Caritas in Veritate leaves us with a question, Does Benedict XVI see politics as a practice or as an institution? How one answers this question has tremendous implications for how one should address the inequalities of contemporary society and the increasing globalization of the world. Alasdair MacIntyre, for instance, would consider politics to be primarily a practice with a good internal to its activities. This good consists in rational deliberation with others about the common good. If one considers politics an institution, however, as seems to be the case with Jacques Maritain, then one pays less attention to the common good and more attention to the mechanics of the political institution. The difference in understanding goes a long way toward how one conceives of, determines, and achieves the common good, a central task for Catholic social teaching. It also prefigures whether and how one can justify self-sacrifice for the common good, demanded of police officers and soldiers, for instance, as well as whether and how one prioritizes the practices of a given political community. Caritas in Veritate (CIV) brings to the forefront issues of self-sacrifice and prioritization of practices at the global level. This paper shall address the position Benedict XVI lays out on globalization with reference to a global politics through the lens of the common good and the distinction between practice and institution.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeffery_l_nicholas/4/