Populorum Progressio 24: The Common Good

Wow, for a European to utter something like this …

24. If certain landed estates impede the general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.

To be sure, these standards are explicitly Christian. Obviously not all wealthy persons in the world are Christians. Sometimes those who profess belief are not Christian in action or in intellectual understanding.

Vatican II affirms this emphatically. (Gaudium et Spes 71) At the same time it clearly teaches that income thus derived is not for (a person’s) capricious use, and that the exclusive pursuit of personal gain is prohibited.

Note here: Pope Paul is writing about people who chase after personal profit to the exclusion of anything else. This includes evasion of taxes, even if legal:

Consequently, it is not permissible for citizens who have garnered sizeable income from the resources and activities of their own nation to deposit a large portion of their income in foreign countries for the sake of their own private gain alone, taking no account of their country’s interests; in doing this, they clearly wrong their country. (Ibid. 65)

This encyclical letter is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana, and can be found in its entirety at this link.

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.
This entry was posted in Populorum Progressio, social justice. Bookmark the permalink.

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