Gaudium et Spes 31

Gaudium et Spes 31 approves of education, social service, and civic involvement. We need great souls, too. Isn’t it the truth?

In order for individual(s) to discharge with greater exactness the obligations of their conscience toward themselves and the various group to which they belong, they must be carefully educated to a higher degree of culture through the use of the immense resources available today to the human race. Above all the education of youth from every social background has to be undertaken, so that there can be produced not only men and women of refined talents, but those great-souled persons who are so desperately required by our times.

The Council bishops are biased in favor of people of destiny. Heaven knows we need more such people, but I don’t think this emphasis necessarily excludes the millions of quiet souls who work in their own small way for the Reign of God.

Now a (person) can scarcely arrive at the needed sense of responsibility, unless … living conditions allow him (or her) to become conscious of his (or her) dignity, and to rise to destiny by spending him (or her-)self for God and for others. But human freedom is often crippled when (people) encounter extreme poverty just as it withers when (they) indulge in too many of life’s comforts and imprison (themselves) in a kind of splendid isolation. Freedom acquires new strength, by contrast, when (people) consent to the unavoidable requirements of social life, take on the manifold demands of human partnership, and commit (themselves) to the service of the human community.

The Church is clearly saying we need to encourage a strong, public witness. Now more than ever.

Hence, the will to play one’s role in common endeavors should be everywhere encouraged. Praise is due to those national procedures which allow the largest possible number of citizens to participate in public affairs with genuine freedom. Account must be taken, to be sure, of the actual conditions of each people and the decisiveness required by public authority. If every citizen is to feel inclined to take part in the activities of the various groups which make up the social body, these must offer advantages which will attract members and dispose them to serve others. We can justly consider that the future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping.



About catholicsensibility

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