of the world profess to be charitable when they don’t even aspire to basic justice? Treating human beings fairly—not aborting them, not killing them in old age or disability, not corrupting them in their youth, not exploiting them for science, etc.—is the “minimum measure” of charity, writes Pope Benedict, drawing upon Pope Paul VI’s phrase. In his deluded sentimentality, modern man somehow thinks he can leapfrog over justice and get to charity. Not so. Are “social justice” liberals in the Church who support a right to abortion listening?
How, Pope Benedict also asks, can the modern world claim to respect nature when it doesn’t even respect human nature? How can it plausibly demand discipline and sacrifice for the “purity” of nature in future ages while encouraging impurities in human nature in the present one? Modern life’s hedonism, he notes, cuts against its environmentalism: humans who degrade themselves will also degrade nature, no matter how many conservation bills are passed.
This is the age of rhetoric without results, a world elite that speaks of “empowering” the poor while impoverishing them, solving the “population problem” while creating a real one (underpopulation), and advancing “humanitarianism” while killing humans. Caritas in Veritate upends their tired and destructive assumptions, drawing the world’s attention back to the organizing principle of all true charity and development: that man’s good can only be secured if we consult and obey the God who designed it.
George Neumayr is editor of Catholic World Report.
Caritas in Veritate is food for the soul, nourishing us with the wisdom we need to make sense of the crazy, accelerating times in which we live. With his usual profundity and eloquence, the Holy Father diagnoses the major crises afflicting our wayward world and prescribes the solutions. Rooting his diagnosis and cure in the “charity in truth” which “is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine,” Pope Benedict analyzes a plethora of modern problems with the succinct brilliance to which we have become accustomed.
Commenting on the global financial crisis, the Holy Father is forthright in his condemnation of the destructive consequences of immoral investment practices and candid in his exposé of the naiveté of free market libertarians. He sees the crisis as “an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future.”
The Pope’s “new vision” is, however, inseparable from the timeless and magisterial vision of the Church down the ages, the marriage of the ever ancient and ever new, and Benedict, as always, builds his arguments on those of his illustrious forebears. And yet this ancient wisdom cuts through the cant of modernity with unerring incisiveness.
Thus, to take but a few salient examples, subsidiarity is seen as the solution to development in poor countries, openness to life is placed “at the center of true development,” and “the right to religious freedom” is seen as integral to authentic human growth. In consequence, the economic imperialism of macro-corporations and international financial institutions is condemned as running rough-shod over the rights to subsidiarity in poor countries, the culture of death is seen as fostering the hedonism that leads to societal and ecological breakdown, and secular fundamentalism is stunting humanity’s growth through its efforts to exclude religion from the public sphere.
Toward the end of his breathtakingly brilliant encyclical, Pope Benedict tells us that true development “needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer.” Having read Caritas in Veritate we should all raise our arms toward God to thank him for sending us such a sagacious Pontiff.
Joseph Pearce is writer-in-residence and associate professor of literature at Ave Maria University.
The intellectual center of this encyclical is that “A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism.” It rests a notion of authentic human development upon the principle enshrined inGaudium et Spes 22, that the human person only has self-understanding to the extent that he or she knows Christ and participates in the Trinitarian communion of love. As the Pope says, “Life in Christ is the first and principle factor of development.” The whole document is a plea to understand the limitations of a secularist notion of development. Behind secularism lies the error of Pelagius which in contemporary times takes the form of trust in education and institutions without reference to God or the interior dynamics of the human soul. A purely secularist notion of development reduces the human person to a kind of economic machine somehow designed for the accumulation of wealth.
Such a truncated concept of development has fostered government policies hostile to the more spiritual elements of human life, including relationships of reciprocal self-giving in love. Abortion is encouraged, couples are persecuted for having more than one child, and international aid is linked to the acceptance of contraceptives. The questions covered in Humanae Vitae are thus not merely those of purely individual morality, but indicate a strong link between life ethics and social ethics. The concept which links the two is that of a “human ecology.”
Secularist notions of development also fail to comprehend the root cause of drug addiction and depression which is the malnutrition of the human soul, made for communion with God but imprisoned within a materialist universe. When cultures no longer serve the deepest needs of human nature and actually narrow the spiritual horizons of people, people don’t know who they are and feel depressed.
The remedy for this pandemic in contemporary Western culture is to grasp the fact that truth is something which is given to us as a gift: “In every cognitive process, truth is not something that we produce, it is always found, or better, received. Truth, like love, ‘is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings’” (34).
Caritas in Veritate is a masterful synthesis of the Trinitarian anthropology of Gaudium et Spes and the subsequent insights of Paul VI and John Paul II, applied to the contemporary context. The core theological ideas were all present in Ratzinger’s essay on the notion of human dignity in Gaudium et Spes, written in the late 1960s.
