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- Social inequality in the evolution of human societies
- Democracy in America - Wikipedia
Surveillance of all kinds is the future for AI. It is not benign if not controlled! If the holes punched in macro-scale organizational systems are not explicitly addressed and repaired, there will be increased pressures on everyday people as they face not only the problems of navigating an unfamiliar new technology landscape themselves, but also the systemic failure of institutions they rely on that have failed to adapt. My hope is that technology would be used to improve the quality of living, not supplant it. Much of the AI innovation is simply clogging our senses, stealing our time, increasing the channels and invasion of adverts.
This has destroyed our phones, filled our mailboxes and crowded our email. No product is worth that level of incursion. Many problems will be solved, but many jobs are going to disappear, and there may be more poor people as a result. Will we see life extension? Maybe, and maybe not, because our dependence on technology may also be destructive to our health. As always, technology outpaces our ability to understand its ramifications so as to properly govern its use.
I have no reason to believe that we will have caught up by As AI systems become more complex and are given increasingly important roles in the functioning of day-to-day life, we should ask ourselves what are we teaching our artificial digital children? If we conceive and raise them in a world of individual self-interest, will they just strengthen these existing, and often oppressive, systems of capitalist competition?
Or could they go their own way, aspiring to a life of entrepreneurship to collaboration? Worse yet, will they see the reverence we hold for empires and seek to build their own through conquest? AI will produce many advantages for many people, but it will also exacerbate many forms of inequality in society. Peter Asaro. It is likely to benefit a small group who design and control the technology greatly, benefit a fairly larger group of the already well-off in many ways, but also potentially harm them in other ways, and for the vast majority of people in the world it will offer few visible benefits and be perceived primarily as a tool of the wealthy and powerful to enhance their wealth and power.
It is this debate that will contribute to the ethical and moral dimensions of AI, hopefully inspiring a society-wide discussion on what we want from tech and how we will take responsibility for that desire. If the code is flawed, the end product reflects those flaws. I have little confidence that AI can incorporate any and every real-world scenario, even with likely developments in machine learning. As AI expands in scope and reach, defects will have ever increasing impacts, largely on the negative side of the ledger.
Especially problematic will be the level of complexity created for the less competent notably the elderly as is evident with taxation and banking systems — issues to which sysadmins are indifferent. For some it will be a boon — proactive companions whether for quality dialogue or sex. Sysadmins will build in unfortunate biases. Missing will be the enabling of interdisciplinarity — as has long been possible but carefully designed out for the most dubious divide-and-rule reasons. Blinkered approaches and blind spots will set the scene for unexpected disasters — currently deniably incomprehensible Black Swan effect.
Advantages for governance will be questionable. Better oversight will be dubiously enabled. In other words, more and deeper surveillance will be used to determine who is a good citizen purchaser, employee, student, etc. While this might possibly introduce a measure of safety in some applications, the impact of fear that comes with unconscious awareness of surveillance will have a severe impact on creativity and innovation.
We need that creativity as we address massive problems in climate change and reversing environmental impacts, so I tend to be pessimistic about outcomes. These companies are likely to appropriate the majority of advances in AI technology — and they are unlikely to spread the benefit of these advances throughout society. The advance of AI technologies is just going to continue this trend, unless quite draconian political changes are effected that bring transnational companies under proper democratic control.
If AI in things like Facebook algorithms is causing this much trouble now, what does the future hold? Self-regulation by industry has already been shown to fail e. Government agencies are lagging in their will and understanding of the implications of the technology to effectively implement guidelines to curtail the impacts of unforeseen circumstances. As such, government participation will be reactive to the changes that the technology will bring.
My greatest fear is a reliance on faulty algorithms that absolve responsibility while failing to account for exceptions. There will be a greater wealth gap, benefits will not spread to all and a caste system will develop, unless a new social compact is put in place, which is unlikely. Widespread revolt is plausible.
Mistaken identifications will put innocent people in jail and even execute them with no hope of appeal. In general, AI will only have a positive contribution in truly democratic states, which are dwindling in number. That needs fixing for everyone to gain the best from AI. If we do not act to properly regulate the use of AI we will not be able to interrogate the ways that AI decision-making is constructed or audit them to ensure their decisions are indeed fair.
Decisions may also be made even more than today based on a vast array of collected data and if we are not careful we will be unable to control the flows of information about us used to make those decisions or to correct misunderstandings or errors which can follow us around indefinitely. Imagine being subject to repeated document checks as you travel around the country because you know a number of people who are undocumented immigrants and your movements therefore fit the profile of an illegal immigrant. It should be spiffy for the special people with wealth and power, though.
Watching how machines are created to ensure addiction to deliver ads is a reminder that profit-driven exploitation always comes first. The push for driverless cars, too, is a push for increased profits. It depends on the law, market structure and who wields political power.
In the present era of extreme inequality and climate catastrophe, I expect technologies to be used by employers to make individual workers more isolated and contingent, by apps to make users more addicted on a second-by-second basis, and by governments for surveillance and increasingly strict border control.
