Pacem In Terris 149-150: Apostolate of a Trained Laity

Picking up on 147-148, these two sections continue the case for what Pope John terms an “apostolate” in the workplace:

149. And yet even this must be reckoned insufficient to bring the relationships of daily life into conformity with a more human standard, based, as it must be, on truth, tempered by justice, motivated by mutual love, and holding fast to the practice of freedom.

This is an excellent checklist for any lay person. Let’s bullet it:

  • based on truth
  • tempered by justice
  • motivated by love
  • holding fast to freedom

It strikes me that if young people had these four points in mind when considering a career, or when beginning one, they would be well-served. It should be clear early on if a believer were hampered by one or more of these.

It also seems that our moral dilemmas on the job could be lensed through this checklist as well. For example: we will sell a wedding cake to two dogs, but not to two people of the same sex. Is there a truth to that approach? Is it just or loving? Does it recognize human freedom? And responsibility–what of that?

150. If these policies are really to become operative, (people) must first of all take the utmost care to conduct their various temporal activities in accordance with the laws which govern each and every such activity, observing the principles which correspond to their respective natures. Secondly, (people’s) actions must be made to conform with the precepts of the moral order. This means that their behavior must be such as to reflect their consciousness of exercising a personal right or performing a personal duty. Reason has a further demand to make. In obedience to the providential designs and commands of God respecting our salvation and neglecting the dictates of conscience, (people) must conduct themselves in their temporal activity in such a way as to effect a thorough integration of the principal spiritual values with those of science, technology and the professions.

Believers, then, are challenged to apply basic principles. But is our witness in the world an ordinary one, or does it aspire to the extraordinary? Do we integrate Christian values into our professional lives? Unspoken here might be the need to gather like-minded colleagues and find ways to do it together.

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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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