“Development needs Christians with their arms raised toward God in prayer.”
In a book called How Do You Spell God, the authors say one gift of religion is that is offers the best answers to life’s biggest questions. Today, Pope Benedict XVI is calling on the world to consider how theology can help shape the best answers to some of the world’s most pressing challenges and the questions that come with them; globalization, the growing divide between the rich and poor, care of the environment; protection of freedoms.
The Teaching Mission of the Church
The encyclical letter is a great example of the teaching mission of the Church. In Caritas in Veritate( Charity in Truth), Pope Benedict writes “Development needs Christians with their arms raised toward God in prayer.” He goes on to say that development requires attention to the spiritual life because it involves the individual and society. As pope, it is Pope Benedict’s responsibility to bring the light of the Gospel to the issues of the day. This encyclical looks at the changes that globalization is bringing to the way the world does business and asking what impact are they having on society and on people. You might be asking what authority the church has in the field of economics and global development. The area of expertise is people! In this field the Church has expertise unlike any other organization or government!
Pope Benedict boldly preaches that the world has lost a sense that the meaning of charity is at the core of one’s personal relationships and the core of societal life. He thinks that the world is losing sight of the fact that charity is the driving force behind authentic development (Caritas in Veritate, #1). The reason he gives for losing the meaning of charity is the devaluing of the existence of truth and the meaning of truth and so the title, Charity in Truth refers to his desire to remind the world that “truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity.” (CV, 2)
More will be shared about this encyclical in this space, I want to encourage you to follow the news stories and pick up the document. In the Catholic Standard, http://cathstan.org. you’ll find background, summaries and reflections on the letter. The Gospel and the intellectual tradition of the Church can help Catholics and all people think deeply about the most serious challenges facing our world and about the big picture. The big picture, as the authors of How Do You Spell God point out, is one of the great gifts of religion—it keeps the big picture in mind—to look at the present through the wisdom of experience and with an eye to the future and the ultimate meaning of life.