Populorum Progressio 41: Avoiding Past Temptations

41. The poorer nations can never be too much on guard against the temptation posed by the wealthier nations.

Hmm. Perhaps. Predation by wealthier nations and economic interests is a far greater danger.

For these nations, with their favorable results from a highly technical and culturally developed civilization, provide an example of work and diligence with temporal prosperity the main pursuit.

Sometimes. But the example is also a lack of culture which has been replaced with the sins of greed and exploitation. I’d also have to take exception with the notion that hard work has always resulted in development. Much of the First World’s achievements would have been far more difficult without the forced cooperation of people of color.

Not that temporal prosperity of itself precludes the activity of the human spirit. Indeed, with it, “the human spirit, being less subjected to material things, can be more easily drawn to the worship and contemplation of the Creator.” (Gaudium et Spes 57) On the other hand, “modern civilization itself often complicates the approach to God, not for any essential reason, but because it is so much engrossed in worldly affairs . ” (Ibid. 19)

All that said, there is good advice here, though it comes from one of the traditional centers of worldy affairs, Rome:

The developing nations must choose wisely from among the things that are offered to them. They must test and reject false values that would tarnish a truly human way of life, while accepting noble and useful values in order to develop them in their own distinctive way, along with their own indigenous heritage.

Pope Francis has certainly written of this often.

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.
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