New Humanity Movement

Economy and Work

Caritas-in-Veritate1

 

Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical invites us to work more and to work better for the city. Sergio Chiamparino, Mayor of Turin, commenting on what the Pope has written, proposes a new citizenship pact to unite public authorities and those they serve in a common commitment.







By Paolo Balduzzi

“We find in Caritas in Veritate a density of thought and language that focuses on the person, and not only on things, on values, not just on techniques…We need a new citizenship pact… A new involvement of the individual in society can be started only if the responsibility of authorities (the rulers) and citizens comes closer together.”
These are just a few words that Sergio Chiamparino, Mayor of Turin, said while commenting on Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate”, in an article published in Osservatore Romano on the 31st of July 2009.

The first citizen of Turin understood Ratzinger’s text as a reference point for all those, believers or not, who are prepared to commit themselves to implementing a new civilization in economics and in society.

Chiamparino brought out in his analysis what’s new in the encyclical, particularly in the economic field. While this was his primary focus, he showed how every positive result in one area of social existence necessarily impacts on other fields. This gives rise to the necessity for a true ‘citizenship pact’ between institutions, associations, and those involved in social cooperation, along with families and individuals, in order to pool the shared energy underlying the circulation of human and financial resources. Such pooling of energy would lead to a common civic sense in all those belonging to a community, where the quality of each one’s life depends on that of the others. Caritas-In-Veritate2

With these important points in mind, looking through the encyclical, we can note among others, three passages that can contribute to the ‘City Project’ we’re proposing, and which are all to be found in paragraph 7:

Another important consideration is the common good. To love someone is to desire that person's good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of "all of us", made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society…

And further:

To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally, making it the pólis, or "city". The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them…This is the institutional path - we might also call it the political path - of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity which encounters the neighbour directly, outside the institutional mediation of the pólis. When animated by charity, the commitment to the common good has greater value than a merely secular and political stand would have.

Finally:

Man's earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family - that is to say, the community of peoples and nations - in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God.
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