At the more practical level this encyclical is exciting in that it calls for a reform of the United Nations and the economic institutions of international finance. It is clear that the general tendency of such institutions to equate human development with the success of capitalism and democracy or material progress is utterly inadequate when measured against the Gospel’s standard.
Tracey Rowland is Dean of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne, Australia.
James V. Schall, S.J.:
Benedict XVI is, happily, incapable of dealing with something unless he deals with everything. Journalists will rapidly read this documents looking for items that are “news-worthy,” that is, ones that criticize business, the government, the media, or the Church. They will not concentrate on the overall scope of what Benedict is about here.
The encyclical is wide-ranging and seeks to say something about everything. It is known to be a document initially prepared by others from various disciplines and sectors of the Church and curia, but finally organized by the Pope, no mean feat. Benedict’s first two encyclicals were composed mostly by himself. The difference is telling in reading this document. The document has a kind of “touch on everything” feeling about it. However, what it does consider at some depth, things such as business, profit, life, and the relation of politics to metaphysics and revelation, are very good.
Benedict sets this encyclical within a broader framework so that we can see the limited but important status that public life has. The whole document is concerned with our relation to each other, especially to the poor and weak. It is stronger on what the rich owe to the poor than in what the poor must themselves do if they are to be not poor. The discussion of the other religions in their relation to issues of development is quite frank. The Pope understands that many of their basic beliefs and attitudes are incompatible with a more developed human life. But this criticism is not taken to mean that allowing freedom of religion is not the basic human duty of the state.
This encyclical, moreover, does something that I have been concerned about for many years. It is very careful how it uses the term “rights.” The Pope clearly spells how “rights” and “democracy” in their modern meanings can lead to a violation of human dignity if they are grounded in no standard or understanding of human nature, including fallen human nature.
But the great insight is that all reality is gift-oriented. The very title of the encyclical has to do with the fact that we cannot call “charity” something that is not rooted in the truth of what man is. The terms “mercy” or “compassion” have often lent themselves to a process whereby they overturned what was objectively true in the man.
The encyclical is finally cast in the context of the Trinity, of the relationships in which we are created. The person is not “rights”-oriented but duty- and gift-oriented. The encyclical is a great document that puts things together, metaphysical things, natural law things, revelational things, political things, economic things; all things are seen in relation to each man’s relation to God, to his transcendent destiny which, as is stated in Spe Salvi, is already social. Caritas in Veritate is thus a continuation of Deus Caritas Est, and Spe Salvi. Deus Caritas est. Deus Logos est. Deus Trinitas est.
James V. Schall, S.J. is professor of government at Georgetown University.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico:
In the first social encyclical of his pontificate, Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), Pope Benedict XVI insists on a close relationship between morality and the economy in order to promote a “holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis.” This new document is focused not on specific systems of economics but rather on areas of morality and the theological underpinnings of culture.
The background for this new encyclical is the global economic crisis that has taken place within a moral vacuum bare of truth and rampant with materialism. While the Pope does not offer any detailed analysis of the cause or solution to the crisis, he nonetheless urges that the crisis become “an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future” (no. 21).
Never employing either the word “greed” or “capitalism” in the over 30,000 word document (despite some media hype), the crisis itself he attributes to “badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing” without naming the specific institutions that made this possible. The market, Benedict says, “is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction. Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends.”
Those who prophesied that this would be Benedict’s opportunity to “overthrow” capitalism, or that conservatives would be “shocked and disappointed,” must themselves be rather sad today. While it is explicitly not the purpose of the document to offer strict structural models that nations should adopt (no. 9), the principle of subsidiarity—which prefers proximate and private action of the state—a preference for trade over government-to-government aid for developing countries, and a rightly understood globalization are all affirmed.
This is a complex and rich document that will require much study and thought in the years ahead. What is clear and non-negotiable from Benedict’s perspective is that to understand the challenges facing the world economy it is first necessary to understand the august nature of the human person who must always be at the center of economic decisions. Caritas in Veritate enables us to see, at a new depth, the way in which the whole of the human reality must be taken into consideration in order to construct social institutions worthy of man.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico is president and co-founder of the Acton Institute.
A summary of the Encyclical by Jeff Mirus:
What the Encyclical Says:
The purpose of the introduction is to recall that charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine and that charity is inseparable from truth:
Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practiced in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence. (2)
The Pope explains that without truth, “charity degenerates into sentimentality” and “love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way.” This is a fatal risk facing love today, by which it is distorted through mere emotion and opinion. In contrast, it is only through truth that we are enabled to overcome opinions, impressions and cultural limitations to “come together in the assessment of the value and substance of things.” Thus the authentic social doctrine of the Church hinges on the principle of “charity in truth”. (3)
The Pope goes on to identify the two key social concepts which drive the Church’s social teaching, namely justice and the common good. He reminds us that justice is intrinsic to charity—that is, justice is not divorced from charity but presupposed by it, for we would never perform an act of charity for someone we love while at the same time doing him an injustice. So too with the social context: In addition to loving and willing the good of another, we must also will the good of all of us, “made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society.” In other words, “to desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity.” (6-7)
Closing his introduction, Benedict notes that in an increasingly globalized society, the common good includes the whole human family, the community of peoples and nations, “in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.” In this quest, the Church does not offer technical solutions but a witness of the truth about man:
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. (9)
Chapter One: The Message of Populorum Progressio
Since the encyclical is both a tribute to and an updating of Populorum Progressio, Benedict begins (# 11) by summarizing several key principles set forth in that encyclical, quoted briefly below:
1. ”The whole Church, in all her being and acting—when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity—is engaged in promoting integral human development.”
