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Vatican Summary of "Caritas in Veritate"

"Charity Is at the Heart of the Church"

VATICAN CITY, JULY 7, 2009. Here is the synthesis the Vatican press office compiled of Benedict XVI's third encyclical titled "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth), which was published today. The synthesis highlights the main themes of the encyclical.

* * *
"Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness" is "the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity": thus begins "Caritas in Veritate," the Encyclical addressed to the Catholic world and "to all people of good will".

In the Introduction, the Pope reminds us that "charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine". On the other hand, given "the risk of being misinterpreted, detached from ethical living", it is linked with truth. And cautions us: "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" (§ 1-4).

Truth is necessary for development. Without it, says the Pope, "the social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation" (§ 5). Benedict XVI dwells upon two "criteria that govern moral action" that come from the "charity in truth" principle: Justice and the common good. Every Christian is called to love through an "institutional path" which has an incidence on the life of the pólis, of life in society (§ 6-7). The Church, he insists, "does not have technical solutions to offer"; however, she has "a mission of truth to accomplish" for "a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation" (§ 8-9).

The first chapter of the document is about Paul VI's Message of Populorum Progressio. "Without the perspective of eternal life -- the Pope warns us -- human progress in this world is denied breathing-space". Without God, development becomes negative, "dehumanized" (§ 10-12).

Paul VI, one can read, stressed on "the indispensable importance of the Gospel for building a society according to freedom and justice" (§ 13) In "Humanae Vitae", Paul VI "shows the strong ties between life ethics and social ethics" (§ 14-15). He explains the concept of vocation in "Populorum Progressio". "Development is vocation" because "it derives from a transcendent call". He goes on to underline that it is thus "integral", that is, it has to "promote the good of every man and of the whole man". "Faith -- he adds -- does not rely on privilege or positions of power", "but only on Christ" (§ 16-18). Paul VI shows that "the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order". They are above all in the will, thought and even more "in the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples". "As society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers". We must therefore mobilise ourselves, so that economics evolves "towards fully human outcomes" (§ 19-20).

In the second chapter, the Pope deals with Human development in our time. Profit as the exclusive goal "without the common good as its ultimate end, risks destroying wealth and creating poverty". He goes on to mention some distortions of development: financial dealing that is "largely speculative", migration of peoples "often provoked" and then insufficiently attended to, and "the unregulated exploitation of the earth's resources". Before such interconnected problems, the Pope calls for "a new humanistic synthesis". The crisis "obliges us to re-plan our journey" (§ 21).

Development today, says the Pope, "has many overlapping layers". "The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase", with new forms of poverty emerging. Corruption, he fears, is present in countries rich and poor; too often, multinational enterprises do not respect the rights of the workers. Besides, "international aids has often been diverted from its proper ends, through irresponsible actions" both of donors and of beneficiaries. At the same time, says the Pope, "there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge on the part of rich countries, through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual prope rty, especially in the field of health care" (§ 22).

Since the end of the "blocs", John Paul II had been asking for a global "re-examination of development", but this "has been achieved only in part". There is today "a re-evaluation" of the roles of the "State's public authorities", and one can foresee an increase in the "political participation in civil society, nationally and internationally". The Pope then turns his attention to the search, by rich countries, for areas in which to outsource production at low cost. "These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems", with "grave danger for the rights of workers". To this, one has to add that "the cuts in social spending, often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks". In any case, one can observe that "governments , for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom of labour unions". Those who rule are reminded that "the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity" (§ 23-25).

On a cultural level, the possibility of interaction opens new perspectives of dialogue, but with a double danger. First, there can be a cultural eclecticism in which all cultures are viewed as "substantially equivalent". The opposite danger is that of "cultural levelling", "the indiscriminate acceptance of types of conduct and life-styles" (§ 26). The Pope then turns his attention to the scandal that hunger represents. What is missing is a "network of economic institutions" capable of confronting this emergency. One must hope for "new possibilities" in the techniques of agriculture and land reform in developing countries (§ 27).

