To more fully understand our Holy Father’s teachings in CARITAS IN VERITATE we need to see this new letter as part of his overarching set of teachings.
In the years after Vatican II, Cardinal Ratzinger was known for his critique of liberation theologies and his condemnation of what came to be called securer humanism. In Caritasin Veritate, he clarifies his insights on our Christian call to social justice within a radical commitment to the Gospel of Christ. The Holy Father insists that Love, Mercy and Justice are the parameters of the Christian life and what he most essentially describes as “Christian humanism”. (Humanism with Christ at the Center, Justice that flows from the teachings of Jesus and his church)
Our great theologian the late Avery Cardinal Dulles titled the messages of John Paul the Great –“prophetic humanism.” The years of John Paul were influenced greatly and vice versa by the relationship with Cardinal Ratzinger
It’s been said that both John Paul and Cardinal Ratzinger -our present Benedict- have been accused of possessing an optimistic, even idealistic view surrounding the future of our world. John Paul would call it an, “an evangelical optimism” as recognized in the overarching themes Joy and Hope in the Vatican II, document Gaudium et Spes or Church in the modern world.
His first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est—God is love.
His second Spe Salvi—we are saved in hope.