2. ”Authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension.”
3. ”Integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone” (i.e., it is a work not confined only to institutions).
4. ”Such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God.”
In the light of this Pope’s repeated emphasis on the “hermeneutic of continuity” in interpreting Magisterial documents, it is noteworthy that he takes pains to make the same point with regard to the Church’s social teaching:
Clarity is not served by certain abstract subdivisions of the Church’s social doctrine, which apply categories to Papal social teaching that are extraneous to it. 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)
To place his predecessor’s teaching in full perspective, Benedict briefly examines not just Populorum Progressio but Paul VI’s overall body of social teaching. He touches on the Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens in which Paul VI warned against utopian ideological visions, and in so doing Benedict touches on the twin errors of “idealizing technical progress, or contemplating the utopia of a return to humanity’s original natural state”, both of which detach the idea of progress from consistent moral evaluation. He also touches on Humanae Vitae, in which Paul VI emphasized the strong link between life ethics and social ethics, a connection which led directly to John Paul II’s insistence that society crumbles when it asserts values such as dignity, justice and peace on the one hand, while acting radically to the contrary by tolerating or even encouraging the devaluation of human life, especially in the weak and marginalized.
Finally, touching on Pope Paul’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Benedict notes the strong links between evangelization and human advancement. He argues again that integral human development is a vocation from God that demands responsible freedom, respect for truth, and charity that will blossom into authentic fraternity in the social order. “The importance of this goal,” Benedict writes, “is such as to demand our openness to understand it in depth and to mobilize ourselves at the level of the ‘heart’, so as to ensure that current economic and social processes evolve towards fully human outcomes.” (20)
Chapter Two: Human Development in Our Time
Having reviewed and organized for his own purposes the principles explained and developed by Paul VI, Benedict proceeds in the second chapter to assess the trends and problems which characterize our current social situation, as they have developed over the past forty years. He discusses the collapse of the economic and political systems of the Communist block and the immense difficulty of replacing them with structures conducive to authentic development; the paradoxical limitations of State sovereignty in the face of the new context of international trade and finance; the reduction of social systems of protection and welfare in order to gain a competitive edge; the growing difficulties of trade unions; the problematic mobility of labor; the emphasis on financial capital at the expense of human capital; the damage wrought by cultural relativism and cultural eclecticism; and the growing separation of human culture from human nature. He briefly discusses each of these developments.
The Pope then proceeds to identify four critical areas which must now be addressed in any effective plan for integral human development:
* Hunger: Food and water shortages are still critical in too many regions, and this is caused primarily not by a lack of material things but a lack of social resources—“the network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water for nutritional needs”. Access to food and water must be considered a fundamental human right. (27)
* Respect for Life: The Pope points to various practices of demographic control, the promotion of contraception, the imposition of abortion, the practice of sterilization (often linked to dubious and deceitful health care policies), and the effort to “export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress.” This is unacceptable, for “openness to life is at the center of true development.” Without this openness, the whole society withers away. (28)
* Religious Freedom: The Pope’s discussion of the right to religious freedom is extremely interesting; it continues themes he has developed previously concerning the relationship between faith and reason. He decries both religious fanaticism and the promotion of religious indifference, explaining that “God is the guarantor of man’s true development, inasmuch as, having created him in his image, he also establishes the transcendent dignity of men and women and feeds their innate yearning to ‘be more’.” (29)
* Disciplinary Collaboration: Benedict argues that for true development to take place, there must be a fruitful collaboration among faith, theology, metaphysics and science. This is because the cause of underdevelopment is not just lack of technical expertise, but a serious lack of “wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis, for which a clear vision of all economic, social, cultural and spiritual aspects is required.” (30-31)
This section of the encyclical closes by emphasizing that the greatest change since Paul VI’s time is the explosion of worldwide interdependence, that is, globalization:
Without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family. Hence charity and truth confront us with an altogether new and creative challenge, one that is certainly vast and complex. It is about broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces, animating them within the perspective of that “civilization of love” whose seed God has planted in every people, in every culture. (33)
Chapter Three: Fraternity, Economic Development and Civil Society
In his third chapter, Benedict develops a key concept of Catholic social teaching, one which he makes more explicit in Caritas in Veritate, probably in part because of John Paul II’s more recent emphasis on the “law of the gift”. Each new social encyclical enshrines a certain fresh genius which more deeply penetrates the internal logic of the Church’s teaching. I believe that this unique contribution is most characteristic of chapter three. Benedict explains:
Charity in truth places man before the astonishing experience of gift. Gratuitousness is present in our lives in many different forms, which often go unrecognized because of a purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life. The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension. Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that follows from being selfishly closed in upon himself, and it is a consequence—to express it in faith terms—of original sin. (34)
The Pope argues that a false conviction of self-sufficiency causes people to confuse happiness and salvation with material prosperity, and leads them to choose economic strategies which, by removing God and gift from the equation, end up impoverishing the weak and diminishing personal and social freedom and responsibility. At the center of this discussion is Benedict’s assertion that the market itself must incorporate this same gratuitous spirit which God displays in his dealings with man. The market must not limit itself to the commutative justice represented by the contract, but must also incorporate in its very foundations certain elements of distributive and social justice which bring all parties together in an ever-stronger fraternal community.
Indeed, the market is not some infallible machinery that always produces the right result, such that it is necessary to keep God and values out of it. Nor is the market evil, and it is equally foolish to condemn it as a source of evil. Thus does the Pope dispatch ideologies of right and left. Rather, the market is a neutral instrument which is directed this way and that by the moral decisions of human persons. Every economic decision has a moral consequence. Though it may have been understandable at one time, the Pope says, it is not adequate to entrust the creation of wealth to the economy on the one hand while entrusting the task of distributing wealth to politics on the other. Instead, commercial practice itself, like all human activity, must be directed toward the common good. “Hence the canons of justice must be respected from the outset, as the economic process unfolds, and not just afterwards or incidentally.” (37)
Benedict teaches that solidarity is the alternative to our current “exclusively binary model of market-plus-State”. For example, it is utterly insufficient for businesses to operate as if they are exclusively answerable to their investors, often with no stable director who feels responsible for the long-term impact on all of the stakeholders—“namely the workers, the suppliers, the consumers, the natural environment and broader society.” (40) All of these stakeholders have a claim on business, a claim that is far easier to understand and provide for if the principle of gratuitousness is kept in mind, for it is this principle of the gift that enables us to transcend ourselves and truly operate in solidarity with others. Applying this to the global scene:
What should be avoided is a speculative use of financial resources that yields to the temptation of seeking only short-term profit, without regard for the long-term sustainability of the enterprise, its benefit to the real economy and attention to the advancement, in suitable and appropriate ways, of further economic initiatives in countries in need of development. It is true that the export of investments and skills can benefit the populations of the receiving country. Labor and technical knowledge are a universal good. 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)
In order to effect a more sustainable model, the Pope also calls for a greater “articulation” of political authority, by which he mains a collaborative effort, based on subsidiarity, of various institutions, organizations and levels of government combining to guide the process of economic globalization. Between the inadequacy of the United Nations (the Pope calls for its reform later in the encyclical) and the realities of contemporary political power, Benedict comments wryly that “both wisdom and prudence suggest not being too precipitous in declaring the demise of the State. In terms of the resolution of the current crisis, the State’s role seems destined to grow.” Hence “the articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy.” (41) The encyclical discusses the necessary principle of subsidiarity at some length, emphasizing again the principle of gratuitousness which must animate these varied relationships.
Finally, Benedict cautions that it is completely false and counter-productive to view globalization as a pre-determined process over which man has no control. Because it is a human reality, it is product of cultural tendencies which must be subjected to a process of discernment. A sustained commitment is needed to “promote a person-based and community-oriented cultural process of world-wide integration that is open to transcendence”. In this way, it will be possible to “steer the globalization of humanity in relational terms, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods.” (42)
We will see this reference to “relational terms” developed more fully in chapter five, and once again we will see at its heart the idea of “gift”. For Benedict, the incorporation of the spirit of gratuitousness—the law of the gift—into all of our plans and programs is the key to success. In this spirit alone can the market itself, along with all the institutions and persons which guide it, contribute to integral human development.