Benedict XVI then underlines that the re spect for life "cannot in any way be detached" from the development of peoples. Various parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control which "go as far as to impose abortion". In economically developed countries, there is "an anti-birth mentality, frequent attempts (being) made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress". In addition, there is "reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked" to "specific healthcare policies which de facto involve the imposition" of birth control. The "laws permitting euthanasia" are another matter for concern. "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" (§ 28).

There is another aspect connected to development: the right to religious freedom. Violence "puts the brakes on authentic development", and this "applies especially to terrorism motivated by fundamentalism".

At the same time, promotion of atheism in many countries "obstructs the requirements for the development of peoples, depriving them of spiritual and human resources" (§ 29). For development needs the interaction of the various levels of knowledge, put in harmony through charity (§ 30-31). One must hope that the economic choices continue "to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment" for everyone. Benedict XVI warns us against "short-term -- sometimes very short-term -- economy, which leads to "lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers" in order to "increase the country's international competitiveness". For this, he exhorts us to correct some dysfunctions of the development models as is required today by the "earth's state of ecological health". He concludes with globalization: "Without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions". Therefore, we have to deal with "a new and creative challenge" (§ 32-33).

Fraternity, economic Development and civil society is the theme of the 3rd chapter of the Encyclical, opening with a praise of the experience of giving, often unrecognised "because of a purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life". The conviction that economics are free from the "influences of a moral character" "has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way". Development, "if it is to be authentically human", must "make room for the principle of gratuitousness" (§ 34). This is particularly relevant regarding the market.

"Without internal forms of solidarity and mutual trust, the market cannot completely fulfil its proper economic function". The market "cannot rely only on itself", it "must draw its moral energies from other subjects" and must not consider the poor as a "burden, but a resource". The market must not become "the place where the strong subdue the weak". Commercial logic needs to be "directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility". The market is not negative by nature. Therefore, what is to be challenged is man, his "moral conscience and responsibility". The present crisis shows that the "traditional principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility cannot be ignored or attenuated". At the same time, the Pope reminds us that economics do not eliminate the role of the State, and requires "just laws". Calling to mind Centesimus Annus, he points to the "necessity of a system with three subjects: the ma rket, the State and civil society", and calls for ways to "civilizing the economy". We need "economic forms based on solidarity". The market and politics need "individuals who are open to reciprocal gift" (§ 35-39).

In the 4th chapter, the Encyclical deals with the Development of people, rights and duties, the environment. One can notice the "claims to a ‘right to excess'" in the affluent societies, while food and water are lacking in certain underdeveloped regions. "Individual rights when detached from a framework of duties can run wild". Rights and duties are in connexion to an ethical context. If, on the other hand, their basis is only "to be found in the deliberations of an assembly of citizens", they are liable to be "changed at any time". Governments and international bodies must not forget "the objectivity and ‘inviolability' of rights" (§ 43). On this matter , one can dwell upon the "problems associated with population growth". It is a "mistake" to "consider population increase as the primary cause of underdevelopment". The Pope reaffirms that sexuality cannot be "reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment". One cannot regulate sexuality through "strategies of mandatory birth control". He then goes on to underline that "morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource". "States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family" (§ 44).

"The economy, he adds, needs ethics in order to function correctly -- not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred". The same centrality of the human person must be the guiding principle "in development programmes" of international cooperation, in which the beneficiaries should always be involved. "Intern ational organizations might question the actual effectiveness of their bureaucratic machinery", "often excessively costly". The Pope notices that too often "the poor serve to perpetuate expensive bureaucracies". Hence his call for a "complete transparency" concerning funds received (§ 45-47).

The last paragraphs of the chapter are devoted to the environment. For the believer, nature is a gift of God, to be used in a responsible way. In this context, our attention is brought to consider the energy problem. The fact that some States and power groups "hoard non-renewable energy resources" constitutes "a grave obstacle to development in poor countries". Therefore, the international community should "find institutional means of regulating the exploitation of non-renewable resources". "The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption", while at the same time "encourage research into alternative forms of energy".

