I have not yet had an opportunity to read the Pope’s newest encyclical (and I’m not sure when I will be able to), but Jimmy Akin gives some good guidelines for anyone who is interested in reading it and understanding the Pope’s thoughts in this matter:
I especially thought the following point was important to note:
It is quite likely that a person reading the encyclical will find himself challenged at various points, no matter what his native political instincts are. This is part of the pope’s intention. He wants to challenge everybody and shake them out of the uncritical political orbits that people find themselves sliding into. One should therefore avoid two mistakes in reading the document: (a) One should not casually dismiss things that seem to conflict with one’s previous views; this is the Vicar of Christ talking, and we need to take what he says seriously. (b) One should not simply seize on things that seem to confirm one’s prior views and absolutize them; there is a very substantial element of nuance to what the pope says, he is deliberately leaving room for legitimate diversity of opinion even as he makes certain proposals, and he is not attempting to engage his infallibility and thus is deliberately leaving much of what he says open to future revision.
When I do get around to reading this encyclical, I will read it with the understanding that its author is not only the pope, but a really, really, really smart guy as well.