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Tuesday, July 07, 2009



It's a great encyclical. The pope's refusal to encourage any selective distinctions between the Church's social teaching before Vatican II, and after Vatican II, is a clear rebuke to those who would jettison all that the Church stood for before 1962. "Integral" is the key word.


It's a great encyclical and I think we can say that liberal Catholics (Weigel, Novak, etc) will have a tough time adhering to some of the things said. In fact, Weigel's response was horrible, as if Benedict trying to keep peace with people in his household is something Benedict would do. Here's a thought: maybe what matters is truth, as the encyclical says, not whether adhering to an ideology (marxism, liberalism, etc).

Finally, what is essential in the encyclical is not so much of fighting against the culture of death or other injustices. What is essential in the encyclical is this: that God, in Jesus Christ, is necessary for life. The answer to the economic problem is not an economic answer but a Christo-anthropological one. Many in America will probably praise the pro-life paragraphs but what is the most important part is not the pro-life aspect, but the teaching that life must be *Christian* (ex. natural law is not enough, but must be purified by the Church). This is clearly Benedict.

R.M. Lender

I have not yet read much of CV. I am really not in a position to give it any substantive evaluation. Obviously as a Catholic I still owe it some assent as an exercise of the ordinary magisterium.

Yet so far I will say that my surface impression is of a certain disjointedness and an opacity of language that seems atypical of Joseph Ratzinger. Perhaps this is because – more than the last two encyclicals - it is more of a collective document with many diverse perspectives.

Perhaps some of the difficulties are the result of an infelicitous translation, however. The Pope’s problems in the latter regard are legendary now. Recall the translation problems with Deus Caritas Est. Unfortunately, we do not have the Latin yet to evaluate this possibility.

I cannot yet evaluate it against Centissumus Annus, the last social encyclical. But I am already getting the sense of a real effort to try to re-situate Populorum Progressio and the other conciliar/post-conciliar teachings within the full tradition of the Church. (CV 12)

We all need to spend more time digesting it.


Weigel isn't very impressed:


Weigel isn't very impressive. "The Pope doesn't really mean the parts I don't like!" is a pretty poor response. People (left and right) on the left and right who put their political/economic preferences before God are beginning to annoy me.


A response to Weigel's article:

Catholic Femina

I really believe that this letter is timely and needs to be taken carefully to be fully understood. Weigel may not be very impressed, but it does not make the document less important to the world. The Holy Father understands the pain that the world is feeling with the stress of the economic tribulation. He makes this clear when he says: "The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor inherently inhuman and opposed to society,"

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