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After many conversations with friends and reporters and interested parties, I’m willing to make three predictions about Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate , due out shortly:

1) The media will basically ignore it, as President Obama’s visit with the pope occupies all the attention the press is able to give Catholic topics.

2) The encyclical will be a mishmash of themes, topics, and prescriptions, some close to contradictory to others. Considered merely as a literary production, Caritas in Veritate will be much more like the jumble of Sollicitudo Rei Socialis than the writerly unity of Evangelium Vitae .

3) No matter what it actually says, left-leaning Catholics will claim it as a victory and the repudiation of John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus .

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