Eugene H. For the rest of us, I anticipate that AI will help the wealthy and empowered people to surveil us, to manipulate us, and in some cases to control us or even imprison us. For those of us who do not have the skills to jump to the AI-related jobs, I think we will find employment scarce and without protections. In my view, AI will be a mixed and intersectional blessing at best.
Michael H. For the rest we will see an increasing arms race between uses of control, destructive anarchism, racism, etc. Organizations and states will seek more control to block internal or external attacks of many sorts. For example, a parole or sentencing AI probably would find a correlation between growing up in a single parent household and likelihood of committing another crime.
Confounding variables, like the poverty of so many single mothers, need to be understood and dealt with. In addition, the algorithms that control usage of such data are becoming more and more complex leading to inevitable distortions. But because AI can be used anywhere we can recognize patterns, the potential uses for artificial intelligence are pretty huge. The question is, how will it be used? If Amazon fails to correctly suggest the right product in the future, everything is fine. You bought a backpack once, and now Amazon thinks you want more backpacks, forever. But sometimes these decisions have enormous stakes.
Likewise, hospitals using IBM Watson to make predictions about cancer treatments find the software often gives advice that humans would not. To mitigate harm in high-stakes situations, we must critically interrogate how our assumptions about our data and the rules that we use to create our AI promote harm. This will only happen though if the technologies are deployed in a way in which benefits all.
My fear is that in non-democratic countries, AI will lessen freedom, choice and hope. To understand, influence and micro-target people in order to try get them to vote a certain way is deeply undemocratic. Furthermore, and related, the capabilities of mass dataveillance in private and public spaces is ever-expanding, and their uptake in states with weak civil society organs and minimal privacy regulation is troubling.
But moving a decision such as health care or workplace performance to AI turns it into a data-driven decision driven by optimization of some function, which in turn demands more data. Adopting AI-driven insurance ratings, for example, demands more and more lifestyle data from the insured if it is to produce accurate overall ratings.
Optimized data-driven decisions about our lives unavoidably require surveillance, and once our lifestyle choices become input for such decisions we lose individual autonomy. In some cases we can ignore this data collection, but we are in the early days of AI-driven decisions: By I fear the loss will be much greater. I do hope I am wrong. Deploying such systems uncritically will only result in an aggregately worse situation for many individuals, whilst a comparatively small number benefit.
Democratic governments that enforce intelligent regulations as the European Union has done on privacy may offer the best hope. Unfortunately it is most likely that AI will be deployed in ways that deepen existing structural inequality along lines of race, class, gender, ability and so on.
Sasha Costanza-Chock. A small portion of humanity will benefit greatly from AI, while the vast majority will experience AI through constraints on life chances. For example, applications are usually invented to target the developed-world market. They may not work appropriately for countries like ours — small islands separated by big waters. Following the typical winner-takes-all scenario the internet is known to produce, I expect that different realms of the internet will become even less transparent and more manipulative. For the vast majority of people especially in non-democracies there already is little real choice but to move and push along with the masses.
I actively work to reduce my dependence on internet-connected devices and the amount of data that is collected about me and my family. Instead, AI is most benefitting those with the most power. However, those capabilities will be available in contexts already framed by powerful companies and states. No real freedom. For the good and for the bad. But at the same time, there is an enormous potential for widening inequality and for abuse. We can see the tip of this iceberg now with health insurance companies today scooping up readily available, poorly protected third-party data that will be used to discriminate.
In some cases, this will [be] a generic service sold to the general public much as we now have route-planning software in GPS units , and this will provide a definite benefit to consumers. In other cases, software will operate to the benefit of a large company but to the detriment of consumers for example, calculating a price for a product that will be the highest that a given customer is prepared to pay.
In yet a third category, software will provide effective decision-making in areas ranging from medicine to engineering, but will do so at the cost of putting human beings out of work. My biggest concern is responsible gathering of information and its use. Information can be abused in many ways as we are seeing today. Without algorithmic transparency and transparency into training data, AIs can be bent to any purpose.
Many of these experts say new jobs will emerge along with the growth of AI just as they have historically during nearly every human transition to new tools. There is more employment today than ever in history. Automation expands the demand for services, thereby raising employment, which is what has happened at Amazon and FedEx.
My position is contrary to those who believe that robots and artificial intelligence will lead to widespread unemployment. Robert D. AI has the potential to play an important role in boosting productivity and living standards. Yet many others disagree. In a more-just world, AI could bring about utopias. However, many forces are shoving us in the opposite direction. The precariat will grow. Unlike previous technological jumps, this one unemploys people more quickly than we can retrain and reemploy them.
On the other hand, over the course of a couple of generations, starting in the not-too-distant future we will see major shifts in work force with not just blue-collar jobs, but also many white-collar jobs lost. Few will reap meaningful benefits. Large entities will use AI to deliver marginal improvements in service to their clients, at the cost of requiring more data and risking errors. Employment trends from computerization will continue. AI will threaten medium-skill jobs. Instead of relying on human expertise and context knowledge, many tasks will be handled directly by clients using AI interfaces or by lower-skilled people in service jobs, boosted by AI.
