Kathryn Lopez, editor of National Review Online, has a Townhall.com column on Caritas in Veritate titled, “Liberal Catholics Can’t Handle the Truth.” Lopez looks at the commentary on Caritas in Veritate, especially by the left, and shows why the encyclical should not be politicized. The encyclical is about truth, which can not be bent to advance a political agenda, she asserts. Kishore Jayabalan, director of Acton’s Rome office, was also quoted in Lopez’s article:
Neither side . . . seems ready to take Benedict’s theology — his own field of expertise — seriously. Part of this is a result of our habitual, liberal-democratic tendency to separate Church and State and not let theological arguments influence our politics. This tendency invariably blinds us to the pope’s combination of respect for life with the demands of social justice. … Reading ‘Charity in Truth’ for partisan purposes can yield moments of agony and ecstasy for left and right alike.
Both Jayabalan and Lopez remind us to read Caritas in Veritate without politicizing it or categorizing it left or right.
Kevin Schmiesing, research fellow at the Acton Institute, was interviewed by Ave Maria Radio recently on Caritas in Veritate. Schmiesing explains how the idea of human development and progress figure as central themes of the encyclical. It is important to remember that our ethical advancement must be ahead of material human development, and our ethics must be paired with our personal development. Furthermore, Schmiesing explains that Caritas in Veritate warns against an all encompassing role for the state.
Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton, was also interviewed by Ave Maria Radio on Caritas in Veritate. Jayabalan talks about the ways trade has brought many countries out of poverty in contrast to government-to-government aid. The importance of subsidiarity is scattered throughout Caritas in Veritate, and Jayabalan articulates that subsidiarity should only be expanded to more remote areas of the world when the local authority is unable to respond to the needs of the people. Furthermore, Jayabalan explains how globalization has made us all neighbors, but to Pope Benedict XVI it is important that we make these neighbors our brothers.
Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton (the Acton Institute’s Rome office), was interviewed by Vatican Radio concerning the authentic human development concerns of the whole person, which is a topic discussed in Caritas in Veritate. Jayabalan discussed how development schemes throughout the world should look at the aspirations of each individual person. Furthermore, in Caritas in Veritate there is a mention of a “breathing space” used a few times in the encyclical. This breathing space aspect means developing a vibrant and diverse society and not allowing central planning to decide every aspect of a person’s life; it is also important to place the individual at the center of the development.
Samuel Gregg, Director of Research at the Acton Institute, was interviewed on Ave Maria Radio. Gregg discusses Caritas in Veritate while addressing many issues that have risen from the encyclical. Gregg explains that the encyclical is not a conservative or liberal document, but rather it is simply Catholic. People should not read it through the eyes of secular political categories; importantly, when reading Caritas in Veritate, we must not think in secular terms on issues such as the free market and redistribution of wealth. Gregg also makes a point to mention Caritas in Veritate does not say markets are evil. Markets are good, but we must make sure they are grounded in morals — this is what makes a market good and successful.
In the midst of the release of his expected encyclical, Pope Benedict is calling for a new world economic order; a model that is “more attentive to the demands of solidarity and more respectful of human dignity.” Professor Philip Booth, editorial and program director of the Institute for Economic Affairs, and speaker at Acton University, was interviewed by The Catholic Herald, a UK paper, about the Pope’s upcoming encyclical:
…it would be dangerous to follow a path of greater socialization and greater regulation of the economy and financial sector. This is a model that has been tried and which is failing.
But what is essential is ethical renewal in all aspects of life-including in the financial sector. Trying to deal with problems such as the lack of ethics in economic life with more regulation is like trying to deal with promiscuity through sex education lessons – it is the wrong instrument.
Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton in Rome and an AU lecturer, was also interviewed by The Herald.
The Pope’s challenge to all of us is that we make the best possible use of our freedom and gifts, which will require a bit more intellectual and spiritual fortitude than we’ve seen from most of our political and business leaders recently.
Pope Benedict’s encyclical is expected to be released on June 29. The Acton Institute will be commenting on the encyclical once it is released and we encourage everybody to return to the PowerBlog and our website for more commentary.
Heads up: Acton Research Fellow Anthony Bradley will be making an appearance today on NPR’s News and Notes program. Braodcast times may vary, so check your local NPR affiliate’s schedule to see if you can catch the show. If you miss it, you can check the show archives right here.
Update: Here’s the audio (3 mb mp3 file).
Update II: Rome office director Kishore Jayabalan commented on the S-CHIP issue for Vatican Radio today; listen by clicking here (230 kb mp3 file).