52. It is certainly all right to maintain bilateral and multilateral agreements. Through such agreements, ties of dependence and feelings of jealousy—holdovers from the era of colonialism —give way to friendly relationships of true solidarity that are based on juridical and political equality. But such agreements would be free of all suspicion if they were integrated into an overall policy of worldwide collaboration. The member nations, who benefit from these agreements, would have less reason for fear or mistrust. They would not have to worry that financial or technical assistance was being used as a cover for some new form of colonialism that would threaten their civil liberty, exert economic pressure on them, or create a new power group with controlling influence.
Sadly, we are likely farther away from this possibility today than we were in 1967. The racist underpinnings of colonialism are still present, persistent pop-ups from the local level to the world scene.
53. Is it not plain to everyone that such a fund would reduce the need for those other expenditures that are motivated by fear and stubborn pride? Countless millions are starving, countless families are destitute, countless men are steeped in ignorance; countless people need schools, hospitals, and homes worthy of the name. In such circumstances, we cannot tolerate public and private expenditures of a wasteful nature; we cannot but condemn lavish displays of wealth by nations or individuals; we cannot approve a debilitating arms race. It is Our solemn duty to speak out against them. If only world leaders would listen to Us, before it is too late!
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.