00 7/7/2009 5:27 AM

At the Angelus today,
Benedict XVI announces
he has signed Encyclical #3

Right after the Angelus prayer today (a holiday appearance by the Pope on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, patrons of Rome), the Holy Father said this (translated from the Italian):

My third encyclical which is entitled Caritas in veritate will be published soon. Taking up the social themes contained in Populorum progressio, written by the Servant of God Paul VI in 1967, this document - which carries today's date, June 29, solemnity of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul - aims to analyze in depth some aspects of development that are integral to our time, in the light of love in truth.

I entrust to your prayers this additional contribution that the Church offers mankind in its commitment to sustainable progress in full respect of human dignity and the real demands of everyone.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's words before leading the Angelus prayers at St. Peter's Square at noon today:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today we solemnly celebrate the holy Apostles Peter and Pail, special patrons of the Church of Rome: Peter, the fisherman from Galilee, who 'first among all confessed faith in Christ... and constituted the first (Christian) community with the just men of Israel"; Paul, ex-persecutor of Christians "who illuminated the depths of mystery ... the teacher and doctor of the Church who announced salvation to all men" (cfr Preface of today's Mass).

In one of his homilies to the community of Rome, Pope St. Leo the Great said: "These are your fathers and true pastors, who established you so that you may become part of the Kingdom of heaven" (Sermo I,
Nat. App Petri et Pauli, c I, PL 54,422).

On the occasion of this feast, I wish to address a warm and special greeting, along with my fervent wishes, to the diocesan community of Rome that Divine Providence has entrusted to my care as successor of the Apostle Peter.

It is a greeting I gladly extend to all the residents of our metropolis, and to the pilgrims and tourists who are visiting us these days, which also coincide with the closing of the Pauline Year.

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord bless and protect you through the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul! As your Pastor, I call on you to remain faithful to the Christian calling and not to conform yourselves to the mentality of this world - as the Apostle of the Gentiles wrote precisely to the Christians of Rome - but let yourself be transformed and renewed by the Gospel so that you may follow that which is truly good and pleasing to God (cfr Rm 12,2).

I constantly pray so that Rome may keep its Christian calling alive, not only to conserve unaltered its immense spiritual and cultural patrimony, but also in order that its inhabitants may translate the beauty of the faith they have received in concrete ways of thinking and acting, thus offering to those who come to our city for various reasons, a climate rich in humanity and evangelical values.

Thus, with the words of St. Peter - I invite you, dear brothers and sisters who are disciples of Christ, to be 'living stones' solidly around him who is "the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen adn precious before God" (cfr 1 Pt 2,4).

Today's solemnity also has a universal character: it expresses teh unity and catholicity of the Church. That is why, every year. on this date, the new Metropolitan Archbishops come to Rome to receive the pallium, symbol of their communion with the Successor of Peter.

I renew my greeting to my brothers in the Episcopate for whom I performed the gesture [of imposing the pallium] at the Basilica this morning, and to the faithful who accompanied them here.

I also renew my heartfelt greeting to the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who, as every year, have come to Rome for the celebration of Saints Peter and Paul.

May the common veneration for these martyrs be a token of ever more fuller and deeply felt communion among Christians in every part of the world. For this, let us invoke the intercession of Mary, Mother of the only Church of Christ, with our recital of the Angelus.

Pope has signed new encyclical

VATICAN CITY, June 29 (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI signed his latest encyclical Monday, a text on ways to make globalization more attentive to meeting the needs of the poor amid the worldwide financial crisis.

The document, entitled "Charity in Truth," is expected to be published soon.

The Pope has said his third encyclical will outline the goals and values that the faithful must defend to ensure solidarity among all peoples.

Benedict has frequently spoken out on the financial crisis, urging leaders to ensure the world's poor don't end up bearing the brunt of the downturn even though they are not responsible for it. He has said the downturn shows the need to rethink the whole global financial system.

The Pontiff announced he had signed the document Monday, a major Catholic feast day, after celebrating a Mass during which he told new archbishops they must be models for the faithful, guiding them and protecting them as shepherds care for their flock.

Thirty-four new archbishops, including the new archbishop of New York, Monsignor Timothy Dolan, received the pallium, a band of white wool decorated with black crosses that is a sign of pastoral authority and a symbol of the archbishops' bond with the pope.

Benedict said the archbishops should be like Christ "who as a good shepherd carried on his back humanity — the lost sheep — to bring them home."

