Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic criticizes three ways of reading Caritas in Veritate. One of those ways is John Allen's irenic "package" reading:
Benedict XVI insists that Catholic social teaching must be seen as a package deal, holding economic justice together with its opposition to abortion, birth control, gay marriage, and other hot-button issues of sexual morality. The pope expresses irritation with 'certain abstract subdivisions of the Church's social doctrine,' an apparent reference to tensions between the Church's pro-life contingent and its peace-and-justice activists.
This reading, claims Hudson, fails to take into account the reality of the two camps in which "social justice" advocates regularly distance themselves from pro-life positions while pro-lifers "do not dissent from social justice issues." So there is an imbalance here.
Oh really? That was not, nor is, my experience concerning just war theory. Nor torture. Nor racism, which many "social justice" people still consider a prevalent problem in society, a position which makes many pro-lifers scoff (this comes from my experience). Hopefully the divide is narrowing, but it is still a reality.
We would also do Benedict great harm not to give him credit for being a very historically minded thinker. There is a reason that Paul VI wrote Populorum Progressio and Humane Vitae, both. The first was -- and still is by the likes of Weigel -- considered a "progressive" fluke, while the second was widely rejected by arguably most Catholics in the United States. I think that Benedict is intentionally bringing these two together in one encyclical. His address on the 2008 World Day of Peace -- which brought together sexual ethics and social issues -- continues to be the best guide to the new encyclical.
Nathan O'Halloran, SJ