View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Encyclical Highlights Social Justice-Life Links

Pope Benedict XVI has released his new encyclical, Caritas in veritate (Charity in truth). I've only begun to glance at it, but one thing I like is that he links life issues and social ethics issues. The economy is linked to life issues. Care for the poor is linked to life issues. Economic development is linked to life issues.

One section grabbed my attention early on:

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[66] 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[67]. 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.

I can see clear condemnation of various anti-life initiatives put forward by international agencies - such as Planned Parenthood - and, of course, the Obama administration.

At the same time, the encyclical raises issues that sometimes get overlooked, including care for resources and the environment, globalization, gross inequalities between the wealthiest and the poorest (nations, and individuals), social justice, and more.

More to read!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless Pope Benedict!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

IS there a link to a downloadable version?

7:42 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Go to Zenit. The text is there.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I found it... Vatican library website(

Should have thought of that.

11:12 PM  

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