Gaudium et Spes 6

Returning to the lengthy introduction of Gaudium et Spes, we tune in on a further assessment of sociological realities in the world of the 60’s, which is, as GS 5 put it, “more dynamic and revolutionary.” Even though they hadn’t yet coined the Information Age back then, it’s largely applicable today:

By this very circumstance, the traditional local communities such as families, clans, tribes, villages, various groups and associations stemming from social contacts, experience more thorough changes every day.

The industrial type of society is gradually being spread, leading some nations to economic affluence, and radically transforming ideas and social conditions established for centuries.
Likewise, the cult and pursuit of city living has grown, either because of a multiplication of cities and their inhabitants, or by a transplantation of city life to rural settings.
It’s intensified, to be sure.

New and more efficient media of social communication are contributing to the knowledge of events; by setting off chain reactions they are giving the swiftest and widest possible circulation to styles of thought and feeling.

They’re not talking about the internet, but they could be.

It is also noteworthy how many (people) are being induced to migrate on various counts, and are thereby changing their manner of life. Thus a (person’s) ties with (others) are constantly being multiplied, and at the same time “socialization” brings further ties, without however always promoting appropriate personal development and truly personal relationships.

I think they’re talking about more than one-night-stands. Off the top of my head, the impact of multi-nationals on local culture (not just the economy). I’m also thinking of the migration of workers to First World jobs and the geographical break-up of families, often encouraged by governments, including our own. Most clearly felt among mainstream Americans would be the loss of neighborhood communities. (Somehow, the housing association telling you what you can’t plant in your yard doesn’t strike me as “truly personal.”)

This kind of evolution can be seen more clearly in those nations which already enjoy the conveniences of economic and technological progress, though it is also astir among peoples still striving for such progress and eager to secure for themselves the advantages of an industrialized and urbanized society. These peoples, especially those among them who are attached to older traditions, are simultaneously undergoing a movement toward more mature and personal exercise of liberty.

And it must be said this exercise of maturity and liberty is not always in the interests of political and economic forces, even American ones.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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