Benedict XVI Offers Commentary on Encyclical

Affirms "Truth" and "Love" at Heart of Social Doctrine

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI gave a personal commentary on his third encyclical today, dedicating the general audience to a consideration of "Caritas in Veritate."



The Pope's first social encyclical was released Tuesday after a June 29 signing.

The document, the Holy Father said in his discourse in Paul VI Hall, "addresses social themes vital to the well-being of humanity and reminds us that authentic renewal of both individuals and society requires living by Christ’s truth in love."

Truth in love, he explained, is the "heart of the Church's social teaching."

The Bishop of Rome noted that the inspiration for the encyclical is "a passage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, in which the apostle speaks of acting according to truth in charity: 'Rather living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.'"

Acknowledging that he did not pretend to offer technical solutions to social problems, the Pontiff stated that the encyclical "focuses on the principles indispensable for human development."

"Most important among these is human life itself," he declared, "the center of all true progress. Additionally, [the encyclical] speaks of the right to religious freedom as a part of human development, it warns against unbounded hope in technology alone, and it underlines the need for upright men and women -- attentive to the common good -- in both politics and the business world."

Feeding the poor

Benedict XVI gave particular attention to the "scandal" of world hunger, noting how "Caritas in Veritate" calls for "decisive action to promote food security and agricultural development, as well as respect for the environment and for the rule of law."

"Dear friends," he continued, "humanity is a single family where every development program -- if it is to be integral -- must consider the spiritual growth of human persons and the driving force of charity in truth."

"Let us pray for all those who serve in politics and the management of economies, and in particular let us pray for the heads of state gathering in Italy for the G-8 summit," the Holy Father concluded. "May their decisions promote true development especially for the world’s poor."

The Group of Eight is meeting in Italy through Friday.