Cardinal: Peace Message Previews New Encyclical

Suggests Early '09 Publication Date

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Renato Martino presented Benedict XVI's message for the World Day of Peace as a sneak preview of an upcoming encyclical on social doctrine.



The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace suggested that the Pope's third encyclical could be published as early as the beginning of next year, implying it will be released in the midst of the ongoing global economic crisis.

The Holy Father's message for the Jan. 1 World Day of Peace is titled "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace."

According to the cardinal, some points from this message will be further developed in the encyclical, which he previously indicated could be called "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth).

In offering a synthesis of the papal message, Cardinal Martino said one of the most interesting themes was the originality in his approach to globalization.

The text "returns to and develops the message of John Paul II for the World Day of Peace 1993, which explained the reciprocal connections and conditions existing between poverty and peace," the cardinal noted.

Benedict XVI "shows us how peace and the fight against poverty intersect: a given that constitutes one of the most stimulating assumptions, giving a proper cultural, social and political focus to the complex themes tied to the achievement of peace in our day, which is characterized by the phenomenon of globalization," he added.

The Vatican official said the Pope above all takes into consideration "the role of the social sciences to measure the phenomenon of poverty," which provide data measuring the material reality of poverty.

However, Cardinal Martino explained, poverty is more than a material phenomenon.

"In advanced wealthy societies, the phenomenon of affective, moral and spiritual poverty is widespread: Many persons feel marginalized and live with various forms of malaise despite their economic prosperity," he said. "This is what is known as 'moral underdevelopment.'"

The message, the cardinal concluded "establishes two parts in the theme of the fight against poverty" -- the first deals with the moral implications ties to poverty and the second with the need for greater solidarity in the fight against this global problem.