Gaudium et Spes 65

Gaudium et Spes continues on the theme of economics …

Economic development must remain under (human) determination and must not be left to the judgment of a few (people) or groups possessing too much economic power or of the political community alone or of certain more powerful nations. It is necessary, on the contrary, that at every level the largest possible number of people and, when it is a question of international relations, all nations have an active share in directing that development.

A natural democratic principle is applied here. Too often, the political sphere is the limit at which American democracy ends. In the worst of the modern world’s situations, have we conceded an economic feudalism to the large corporations of our day?

There is need as well of the coordination and fitting and harmonious combination of the spontaneous efforts of individuals and of free groups with the undertakings of public authorities. Growth is not to be left solely to a kind of mechanical course of the economic activity of individuals, nor to the authority of government. For this reason, doctrines which obstruct the necessary reforms under the guise of a false liberty, and those which subordinate the basic rights of individual persons and groups to the collective organization of production must be shown to be erroneous. (4. Cf. Leo XIII, encyclical letter Libertas, in Acta Leonis XIII, t. VIII, p. 220 ff; Pius XI, encyclical letter Quadragesimo Anno: AAS 23 (1931), p. 191 ff; Pius XI, encyclical letter Divini Redemptoris: AAS 39 (1937), p. 65 ff; Pius XII, Nuntius natalicius 1941: AAS 34 (1942), p. 10 ff: John XXIII, encyclical letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), pp. 401-464.)

Reiterating again that economics serve society, not the other way around, and that economics must be guided by a wider sphere of influence than business and political leaders to be authentically moral and beneficial to society as a whole.

Citizens, on the other hand, should remember that it is their right and duty, which is also to be recognized by the civil authority, to contribute to the true progress of their own community according to their ability. Especially in underdeveloped areas, where all resources must urgently be employed, those who hold back their unproductive resources or who deprive their community of the material or spiritual aid that it needs-saving the personal right of migration-gravely endanger the common good.

Ceding easy control to authorities is wrong. Again, participation of citizens in the formation of the economy is not only a right, but also a responsibility.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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