Chapter Four: The Development of People, Rights and Duties, the Environment
In the fourth chapter, Benedict addresses several specific problems in the contemporary world which make it difficult to guide human development in an integral manner. First, he calls attention to the contemporary tendency to create arbitrary new rights with no basis in the natural law, while at the same time ignoring the most basic of human rights. The solution is to view rights in their proper framework of duties, a perspective “which grants them their full meaning”. Benedict explains that duties set a limit on rights “because they point to the anthropological and ethical framework of which rights are a part.” Thus duties reinforce rights and place their promotion in the context of the service of the common good. “The sharing of reciprocal duties,” Benedict states, “is a more powerful incentive to action than the mere assertion of rights.” (43)
Next, the Pope takes up the matter of population growth and openness to life. He insists that the “primary competence of the family in the area of sexuality” must be upheld against the State and that “morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource.” In contrast, he notes that the attitudes in many nations today “are symptomatic of scant confidence in the future and moral weariness.” Hence it has become socially and economically necessary once more “to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family.” States are called to enact policies promoting “the centrality and the integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society.” (44)
Benedict also explains that “the economy needs ethics in order to function correctly”, but not just any ethics: The proper ethics must be person-centered, for when business departs from personal moral norms it serves only to exploit the inequities of existing financial systems rather than to correct their dysfunctional features. Periodically throughout the encyclical the Pope takes pains to demonstrate why Catholic social teaching has so much to contribute to properly-directed development. In this context of ethics, for example, he notes the following:
Much in fact depends on the underlying system of morality. On this subject the Church’s social doctrine can make a specific contribution, since it is based on man’s creation “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27), a datum which gives rise to the inviolable dignity of the human person and the transcendent value of natural moral norms. (45)
The Pope also deals here with the inadequacy of the distinction between for-profit and non-profit corporations, indicating again that a more complete understanding of the common good needs to lie at the heart of all business activity. In the same light, he calls for the reform of international organizations: “At times it happens that those who receive aid become subordinate to the aid-givers, and the poor serve to perpetuate expensive bureaucracies which consume an excessively high percentage of funds intended for development.” He calls for complete transparency as to the percentage of income allocated to various programs, the actual content of those programs, and the detailed expenditures of each institution.
The chapter concludes with several pages on nature, the environment, and what the Pope calls “human ecology”. Noting two common and equally false attitudes, Benedict writes:
[I]t is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person. This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism—human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a “grammar” which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation. (48)
Pursuant to this principle, the Pope condemns the hoarding of non-renewable energy resources, which integral human development demands should be shared, and he condemns massive short-term exploitation of resources as if we have no solidarity with future generations. Along the same lines, Benedict warns against the widespread hedonism and consumerism of the modern world, which does so much harm to those who are poor and so much damage to the environment. He insists that the Church has a grave responsibility to defend “earth, water and air” as gifts that belong to all and, above all, to “protect mankind from self-destruction.”
Benedict’s larger point is that economic incentives and deterrents to effect change are insufficient: “The decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society.” (51) Thus he concludes the chapter by returning once more to the law of the gift. He notes that the ultimate source of truth and love is God, and the vocation to development is an intrinsic part of God’s plan, prior to man himself: “That which is prior to us and constitutes us—subsistent Love and Truth—shows us what goodness is, and in what our true happiness consists. It shows us the road to true development.” (52)
Chapter Five: The Cooperation of the Human Family
The fifth chapter of Caritas in Veritate begins with a deep reflection on the idea of “relation” in human solidarity (analogous to and modeled on the infinitely self-giving and self-fulfilling relations of the three persons of the Blessed Trinity). Benedict notes the extreme isolation characteristic of our times: “One of the deepest forms of poverty a person can experience is isolation.” This includes isolation from not being loved and from rejecting God’s love because of “man’s basic and tragic tendency to close in on himself, thinking himself to be self-sufficient or merely an insignificant and ephemeral fact, a ‘stranger’ in a random universe.” Indeed:
Man is alienated when he is alone, when he is detached from reality, when he stops thinking and believing in a foundation. All of humanity is alienated when too much trust is placed in merely human projects, ideologies and false utopias. Today humanity appears much more interactive than in the past: this shared sense of being close to one another must be transformed into true communion. The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together, in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side. (53)
Benedict sees the solution in a proper understanding of “relation”. Rather than being diminished personally by entering into a relation, each person finds that his identity is enriched and matures through his reciprocity with the other. Just as a family does not submerge but enhances the identities of its individual members, and just as the Church rejoices in each “new creation”, enriching each member and being enriched in return, “so too the unity of the human family does not submerge the identities of individuals, peoples and culture, but makes them more transparent to each other and links them more closely in their legitimate diversity.” (53)
Importantly, Benedict pauses here to note even the problems posed by religious cultures which divide men and women from each other, as well as the proliferation of various forms of religious syncretism which fragment the human family into small groups, each going its own way. In so doing, he makes an important point about religious liberty (a point which will perhaps illuminate all the Church’s previous teachings on this subject, and a point thoroughly consistent with the Pope’s prior context of illuminating the nature and limitations of rights by examining corresponding duties):
For this reason, while it is tree that development needs the religions and cultures of different peoples, it is equally true that adequate discernment is needed. Religious freedom does not mean religious indifferentism, nor does it imply that all religions are equal. Discernment is needed regarding the contribution of cultures and religions, especially on the part of those who wield political power, if the social community is to be built up in a spirit of respect for the common good. Such discernment has to be based on the criterion of charity and truth. (55)
He goes on to affirm that the Christian religion and other religions can make their vital contribution to authentic development “only if God has a place in the public realm”. He notes that the denial of the “right to profess one’s religion in public and the right to bring the truths of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development”, and he rejects both “the exclusion of religion from the public square” and “religious fundamentalism” because both “exclude the possibility of fruitful dialogue and effective cooperation between reason and religious faith.” Returning to a point he has made repeatedly during his pontificate, Benedict states again:
Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development. (56)
Then chapter goes on briefly to explore a number of principles which must be used effectively to address a wide range of modern problems, such as subsidiarity, solidarity, and the natural law. Benedict sees the latter not only as a basis for discussion between religions and cultures but also as a necessary basis for true education, which must form the whole man in light of his proper ends—a goal which is rendered problematic by all relativistic cultures, yet is absolutely vital to authentic development.