Basically, "what is needed is an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles". A style which, up to now in most parts of the world, "is prone to hedonism and consumerism". The decisive issue, therefore, is "the overall moral tenor of society". The Pope goes on to caution: "If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death", "the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology", including that of environmental ecology (§ 48-52).

The cooperation of the human family is at the heart of the 5th chapter, in which Benedict XVI shows that "the development of peoples depend above all on a recognition that the human race is a single family". On the other hand, one can read that the Christian religion can contribute to development "only if God has a place in the public realm". By "denying the right to profess one's religion in public", politics "takes on a domineering and aggressive character". The Pope warns: "Secularism and fundamentalism exclude the possibility of fruitful dialogue" between reason and religious faith. A breach that "comes only at an enormous price to human development" (§ 53-56).

The Pope then examines the principle of subsidiarity, which offers a help to the human person "via the autonomy of intermediate bodies". Subsidiarity "is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state" and is well-suited to direct globalization towards its authentic human development. International aids "can sometimes lock people into a state of dependence", hence all subjects of the civil society, and not only the rulers, should be involved. "Too often, aid has served to create only fringe markets for the products&qu ot; of these countries (§ 57-58). The Pope exhorts the economically developed nations to "allocate larger portions" of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations undertaken. He then advocates a greater access to education and more towards "the complete formation of the person", for relativism makes everyone poorer. An example is given by the perverse phenomenon of sex tourism. "It is sad to note that this activity 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" (§ 59-61).

The Pope then deals with the phenomenon of migration, with "epoch-making" proportions. "No country can be expected to address today's problems of migration by itself". Every migrant is "a human person" who "possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by e veryone and in every circumstance". The Pope asks that the foreign workers be not considered as a merchandise and shows the "direct link between poverty and unemployment". He pleads for a decent employment for all, and invites the authorities other than those in politics to focus their attention to the workers of countries where the social rights are violated (§ 62-64).

Finance, "after its misuse which has wreaked such havoc on the real economy, needs to go back to being an instrument directed towards development". "Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity". In addition, the Pope calls for a "regulation of the financial sector" to safeguard weaker parties (§ 65-66).

The last paragraph of the chapter deals with the "strongly felt need" for a "reform of the UN" and of the "economic institutions and international finance".

There is a n "urgent need of a true world political authority", which seeks to "observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity". An authority vested with "effective power". The Pope concludes with a call to establish "a greater degree of international ordering" for the management of globalization (§ 67).

The 6th and final chapter is centred on the development of peoples and technology. The Pope cautions us against the "Promethean presumption" which would have us believe that "humanity can recreate itself through the wonders of technology". Technology cannot have an "absolute freedom". "The process of globalization could replace ideologies with technology" (§ 68-72). Connected with technological development are the "means of social communications", called to promote "the dignity of persons and peoples" (§ 73).

A particularly crucial battleground in "today's cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics". The Pope goes on to add: "Reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence". The social question has become an "anthropological question". Research on the foetus, on cloning, "are being promoted by today's culture", believing it has "mastered every mystery". The Pope expresses his fear of a "systematic eugenic programming of births" (§ 74-75). He adds: "Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth". And he concludes, by exhorting us to have a "new heart" in order to rise "above a materialistic vision of human events" (§ 76-77).

In his conclusion, the Pope underlines that development "needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer"; it needs &quo t;love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace" (§ 78-79).



Selected Pages

Anthology of the third encyclical of this pontificate, signed on June 29, 2009, and made public on July 7

by Benedict XVI

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. [...]

3. [...] Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. [...] 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. [...] 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. [...]

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. [...]

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”. [...]
34. Charity in truth places man before the astonishing experience of gift. [...] 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 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. [...]

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. [...] 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. [...]

42. [...] Globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what people make of it. [...] 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. [...]

43. [...] 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. [...]

44. [...] 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. [...]

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. [...]

45. [...] Today we hear much talk of ethics in the world of economy, finance and business. [...]  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. [...]

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. [...] 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. [...]

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. [...] 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. [...]

75. [...] 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. [...]

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. [...] 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. [...]
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Copyright © 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved