The Italian Senate took time on Tuesday to hear about a topic not usually on their agenda—a papal encyclical. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, addressed the senators about "Caritas in Veritate" and how it can help them respond to the "ethical, cultural and social challenges of today."
The speech by Cardinal Bertone was delivered at the invitation of the president of the Italian Senate on Thursday morning.
Cardinal Bertone highlighted some of the anthropological and theological aspects of the Pope's latest encyclical, which is devoted to encouraging countries to promote the true development of man, a development that encompasses the material, spiritual and moral arenas.
The Secretary of State also recalled that in 2004 the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had given a "lectio magistralis" in the Senate library on the theme: "Europe. Its spiritual roots, yesterday, today and tomorrow." On that occasion, he reminded, the future Pontiff had focused on certain themes that are now contained in his third Encyclical, such as "the affirmation of the profound reasons behind the dignity of individuals and their rights," and marriage and the family as elements that have forged European identity.
The cardinal said that he believes the representatives of the Italian people will find the Pope's words to be "an exalted and profound source of inspiration when carrying out their mission." Hopefully, the encyclical will enable them to respond "adequately to the ethical, cultural and social challenges of today."