In the October 2009 issue, Douglas Farrow makes an interesting observation about the course of Pope Benedict XVI's three encyclical letters, suggesting:
Think of Benedict's work as a three-step process. In his first encyclical, he said the Church is the community of love that mirrors God's own being. In his second, he noted the hope of salvation that the Church announces to the world. Now, in his third encyclical, Benedict announces that, what the Church is, human society is to become. He takes the catholicity of the Church as a sign of promise for the wholeness of humanity, and he offers, along with his encouragement, an admonishment and a warning: This way forward, not that.If Farrow is correct - and I suspect he may well be - the Holy Father offers an intriguing vision for the future, one not far from the thought of the Church Fathers.