July 6, 2009

Preview of Caritas in Veritate, Part II



34. Love in truth confronts man with the stupendous experience of giving. Gratuitousness is present in life in many forms, often not recognized because of a vision of existence that is merely production-oriented or utilitarian. The human being is made for giving, which expresses and realizes his dimension of transcendence. Sometimes, modern man is erroneously convinced of being the only author of himself, of his life and of society.

This is a presumption that results from the selfish closing-up in oneself, which derives - to use an expression of faith - from original sin.

The wisdom of the Church has always proposed keeping sight of original sin even in the interpretation of social facts and in the building of society: "To ignore that man has a wounded nature, inclined to evil, is a cause of serious errors in the fields of education, politics, social action and customs". (85) Added for some time now to the list of the fields in which the pernicious effects of sin are manifested is that of the economy. We have evident proof of this even in these times.

The conviction of being self-sufficient and to have succeeded in eliminating the evil that is present in history just by his own actions has led man to identify happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material wellbeing and social action. Likewise, the conviction of the need for autonomy in the economy, which should not accept 'influences' of a moral character, has pushed man to abuse the economic instrument in a way that has been ultimately destructive. In the long run, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems which have suppressed the freedom of the individual and of social bodies, and precisely because of this, are not capable of assuring the justice that they promise.

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