Pacem In Terris 31-33: Mutual Collaboration

If one person’s rights become another’s duty to defend, it follows that human mutuality extends from family members and friends to neighbors and acquaintances, and beyond:

31. Since (human beings) are social by nature, they must live together and consult each other’s interests. That (they) should recognize and perform their respective rights and duties is imperative to a well ordered society. But the result will be that … individual(s) will make (their) whole-hearted contribution to the creation of a civic order in which rights and duties are ever more diligently and more effectively observed.

Free societies are more effective in developing that cultural spirit of duty to the betterment of all.

32. For example, it is useless to admit that a (person) has a right to the necessities of life, unless we also do all in our power to supply (her or) him with means sufficient for (a) livelihood.

This goes beyond the “rights” listed in law. It must include a sense of duty and responsibility on the part of the powerful, be those powers in government, in business, in celebrity, in community leadership, and among all the wealthy. The mark of a truly free society: do all cooperate to fashion an environment in which all people have the basic necessities to create a rich life? This has not been true in the United States for all.

33. Hence society must not only be well ordered, it must also provide (people) with abundant resources. This postulates not only the mutual recognition and fulfillment of rights and duties, but also the involvement and collaboration of all (people) in the many enterprises which our present civilization makes possible, encourages or indeed demands.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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