Guest / Limited Access /

Editor's note: On Tuesday of this week, Pope Benedict XVI issued "Charity in Truth," a new encyclical or general letter to the Roman Catholic Christians around the world. Popes use encyclical letters to teach the church what they believe is the Christian viewpoint on key issues.

In the past, evangelical Christians have sometimes cheered, sometimes demurred, when an encyclical has been issued. Among the encyclicals evangelical Protestants have welcomed are John Paul II's "The Splendor of Truth" and his "The Gospel of Life." They were less thrilled with his 1987 letter, "The Mother of the Redeemer."

The new papal letter is being touted as an instruction on global economics—a subject it addresses at length. But Benedict XVI is not backing a particular school of economics so much as laying the theological and ethical foundation for an approach to the economic, social, technological, and moral development of peoples. Benedict's fundamental point is that you cannot do good for people without a proper understanding of what people are—that is, what God made them to be and destined them to be.

CT asked Baylor University philosopher Frank Beckwith to examine the document, analyze its theology, and explain why evangelical Christians should care.

* * *

Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (or “Charity in Truth”) is a brief against secular materialism in its economic and metaphysical forms, and its harmful consequences on the human family’s common good. Secular materialism in an ideology that maintains that there are no theological truths that can be known. Among these unknowable theological truths is the nature of human beings, and their intrinsic purpose and natural ends that help us understand the common ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueKenya's Crackdown on Fake Pastors Stymied by Real Ones
Subscriber Access Only
Kenya's Crackdown on Fake Pastors Stymied by Real Ones
The complexities of cleaning God's house.
Recommended5 Surprising Spiritual Benefits of Owning Less Stuff
5 Surprising Spiritual Benefits of Owning Less Stuff
Minimalism was meant to help our finances. Here’s how it helped our faith.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickLetters with the Mosque Next Door
Letters with the Mosque Next Door
How a budding friendship between a pastor and an imam brought a community together.
Christianity Today
Why You Can't Just 'Love Your Neighbor'
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.