AI will harm some consumers. For instance, rich consumers will benefit from self-driving cars, while others must pay to retrofit existing cars to become more visible to the AI. Through legal maneuvering, self-driving car companies will avoid many insurance costs and risks, shifting them to human drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. In education, creating high quality automated instruction requires expertise and money. Research on American K classrooms suggests that typical computer-aided instruction yields better test scores than instruction by the worst teachers.
By , most AI used in education will be of middling quality for some, their best alternative. The children of the rich and powerful will not have AI used on them at school; instead, they will be taught to use it. For AI to significantly benefit the majority, it must be deployed in emergency health care where quicker lab work, reviews of medical histories or potential diagnoses can save lives or in aid work say, to coordinate shipping of expiring food or medicines from donors to recipients in need.
I also see the potential for a much worse outcome in which the productivity gains produced by technology accrue almost entirely to a few, widening the gap between the rich and poor while failing to address the social ills related to privacy. But if we can find a way to ensure that these benefits are shared equally among the population, it might yet prove to be the case that the overall effect of the technology is beneficial to humanity. This will only happen, however, if we manage to limit the role of the rich in determining how the fruits of increased productivity will be allocated.
People will require training for this future — educational and technological development. Without proper education and policies, they will not have access to wealth. The result may be a multitude of hungry and desperate people. This may be motivation for wars or invasion of borders. Future human-machine interaction AI will only be positive if richer countries develop policies to help poorer countries to develop and gain access to work and wealth. This may create disruption to society, some of which we have already seen with Trump, Brexit, etc.
Also, AI is politically powerful and empowers the people and governments that own it. Thus, it may increase inequality and enhance authoritarianism. Humans with higher levels of intellect can survive this age, and those on the lower ends of spectrum of mental acumen would be rendered unnecessary. Hassaan Idrees. People will not need to see their physicians in person, their automated doctors making this irrelevant. Similarly, routine workplace activities like data processing and financial number crunching would be performed by AI.
The aim of AI in such countries should be to add skill to the labor force rather than supplant them. Inequality is high and growing. Too many companies deny their employees a chance to work with dignity, whether it be through providing them meaningful things to do, or with the basic means to live. AI will be placed on top of that existing structure.
Those who already have dignified work with a basic income will see that enhanced; those who are routinely infantilized or denied basic rights will see that amplified. Some may slip into that latter category because their work is more easily replaced by AI and machine learning. Jonathan Swerdloff , consultant and data systems specialist for Driven Inc.
While AI has the ability to augment professionals and to make decisions, I have three concerns which make me believe it will not leave us better off by This does not address fears that anything run via AI could be hacked and changed by bad faith third parties. As AI as currently conceived only knows what it is taught, the seed sets for teaching must be thought out in detail before the tools are deployed.
Unless the cost for developing AI drops precipitously — and it may, since one AI tool could be leveraged into building further less expensive AI tools — access to whatever advantages the tools will bring will likely be clustered among a few beneficiaries. I view this akin to high frequency trading on Wall Street. Those who can, do. If AI is deployed to make civic or corporate decisions, those who control the algorithms control everything. In the U. Stuart A.
People who do not use them will be increasingly disconnected from opportunities. As the digital world becomes more complicated and remote from real-world experiences, the need will grow for people and software to make connections. There will be a need for methods to distinguish the real world from the scam world. Panagiotis T. This wealth will not be distributed evenly, increasing the financial gap between the top small percentage of people and the rest.
Even though this wealth will not be distributed evenly, the relatively small share given to the vast majority of people will be enough to improve their condition. They may not feel better off if they were aware of the inequalities compared to the top beneficiaries, but they will not be aware of them due to controlled propaganda. Unfortunately, there will not be much they could do about the increased inequalities. Technologies of police enforcement by robots and lack of private communication will make it impossible for them to organize, complain or push for change.
They will not be valued as workers, citizens or soldiers. The desire for democracy as we know it today will be coming to an end. Many will feel depressed, but medical products will make it easy for them to increase pleasure and decrease pain. From the experience of the UN work on Millennium Development Goals, while there has been improvement with the quality of life generally, low- and middle-income countries still suffer disparate inequalities.
This will likely lead to governance problems. In any case, governments in these countries are investing heavily in surveillance which will likely have more negative effects on society. Facebook gave us the ability to stay in touch with everyone but sacrificed its integrity and our personal information in pursuit of the dollar.
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The promise that our medical records would be digitized and more easily shared and drive costs down still has not materialized on a global scale. The chief drivers of AI innovation and application will be for-profit companies who have shown that their altruism only extends to their bottom lines. Like most innovations, I expect AI to leave our poor even poorer and our rich even richer, increasing the numbers of the former while consolidating power and wealth in an ever-shrinking group of currently rich people. AI will still be uneven in quality, and unevenly available throughout different parts of society.
