It was kind of hard going here and there; in part because I read it off and on, in part because I'm just not that up on the issues in international development and economics. I found that toward the end of the document I was better able to follow the Pope's insights. Of course, that's when he got into what is for me more familiar territory: environmental concerns (#21, 49, 51), theology of the body (some great stuff there, around #54), technology ( #68-70) and its impact on culture (#73) and on human life itself (#74-75).Pope Benedict makes some pretty strong claims: not all religions deserve equal status (some come down to having only one adherent!) (#55); religion itself needs to be "purified" and corrected by reason ("religion" as the human element; revelation itself can't be subjected to reason) (#56); the exclusion of religion from the public square is the reverse side of fundamentalism--and either extreme endangers human rights (#56); there needs to be "a true world political authority....vested with effective power" (#67).
I'm glad I completed this "assignment" from the Holy Father, and I hope to learn how to apply his insights in a practical manner in clarifying my thoughts in the areas he touched upon.
Have you read the encyclical yet? What struck you the most, or surprised you the most?