Truth, Love and Humanism: The Moral Ends of Economic Personhood in Caritas in Veritate
Journal of Law and Religion, 'The Global Economic Crisis, Law and the Religious Traditions' Symposium, October 2009
10 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011
Date Written: October 1, 2009
This paper examines the current economic situation as a human rights crisis and, in particular, a crisis in understanding about the nature and ends of human personhood. While the global financial collapse has occasioned many calls for bringing about more justly ordered economic institutions (German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for instance, recently called for reforms that would “give capitalism a conscience”), the moral resources of liberalism and the attendant language of human rights are unable to provide a coherent account of the sources and content of this reordered capitalism. Indeed, this paper proposes that the dominant discourse of economic reform reveals the exhausted state of liberal human rights as a moral vocabulary. This paper argues that the limitations of the liberal tradition of human rights create space for religious communities to advance theologically-informed accounts of economic justice. The tradition of Catholic social teaching, in particular Pope Benedict's recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate, is offered as a case study.
Keywords: Benedict, Pope Benedict, Catholic Social Thought, Caritas in Veritate, Caritas, Liberalism, Economics, Religion, Theology, Ethics, Liberalism
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