Maryann Cusimano Love , associate professor of politics and a fellow with CUA's Life Cycle Institute, and Stephen Schneck , associate professor of politics and director of the Life Cycle Institute, were quoted in an online USA Today article about Pope Benedict XVI's first social encyclical. See their comments in the article below.
From: USA Today Date: July 7, 2009 Author: Cathy Lynn GrossmanGot a few hours? Read Pope Benedict XVI's new social encyclical on the world economy. Brace yourself. It's a serious read and less accessible to the lay person than his first two encyclicals on love and hope.
But although it argues from a base of Catholic teachings, it's clearly addressed to the wider society in an acknowledgment that for good or for ill, in sickness and in wealth, the globalized economy is also a force with worldwide social, cultural, even religious impact.
I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world's economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life.
Of course, Catholic social teaching has always addressed justice in the marketplace. But Benedict, even as he stands on earlier encyclicals by Paul VI and John Paul II moves it forward, says Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor of politics at Catholic University and author of Beyond Sovereignty: Issues for a Global Agenda.
Love, one of the experts I asked to comment, points out that, "Globalization today is different than in the 1960's, Today globalization is quicker, thicker, deeper, and cheaper than in previous eras."
And Love offers a masterful summary of major passages of the encyclical:
The current economic crisis was created primarily in and by the private sector, and states are challenged in their abilities to respond. Markets are global, but governance is national and local. Rich and poor countries alike are cutting State social safety nets, with more families falling through the holes. Trade unions are also more limited in their abilities to protect workers. And religious freedom is endangered, not just by authoritarian persecution but also by developed countries that do not believe religious voices have a constructive place in the public square. Therefore we have to engage in new ways, through civil society, greater corporate moral codes of conduct and truth telling, creative government collaboration, and by creating new international institutions.
Stephen Schneck, professor of politics and director of CU's Life Cycle Institute in Washington, DC, concludes that the encyclical
... is not a conservative or progressive message. The pontiff pointedly calls us to get beyond ideologies...
... It's sure to shape the context of President Obama's visit to the Holy Father on Friday, for one. Despite utterly important differences on issues like abortion, we can expect much media attention on areas of resonance between the president's policy agenda and specific concerns iterated in the encyclical. Beyond this, in conjunction with Benedict XVI's previous two encyclicals, Caritas in Veritate will undoubtedly fuel a resurgence of everyday Catholics' interests in the social teachings of their Church. The encyclical offers a powerful message for our times that will have a spreading impact far beyond Catholic circles.Political Scientist Rev Thomas Reese concludes that with it's dense prose, the encyclical is actually daring.
What politician would casually refer to "redistribution of wealth" or talk of international governing bodies to regulate the economy? Who would call for increasing the percentage of GDP devoted to foreign aid? Who would call for the adoption of "new life-styles" in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments?
Before the encyclical was released, veteran Vatican-watcher John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, predicted that news headlines would focus on "the pope's policy recommendations, and/or his condemnations of greed. On the blogs, meanwhile, a slugfest will almost certainly erupt over whether the encyclical skews closer to the political right or left.