Just to keep it in perspective, we’re just starting Gaudium et Spes section 3 of chapter 2 of part II of the document. Remaining in the overall chapter which treats the “Proper Development of Culture”, this next section, “Some More Urgent Duties of Christians in Regard to Culture,” will take up the next three posts in this series.
Now that we’ve reestablished our bearings, let’s dive in:
It is now possible to free most of humanity from the misery of ignorance. Therefore the duty most consonant with our times, especially for Christians, is that of working diligently for fundamental decisions to be taken in economic and political affairs, both on the national and international level which will everywhere recognize and satisfy the right of all to a human and social culture in conformity with the dignity of the human person without any discrimination of race, sex, nation, religion or social condition. Therefore it is necessary to provide all with a sufficient quantity of cultural benefits, especially of those which constitute the so-called fundamental culture lest very many be prevented from cooperating in the promotion of the common good in a truly human manner because of illiteracy and a lack of responsible activity.
As we’ve seen before in GS, Christian activity in the world, especially in the establishment of justice, charity, peace, and good relations among groups of peoples, is not an “extra.” Working to better the life of human beings is part of the inspiration for the Christian life, and very much a part of the Gospel call.
A person’s giftedness is intended for the good of all, not for self-importance:
We must strive to provide for those (persons) who are gifted the possibility of pursuing higher studies; and in such a way that, as far as possible, they may occupy in society those duties, offices and services which are in harmony with their natural aptitude and the competence they have acquired.(11. John XXIII, encyclical letter Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 (1963), p. 260.) Thus each (person) and the social groups of every people will be able to attain the full development of their culture in conformity with their qualities and traditions.
Everything must be done to make everyone conscious of the right to culture and the duty (one) has of developing (one)self culturally and of helping others. Sometimes there exist conditions of life and of work which impede the cultural striving of (people) and destroy in them the eagerness for culture. This is especially true of farmers and workers. It is necessary to provide for them those working conditions which will not impede their human culture but rather favor it. Women now work in almost all spheres. It is fitting that they are able to assume their proper role in accordance with their own nature. It will belong to all to acknowledge and favor the proper and necessary participation of women in the cultural life.