Consumption and Social Responsibility

This is the ninth post in my occasional series of comments from and about Caritatis in Veritate, Pope Benedict’s final encyclical.

It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral—and not simply economic—act. (§66)

And therefore, he goes on to say, social responsibility accompanies consumption. This example pains me, and probably deservedly so: is it in any way just for me to stuff myself on pizza while there are people in Haiti who are eating mud?? Another example comes to mind: The Hunger Games, where the impoverished provinces of Panem are barely kept alive while providing immense luxuries for the capital city—a place so decadent that emetics accompany party goers so that they can keep gorging on immense spreads of exquisite culinary delights for as long as there are any left to stuff themselves on.

Examples could be multiplied. But that is not the point. The point that the pope wanted to make is that we are kidding ourselves if we think that our buying habits are morally neutral.

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Posted in Benedict XVI, Charity, Natural Law, Rerum Novarum

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