It’s the start of a new chapter for the Pastoral Constitution: “(Human) Activity Throughout the World.” This is the last chapter before the Church turns to its own role. After that, particular issues will be covered in the last half of Gaudium et Spes.
Through (their) labors and (their) native endowments (humankind) has ceaselessly striven to better (their) life. Today, however, especially with the help of science and technology, (they have) extended (their) mastery over nearly the whole of nature and continues to do so. Thanks to increased opportunities for many kinds of social contact among nations, a human family is gradually recognizing that it comprises a single world community and is making itself so. Hence many benefits once looked for, especially from heavenly powers, (humankind) has now enterprisingly procured for (themselves).
A straightforward assessment of the improvement of the material situation for the world’s people–many of them, at any rate.
In the face of these immense efforts which already preoccupy the whole human race, (people) agitate numerous questions among themselves. What is the meaning and value of this feverish activity? How should all these things be used? To the achievement of what goal are the strivings of individuals and societies heading? The Church guards the heritage of God’s word and draws from it moral and religious principles without always having at hand the solution to particular problems. As such she desires to add the light of revealed truth to mankind’s store of experience, so that the path which humanity has taken in recent times will not be a dark one.
Nothing surprising here. Human progress can only find meaning in light of God. The Church admits answers are not always forthcoming, but faith would tell us the search for the truth lies not exclusively in human betterment, but in the heritage of faith.