Populorum Progressio 9: Signs of Social Unrest

9. At the same time, social unrest has gradually spread throughout the world.

When people are oppressed and powerless, they lash out. I know some of my friends marveled at the looting and violence in some cities last year. Why were they surprised? They don’t own the buildings, run the businesses, or have a stake. You can bet if a mall or upscale store were targeted, white police would protect it right quick.

The acute restlessness engulfing the poorer classes in countries that are now being industrialized has spread to other regions where agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The farmer is painfully aware of his “wretched lot.” (Rerum Novarum 11)

Third World corruption prev ents many wonderful, rich, and blessed nations from enjoying some of the benefits enjoyed in Europe and North America.

Then there are the flagrant inequalities not merely in the enjoyment of possessions, but even more in the exercise of power. In certain regions a privileged minority enjoys the refinements of life, while the rest of the inhabitants, impoverished and disunited, “are deprived of almost all possibility of acting on their own initiative and responsibility, and often subsist in living and working conditions unworthy of the human person.” (Gaudium et Spes 63)

CC BY 2.5, The image is of Lady Justice at the Central Criminal Court of London.

About catholicsensibility

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