This chapter also highlights various key problems (e.g., migration, unemployment, and the development of poor nations) and suggests how they ought to be approached. Further, it highlights the need for all stake-holders in international finance, including labor unions and consumer groups, to be open to a new sense of responsibility for all the other stake-holders, instead of being preoccupied only with their own separate concerns. The Pope also expresses the need for a significant reform of the United Nations Organization and other international economic institutions so that “the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.”
To sum up:
The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order. (67)
Chapter Six: The Development of Peoples and Technology
In his final chapter, Benedict focuses on the need to overcome the prejudices of technocracy with a truly human understanding of integral development. He returns again to the concept of the gift: “The development question is not simply the result of natural mechanisms, since as everybody knows, we are all capable of making free and responsible choices. Nor is it merely at the mercy of our caprice, since we all know that we are a gift, not something self-generated.” The Pope continues:
A person’s development is compromised, if he claims to be solely responsible for producing what he becomes. By analogy, the development of peoples goes awry if humanity thinks it can re-create itself through the “wonders” of technology, just as economic development is exposed as a destructive sham if it relies on the “wonders” of finance in order to sustain unnatural and consumerist growth. In the face of such Promethean presumption, we must fortify our love for a freedom that is not merely arbitrary, but is rendered truly human by acknowledgment of the good that underlies it. To this end, man needs to look inside himself in order to recognize the fundamental norms of the natural moral law which God has written on our hearts. (68)
In this context, the Pope emphasizes that technology is a profoundly human reality, revealing man and his aspirations towards development, including the “inner tension that impels him to overcome material limitations.” It is therefore a response to God’s command in Genesis “to till and keep the land.” For this reason, technological development must never become so preoccupied with the “how” questions that it fails to ask and answer the “why” questions which underlie human activity: “When the sole criterion of truth is efficiency and utility, development is automatically denied” and “human freedom is authentic only when it responds to the fascination of technology with decisions that are the fruit of moral responsibility.” (70)
The Pope uses three critical but disparate examples (peace among nations, social communications, and bioethics) to show how preoccupation with technological solutions can distract us from the deeper human values and moral judgments which are required for true development. Returning to one of his favorite themes, he concludes: “Entranced by an exclusive reliance on technology, reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence. Faith without reason risks being cut off from everyday life.” (74)
This final chapter ends with a renewed focus on the central argument that runs through the entire encyclical: (1) We now see that “the social question has become a radically anthropological question”; (2) The cultural refusal to attend to these deep anthropological questions results in a materialistic and mechanistic understanding of human life which has a universally negative effect on integral human development; and (3) Therefore, integral human development can never occur without the moral values which arise from an understanding of the importance of the soul of man to his overall well-being.
The Pope laments that the “social and psychological alienation and the many neuroses that afflict affluent societies are attributable in part to spiritual factors” (76) and that “the supremacy of technology tends to prevent people from recognizing anything that cannot be explained in terms of matter alone.” (77) In contrast, true development
requires new eyes and a new heart, capable of rising above a materialistic vision of human events, capable of glimpsing in development the “beyond” that technology cannot give. By following this path, it is possible to pursue the integral human development that takes its direction from the driving force of charity in truth. (77)
In conclusion, the Holy Father emphasizes that “without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is.” Therefore, we can develop the vision and energy for integral human development only by recognizing our calling to be part of the family of God. “A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism,” Benedict writes. “Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life—structures, institutions, culture and ethos—without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment.” This is the only way we can move beyond “the limited and the ephemeral”. Ultimately, it is God who “gives us the strength to fight and to suffer for love of the common good.” (78) And so Benedict ends with the law of the gift which he has so effectively unveiled at the heart of Catholic social thought:
Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us. For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God’s love. (78)
Evangelical Response: Doing the Truth in Love (August 21, 2009)
On August 21, 2009, 68 Evangelical academics,
journalists, church leaders, activists and researchers from four continents
released a statement responding to Caritas in Veritate, and encouraging
evangelical engagement with the encyclical.
The statement was endorsed and supported by three institutions: the Center for Public Justice (Washington, D.C.: www.cpjustice.org), Cardus (Hamilton, Ontario: www.cardus.ca) and the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (Cambridge, U.K.: www.klice.co.uk).
