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Caritas in Veritate: Pope Benedict's Comprehensive New Encyclical on Globalization, the Economy, Development, and the Common Good

By James L. Nolan

A talk delivered on November 18, 2009, at Holy Redeemer by the Sea Catholic Church, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

1. The Encyclical – An Overview

Looking out at the world today, any conscious observer would see the stunning consequences of the global financial breakdown; the poverty, starvation and murderous disease (especially HIV/AIDS) in Africa and other parts of the world; and, wars, terrorism and drug-driven criminality dominating the civic psyche of peoples across the world.  This careful observer would also see the effects of environmental degradation, the fascinating promise of advancing technology and its challenge when divorced from human meaning; and, a worshipful idolatry of “the market” by those with economic power.

Pope Benedict saw all this and knew that the Church had something worthwhile, valuable and important to say about what he called the “malfunctions and dramatic problems” represented by the current economic crisis.  He did so because, in his view, the choices with which we are now presented concern nothing less than the “destiny of man.”[21] So, he wrote a letter, an encyclical entitled Caritas in Veritate – Charity in Truth – On Human Development in Charity and Truth.  He claims that the crisis gives us “an opportunity for discernment in which to shape a new vision for the future.”

For Benedict the new vision includes a revamped United Nations “with teeth”, effective and principled regulation of global commerce and finance, restructuring of development aid to poor communities more akin to real partnerships, reform of the way the markets operate, income redistribution, new forms of business organizations that merge concern for profit with responsibility for the public good, and a call for new lifestyles for all of us who are consumers.

This lengthy, often philosophical, document addresses economic development and relevant ethical and moral values in light of the challenges and opportunities arising from todays globalizing, interdependent world, and much more. In it the Pope offers profound foundational considerations and practical reflections for many ills of our time as he celebrates and updates the social teaching of the Church, particularly Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progresso issued over 40 years ago.  Pope Benedict offers his wide-ranging, comprehensive and challenging document not only to the leaders and members of the Church but to “all people of good will.”

As the document’s subtitle suggests, the thrust of the encyclical is to deal with the pressing need for “human development,” which to Paul VI meant “rescuing peoples, first and foremost, from hunger, deprivation, endemic diseases and illiteracy.” [21] For Benedict, integral, authentic human development is all of that and more in light of the technological, global, financial, political and cultural changes and events that have taken place in the past 40 years. 

Because the encyclical is so comprehensive addressing so many issues, our time here permits only some highlights and what I hope will be a taste for what the Pope is concerned about and some lessons that are important for us in going forward.  There are already many articles, reports and reactions about the encyclical that you can find on the Web; where you can also find the document itself.  The encyclical is well worth reading, albeit slowly and patiently.  Blogs and articles about the encyclical often seem to reflect the points of view, or at least the interests, of the authors (political, economic, theological) as they claim the Pope’s words for their particular positions. 

2. Catholic Social Doctrine in the year 2009 – Horizon Expansion

But before we take up what the Pope says in the encyclical, we have to ask, what is the basis for the Pope speaking out on what are really “secular” problems?  Is not the Church to be concerned with things like doctrines, creeds, prayers, liturgy and spirituality?  The Pope’s answer is that the Church does not claim to offer technical solutions or to interfere in any way in the politics of States.  But, “She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation.” [9] Benedict’s letter is offered in service of that mission of truth.

Our horizon is everything we know, love and care about.  Everything else is invisible to us, outside our frame of concern. The Pope, in pursuit of this mission of truth, recognizes that we are responsible for our world; it’s our vocation he says.  We can not carry out our responsibility without seeing more broadly; without expanding our horizon to include all the others in the world that don’t count, like the poor and hungry in far away places; the world’s ecology; and, prompted by the financial crisis, the systems and instruments by which the economies function.  The way things work in today’s interrelated world are much different from the way they were years ago.  The recent storms help us to remember that the Outer Banks were once very isolated.  The goods, products, systems and problems of the world are now right here.  My blueberries this morning came from Argentina, the spoon I used to eat them with came from China, my internet anti-virus software crashed from India, my shirt assembled in Costa Rica, and so on.  So hearing what the Pope has to say relates to us, here and now.

The fact is that the Church has a long history of concern for what goes on in the world, starting from the very beginning with the teaching of Our Lord.  Jesus preached the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand and invited his listeners to join up and follow him, to be a part of this Kingdom.  They, and we, are asked to be his hands and feet, his voice and presence in the world.  He told the people what would happen when the Kingdom of God was fully realized and how his faithful followers would be invited to share in his Father’s joy.  Remember the story toward the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel [Matt. 25:31-46] where Jesus talked about the judgment of all the nations?  The Son of Man comes in glory, separates the nations like sheep from the goats. 

