Monday, February 6, 2012

Charity in Truth: "Urgent" Plus 44 Years and Counting

So far, Pope Benedict XVI has said that
  • Development is okay
    • Provided that we're ethical about it
  • Technology
    • Is okay
      • Provided that we're ethical about how we use it
    • Won't
      • Solve all our problems
      • Destroy us all
I think that makes a lot more sense than the unthinking optimism of the Victorian era and early 20th century, and the equally unthinking pessimism that's been fashionable every since.

Another point the Pope makes is that development can be a vocation. That's where charity comes in.

Development: Why the Delay?

It's pretty clear that not everybody enjoys the comparative wealth and security that many Americans do. "Caritas in Veritate" says there's a reason for that.

Benedict XVI points to Paul VI's "Populorum Progressio," where Paul VI said that explanations for lack of human development are in:
  1. The will
    • Neglecting the duties of solidarity
  2. Thinking
    • not always giving proper direction to the will
  3. "The lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples"
That second point is about deep thought:
" the pursuit of development, there is a need for 'the deep thought and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew[51]...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 19)

"Urgent Need for Reform"

"These perspectives, which Populorum Progressio opens up, remain fundamental for giving breathing-space and direction to our commitment for the development of peoples. Moreover, Populorum Progressio repeatedly underlines the urgent need for reform...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 20)
I checked out "Populorum Progressio," and sure enough: Paul VI said some things were "urgent." That's how it's translated into English. "Urgent" means "compelling immediate action." (Princeton's WordNet)

Paul VI reminded the world's wealthier nations of three obligations:
  1. Mutual solidarity
    • Aid that the richer nations must give to developing nations
  2. Social justice
    • Correcting trade relations between strong and weak nations
  3. Universal charity
    • Trying to build a more humane world community, where
      • All can give and receive
      • The progress of some is not bought at the expense of others

"Urgent?" Here's Why

Paul VI also said why this sort of practical charity was important:
"...This duty concerns first and foremost the wealthier nations.... The matter is urgent, for on it depends the future of world civilization...."

"...This task might seem impossible in those regions where the daily struggle for subsistence absorbs the attention of the family, where people are at a loss to find work that might improve their lot during their remaining days on earth.... But let there be no doubt about it, it is an urgent task. The very life of needy nations, civil peace in the developing countries, and world peace itself are at stake...."
("Populorum Progressio" [emphasis mine])
Recapping, Paul VI wrote that the world's wealthier nations need to get our act together because this is at stake:
  • "The future of world civilization"
  • "The very life of needy nations
  • "Civil peace in the developing countries"
  • "World peace itself"
But hey: no pressure, right?

Still "Urgent"

Here's when "Populorum Progressio" was published: March 26, 1967.

That's 44 years, 10 months, 11 days ago.

I posted about 'love God, love your neighbor,' and acting as if that mattered, yesterday:I think that some progress got made over the last 44 years. I also think there's a lot more to do, and I've been over that before:One more excerpt from "Caritas in Veritate:"
"...The urgency is inscribed not only in things, it is not derived solely from the rapid succession of events and problems, but also from the very matter that is at stake: the establishment of authentic fraternity.

"The importance of this goal is such as to demand our openness to understand it in depth and to mobilize ourselves at the level of the 'heart', so as to ensure that current economic and social processes evolve towards fully human outcomes...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 20)

Development, the Status Quo, and Getting a Grip

I'm about as sure as I can be about anything, that the status quo won't change unless something's altered. Frightfully obvious, when the idea's put that way.

Development means change: and change often hurts.

If growing crops the old-fashioned way doesn't produce enough to feed a family: maybe it's time to look at another way of growing crops. Even if it's 'not traditional.' The solution isn't - mustn't be - making the family smaller. Even if 'it's for their own good.'

And that's almost another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:

More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"


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Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

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