So many people included comments and concerns about the future of jobs for humans in their wide-ranging responses to this canvassing that a later section of this report has more expert opinions on this topic. While these experts expect AI to augment humans in many positive ways, some are concerned that a deepening dependence upon machine-intelligence networks will diminish crucial human capabilities.
But convenience almost always comes at the cost of deskilling — of our offloading various cognitive practices and virtues to the machines and thereby our becoming less and less capable of exercising our own agency, autonomy and most especially our judgment phronesis. In particular, empathy and loving itself are virtues that are difficult to acquire and enhance.
My worst fears are not only severe degradation, perhaps more or less loss of such capacities — and, worst of all, our forgetting they even existed in the first place, along with the worlds they have made possible for us over most of our evolutionary and social history. In the latter case, as we layer new capabilities on older technologies if we forget how the older technology works we cannot fix it and layered systems may collapse, thrusting us back into a more-primitive time. Most individuals focus on how they personally use technology.
I love the fact that my typos are autocorrected, but I know how to spell all the words. I know how to construct a logical argument. That said, if the suicide epidemic we are witnessing continues to build and women continue to opt out of motherhood all bets are off.
I do think technology is at the core of both the pathology and choice. Unless people feel the pressure, institutionally or otherwise, to interact with each other, they — more often than not — choose not to interact. The lack of physical, embodied interaction is almost guaranteed to result in social loneliness and anomie, and associated problems such as suicide, a phenomenon already are on the rise in the United States.
Every expression of daily life, either civil or professional or familial or personal, will be diminished by the iron grip of AI on the fundamental realities of interpersonal communications. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles. Already the reliance on voice-to-text technology via smartphone interface diminishes the ability of people to write with skill and cogency. Yes, diagnostic medicine and assembly-line production and expanded educational curriculum will surely be enhanced by cyber-based, one-and-zero technologies, but at what cost to humanity?
As a social species that is built to live in communities, reductions in social interaction will lead to erosion of community and rise in stress and depression over time. There have been AI summers and AI winters. This is not an endless summer. This growing gap will decrease the capacity of sizable portions of the population to survive an outage of the technology.
This raises humanitarian and national-security concerns. Alper Dincel of T. We are going to have more interest in fiction than in reality. These issues will affect human brain development as a result. Starting afresh from faith in Christ c. A solid hope d.
Social inequality in the evolution of human societies
Index of references Analytical index. Apostolic Exhortation Ap. Letter Apostolic Letter c. Denzinger - A. Letter Encyclical Letter ibid. Migne q. Continuing to expound and update the rich patrimony of Catholic social doctrine, Pope John Paul II has for his part published three great Encyclicals — Laborem Exercens , Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Centesimus Annus — that represent fundamental stages of Catholic thought in this area.
For their part, numerous Bishops in every part of the world have contributed in recent times to a deeper understanding of the Church's social doctrine. Numerous scholars on every continent have done the same. It was therefore hoped that a compendium of all this material should be compiled, systematically presenting the foundations of Catholic social doctrine. It is commendable that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has taken up this task, devoting intense efforts to this initiative in recent years. This work also shows the value of Catholic social doctrine as an instrument of evangelization cf.
Centesimus Annus , 54 , because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel. The principles of the Church's social doctrine, which are based on the natural law, are then seen to be confirmed and strengthened, in the faith of the Church, by the Gospel of Christ.
In this light, men and women are invited above all to discover themselves as transcendent beings, in every dimension of their lives, including those related to social, economic and political contexts. Faith brings to fullness the meaning of the family, which, founded on marriage between one man and one woman, constitutes the first and vital cell of society. It moreover sheds light on the dignity of work, which, as human activity destined to bring human beings to fulfilment, has priority over capital and confirms their rightful claim to share in the fruits that result from work.
In the present text we can see the importance of moral values, founded on the natural law written on every human conscience; every human conscience is hence obliged to recognize and respect this law. Humanity today seeks greater justice in dealing with the vast phenomenon of globalization; it has a keen concern for ecology and a correct management of public affairs; it senses the need to safeguard national consciences, without losing sight however of the path of law and the awareness of the unity of the human family.
The world of work, profoundly changed by the advances of modern technology, reveals extraordinary levels of quality, but unfortunately it must also acknowledge new forms of instability, exploitation and even slavery within the very societies that are considered affluent. In different areas of the planet the level of well-being continues to grow, but there is also a dangerous increase in the numbers of those who are becoming poor, and, for various reasons, the gap between less developed and rich countries is widening.
The free market, an economic process with positive aspects, is nonetheless showing its limitations. On the other hand, the preferential love for the poor represents a fundamental choice for the Church, and she proposes it to all people of good will. Contemporary cultural and social issues involve above all the lay faithful, who are called, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, to deal with temporal affairs and order them according to God's will cf.
