Benedict’s first encyclical, Deus caritas est, assigned political work to the laity and restricted the Catholic Church’s social activities to charity. Benedict’s Word Christology, presented in Jesus of Nazareth, coheres with his longstanding vision of a countercultural Church centered in Europe. Caritas in veritate envisions the Church and its representatives as advocates for global justice. The encyclical’s concerns parallel those of the Second Synod for Africa (Rome, October 2009). The significance of this shift in focus for Benedict’s Christology, ecclesiology, and politics is still unfolding.