Colombo (AsiaNews) – Fr Reid Shelton Fernando is a priest from the Colombo diocese, well-known in Sri Lanka for his writings and commentaries on social and political issues. He spoke to AsiaNews about Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, Caritas in veritate, which he says “must cheer everyone”. It is for him a crucial tool that will make sure that “the social ministry does not remain ‘the Church’s best kept secret’.” Here are his thoughts.
Caritas in veritate is theologically rich and must cheer everyone. It is rooted in Paul VI’s Populorum progressio of 1967, and says that development should aim at the realisation of each and every person and beat the evils of poverty, disease, ignorance, hunger and unemployment.”
Critics claim that Christian humanism comes alive when solutions to problems have already been found. In reality in Caritas in veritate, the Pope highlights that faith and ethics represent crucial elements in the current situation.
On the one hand, the Pontiff shows his concern for the challenges of hunger and poverty. On the other, he underscores the importance of social security and markets. He says that the positive aspects of the process of globalisation must be used to beat poverty everywhere and that profits should not be considered as ends in themselves.
The Holy Father focuses on the malaise generated by the economic crisis, financial speculation, labour market-related large scale migration and the largely ignored calls for ethical foundations.
With this encyclical Benedict XVI renews with the traditional social ministry of the Church which has tried from Leo XII onward to appeal to the world’s political leaders.
Not only elites and theologians must study the encyclical. It ought to touch everyone’s heart. Everyone should read it, including ordinary people, so that the social ministry does not remain the Church’s best kept secret.
(Melani Manel Perera contributed to this article)