He says to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them, whatever you did for one of these least my brothers, you did for me. Then he tells those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’” 

Concern for transforming all social realities by the power of the Gospel including those realities that subject people to hunger, thirst, alienation, nakedness, and imprisonment has always been a challenge and it remains so today.  The good news of salvation, of love, justice and peace is as necessary now as never before.  Over the years, in its Councils like Vatican II and in the letters of popes before and after Vatican II, the Church has developed what it calls its “social doctrine.”  This doctrine begins with a view of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God that recognizes that our essence, our call, our vocation in life has to be up to:

“the standards of God’s plan of love in history, an integral humanism capable of creating a new social, economic, and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice and solidarity.” [Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church ¶ 19]

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church goes on to claim that:

“This can become a reality if individual men and women and their communities are able to cultivate moral and social virtues in themselves and spread them in society.” [Compendium ¶19]

In more immediate terms, we are so important to God that he calls us to be co creators with Him of ourselves by the choices we make, actions we take, and of the world we live in.  According to Pope Benedict, what Pope Paul VI did with Popularum Progresso was shine the light of the Gospel on to the social questions of his time forty years ago.  Pope John Paul II did this in his time with a number of his encyclicals, talks and sermons.  Pope Benedict, in Caritas in Veritate, adds his voice to this developing body of social teaching in light of today’s important problems and challenges.

3. Basic Concepts and Themes

Turning to the encyclical itself the Introduction and First Chapter set forth some of the concepts and themes that undergird the document as it builds upon the tradition.  Pope Benedict starts with essential concepts, reviews the evidence of the day, and relates what is happening in the world to the concepts as he makes his comments and suggestions.

  • Charity in Truth/ Charity and Truth.

The Pope says that “Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine.”  “Everything has its origin in God’s love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it.  Love is God’s greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.”  “Truth needs to be sought, found, and expressed within the ‘economy’ of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practiced in the light of truth.” [2]

One key to Benedict’s thought is that every teaching has to be grounded in truth.  “Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity.” [3]

“Charity is love received and given.” [4]
     
Truth and Charity are and must always be inexorably linked.  Charity in truth keeps people on course.  It helps us to understand that adhering to transcendent values like respect for human dignity, justice and the common good “is not merely useful but essential for building a good human society and for true integral human development.” [4]

Charity grounded in truth is the key. “Caritas in veritate is the principle around which the Church’s [social] doctrine turns, a principle that takes on practical form in the criteria that govern moral action.”  The Pope singles out two such criteria: justice and the common good. [6]

“Charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples.  It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice.  On the other hand, charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving.”[6]

“To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it.  Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good…. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity.” [7]

  • Gratuitousness – gratuity – gift.  Another key to his thought is that everything is gift.  The logic of gratuitousness, that all that we have - we received from the transcendent goodness of God.  This contrasts with the bottom-line contractual obligation thinking of the marketplace.  Recognition of our having received in gift all that we claim and prize should lead us to a spirit of gratuity on our part to have concern for the good of others and for the common good.  What “Charity in truth” does is place each of us before the astonishing experience of gift.  “Gratuitousness is present in our lives in many different forms, which often go unrecognized because of our purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life.  The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension,” [34] he says. 
  • The call to development.  This letter is about developmentEvery human person is called to develop and fulfill himself/herself.  It is a vocation from God so progress in development has to be open to the transcendent, to God. [17]
  • Integral human development/ authentic human development.  True development, Authentic development must be integral; that is, it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man.” [18] This places the unconditional value of the human person and the growth of each person at the center of any concern about the way we conduct our lives including our business and political lives.  “Precisely because God gives a resounding ‘yes’ to man, man cannot fail to open himself to the divine vocation to pursue his own development.  The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development.” [18] 
  • Development includes everyone.  Pope Benedict says of Populorum Progresso that Pope Paul VI taught two important truths: (1) the Church in all it is and does is promoting integral human development.  (2) Authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension including the transcendent, the perspective of eternal life, God’s perspective. [11] “Institutions by themselves are not enough because integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone.” [11]
  • The vocation of Authentic Human Development requires responsible freedom of individuals and peoples.  It also demands respect for the truth.  The truth is it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man. [18] 
  • Charity is central within development.  “As society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbors but does not make us brothers.  Reason, by itself, is incapable of grasping the equality between men and of giving stability to their civic coexistence, but it can not establish fraternity. Fraternity, brotherly love, originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is.” [19]

4. Human Development in Our Time

In Chapter 2, Pope Benedict turns to his task of updating the insights from Populorum Progresso in light of the changes that have occurred over the last forty years.  He addresses these changes and what he sees as the pressing problems confronting the world today.  He says that this as an opportunity for discernment to shape a new vision for the future.  Again, all we can do with this rich text is point to some highlights and from some quotes get a sense of what the Pope wants to teach. Looking out at the world, especially the hunger and the economic crises, he sees a mess.  To clean up this mess we need charity in truth, he says.

