When Pope Paul VI wrote of ties with all, he wasn’t thinking only of human beings who live in the world now, but people who came before us as well as those who will follow.
17. Each man (or woman) is also a member of society; (and) hence … belongs to the community of (humankind). It is not just certain individuals but all (persons) who are called to further the development of human society as a whole. Civilizations spring up, flourish and die. As the waves of the sea gradually creep farther and farther in along the shoreline, so the human race inches its way forward through history.
We are the heirs of earlier generations, and we reap benefits from the efforts of our contemporaries; we are under obligation to all (people). Therefore we cannot disregard the welfare of those who will come after us to increase the human family. The reality of human solidarity brings us not only benefits but also obligations.
A message needed more than ever, especially in the face of conservatives, libertarians, and rapture Christians who seem more than satisfied to abandon any pretense of stewardship or provision for the future.
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