Benedict has been working on Caritas in veritate, as the encyclical is known in Latin, since 2007 ,but held back on issuing it so that he could update it to reflect the global economic crisis.

An encyclical is the most authoritative document a Pope can issue. Benedict has written two in his four years as Pope: "God is Love" in 2006 and "Saved by Hope" in 2007.

Here is the take of the Times of London on the timing of the encyclical release. The timing worked out the way it did because of various delays but one must say it has turned out to be providential:

Pope holds back encyclical
on markets and morality
to hit the G8 summit

by Richard Owen in Rome and
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Pope has held back publication of a key statement on markets and morality in an attempt to force the issue onto the G8 agenda.

Pope Benedict XVI signed the document today but the text, which focuses on globalisation, poverty and the financial crisis and is one of the most important to come out of the Holy See in the past decade, will be published 48 hours before the meeting of world leaders at L'Aquila in Italy - a week-long delay.

Caritas in veritate, Love or charity in truth, will outline the ethical values that the faithful must "tirelessly defend" to ensure "true freedom and solidarity", the Pope said recently.

He said that the global downturn demonstrated the need to "rethink economic and financial paradigms that have been dominant in recent years."

The encyclical - the most authoritative document a Pope can issue - analyses the destructive effect on society of the pursuit of commercial or private interests without "social responsibility" or "conscience and honesty".

It proposes an international agreement on globalisation based on "the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity" and "the values of charity and truth".

The Pope has been working on the encyclical for two years, but delayed it in order to bring it up to date and reflect the global economic crisis. Its publication has been further delayed by translation problems into Latin, according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Although Pope Benedict has encouraged a return to Latin in the liturgy, there is a dwindling number of experts able to find Latin equivalents for terms such as "market value" and "tax haven".

Benedict has written two previous encyclicals in his four years as Pope, Deus caritas est (God is Love) in 2006 and Spe salvi (Saved by Hope) in 2007.

This encyclical will be the first written with the help of Google. Theologians have done months of research on the internet to ensure that the new document, likely to be among the most important and influential of the present papacy, is up to date with its economics as well as its theology.

The long-awaited encyclical also summarises the Church’s 120-year history of social teaching and outlines new theories for the present situation.

While not backtracking on the basic Catholic teaching that man should have the freedom to create wealth, the encyclical is likely to argue forcefully that this should be used towards the service of all.

And here's an Economics-101 background that may come in useful when the encyclical does come out:

Economic heresies of the left
by Michael Novak

June 29, 2009

What exactly is in Benedict XVI’s new encyclical on the economy and labor issues is not yet known. Catholic leftists and progressives, though, are already trembling with excitement. Three glaring errors have already appeared in these heavily panting anticipations.

An accurate presentation of real existing capitalism requires at least three modest affirmations:

1) Markets work well only within a system of law, and only according to well-marked-out rules of the game; unregulated markets are a figment of imagination.

2) In actual capitalist practice, the love of creativity, invention, and groundbreaking enterprise are far more powerful than motives of greed.

3) The fundamental systemic motive infusing the spirit of capitalism is the imperative to liberate the world’s poor from the premodern ubiquity of grinding poverty. This motive lay at the heart of Adam Smith’s important victory over Thomas Malthus concerning the coming affluence — rather than starvation — of the poor.

Since the origins of modern capitalism around 1780, more than two-thirds of the world’s population has moved out of poverty. In China and India alone, more than 500 million have been raised out of poverty just in the last forty years.

In almost every nation the average life expectancy has risen dramatically, causing populations to expand accordingly. Health in almost every dimension has been improved, and literacy has been carried to remote places it never reached before.

Whatever the motives of individuals, the system has improved the plight of the poor as none ever has before. The contemporary left systematically refuses to face these undeniable facts.

Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., one of our most reliable leftist bellwethers, has recently opined that Benedict XVI’s new encyclical will cry out for more regulation, rather than unregulated markets. Further, the pope will denounce greed and cry out for more attention to the urgent need to aid the world’s poor.

Reese thinks these are anti-capitalist positions. That is ridiculous. They lie at the heart of why capitalism has worked as well as it has to liberate the poor — first in the United States and Europe, then in one continent after another, as it is now doing in almost all areas of Asia.

Fr. Reese says that the Pope will blame the greed of U.S. bankers for the current global financial crisis. While many institutions, including banks, failed in their basic duties, government action was the principal villain in the 2009 debacle.