  • The principal new feature has been the explosion of worldwide interdependence, commonly known as globalization. [33]
  • The state of development today is very complex with many overlapping layers, actors and causes of both development and underdevelopment or decline.  He cites:
    • The world’s wealth has grown in absolute terms [some poor nations have grown to become rich] but inequalities have deepened and new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty.
    • Corruption and illegality are evident among rich and poor countries
    • Rights of workers have not been respected
    • Aid has been diverted by donors and recipients
    • The same patterns of development and underdevelopment are present in the cultural and political realms. [22]
  • The world is much more integrated today, economically and politically, than it was in Paul VI’s time.  Absolute national sovereignty has been diluted by trade and finance agreements. [24]
  • Social safety nets have been weakened.  Social security systems have been “downsized” due to globalization and competition for ever lower labor costs. [25]
  • Changes in culture are just as stark with dual post-modern dangers of eclecticism and cultural leveling, both separating culture from transcendent human goals. [26]
  • There is hunger. The Pope wrote, “Life in many poor countries is extremely insecure as a consequence of food shortages, and the situation could become worse: hunger still claims enormous numbers of victims among those, who like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man’s table.” [27]

To underscore this concern, on Monday, November 16, Pope Benedict went to the Special Summit of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization meeting in Rome to call for action to combat world hunger, to protect the environment and to rethink lifestyle choices in the West.  He said: “Sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both the current demands and those in the foreseeable future.”  What is missing is a “network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water.”  “Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions,” he said.  At the same meeting, the UN Secretary General reported that 17,000 children die of hunger every day.  The number of hungry people in the world has gone from 800,000 five years ago to over 1 billion today. 

Reuters reported on November 16, 2009 that 14% of all Americans are short of food.

  • Other changes he noted include the area of Respect for life or a growing lack of respect raises important questions for development.  Examples include: poverty provoked high infant mortality rates, demographic controls and laws that promote abortion, sterilization, euthanasia.  He states, “Openness to life is at the center of true development.” [28]
  • There are challenges to religious freedom present another aspect of contemporary life that is closely connected to development.  Violence (in the name of God or otherwise) “puts the brakes on authentic development and impedes the evolution of peoples towards greater socio-economic and spiritual well-being.” [29]
  • To work through all these important problems, requires engagement at all levels of human knowledge.  Charity/love engages the various disciplines of knowledge, animating them from within. Working together we must “be animated by true love, love that seeks out the causes of misery and finds the means to overcome it.”

“Deeds without knowledge are blind, and knowledge without love is sterile.” [30]

  • Pope says: “The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessively and morally unacceptable manner.  We must continue to prioritize the goal of steady employment for everyone.” [32]
  • “Without the guidance of charity in truth,” the Pope says, “the powerful force of globalization could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family.”  It is all about broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces, animating them within the perspective of the seed of love planted by God in everyone and every culture. [33]

5.  Globalization, Gratuity and the Regulation of Business Enterprises and “The Market”

Chapter 3 marks a turn from a discussion of broad principles and the historical development of the Church’s social doctrine to their application to particular vexing situations.  Pope Benedict takes on dominant problems of the day beginning with “the global market” and the proper ordering of business enterprises. He gives great emphasis to the principles of gratuity, solidarity and justice (commutative, distributive and social).  He says some things that might sound a little strange to our American free-market capitalist ears.

[Commutative justice is represented by the laws and conventions that govern business contracts and agreements. Distributive justice addresses the proper balancing or allocation of wealth and the benefits of economic exchange.  Think of the graduated income tax, estate and inheritance taxes, and the like.  Social justice concerns the systems and structures in society that keep society on course and may adversely impact those without political or economic power.]

