71. We certainly rejoice over the fact that an ever increasing number of experts are being sent on development missions by private groups, bilateral associations and international organizations. These specialists must not “act as overlords, but as helpers and fellow workers.” (Gaudium et Spes 85)
I totally get this perspective. I have a missionary friend who is quite firm about this in his expectations of visitors. Before an untenable situation in a Central American nation, I had hoped to lead a small group of musicians there. I had framed the visit as a cultural exchange. What could I offer? Some skilled artists and some recording equipment and the hope we could bring back music from our sister community. It would still be nice to do that someday.
The people of a country soon discover whether their new helpers are motivated by good will or not, whether they want to enhance human dignity or merely try out their special techniques. The expert’s message will surely be rejected by these people if it is not inspired by (familial) love.
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.