On the occasion of the recent visit by Benedict XVI to Santiago and Barcelona, twenty professors of six universities located in the Catalan capital (Universidad de Barcelona, IESE-U. de Navarra, U. Ramon Llull, U. Abat Oliba-CEU, U. Internacional de Cataluña e Facultad de Teología de Cataluña) published a book of “interdisciplinary commentary” on the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate.
With this new fundamental document of the Social Doctrine of the Church forty-two years after the publication of Paul VI’s Encyclical Populorum Progressio, Benedict XVI invites one and all to rethink and reorient globalization in the light of charity and truth.
This book, entitled Integral Human Development, consists of brief essays focusing on some of the themes dealt with by Benedict XVI in the third Encyclical of his pontificate published in 2009, the first one of a social nature. The chapters of the book are subdivided into three sections: the anthropological and ethical key, the social environment, the role of business and the economy. Developed in each section are issues such as technology at the service of development, natural law as wellspring of “person-friendly ethics” and human rights, the role of national and international political institutions in strengthening democracy and the rule of law in states, the integration of the rationale of giving in the economy, relations of interdependence among peoples and the promotion of the development of the poorest peoples, the fundamental importance of the protection of life and the environment in human development, and lastly the space to be found therein by religious freedom.
Even though the individual chapters are tackled from differing points of view according to each author’s competence and specialization – philosophy, theology, economics, law and political sciences – the entire book maintains a common thread: reflection on what the development of the individual and peoples should be in order to be authentic and real. In the final analysis, as Domènec Melé argues in his essay: “The Gospel is a fundamental element for development, and Christian humanism is the greatest force at the service of development itself” (pg. 52). In the context of the economic, political and moral crisis in which we now live, Integral Human Development offers readers interested in delving into the Social Doctrine of the Church keys and codes for opening the way to a comprehension of the current situation and concrete suggestions on how to tackle it in the light of the Magisterium of Benedict XVI. A book certainly to be recommended, a guide for our orientation during these times.
Maria Teresa Compte