Friday, July 03, 2009

Encyclical Key

Entitled, "A key to reading Benedict's social encyclical," Mr. John L. Allen Jr.'s recent post offers a guided preview of the pope's encyclical due next week, Tuesday.

In this "key" Mr. Allen makes a point that news media may either miss or not elaborate.
Though the pope may not spell it out quite this way, much of Caritas in Veritate could well shape up as an attempt to synthesize three of the most persistent -- and, Benedict would doubtless say, artificial -- dichotomies in recent Catholic experience:

* Personal conversion versus social reform;
* Pro-life versus peace and justice commitments;
* Horizontal versus vertical spirituality.

All three points can be understood as partial versions of one "grand dichotomy," that between truth and love.
Christian love is active, something it has always been and will always be. The Christian desire aims to love genuinely and not in an "artificial" way. Reading Mr. Allen before reading Pope Benedict may help to that.

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