Populorum Progressio 54: Dialogue Between Nations

Pope Paul VI advocated “Dialogue Between Nations.” He references an encyclical letter he penned between the second and third sessions of Vatican II. While most of that document dealt with the Church and how it functions in the modern world, good advice to nations was offered, too:

54. All nations must initiate the dialogue which We called for in Our first encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam. (56) A dialogue between those who contribute aid and those who receive it will permit a well-balanced assessment of the support to be provided, taking into consideration not only the generosity and the available wealth of the donor nations, but also the real needs of the receiving countries and the use to which the financial assistance can be put.

In the Old Testament, a Jubilee was declared twice a century. Moving in that direction might not be a hindrance in the world of 1967 or 2021.

Developing countries will thus no longer risk being overwhelmed by debts whose repayment swallows up the greater part of their gains. Rates of interest and time for repayment of the loan could be so arranged as not to be too great a burden on either party, taking into account free gifts, interest-free or low-interest loans, and the time needed for liquidating the debts.

The donors could certainly ask for assurances as to how the money will be used. It should be used for some mutually acceptable purpose and with reasonable hope of success, for there is no question of backing idlers and parasites.

Sometimes the idle position is taken by those who seek to earn a profit without actually working–and I mean the lenders.

On the other hand, the recipients would certainly have the right to demand that no one interfere in the internal affairs of their government or disrupt their social order. As sovereign nations, they are entitled to manage their own affairs, to fashion their own policies, and to choose their own form of government. In other words, what is needed is mutual cooperation among nations, freely undertaken, where each enjoys equal dignity and can help to shape a world community truly worthy of (humankind).

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

Image credit: 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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