Neither Charity Nor Truth, Part 3: The Attack on Classical Liberalism

by Mario Rizzo  

In this final installment of my analysis of the papal encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate I turn my attention to Benedict XVI’s positive ideas on globalization.  (I put the encyclical section numbers in parentheses.)  

Do not expect clear-cut statements or precise recommendations for policy. Do not even expect consistency. (There are actually some good parts as in Sections 57 and 58.)  

The encyclical bears the mark of a committee’s work, presumably approved by the pope. There are individual sections that stress different, and contrary, attitudes so it is difficult to come away with a clear picture. Anyone looking for real guidance will have to seek it elsewhere.  

Nevertheless, a certain grand vision is revealed about society. The pope seems to be an enemy of the idea of beneficial spontaneous ordering forces. Continue reading

Neither Truth Nor Charity, Part 2: Globalization and the Pope’s Discontents

by Mario Rizzo  

Throughout Pope Benedict XVI’s enclyclical (“Caritas in Veritate”) he stresses that scientific knowledge is not enough when trying to determine appropriate government policies or even individual actions. This is quite true.  

He fails, however, to appreciate in many specific instances and arguments the importance of the fact that that moral or ethical knowledge is also insufficient to determine appropriate government policy or individual actions. He pays lip service to this idea (Sec. 9, 30) but it rarely constrains him in practice, as we shall see. 

Now consider a specific issue.  

The pope is worried about the effect of globalization on the traditional welfare state. (Sec. 25) Continue reading

Neither Truth Nor Charity: The Destructive Influence of a Papal Encyclical

by Mario Rizzo  

Recently Pope Benedict XVI issued a papal letter (“encyclical”) called “Caritas in Veritate” [CV] or “Charity in Truth” which is largely about economic issues relating to globalization. While there have been some commentaries on it, two prominent ones (here and here) in the Wall Street Journal do not reveal how truly bad it is. It may be that the pressures of journalism are such that people read such documents too quickly. I am being charitable.   Continue reading