Pope holds back key morality statement to hit G8
Richard Owen in Rome and Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
The Pope has held back publication of a key statement on markets and morality in an attempt to force the issue onto the G8 agenda.
Pope Benedict XVI signed the document today but the text, which focuses on globalisation, poverty and the financial crisis and is one of the most important to come out of the Holy See in the past decade, will be published 48 hours before the meeting of world leaders at L'Aquila in Italy - a week-long delay.
Caritas in veritate, Love or charity in truth, will outline the ethical values that the faithful must "tirelessly defend" to ensure "true freedom and solidarity", the Pope said recently. He said that the global downturn demonstrated the need to "rethink economic and financial paradigms that have been dominant in recent years."
The encyclical - the most authoritative document a Pope can issue - analyses the destructive effect on society of the pursuit of commercial or private interests without "social responsibility" or "conscience and honesty". It proposes an international agreement on globalisation based on "the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity" and "the values of charity and truth".
The Pope has been working on the encyclical for two years, but delayed it in order to bring it up to date and reflect the global economic crisis. Its publication has been further delayed by translation problems into Latin, according to the Italian newspaper la Repubblica.
Although Pope Benedict has encouraged a return to Latin in the liturgy, there is a dwindling number of experts able to find Latin equivalents for terms such as "market value" and "tax haven".
Benedict has written two previous encyclicals in his four years as Pope, Deus caritas est (God is Love) in 2006 and Spe salvi (Saved by Hope) in 2007.