Caritas in Veritate – For the Average Joe (and Jane)

By now, I’m sure you are aware of the fact that Pope Benedict XVI has issued a new encyclical – Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) – which deals with the economic crisis and related social issues.

Encyclicals are important to Catholics because we believe that God’s Revelation comes to us in Scripture and Tradition (the two being so closely related that we refer to them as a single deposit of faith). An encyclical is an example of the living Tradition of the Church: the teaching that comes to us from the Pope and bishops that is grounded in Scripture.

Anyway, this encyclical is a little heavier than Pope Benedict’s first two (Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi) simply because it deals with some very complex economic and social issues. I’ve pondered it for several days (I’m a very slow reader!) and with the help of resources like my friend Jim Campbell and Nick Wagner’s Team RCIA website, I’ve put together a summary of Caritas in Veritate in question and answer form to make some of its most salient points more accessible to the average pew person.


Feel free to use this in whatever way you see fit.

P.S. Thanks to all who have shared thoughts on Week 5 of our online catechist’s retreat! Come Monday, it’s on to Week 6!

About Joe Paprocki 2737 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

6 Comments on Caritas in Veritate – For the Average Joe (and Jane)

  1. I too, found this very interesting. I am glad you made this easier for us to understand.
    I only have one concern for what the Pope said. Page 3, Chapter 5 , the last sentence.
    In all the days before Christ and after Christ never has one person had that much power. It bothers me that the Pope suggested it.
    But the Bible does speak of someone, someday, having that much power. And it does not end up good for the good.

  2. Joe, thanks for the simplification of Pope Benedict’s comments. Your summary helps….although I will still have to ponder the comments of the Holy Father as there is so much there to think about. I appreciate your reminding us that Revelation comes to us in Scripture AND Tradition (with a capital ‘T”). As I read and further research the Catechism and the comments by our Pope’s I am gaining confidence in their REAL authority.

    • Greg, thanks for the feedback. I’m sure you know that my summary is intended only to help people get a grasp on the concepts in the encyclical so that they can then move on to read the encyclical themselves. I personally benefitted from a summary done by my friend Jim Campell which helped me to understand my own reading of the encyclical. Same thing for the reading guide being offered by Nick Wagner at -joe

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