Here is some of what he has to say regarding economic and commercial matters:

  • “Today’s international economic scene [that is] marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding the business enterprise.” [40]
  • The current business goals of maximizing shareholder value and short term gain are the greatest challenges.  “There is a growing recognition that management cannot concern itself only with the interests of the proprietors, but must also assume responsibility for all the other stakeholders who contribute to the life of the business: the workers, the customers, the suppliers, the community.” [40] He endorses the stakeholder theory of the purpose of business.
  • Investment always has moral as well as economic significance.”  Regarding investment in and the exploitation of resources in poor countries, the Pope warned that “the requirements of justice must be safeguarded, with due consideration for the way capital was generated and the harm to individuals that will result if it is not used where it is produced.” [40]
  • Business activity has a human significance, prior to its professional or technical one.  Human significance is present in all work, understood as a personal action…which is why every worker should have the chance to make his contribution knowing that in some way ‘he is working for himself.’” [41]
  • The market is an economic institution that permits persons who make use of contracts to exchange goods and services of equivalent value. It depends on a climate of trust.  It is subject to the principles of commutative justice which regulates transactions.  But distributive justice and social justice are just as important for the market economy to flourish.  “Without internal forms of solidarity and mutual trust, the market cannot completely fulfill its proper economic function. And today it is this trust which has ceased to exist, and the loss of trust is a grave loss.” [35]
  • “Economic activity cannot solve all the world’s social problems through the simple application of commercial logic.   Economic activity needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good.”  So the political community must take responsibility for pursuing justice. Benedict supports laws redistributing wealth imposed by the political community on the market place to promote the common good and to realize distributive and social justice.
  • The market does not exist in a pure state.  It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction.  Individuals, in our brokenness, sometimes misuse the instruments of the economy and finance and produce the harmful consequences.  He asserts that individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility have to be called into account. [36]
  • Every economic decision has a moral consequence. [37]
  • “Economic life requires contracts, in order to regulate relations of exchange between goods of equivalent value.  But it also needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics, and what is more, it needs to be infused with the spirit of gift.” [38]
  • All this takes solidarity, a virtue identified with the teaching of Pope John Paul II, which is “first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone,” he says. [38] 
  • Here the Pope looks to reform the way the market operates.  “A reformed market is one that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends: profit-oriented private enterprise, public enterprise, and commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends.” [38]

What the Pope has in mind here are businesses like the Economy of Communion of the Focolare Movement.  In this model according to its web site, the business owners who participate freely choose to share and divide the business profits three ways: (1) they pay people in need, create jobs and intervene to meet their immediate needs those they employ and who share the spirit of gratuitousness and reciprocity, (2) they spread Focolare’s "Culture of Giving" and of loving, (3) they grow the business - which has to remain efficient while remaining open to giving.

  • While he never expressly endorses the Focolare Movement by name, the Pope comes close by validating the goals of its Economic of Communion business model saying that “in order to defeat underdevelopment, action is required not only on improving exchange-based transactions and implanting public welfare structures, but above all on gradually increasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion.”[39] The “market of gratuitousness does not exist, and attitudes of gratuitousness cannot be established by law.  Yet both the market and politics need individuals who are open to reciprocal gift.” [39]
  • Globalization of itself he concludes is neither good nor bad.  It will be what people make of it.  The truth of globalization as a process and its fundamental ethical criterion are to be found in the unity of the human family and its development towards what is good.  Therefore what is needed is a sustained commitment “to promote a person-based and community oriented process of world-wide integration that is open to transcendence,” that is, open to God. [42]

6. People-Centered Ethics / The Environment

The fourth Chapter marks the Pope’s responses to the way development aid is organized and distributed, the degradation of the natural environment and the appropriate allocation of the world’s non-renewable resources.  But first he recapitulates a people-centered ethics in order to better understand how to approach these problems:

  • Rights and duties. Again, he teaches that “The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty.” “Duties set a limit on rights because they point to the anthropological and ethical framework of which rights are a part, in this way ensuring that they do not become license.”  The sharing of reciprocal duties is a more powerful incentive to action than the mere assertion of rights. [43]
  • The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly – not any ethics whatsoever but an ethics which is people-centered.  He warns that “ethical” can be a label that is abused when severed from “the inviolable dignity of the human person and the transcendent value of natural moral norms.” [45] Transcendent because they are of God.
  • The business enterprise. Returning to the “economy of communion” model, the Pope sees this new composite business enterprise as integrating business and ethics in view of its willingness to see profit as a means of achieving the goal of a more humane market and society. [46]
  • Aid and Development. The Pope stresses that the need for aid for poor countries must be rethought so that giver and receiver are partners, each learning from the other.   “In development programs, the principle of the centrality of the human person, as the subject primarily responsible for development, must be preserved…. The dynamics of inclusion are hardly automatic.  Solutions need to be carefully designed to correspond to people’s concrete lives.” [47]
  • The environment. The Pope declares that: “The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.” [48].  He goes on to say that “Nature [which expresses a design of love and truth]  is at our disposal not as a ‘heap of scattered refuse’ but as a gift of the Creator who has given it an inbuilt order, enabling man to draw from it the principles needed in order to ‘till it and keep it.’” [48] “[Nature] is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a ‘grammar’ which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not reckless exploitation.” [48]
  • “One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use not abuse – of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of ‘efficiency’ is not value-free.” [50]
  • “The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa,” says the Pope.  He calls for “the adoption of new life styles ‘in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are factors which determine consumer choices, saving and investments.’” [51]
  • With respect to the energy problem, the Pope notes that some countries, “power groups” [OPEC] and companies hoard non-renewable resources to the detriment of poorer people and nations.  In this area he sees “a pressing moral need for renewed solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and those that are highly industrialized.” [49]

7. The Human Family, Decent Work, Migration, Reform of Finance, Reform of the UN 

The Pope calls his Chapter 5 the “Cooperation of the human family.”  Based on the foundational idea that “The human race is a single family that must work together in true communion and not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side” [53] he addresses a wide range of issues:

  • The Pope observed: “Technologically advanced societies must not confuse their own technological development with presumed cultural superiority, but must rediscover within them selves the oft-forgotten virtues which made it possible for them to flourish throughout history.” [59]
  • Development aid for poor countries must be considered a valid means of creating wealth for all.” [60]
  • Migration is a social phenomenon of epoch-making proportions that requires bold, forward-looking policies of international cooperation if it is to be handled effectively.” [62] Here, he is suggesting a new robust international system to coordinate the political systems of countries exporting and importing workers to safeguard the rights of the workers, their families and the host countries.  He repeats, “Every migrant is a human person, who as such possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.” [62]
  • He stressed the dignity of human work calling for a global coalition in favor of “decent work.”[63] What ‘decent work” means is:
    • “work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers with the development of their community;
    • work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination;
    • work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for their children, without the children being forced into labor;
    • work that permits the workers to organize themselves freely, and to make their voices heard;
    • work that leaves enough room for rediscovering one’s roots at a personal, familial and spiritual level;
    • work that guarantees a decent standard of living.” [63]
  • Financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers.  Right intention, transparency, and the search for positive results are mutually compatible and must never me detached from one another.” [65] The Pope declares that love is wise and can find ways of working in accordance with provident and just expediency.  He validates the growth of micro-finance.
  • As consumers, we are told that “purchasing is always a moral -- not simply economic – act.”  We have “a specific social responsibility which goes hand-in-hand with the social responsibility.” [66] 
  • In a move that has many people upset, the Pope calls for reform of the United Nations so it has real teeth or, in the alternative, create a true world political authority that can manage the global economy; revive economies hit by the crisis; avoid greater economic deteriorations and imbalances; bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security, and peace; guarantee protection of the environment; and, regulate migration. [67] 

8. Technology

In Chapter 6, the Pope addresses some issues arising from the fantastic technological advances we have seen in recent years and invites everyone to recognize the fundamental norms of the natural law which are to guide us as we pursue technological advances.

  • He said that “Technology enables us to exercise dominion over matter, to reduce risks, to save labor, to improve conditions of life.  It touches the heart of the vocation of human labor: in technology, seen as a product of his genius, man recognizes himself and forges his own personality.”[68] This sounds great, but technology comes with problems as the Pope goes on to point out: “Human freedom is authentic only when it responds to the fascination of technology with decisions that are the fruit of moral responsibility.” [70]
  • Pope Benedict speaks about technology and development:  “Development will never be fully guaranteed through automatic or impersonal forces, whether they derive from the market or international politics.  Development is impossible without upright men and women, without financiers and politicians whose consciences are finely attuned to the requirements of the common good.  Both professional competence and moral consistency are necessary.” [70]
  • If we forget the common good and values rooted in the transcendent truth of human life [created as gift by God, called to co-create our selves with God and for God’s purposes, redeemed by Christ to return to God], we will fail to achieve lasting peace, [72] our means of social communication will fail to civilize and biological technology will produce monsters. [73,74]
  • Reliance on technology alone will not work, the Pope maintains. “Entranced by an exclusive reliance on technology, reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence.  Faith without reason risks being cut off from everyday life.” [74]

9. Conclusion

  • “Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God’s family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism.” [78]

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