Lumen Gentium , We can therefore easily understand the fundamental importance of the formation of the laity, so that the holiness of their lives and the strength of their witness will contribute to human progress. This document intends to help them in this daily mission. Moreover, it is interesting to note how the many elements brought together here are shared by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as by other Religions.
The text has been presented in such a way as to be useful not only from within ab intra , that is among Catholics, but also from outside ab extra. In fact, those who share the same Baptism with us, as well as the followers of other Religions and all people of good will, can find herein fruitful occasions for reflection and a common motivation for the integral development of every person and the whole person.
The Holy Father, while hoping that the present document will help humanity in its active quest for the common good, invokes God's blessings on those who will take the time to reflect on the teachings of this publication. In expressing my own personal good wishes for the success of this endeavour, I congratulate Your Eminence and your collaborators at the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace for the important work carried out, and with sentiments of respect I remain. I am pleased to present the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , which, according to the request received from the Holy Father, has been drawn up in order to give a concise but complete overview of the Church's social teaching.
Transforming social realities with the power of the Gospel, to which witness is borne by women and men faithful to Jesus Christ, has always been a challenge and it remains so today at the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era. For this very reason the men and women of our day have greater need than ever of the Gospel: of the faith that saves, of the hope that enlightens, of the charity that loves. The reading of these pages is suggested above all in order to sustain and foster the activity of Christians in the social sector, especially the activity of the lay faithful to whom this area belongs in a particular way; the whole of their lives must be seen as a work of evangelization that produces fruit.
This work, entrusted to me and now offered to those who will read it, carries therefore the seal of a great witness to the Cross who remained strong in faith in the dark and terrible years of Vietnam. This witness will know of our gratitude for all his precious labour, undertaken with love and dedication, and he will bless those who stop to reflect on these pages. I invoke the intercession of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer and Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron of the Universal Church and of Work, so that this text will bear abundant fruit in the life of society as an instrument for the proclamation of the Gospel, for justice and for peace.
At the dawn of the Third Millennium. Jn through which we passed during the Great Jubilee of the year . Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life cf. Jn : contemplating the Lord's face, we confirm our faith and our hope in him, the one Saviour and goal of history. The Church continues to speak to all people and all nations, for it is only in the name of Christ that salvation is given to men and women. At the dawn of this Third Millennium, the Church does not tire of proclaiming the Gospel that brings salvation and genuine freedom also to temporal realities.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. To the people of our time, her travelling companions, the Church also offers her social doctrine. Discovering that they are loved by God, people come to understand their own transcendent dignity, they learn not to be satisfied with only themselves but to encounter their neighbour in a network of relationships that are ever more authentically human.
They are people capable of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by man. Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain among themselves. This is the perspective that allows every person of good will to perceive the broad horizons of justice and human development in truth and goodness.
Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people. So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect.
Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely, if in addition to its traditional forms we think of its newer patterns. These latter often affect financially affluent sectors and groups which are nevertheless threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination And how can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity?
Or by the problems of peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars? Or by contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children? Christian love leads to denunciation, proposals and a commitment to cultural and social projects; it prompts positive activity that inspires all who sincerely have the good of man at heart to make their contribution. Humanity is coming to understand ever more clearly that it is linked by one sole destiny that requires joint acceptance of responsibility, a responsibility inspired by an integral and shared humanism.
It sees that this mutual destiny is often conditioned and even imposed by technological and economic factors, and it senses the need for a greater moral awareness that will guide its common journey.
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Marvelling at the many innovations of technology, the men and women of our day strongly desire that progress be directed towards the true good of the humanity, both of today and tomorrow. The significance of this document. The Christian knows that in the social doctrine of the Church can be found the principles for reflection, the criteria for judgment and the directives for action which are the starting point for the promotion of an integral and solidary humanism. It is in this light that the publication of a document providing the fundamental elements of the social doctrine of the Church, showing the relationship between this doctrine and the new evangelization , appeared to be so useful.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which has drawn up the present document and is fully responsible for its content, prepared the text in a broad-based consultation with its own Members and Consulters, with different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, with the Bishops' Conferences of various countries, with individual Bishops and with experts on the issues addressed. This document intends to present in a complete and systematic manner, even if by means of an overview, the Church's social teaching, which is the fruit of careful Magisterial reflection and an expression of the Church's constant commitment in fidelity to the grace of salvation wrought in Christ and in loving concern for humanity's destiny.
Herein the most relevant theological, philosophical, moral, cultural and pastoral considerations of this teaching are systematically presented as they relate to social questions. In this way, witness is borne to the fruitfulness of the encounter between the Gospel and the problems that mankind encounters on its journey through history.
In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority. Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved. The document limits itself to putting forth the fundamental elements of the Church's social doctrine, leaving to Episcopal Conferences the task of making the appropriate applications as required by the different local situations.
This document offers a complete overview of the fundamental framework of the doctrinal corpus of Catholic social teaching. This overview allows us to address appropriately the social issues of our day, which must be considered as a whole, since they are characterized by an ever greater interconnectedness, influencing one another mutually and becoming increasingly a matter of concern for the entire human family.
