Papal disconnect

Benedict's social encyclical
I’ve studied papal encyclicals for over 30 years, and Caritas in veritate (“Charity in Truth”) is the first one I was eager to be finished with. Clearly Pope Benedict XVI wants his message about “integral human development” in the context of global economics to be understood in continuity with Paul VI’s Populorum progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”) of 1967, a document considered the high-water mark of Catholic social radicalism. But whereas Paul VI exhibited a passionate concern for the peoples of the so-called Third World (dramatically symbolized by his decision to sell his papal tiara and give the proceeds to the poor), Bene dict’s attention in his first social encyclical seems divided among a host of various concerns.


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