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The first thing to ask about Caritas in Veritate , Charity in Truth, is why the in truth ? “Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine,” the second paragraph of the new encyclical declares, to no surprise, at all: What else could a Christian account of the social realm possibly take as one of its theme? But the in Veritate part, that’s the kicker. Not that any Catholic pontiff would deny that Christ’s lesson of love—“love one another as I have loved you”—doesn’t occur in a structure of truth. Leave it to Benedict, however, to move that theme of truth to the center of his account of .Christian love in the social order. In this sense, the new encyclical is in line with all of Benedict’s earlier work on relativism and reason.

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