The exposition of the Church's social doctrine is meant to suggest a systematic approach for finding solutions to problems, so that discernment, judgment and decisions will correspond to reality, and so that solidarity and hope will have a greater impact on the complexities of current situations. These principles, in fact, are interrelated and shed light on one another mutually, insofar as they are an expression of Christian anthropology, fruits of the revelation of God's love for the human person.
However, it must not be forgotten that the passing of time and the changing of social circumstances will require a constant updating of the reflections on the various issues raised here, in order to interpret the new signs of the times. The document is presented as an instrument for the moral and pastoral discernment of the complex events that mark our time; as a guide to inspire, at the individual and collective levels, attitudes and choices that will permit all people to look to the future with greater trust and hope ; as an aid for the faithful concerning the Church's teaching in the area of social morality.
From this there can spring new strategies suited to the demands of our time and in keeping with human needs and resources. In short, the text is proposed as an incentive for dialogue with all who sincerely desire the good of mankind. This document is intended first of all for Bishops, who will determine the most suitable methods for making it known and for interpreting it correctly. Priests, men and women religious , and, in general, those responsible for formation will find herein a guide for their teaching and a tool for their pastoral service. Christian communities will be able to look to this document for assistance in analyzing situations objectively, in clarifying them in the light of the unchanging words of the Gospel, in drawing principles for reflection, criteria for judgment and guidelines for action.
This document is proposed also to the brethren of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, to the followers of other religions, as well as to all people of good will who are committed to serving the common good : may they receive it as the fruit of a universal human experience marked by countless signs of the presence of God's Spirit. It is a treasury of things old and new cf. It is a sign of hope in the fact that religions and cultures today show openness to dialogue and sense the urgent need to join forces in promoting justice, fraternity, peace and the growth of the human person.
The Catholic Church joins her own commitment to that made in the social field by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whether at the level of doctrinal reflection or at the practical level. Together with them, the Catholic Church is convinced that from the common heritage of social teachings preserved by the living tradition of the people of God there will come motivations and orientations for an ever closer cooperation in the promotion of justice and peace.
At the service of the full truth about man. Ex ; Jn and moves among them cf. By means of the present document, the Church intends to offer a contribution of truth to the question of man's place in nature and in human society, a question faced by civilizations and cultures in which expressions of human wisdom are found. Rooted in a past that is often thousands of years old and manifesting themselves in forms of religion, philosophy and poetic genius of every time and of every people, these civilizations and cultures offer their own interpretation of the universe and of human society, and seek an understanding of existence and of the mystery that surrounds it.
Who am I? Why is there pain, evil, death, despite all the progress that has been made? What is the value of so many accomplishments if the cost has been unbearable? What will there be after this life? These are the basic questions that characterize the course of human life. The direction that human existence, society and history will take depends largely on the answers given to the questions of man's place in nature and society; the purpose of the present document is to make a contribution to these answers.
The deepest meaning of human existence, in fact, is revealed in the free quest for that truth capable of giving direction and fullness to life. The aforementioned questions incessantly draw human intelligence and the human will to this quest. They are the highest expression of human nature, since they require a response that measures the depth of an individual's commitment to his own existence.
The fundamental questions accompanying the human journey from the very beginning take on even greater significance in our own day, because of the enormity of the challenges, the novelty of the situations and the importance of the decisions facing modern generations. The first of the great challenges facing humanity today is that of the truth itself of the being who is man. The boundary and relation between nature, technology and morality are issues that decisively summon personal and collective responsibility with regard to the attitudes to adopt concerning what human beings are, what they are able to accomplish and what they should be.
A second challenge is found in the understanding and management of pluralism and differences at every level: in ways of thinking, moral choices, culture, religious affiliation, philosophy of human and social development. The third challenge is globalization , the significance of which is much wider and more profound than simple economic globalization, since history has witnessed the opening of a new era that concerns humanity's destiny.
The disciples of Jesus Christ feel that they are involved with these questions; they too carry them within their hearts and wish to commit themselves, together with all men and women, to the quest for the truth and the meaning of life lived both as individual persons and as a society.
They contribute to this quest by their generous witness to the free and extraordinary gift that humanity has received : God has spoken his Word to men and women throughout history; indeed he himself has entered history in order to enter into dialogue with humanity and to reveal to mankind his plan of salvation, justice and brotherhood. In Jesus Christ, his Son made man, God has freed us from sin and has shown us the path we are to walk and the goal towards which we are to strive. The Church journeys along the roads of history together with all of humanity.
She lives in the world, and although not of the world cf. Jn she is called to serve the world according to her innermost vocation. This attitude, found also in the present document, is based on the deep conviction that just as it is important for the world to recognize the Church as a reality of history and a leaven in history, so too is it important for the Church to recognize what she has received from history and from the development of the human race.
