John Allen received some mild criticism on this blog for his report on the new Motu Proprio entrusting the ongoing dialogue and discernment regarding the Society of Saint Pius X to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.Evidently stung by the perceptive remarks of a number of the comments on the thread, John has stepped up to the plate and hit a triple with his new column from Rome. The most interesting part is his further reflections on Caritas in Veritate. Here is a passage that particularly caught my attention:
Yet if there's a $64,000 question left hanging by Caritas in Veritate -- a point where Benedict's teaching seems interesting and important, but cries out for more meat on the bone -- it's probably this: What exactly would the "true world political authority" urged by the pontiff actually look like?In keeping with papal social teaching as far back as John XXIII's Pacem in Terris in 1963, Benedict XVI argued that the development of a global system of governance is an urgent priority, both "to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis" and "to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration."Yet for a bit of counsel that's been around at least for 46 years, the outlines of what popes mean by a "true world political authority" are notoriously fuzzy.Popes themselves -- including, it must be said, Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate -- often don't seem terribly clear what they have in mind. Sometimes it seems like they're talking about a formal, constitutional one-world government -- a sort of United Nations on steroids. Yet in the same breath, popes usually invoke the principle of subsidiarity, which implies a devolved system of decision-making at the lowest possible level. How to square these two points remains a bit of a mystery.
The rest is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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