Catholic Social Teaching and Pope Benedict XVI

Catholic Social Teaching and Pope Benedict XVI

Charles E. Curran
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 73
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    Catholic Social Teaching and Pope Benedict XVI
    Book Description:

    Celebrated moral theologian Charles E. Curran examines and critiques Pope Benedict XVI's contribution to Catholic social teaching in this Georgetown Digital Short, available exclusively in this concise digital format. In his eight-year pontificate (2005-13) Pope Benedict XVI wrote two encyclicals that are significant for Catholic social teaching:Deus caritas est(God Is Love) in 2005, andCaritas in veritate(Charity In Truth) in 2009. Curran analyzes and compares the teaching proposed in these two encyclicals, given that these two documents reflect differing approaches. He explores presuppositions found inCaritas in veritatewithin the tradition of Catholic social teaching and discusses the theological, ethical, and ecclesial methodologies of the encyclical. Examining the substance and content ofCaritas in veritateand its relationship to Catholic social teaching, Curran focuses on its approach to the person, political and civil society, and specific issues and topics. This is the first exploration of Pope Benedict XVI's impact on Catholic social teaching.

    eISBN: 978-1-62616-059-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    This volume discusses Catholic social teaching and Pope Benedict XVI’s contribution to this teaching. The term “Catholic social teaching” has come to refer to the teachings of the papal and hierarchical magisterium of the Catholic Church, beginning with Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical.¹ There is no official canon of the documents that belong to Catholic social teaching, but there is a general agreement about most of them. The best English collection of such documents isCatholic Social Thought: The Documentary Heritage, edited by David J. O’Brien and Thomas A. Shannon.² References in this volume will be to the documents as...

  4. CHAPTER 1 A Comparison: Deus caritas est and Caritas in veritate
    (pp. 3-13)

    AlthoughDeus caritas estdoes not belong to the documents of Catholic social teaching, it overlaps somewhat, especially in its treatment of the social mission of the Church. Significant differences, however, exist betweenDeus caritas estandCaritas in veritate. This chapter considers the two encyclicals and points out the differences between them.

    It was most appropriate that the pope should take up the subject of love as the first encyclical of his papacy. Love is central to the understanding of God, the Church, and the individual Christian believer. The encyclical develops in two major parts—the meaning and theology...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Methodological Considerations
    (pp. 14-45)

    This volume develops in some depth the methodological approaches found inCaritas in veritate.This chapter focuses on three different methodological aspects—the theological, the ethical, and the ecclesial.

    A primary issue in theological methodology concerns the audiences addressed and the sources used in the encyclical—the distinctive theological sources based on the Catholic faith tradition and the sources that Christians share with all human beings. The encyclicals, beginning withRerum novarumin 1891 and continuing throughPacem in terrisin 1963, based their teaching primarily and almost exclusively on natural law, which is common to all human beings. Since...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Substance and Content of Caritas in veritate
    (pp. 46-63)

    Whereas the previous chapter analyzed the methodology ofCaritas in veritate, this chapter examines the substance and content of the encyclical in three sections—the understanding of person, of society, and of the more concrete realities of development, the economy, ecology, and technology.

    The previous chapter treated the human person from the perspective of methodology; this chapter probes the nature and role of the person.Caritas in veritate, like its predecessors, stresses the dignity of the person as the fundamental and most important human value. The encyclical refers to the dignity of the human person or human dignity more than...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 64-67)

    Catholic social teaching has been in existence for almost 125 years since Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclicalRerum novarumin 1891. Subsequent popes have continued the tradition of issuing encyclicals, which has become a most important part of Catholic self-understanding. Many have wished that ordinary Catholics in the pew were more familiar with Catholic social teaching. However, in the last few decades, Catholic theologians and Catholic universities, colleges, and even high schools have emphasized the importance of Catholic social teaching and have taught courses in this area. Efforts continue to be made to have this teaching become better known...