With surprisingly little notice or controversy, Benedict XVI has called for creation of a powerful world government that could redistribute wealth and energy, regulate the world economy and environment, and uphold Catholic teachings on the family, human life, and sexuality. Benedict wishes to use radical means for a “conservative” end, and is calling for a regime that could work only as a global tyranny.
For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Benedict XVI has authoritatively stated his desire for creation of a powerful world government. In his June 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Benedict urged the establishment of a “true world political authority” with “real teeth,” wielding sufficient power to govern economics, food, energy, armaments, environmental protection, and migration for the whole world. The entire encyclical — not just one paragraph — points in this direction.
Caritas in Veritate is an integral part of Benedict’s teaching, and is consistent with what he has often said and written since his April 2005 installation. This encyclical has been widely accepted by the Church hierarchy and lay organizations worldwide, and by most Catholic commentators, liberals and conservatives alike. (This is quite unlike the widespread, public Catholic rebellion that greeted Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on artificial contraception.) The few critics of Benedict’s encyclical are generally dismissed as National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen did in April 2012: as “paranoid anti-globalist blogs” who are “scanning the horizon for black helicopters bearing the papal coat of arms.” 
In his encyclical, Benedict said, “In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.”(§ 67)  This new “political, juridical and economic order” would “increase and give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples in solidarity. To manage the global economy … to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority.” (§ 67)
This new regime would also be responsible for “implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect.” (§ 67) “Responsibility to protect” is an emerging concept that allows outside powers to impose economic sanctions or to use military intervention to protect human rights in targeted “rogue” countries. When Benedict assigned his proposed “world political authority” the task of “implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect,” he was giving it a job that would require leverage over world trade and international finance, and an army under its control.
This new authority would “need to be universally recognized” and would “be vested with the effective power” to carry out its vast mandate. Benedict said, “Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, to seek to establish the common good, and to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth. Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights. Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums. … The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order, to the interconnection between moral and social spheres.”(§ 67)
Benedict urged the use of “political authority” for “the process of constructing a new order of economic productivity, socially responsible and human in scale.”(§ 41) He viewed the “the State of law” as guaranteed by two pillars: “a system of public order and effective imprisonment that respects human rights.” (§ 41) Note well: an effective prison system is integral to Benedict’s view of the rule of law by legitimate authority — presumably, including a new “world political authority” (§ 67). With this new world order would come the need to propagandize the people. Benedict has this in view, since he stated that a key role of the mass media is “engineering changes in attitude towards reality and the human person” for their audience. (§ 73)
Benedict saw the post-2007 world economic crisis as presenting the world with “choices that cannot be postponed concerning nothing less than the destiny of man.”(§ 21) The “current crisis” thus required radical changes, “new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. … The crisis thus becomes an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future.”(§ 21) He also said that “Since the development of persons and peoples is at stake, this discernment will have to take account of the need for emancipation and inclusivity, in the context of a truly universal human community.” (§ 55) No Jacobin from the French Revolution could have stated his dream more clearly.
Benedict said that “blind opposition” to globalization would be a “mistaken and prejudiced attitude.” (§ 42) Instead, we should be “its protagonists, acting in the light of reason, guided by charity and truth. … The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale. … In this way it will be possible to experience and to steer the globalization of humanity in relational terms, in terms of communion and the sharing of goods.” (§ 42) In particular, there should be “a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them.” (§ 49) What body of wise and holy planners does Benedict have in mind, people who could succeed with economic redistribution where the Communists failed?
In the fall of 2011, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) issued a call for global financial reform and the gradual creation of a “world political Authority.”  This document was explicitly based on Caritas in Veritate. Prominent Catholic defenders of unregulated capitalism spoke against the Council’s document. However, it remains on-line at the Vatican web site, and Cardinal Peter Turkson remains in place as head of the PCJP. Indeed, Turkson is now mentioned by at least one well-connected journalist as one of the candidates to watch at the next Conclave. 
A global authority with the power that Benedict recommends would necessarily be despotic, regardless of the decentralization or “subsidiarity” (§ 47, 57, 58, 60, 67) that might be built into the new regime. (The documents that govern the bureaucratic, centralizing, power-hungry European Union also invoke subsidiarity,  with little real effect.)
Benedict imagined that the “world political authority” he sought would be directed by those who exercise “the values of charity in truth” (§ 67) while “adhering to the values of Christianity” (§ 4). These virtuous rulers would create a new “social order that at last conforms to the moral order” (§ 67), a “civilization of love” (§ 33). The encyclical reiterated the Vatican’s condemnation of abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, same-sex unions, atheism, “religious indifferentism,” religious syncretism, “slavery to drugs,” and “humanism which excludes God” (§ 28, 29, 43, 44, 55, 75, 76, 78). These traditional positions did much to limit the possibility of conservative opposition to the encyclical.
In Benedict’s view, Christian leadership, after “broadening the scope of reason and making it capable of knowing and directing these powerful new forces“(§ 33), will be able to govern and direct globalization — a political and economic force that has thus far proven able to evade restraints from nations and from today’s international organizations.
Having called a tiger — the “world political authority” — into being, Benedict proposed, in effect, that he (or those who share his values) should somehow ride it and direct its course. It is as if the Vatican wishes to enact the symbolic ride depicted in Revelation 17:3-18 — but with the Church Administration retaining control of the beast.
Caritas in Veritate should be seen as what it is: a theological and political earthquake. The Roman Catholic Church now wishes to use radical means (a “true world political authority”) for its own (supposedly conservative, religious) ends. Ordinary prudence — even without reference to the dire symbolism of Revelation 17 — should have warned the Vatican against such folly. Europeans have already tried using radical means to support conservative goals; the results of that 20th century experiment (in Italy, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Vichy France, and other Fascist regimes) are written in letters of blood and fire.
Seeking a world government that is governed and limited by natural law and Christian tradition is akin to seeking dry water or square circles. Lord Acton, a Catholic historian in 19th Century England, gave a warning that the Vatican ought to have heeded: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”  Humanly speaking, no power could be more absolute than that of “world ruler,” and this is the post which Benedict has proposed to create.
By Lee Penn
 John Allen, “A Vatican document to make Socrates proud,” National Catholic Reporter, April 13, 2012, http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/vatican-document-make-socrates-proud.
 Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, June 29, 2009, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html, para. 67. Other citations of this encyclical are given in the main text, with their paragraph number — for example, (§ 41).
 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” October 24, 2011, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20111024_nota_en.html.
 John Allen, “A poll average from Rome on the next pope,” National Catholic Reporter, May 10, 2012, http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/poll-average-rome-next-pope?page=2.
 Europa, Summaries of EU legislation — Glossary, “Subsidiarity,” http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/glossary/subsidiarity_en.htm.