Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Pope Benedict’s unexpected social justice legacy

An article by Kevin Clarke in U.S. Catholic reflects on Pope Benedict’s focus on the church’s tradition of social teaching:

In two encyclicals, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) in 2005 and Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) in 2009, Benedict reminded Catholics of the perils of indifference to modern human and ecological maladies. In Deus Caritas Est, Benedict details the church’s proper role in works of charity and in seeking social justice, expressing the interconnectedness of justice and charity as the complementary requirements of all people of faith. "Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due," he writes, "is an essential task which every generation must take up anew."
In Caritas in Veritate, released just as the world awoke to a nightmare of economic disorder that began with the U.S. housing bubble bursting, Benedict cast a critical eye on global capitalism and overconsumption. He warned of the spiritually and materially corrosive effects of economic globalization drained of humanity, unmitigated by charity and solidarity. The encyclical memorably called for restraint and accountability among world financiers and suggested the creation of a new overarching authority to contain their excesses.

"The conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from ‘influences’ of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way," Benedict wrote.

Benedict also elevated the church’s care for creation before the eyes of Catholics worldwide. Dubbed the "green pope," he frequently spoke of the need for balance in the use of natural resources and the impact of humankind on the environment.

You can read more here.

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