Doing the Truth in Love: An evangelical
call for response to Caritas in Veritate
Recent global events awaken us to the importance of sustained Christian reflection on the nature and goal of economic life, both within our own societies and in other parts of the world. Accordingly, as evangelical Protestants we applaud the release of Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) by Pope Benedict XVI. We call on Christians everywhere, but especially our fellow evangelicals in the global North, to read, wrestle with, and respond to Caritas in Veritate and its identification of the twin call of love and truth upon our lives as citizens, entrepreneurs, workers and, most fundamentally, as followers of Christ.
In Christ's death and resurrection, God removes all that stands in the way of right relationships between God and the world, among humans, and between humanity and the rest of creation. Human development is included in this restoration of all things to right relationship.
We commend the way in which this encyclical considers economic development in terms of the true trajectory for human flourishing. Caritas in Veritate, following in the tradition of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Populorum Progressio, argues that development is about the transformation of both persons and institutions and of relations among and between them. We echo its call for a new vision of development that recognizes the dignity of human life in its fullness, and that includes a concern for life from conception to natural death, for religious liberty, for the alleviation of poverty, and for the care of creation.
Caritas in Veritate proposes an integral model of human development in the context of globalization, “the expansion of worldwide interdependence.” We affirm with this encyclical that globalization must become a “person-centred and community-oriented process of integration.” The encyclical correctly notes that globalization has indeed lifted millions out of poverty, primarily by the integration of the economies of developing nations into international markets. Yet the unevenness of this integration leaves us deeply concerned about the inequality, poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, social exclusion—including the persistent social exclusion of women in many parts of the world—and materialism that continue to ravage human communities, with destructive consequences for our shared planetary habitat.
In Caritas in Veritate we find an analysis of global affairs that rejects the oversimplifying polarization of free market and active government solutions. As the encyclical teaches, “authentically human social relationships of friendship, solidarity and reciprocity can also be conducted within economic activity, and not only outside it or ‘after’ it.” Economic life is not amoral or autonomous. Economic institutions, including markets themselves, must be marked by internal relations of solidarity and trust.
Profit, while a necessary means in economic life, cannot be an overriding end for truly human economic flourishing. We therefore affirm the emphasis in Caritas in Veritate on social enterprise, that is, business efforts guided by a mutualist principle that transcends the dichotomy of for-profit and not-for-profit and that instead pursues social ends while covering costs and providing for investment. More broadly, we urge evangelicals to consider the invitation by Pope Benedict to rethink who must be included among corporate stakeholders and what the moral significance of investment is. We would have wished for an even stronger criticism in the encyclical of the elevation of money to an idolatrous status and the resultant contemporary dominance of financial markets over other elements of the global economy.
We endorse the affirmation that an economy of charity demands space for myriad human communities and institutions, not just for the state and the market, but also families and the many relationships of civil society. It is primarily the internal resources of communities, such as those of neighbourhood associations, municipal councils, trade unions, small business and more, that facilitate the cultivation of local talents and resources. Effective governance and aid which provides support for development but recognizes their own limitations are needed in charting a path towards more integral development. The challenge to “humanize” or “civilize” globalization does not necessarily mean more government. It does demand better government—the rule of law rather than of persons, the development of strong institutions of governance, the restoration of balance between competing interests, the eradication of corruption. Ethical globalization demands fairer and freer trade, assisting the poor of the world to successfully integrate into a flourishing global economy. And ethical globalization demands of evangelical churches everywhere that we attend to the call to do the truth in love, as we continue to respond to the great commission to "disciple the nations."
The encyclical properly recognizes that states are not relinquishing and should not relinquish their duty to pursue justice and the common good in the global economic order. We share the document’s concern at the decline of social security systems, the diminishing power of trade unions, and the pressure of socially destructive labour mobility. Yet we also share its fear of the growth of an overweening welfare state, which degrades social and civic pluralism. Thus we agree that subsidiarity and solidarity must be held in tandem, as Caritas in Veritate proposes.
We echo the call for better models of global governance, both financial and political, but hesitate to uncritically endorse the current models in the U.N., I.M.F., World Bank and W.T.O. A global common good does indeed call forth political action to secure it, but new models of global governance must secure increased participation, transparency and accountability, and help strengthen the nation state relative to the power of global finance.
With Caritas in Veritate, we commit ourselves not to be the “victims” of globalization, but to be its “protagonists”—to work for global solidarity, economic justice, and the common good, as norms that transcend and transform the motives of economic profit and technical progress. We call for serious dialogue among all Christians and with many others to make these goals practical realities.
