I ran accross a good editoral about the encyclical in the New York Times (not someplace one normally goes for good church reporting) entitled "The Audacity of the Pope" by Ross Douthat:
Like I said, I haven't finished the Pope's original text but from what I have read so far Douthat is on the right track.
But Benedict’s encyclical is nothing if not political. “Caritas in Veritate” promotes a vision of economic solidarity rooted in moral conservatism. It links the dignity of labor to the sanctity of marriage. It praises the redistribution of wealth while emphasizing the importance of decentralized governance. It connects the despoiling of the environment to the mass destruction of human embryos.
This is not a message you’re likely to hear in Barack Obama’s next State of the Union, or in the Republican Party’s response. It represents a kind of left-right fusionism with little traction in American politics.But that’s precisely what makes it so relevant and challenging — for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.