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The Pope’s New Encyclical – In Charity and Truth

July 9, 2009

On July 7th, the Vatican released Pope Benedict’s third encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate or In Charity and Truth.  It’s the Pope’s first socal encyclical. According to the Catholic News Agency:

Pope Benedict XVI makes clear that social issues cannot be disconnected from the defense of life from the moment of conception to its natural end, and that the defense of the right to life cannot be compromised when seeking common ground on other social issues.

In the introduction of the encyclical, the Pope clearly defines Charity, which is Love, but not love in the emotional, sentimental sense. He is speaking of Love/Charity in the brotherly love sense, the love your neighbor sense. In order to have this kind of love one needs to fully understand God’s Truth. The Pope says:

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.

As I read more, I’ll post more about this encyclical. Most of the main stream media will provide a secular, most-likely anti-catholic opinion on this encyclical, if you prefer a catholic opinion on this encyclical, please click on the Catholic News Agency link above or see my other encyclical post that references Fr. Z’s thoughts on the matter.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. pimeusa permalink
    July 17, 2009 11:52 am

    I read much of this encyclical, nodding my head thoughout! As Communication Director for the PIME Missionaries, I’m keening interested in the Holy Father’s words as related to Catholic social teaching regarding developing nations.

    His connections between love and truth give us much to ponder. Our culture certainly lacks an understanding of their relationship!


  1. Fr. Z on In Charity and Truth « Catholicwideweb’s Blog
  2. CNA: Caritas In Veritate a ‘roadmap’ for business professionals, Catholic business writer says « Catholicwideweb’s Blog

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