* Adel Abadeer, Associate Professor of Economics, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Roy Berkenbosch, Director, Micah Center, King's University College (Edmonton, AB)
* Elwil Beukes, Professor of Economics, The King's University College (Edmonton, AB)
* Daniel K. Bourdanné, General Secretary, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (Oxford, UK)
* James Bradley, Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Emeritus, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Paul Brink, Associate Professor of Political Studies, Gordon College (Wenham, MA)
* Joe Carter, Web Editor, First Things (Manassas, VA)
* Jonathan Chaplin, Director, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (Cambridge, UK)
* J. Daryl Charles, Director and Senior Fellow, Bryan Institute for Critical Thought & Practice (Dayton, TN)
* Richard Cizik, President, The New Evangelicals (Washington, DC)
* Bruce J. Clemenger, President, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (Markham, ON)
* Javier Comboni, Jean & E. Floyd Kvamme Professor of Political Economy, Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)
* Justin D. Cooper, President, Redeemer University College (Ancaster, ON)
* Paul R. Corts, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (Washington, DC)
* Janel Curry, Byker Chair in Christian Perspectives on Political, Social, and Economic Thought, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Calvin B. DeWitt, Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)
* Brian Dijkema, Labour Activist (Ottawa, ON)
* Joel Edwards, International Director, Micah Challenge (London, UK)
* Jacob P. Ellens, Vice President, Academic, Redeemer University College (Ancaster, ON)
* Bruce Ellis Benson, Professor of Philosophy, Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)
* Janet Epp Buckingham, Director, Laurentian Leadership Centre (Ottawa, ON)
* James Featherby, Fellow, London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (London, UK)
* Harry Fernhout, President, The King's University College (Edmonton, AB)
* Brian T. Fikkert, Associate Professor of Economics & Community Development, Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, GA)
* Richard L. Gathro, Dean, Nyack College (Washington, DC)
* Ivy George, Professor of Sociology and Social Work, Gordon College (Wenham, MA)
* Michael W. Goheen, Geneva Professor of Worldview and Religious Studies, Trinity Western University (Langley, BC)
* Bob Goudzwaard, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Cultural Philosophy, Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
* Andy Hartropp, Research Tutor in Development Studies, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (Oxford, UK)
* Peter S. Heslam, Transforming Business, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK)
* John Hiemstra, Dean, Faculty of Social Science, The King's University College (Edmonton, AB)
* Roland Hoksbergen, Professor of Economics and International Development, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Dennis Hoover, Vice President for Research and Publications, Institute for Global Engagement (Washington, DC)
* Robert Joustra, Researcher, Cardus (Hamilton, ON)
* Timothy A. Kelly, Director, DePree Center Public Policy Institute (Pasadena, CA)
* David T. Koyzis, Professor of Political Science, Redeemer University College (Ancaster, ON)
* Tracy Kuperus, Associate Professor, International Development Studies, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Jamie McIntosh, Executive Director, International Justice Mission Canada (London, ON)
* Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, Assistant Professor of Political Studies, Gordon College (Wenham, MA)
* George N. Monsma, Jr., Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Stephen V. Monsma, Research Fellow, The Henry Institute, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Richard Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA)
* Bryant L. Myers, Professor of International Development, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA)
* David K. Naugle, Professor of Philosophy, Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, TX)
* David Neff, Editor in Chief, Christianity Today (Carol Stream, IL)
* Ray Pennings, Director of Research, Cardus (Calgary, AB)
* Michael Pollitt, Reader in Business Economics, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge (U.K.)
* Dan Postma, Managing Editor, Comment Magazine (Hamilton, ON)
* Vinoth Ramachandra, Author, Subverting Global Myths (Colombo, Sri Lanka)
* Jonathan S. Raymond, President, Trinity Western University (Langley, BC)
* Paul W. Robinson, Director, Human Needs and Global Resources Program, Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)
* Duncan Roper, Former Professor of Mathematics, University of Western Sydney (now resident of Martinborough, NZ)
* Michael Schluter, Chairman, Relationships Foundation International (Cambridge, UK)
* Chris Seiple, President, Institute for Global Engagement (Washington, DC)
* Timothy Sherratt, Professor of Political Studies, Gordon College (Wenham, MA)
* Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action (Philadelphia, PA)
* James W. Skillen, President, Center for Public Justice (Washington, DC)
* John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture, Regent College (Vancouver, BC)
* Glen Harold Stassen, Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA)
* Elaine Storkey, President, Tearfund (London, UK)
* Alan Storkey, Economist (Cambridge, UK)
* Gideon Strauss, President (designate), Center for Public Justice (Washington, DC)
* Robert Sweetman, Academic Dean and Acting President, Institute for Christian Studies (Toronto, ON)
* Steven Timmermans, President, Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL)
* Michael Van Pelt, President, Cardus (Hamilton, ON)
* Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners (Washington, DC)
* Alissa Wilkinson, Associate Editor, Comment Magazine (Brooklyn, NY)
* Paul Williams, David Brown Family Chair of Marketplace Theology and Leadership, Regent College (Vancouver, BC)
July 27, 2009
Signatories’ affiliations are listed for identification purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect institutional endorsement.