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Pope Benedict lauds Mater et Magistra on its 50th anniversary

Catholic World News - May 17, 2011

Addressing participants in a conference organized by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, Pope Benedict praised Blessed John XXIII’s landmark social encyclical Mater et Magistra on the 50th anniversary of its publication.

“Truth, love, and justice, [as] pointed out by Mater et Magistra, together with the principle of the universal destination of goods,” remain “the pillars to interpret and also the solution to the imbalances of today’s globalization,” Pope Benedict said.

He added:

Without a moral thinking that goes beyond the setting of secular ethics, such as neoutilitarian and neocontractualist ethics, which are based on substantial skepticism and a predominantly immanent vision of history, it becomes difficult for people today to approach the knowledge of the true human good … Only in personal communion with the New Adam, Jesus Christ, is human reason healed and strengthened and is it possible to approach a more appropriate development, economics, and politics according to their anthropological dimension and the new historical conditions … Without the knowledge of the true human good, love degenerates into sentimentality, justice loses its fundamental “measure,” and the principle of the universal destination of goods is delegitimized.

After criticizing the “frenzy of credit agreements” that “often allow for unlimited speculation,” Pope Benedict stated that “the social question today is undoubtedly a matter of global social justice, as already pointed out in Mater et Magistra 50 years ago, albeit with reference to another context. It is also the question of equitable distribution of resources and intangible assets, the globalization of substantive, social, and participatory democracy … It is essential that the new evangelization of society highlight the implications of justice that must be implemented on a universal level.”

Toward the conclusion of his address, Pope Benedict noted that “upright and honest” Catholics may disagree on the proper implementation of the Church’s social teaching.

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