The Church, the sign in history of God's love for mankind and of the vocation of the whole human race to unity as children of the one Father , intends with this document on her social doctrine to propose to all men and women a humanism that is up to the standards of God's plan of love in history, an integral and solidary humanism capable of creating a new social, economic and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice and solidarity. This humanism can become a reality if individual men and women and their communities are able to cultivate moral and social virtues in themselves and spread them in society.
Centesimus Annus , God's gratuitous presence.
Every authentic religious experience, in all cultural traditions, leads to an intuition of the Mystery that, not infrequently, is able to recognize some aspect of God's face. On the one hand, God is seen as the origin of what exists , as the presence that guarantees to men and women organized in a society the basic conditions of life, placing at their disposal the goods that are necessary. On the other hand, he appears as the measure of what should be , as the presence that challenges human action — both at the personal and at the social levels — regarding the use of those very goods in relation to other people.
In every religious experience, therefore, importance attaches to the dimension of gift and gratuitousness , which is seen as an underlying element of the experience that the human beings have of their existence together with others in the world, as well as to the repercussions of this dimension on the human conscience, which senses that it is called to manage responsibly and together with others the gift received.
Against the background of universal religious experience, in which humanity shares in different ways, God's progressive revelation of himself to the people of Israel stands out. This revelation responds to the human quest for the divine in an unexpected and surprising way, thanks to the historical manner — striking and penetrating — in which God's love for man is made concrete.
These become historical action, which is the origin of the manner in which the Lord's people collectively identify themselves, through the acquisition of freedom and the land that the Lord gives them. The gratuitousness of this historically efficacious divine action is constantly accompanied by the commitment to the covenant, proposed by God and accepted by Israel. On Mount Sinai, God's initiative becomes concrete in the covenant with his people, to whom is given the Decalogue of the commandments revealed by the Lord cf. Ex Moral existence is a response to the Lord's loving initiative.
It is the acknowledgment and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. The Ten Commandments, which constitute an extraordinary path of life and indicate the surest way for living in freedom from slavery to sin, contain a privileged expression of the natural law. They describe universal human morality. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the rich young man that the Ten Commandments cf. There comes from the Decalogue a commitment that concerns not only fidelity to the one true God, but also the social relations among the people of the Covenant.
The gift of freedom and the Promised Land, and the gift of the Covenant on Sinai and the Ten Commandments are therefore intimately linked to the practices which must regulate, in justice and solidarity, the development of Israelite society. Among the many norms which tend to give concrete expression to the style of gratuitousness and sharing in justice which God inspires, the law of the sabbatical year celebrated every seven years and that of the jubilee year celebrated every fifty years  stand out as important guidelines — unfortunately never fully put into effect historically — for the social and economic life of the people of Israel.
Besides requiring fields to lie fallow, these laws call for the cancellation of debts and a general release of persons and goods: everyone is free to return to his family of origin and to regain possession of his birthright. This legislation is designed to ensure that the salvific event of the Exodus and fidelity to the Covenant represents not only the founding principle of Israel's social, political and economic life, but also the principle for dealing with questions concerning economic poverty and social injustices.
This principle is invoked in order to transform, continuously and from within, the life of the people of the Covenant, so that this life will correspond to God's plan. To eliminate the discrimination and economic inequalities caused by socio-economic changes, every seven years the memory of the Exodus and the Covenant are translated into social and juridical terms, in order to bring the concepts of property, debts, loans and goods back to their deepest meaning.
The precepts of the sabbatical and jubilee years constitute a kind of social doctrine in miniature . They show how the principles of justice and social solidarity are inspired by the gratuitousness of the salvific event wrought by God, and that they do not have a merely corrective value for practices dominated by selfish interests and objectives, but must rather become, as a prophecy of the future, the normative points of reference to which every generation in Israel must conform if it wishes to be faithful to its God.
These principles become the focus of the Prophets' preaching, which seeks to internalize them. God's Spirit, poured into the human heart — the Prophets proclaim — will make these same sentiments of justice and solidarity, which reside in the Lord's heart, take root in you cf. Jer and Ezek Then God's will, articulated in the Decalogue given on Sinai, will be able to take root creatively in man's innermost being. This process of internalization gives rise to greater depth and realism in social action, making possible the progressive universalization of attitudes of justice and solidarity , which the people of the Covenant are called to have towards all men and women of every people and nation.
The reflection of the Prophets and that found in the Wisdom Literature, in coming to the formulation of the principle that all things were created by God, touch on the first manifestation and the source itself of God's plan for the whole of humanity. In Israel's profession of faith, to affirm that God is Creator does not mean merely expressing a theoretical conviction, but also grasping the original extent of the Lord's gratuitous and merciful action on behalf of man.
In fact, God freely confers being and life on everything that exists. Man and woman, created in his image and likeness cf. Gen , are for that very reason called to be the visible sign and the effective instrument of divine gratuitousness in the garden where God has placed them as cultivators and custodians of the goods of creation.
