Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 16, 2011

Michael J. Ruszala
Pages 135-148

The Metaphysics of Caritas in Veritate: Augustinian Theology and Social Thought as an Interpretive Key

An aspect particularly striking about Caritas in Veritate among social encyclicals is its emphasis from the beginning on Augustinian-based metaphysics. This paper considers Pope Benedict’s metaphysical starting point as a key contribution to social doctrine in times marked by the concrete embodiment of globalization, to which the postmodern mind has responded with increased secularism and religious indifferentism. Pope Benedict is seeking to guide globalization by man’s rediscovery of himself via a metaphysics open to faith. Such a metaphysics reveals man’s essentially relational character, intimating the unity in diversity of the Trinity, by whose power in charity lies the only lasting hope of human progress and development: not merely the peace of the earthly city but the city of God in its heavenly fulfillment. Broad as it is deep, Caritas in Veritate applies its metaphysics to social virtue in action in a variety of social concerns relevant to our contemporary world and society.