Populorum Progressio 34: The Ultimate Purpose

Material wealth really must be accompanied by progress of people in their cultures.

34. Organized programs designed to increase productivity should have but one aim: to serve human nature. They should reduce inequities, eliminate discrimination, free (people) from the bonds of servitude, and thus give them the capacity, in the sphere of temporal realities, to improve their lot, to further their moral growth and to develop their spiritual endowments. When we speak of development, we should mean social progress as well as economic growth.

These are errors:

It is not enough to increase the general fund of wealth and then distribute it more fairly. It is not enough to develop technology so that the earth may become a more suitable living place for human beings.

A prediction on harm to come, from the perspective of 1967:

The mistakes of those who led the way should help those now on the road to development to avoid certain dangers. The reign of technology—technocracy, as it is called—can cause as much harm to the world of tomorrow as liberalism did to the world of yesteryear. Economics and technology are meaningless if they do not benefit (people), for it is (people) they are to serve. (We are) truly human only if (we are) the master of (our) own actions and the judge of their worth, only if (we are) the architect(s) of (our) own progress. (People) must act according to (their) God-given nature, freely accepting its potentials and its claims upon him.

It doesn’t seem like we’ve had enough progress on this point. Many aspects of the 20th century have continued to pollute the human race of the 21st.

This encyclical letter is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana, and can be found in its entirety at this linkCC BY 2.5, 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.
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