It was the federal government that forced banks to make sub-prime loans to poor families (who were known to be unable to pay their mortgages on a regular basis). It threatened banks that did not invest in poisonous packages of mortgages, vitiated by the bad ones.

The federal government even guaranteed the work of two huge quasi-government mortgage companies — Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac — that wrote more than half of all mortgages during the fateful years. Of course, when the house of cards fell, government was not there to make good on its guarantees — or even to accept responsibility for its own heavy-handed actions.

For at least ten years before the disaster finally occurred, my colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute had been warning of the government abuses that were heading toward this calamity. Partisans of big government refused to listen.

For moralists, it is essential to see how often (not always) government itself sins grievously against the common good, out of a lust for power and domination over others. Furthermore, government often (not always) generates foolish and destructive regulations, and often dispenses justice that winks rather than justice that is blind.

Government is more frequently the agent of injuring the common good than the ordinary lawful actions of free citizens. During the twentieth century, governments too often destroyed the common good of their citizens for years to come.

In the United States, the existing code of federal regulations for businesses is enormous. Title 12 covering “Banks and Banking” runs to 4,786 pages; Title 15 on “commerce and Foreign Trade” is 1,941 pages; Title 16 on “Commercial Practices,” 1,600 pages; Title 17 on the “Securities and Exchange Commission,” 2,708 pages; and Title 31 on “Money and Finance: Treasury,” 1,917 pages.

The total number of pages in this code is 12,592. Laid out end to end, the volumes of the code extend for 2.35 miles. If you count the pages in feet (30 inches per linear foot is the standard measure) the code runs for six linear miles.

An unregulated market indeed! The real world of American capitalism is more like Gulliver bound down by thousands of threads. Many of the regulations are out of date, obsolete, costly, destructive, and — in their actual effects — counter to the very intentions that gave them birth. But regulation there is, and regulation there must be. Without rules, American capitalism cannot function.

As for greed, Max Weber pointed out that greed is present in every age and every system of human history. Yet greed was rather more socially central in ancient times than today, and played a much more decisive role. And nowadays, greed flourishes most wherever government power is concentrated.

By contrast, in enterprise societies such as the United States, it is possible to become rich — even very rich — by methods that focus on innovation rather than greed.

The great universities of the Middle West and Far West, were founded expressly to give spur to new inventions in mining, agriculture, and other technical fields. Texas A & M, Iowa State, Wisconsin State, Oklahoma State, and scores of others have been the hothouses of ideas in agriculture, engineering and electronics, geology, mining and drilling—ideas rendered practical by the makers of many fortunes. They have mightily served the common good of Americans and the entire human race.

As John Paul II wisely commented in Centesimus Annus, practical knowledge is the main cause of wealth today. Ideas rather than great landholdings are the main form of wealth in our time. As both Caesar and Cicero long ago observed, although it seems as though community ownership ought to serve the common good best, in practice private property does. The right to private property has long been justified by virtue of its superior service to the common good.

And in the United States, scores of entrepreneurs are ready to risk losing everything they have in order to create something new, create something that will make life better for their fellow men. Henry Ford failed repeatedly in several businesses before he finally made the Ford Motor Company the great model for business that it once was.

(It was the first establishment in history to pay its laborers a handsome wage of five dollars per day. At the time, ordinary lawyers averaged about $1500 per year. Ford’s motives, of course, were not altruistic; he wanted his workers to purchase the cars they helped build.)

As Oscar Handlin once noted, almost every industrialist who built a new railroad North and South in the United States in the nineteenth century prospered. Nearly every tycoon who tried to build an East–West railroad lost money. What spurred men to keep trying had less to do with greed that with the sheer romance of conquering the deserts and the Rockies. The element of romance in business is simply not grasped by dialectical materialists.

In brief, nearly all the leftish critiques of American and other forms of capitalism are empirically false. They do not fit the actual facts. But these three — greed, unregulated markets, and the idea that capitalism makes the poor of the world worse off — are especially tiresome, and very far from reality.

Will all those good Catholic leftists who announce their own enthusiastic preference for the poor actually help to liberate the poor, even by a little? Will their anti-capitalist policies help alleviate poverty? The historical record offers very little evidence for that contention.

And yet wherever a healthy, inventive capitalism goes, the poor soon rise by the millions out of poverty, come to better physical health, and advance into higher education.

You can look up the record.