We are grateful to the Holy Father that in his social encyclical he has again proposed the originality of the faith and the contribution that Christians can give to social life and development.
To us it seems critical that at the beginning of an encyclical dedicated to human affairs, the Pope, with great realism, is recalling everyone to something basic and evident, which, if denied, leads every human effort to become unjust to the point of violence: “Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that ... is a consequence ... 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.” Recent experience, in fact, teaches us that the claim of self-sufficiency and of being able to “eliminate the evil present in history by his own action alone has led man to confuse happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material prosperity and social action.”
On the contrary, the truth about ourselves is first of all “given”: “[T]ruth is not something that we produce; it is always found, or better, received.” This is why the Pope affirms that “[c]harity in truth ... is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity... In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person.”
Benedict XVI recalls us to the fact (which, as current events show, is more and more often forgotten) that 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.”
Caritas in veritate asserts that the Church “does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim to interfere in any way in politics,” but does have a mission to accomplish: proclaiming Christ as “the first and principal factor of development.”
Along this path of witness we feel challenged to verify, within the context of daily life, the import of faith in Christ, as the One who places us in the best conditions for facing the myriad of problems in the economic, financial, social and political fields enumerated by the encyclical.
In the next issue of Traces, the monthly international magazine of the movement coming out next week, a booklet with the text of Caritas in veritate will be enclosed.
CL press office
Milan, July 8, 2009