Pacem In Terris 57-59: The Spiritual Good

Today in Pacem in Terris, a word first to clergy:

57. In this connection, We would draw the attention of Our own sons to the fact that the common good is something which affects the needs of the whole (person), body and soul. That, then, is the sort of good which rulers of States must take suitable measure to ensure. They must respect the hierarchy of values, and aim at achieving the spiritual as well as the material prosperity of their subjects.(Cf. Pius XII’s encyclical letter Summi Pontificatus, AAS 31 (1939) 433)

This is a concern not only of bishops and priests, but of all believers. Do we have each other’s back, spiritually speaking?

58. These principles are clearly contained in that passage in Our encyclical Mater et Magistra where We emphasized that the common good “must take account of all those social conditions which favor the full development of human personality.(AAS 53 (1961) 417)

59. Consisting, as (they do), of body and immortal soul, (people) cannot in this mortal life satisfy (their) needs or attain perfect happiness. Thus, the measures that are taken to implement the common good must not jeopardize (their) eternal salvation; indeed, they must even help (them) to obtain it.(Cf. Pius XI’s encyclical letter Quadragesimo anno, AAS 23 (1931) 215)

Salvation is a gift from God, a gift to which the human person must respond. The common good cannot insist on saving people, but we can perceive that public social and cultural factors can work against salvation. This is gravely sinful matter, to attempt to thwart God’s purpose and invitation. Ultimately, people must be free to travel the path of faith. It’s likely a greater good than life itself.

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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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