Monday, September 03, 2007

The Church on Labor and Society: Part 2

Also see Part 1.

On Development and Underdevelopment

The mystery of the Eucharist inspires and impels us to work courageously within our world to bring about that renewal of relationships which has its inexhaustible source in God's gift. The prayer which we repeat at every Mass: "Give us this day our daily bread," obliges us to do everything possible, in cooperation with international, state and private institutions, to end or at least reduce the scandal of hunger and malnutrition afflicting so many millions of people in our world, especially in developing countries. In a particular way, the Christian laity, formed at the school of the Eucharist, are called to assume their specific political and social responsibilities. To do so, they need to be adequately prepared through practical education in charity and justice. To this end, the Synod considered it necessary for Dioceses and Christian communities to teach and promote the Church's social doctrine. (248) In this precious legacy handed down from the earliest ecclesial tradition, we find elements of great wisdom that guide Christians in their involvement in today's burning social issues. This teaching, the fruit of the Church's whole history, is distinguished by realism and moderation; it can help to avoid misguided compromises or false utopias.
-- Sacramentum Caritatis, #91

Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development. One must avoid the risk of increasing still more the wealth of the rich and the dominion of the strong, whilst leaving the poor in their misery and adding to the servitude of the oppressed.
-- On the Development of Peoples, #33

Economic development must ... not be left to the sole judgement of a few individuals or groups, possessing excessive economic power, or of the political community alone, or of certain powerful nations. It is proper, on the contrary, that at every level the largest number of people have an active share in directing that development.
-- The Church in the Modern World, #65

Both for nations and for individual men, avarice is the most evident form of moral underdevelopment.
-- On the Development of Peoples, #19

To speak of development, is in effect to show as much concern for social progress as for economic growth. It is not sufficient to increase overall wealth for it be distributed equitably. It is not sufficient to promote technology to render the world a more human place in which to live. ... Economics and technology have no meaning except from the human person whom they should serve. And people are only truly human in as far as, masters of their own acts and judges of their worth, they are authors of their own advancement, in keeping with the nature given to them by their Creator.
-- On the Development of Peoples, #34

We want to be clearly understood: the present situation must be faced with courage and the injustices linked with it must be fought against and overcome. Development demands bold transformations, innovations that go deep. Urgent reforms should be undertaken without delay. It is for each one to take a share in them with generosity, particularly those whose education, position and opportunities afford them wide scope for action.
-- On the Development of Peoples, #32

Next to the underdevelopment of the many, there is a superdevelopment for the few. Superdevelopment leads to a throwaway society and to enormous waste. Excessive access to all kinds of things, -- sometimes called consumerism -- enslaves people and does not make them happy. The more one possesses, the more one wants, while the deeper human hopes remain unsatisfied and even stifled. "Having" more things does not necessarily mean 'being" more or being better. "Having" only helps us when it contributes to a more complete "being."
-- On Social Concerns

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