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THE RECENT PAPAL ENCYCLICAL –
"CARITAS IN VERITATE"

(Charity in Truth)

Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

The new encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate" released from the Vatican on July 7th calls us beyond our own personal issues and concerns to a global perspectives and concern about issues such as economics, politics and greater ecological awareness. The document reminds us to look beyond our own local concerns to the well-being of the millions that lack basic needs like food, water and shelter, and also calls us to social responsibility for the sake of generations yet to come.

Pope Benedict also declares in the Encyclical that "the whole church in all her being and acting – when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity, is engaged in promoting integral human development, which concerns every dimension of the human person." We have many situations in this time that illustrate this, such as the economic crisis, the environmental destruction, mass migration, lack of food and water for millions and in the US, the need for health care for all and endless wars that only lead to more violence and take needed resources away from our responses to basic human needs.

When we listen to the news, we need to consider the ethical and moral implications of what we see and hear. It implies that economics at all levels must be governed by ethical principles since it affects so many lives. We cannot have charity without justice which is the basis of charity. This calls for fair trade, respect for workers, a more equitable distribution of wealth, concern for the human development of all people and concern for the common good. In addition, care for the earth and all our natural resources are also a requirement.

We are called to reexamine our consumerism and materialism as a way of life and, at a national and international level, the use militarism and violence as a way of solving problems The world’s richest nations are called to share more of their resources with the poorest around the world and empower them to access and use their resources for their own well-being. The encyclical condemns corruption in economics, the exploitation of workers and destruction of the environment. We also need to find peaceful ways of solving national and international problems and divert the money spent on militarism and violence toward human development for all people. When we talk of being pro-life, it means being pro-life for all people – at every age and stage. Health care for all in the US is a moral obligation, not a political game that people play to retain their own power and influence. The infant mortality rate among the uninsured is 25% higher than in the population that has access to health care. Human trafficking both nationally and globally is another example of the need for a consistent life ethic.

What can people of faith do to take the encyclical seriously and begin to implement it? Pick one or two of the following.

  • Study the encyclical with a group and come up with some ways to put it into practice.
  • Continue to work for health care for all in the US. Make our voices heard on behalf of the 47 million who do not have access to care.
  • Open up markets for the people in the poorest nations. Get information on Fair Trade products and make them available to faith communities and the general public. The money will directly benefit the people who produced the goods. A good contact is Catholic Relief Services/Fair Trade. Contact www.crsfairtrade.org
  • Consider socially responsible investments that help groups start or operate their business and move toward self-reliance. An example is Self-Help Credit Union. See www.Self-Help.org. Another is Trillium Asset Management Corporation. See www.trilliuminvest.com or 800-548-5684.
  • Join the green movement and work toward care for the environment in your local area. See www.wichurches.org/events. (Wisconsin Council of Churches)
  • Help local farmers to find ways to market their produce locally.
  • Find groups that support the availability of safe drinking water in the poorest areas of the world. www.worldwatch@worldwatch.org
  • Write to legislators and to the UN and urge them to work for fair trade, respect for workers and care for the environment and to divert massive amounts of funds used for militarism and war toward basic human needs.
  • Find ways to simplify our lifestyles.
  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper and raise questions named in the encyclical and encourage a local response.
  • Study "Community Wealth," by Gar Alperowicz , who helps local people develop cooperatives and keep the wealth in the local community – www.community-wealth.org
  • Look up, "Growing Power – Milwaukee and Chicago" and see how the organization has transformed neighborhoods
  • by supporting locally produced foods. Check www.growingpower.org/Milwaukee

As the popular song goes: "Let us build the city of God" and begin today with courage and hope.


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -


• Two Essays on Peace •
• A RENEWED CALL TO RESTORE CIVILITY IN POLITICAL DEBATES AND OTHER AREAS •
• A CALL TO HELP ELDERS RECLAIM AND LIVE THEIR HUMAN VALUES •
• A CALL TO NAME •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A New Year •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• A THEOLOGY FOR CARING FOR THE EARTH •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• A RENEWED CALL TO HEAL A DIVIDED WORLD •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• WORKING TO CREATE A CULTURE OF PEACE •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• MULTICULTURALISM – A GIFT AND A CHALLENGE •
• OF TITLES AND TITTLES •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •



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