It is in the free action of God the Creator that we find the very meaning of creation, even if it has been distorted by the experience of sin. In fact, the narrative of the first sin cf. Gen describes the permanent temptation and the disordered situation in which humanity comes to find itself after the fall of its progenitors. Disobedience to God means hiding from his loving countenance and seeking to control one's life and action in the world.
Breaking the relation of communion with God causes a rupture in the internal unity of the human person, in the relations of communion between man and woman and of the harmonious relations between mankind and other creatures.
It is in this original estrangement that are to be sought the deepest roots of all the evils that afflict social relations between people, of all the situations in economic and political life that attack the dignity of the person, that assail justice and solidarity. In Jesus Christ the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. The benevolence and mercy that inspire God's actions and provide the key for understanding them become so very much closer to man that they take on the traits of the man Jesus, the Word made flesh.
Is Jesus therefore places himself on the frontline of fulfilment, not only because he fulfils what was promised and what was awaited by Israel, but also in the deeper sense that in him the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. Jesus, in other words, is the tangible and definitive manifestation of how God acts towards men and women. The love that inspires Jesus' ministry among men is the love that he has experienced in his intimate union with the Father. Jesus announces the liberating mercy of God to those whom he meets on his way, beginning with the poor, the marginalized, the sinners.
He invites all to follow him because he is the first to obey God's plan of love, and he does so in a most singular way, as God's envoy in the world. Jesus' self-awareness of being the Son is an expression of this primordial experience. For Jesus, recognizing the Father's love means modelling his actions on God's gratuitousness and mercy; it is these that generate new life.
It means becoming — by his very existence — the example and pattern of this for his disciples. Jesus' followers are called to live like him and, after his Passover of death and resurrection, to live also in him and by him , thanks to the superabundant gift of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, who internalizes Christ's own style of life in human hearts. With the unceasing amazement of those who have experienced the inexpressible love of God cf.
Rom , the New Testament grasps, in the light of the full revelation of Trinitarian love offered by the Passover of Jesus Christ, the ultimate meaning of the Incarnation of the Son and his mission among men and women. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? The Face of God, progressively revealed in the history of salvation, shines in its fullness in the Face of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. God is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; truly distinct and truly one, because God is an infinite communion of love.
God's gratuitous love for humanity is revealed, before anything else, as love springing from the Father, from whom everything draws its source; as the free communication that the Son makes of this love, giving himself anew to the Father and giving himself to mankind; as the ever new fruitfulness of divine love that the Holy Spirit pours forth into the hearts of men cf. Rom By his words and deeds, and fully and definitively by his death and resurrection , Jesus reveals to humanity that God is Father and that we are all called by grace to become his children in the Spirit cf. Rom ; Gal , and therefore brothers and sisters among ourselves.
Meditating on the gratuitousness and superabundance of the Father's divine gift of the Son, which Jesus taught and bore witness to by giving his life for us, the Apostle John grasps its profound meaning and its most logical consequence. The commandment of mutual love shows how to live in Christ the Trinitarian life within the Church, the Body of Christ, and how to transform history until it reaches its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. The commandment of mutual love, which represents the law of life for God's people , must inspire, purify and elevate all human relationships in society and in politics.
Trinitarian love, the origin and goal of the human person. The revelation in Christ of the mystery of God as Trinitarian love is at the same time the revelation of the vocation of the human person to love. This revelation sheds light on every aspect of the personal dignity and freedom of men and women, and on the depths of their social nature. In the communion of love that is God, and in which the Three Divine Persons mutually love one another and are the One God, the human person is called to discover the origin and goal of his existence and of history. It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself cf.
Christian revelation shines a new light on the identity, the vocation and the ultimate destiny of the human person and the human race. Every person is created by God, loved and saved in Jesus Christ, and fulfils himself by creating a network of multiple relationships of love, justice and solidarity with other persons while he goes about his various activities in the world.
Human activity, when it aims at promoting the integral dignity and vocation of the person, the quality of living conditions and the meeting in solidarity of peoples and nations, is in accordance with the plan of God, who does not fail to show his love and providence to his children. The pages of the first book of Sacred Scripture, which describe the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God cf. Gen , contain a fundamental teaching with regard to the identity and the vocation of the human person. Gen This vision of the human person, of society and of history is rooted in God and is ever more clearly seen when his plan of salvation becomes a reality.
Christian salvation: for all people and the whole person. The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father's initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent.
It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation cf. Rom 8 , to share in Christ's resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit.
This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity's claims to self-salvation. The salvation offered by God to his children requires their free response and acceptance. In fact, the divine plan of salvation does not consign human creatures to a state of mere passivity or of lesser status in relation to their Creator, because their relationship to God, whom Jesus Christ reveals to us and in whom he freely makes us sharers by the working of the Holy Spirit, is that of a child to its parent: the very relationship that Jesus lives with the Father cf.
Jn ; Gal The universality and integrality of the salvation wrought by Christ makes indissoluble the link between the relationship that the person is called to have with God and the responsibility he has towards his neighbour in the concrete circumstances of history. This is sensed, though not always without some confusion or misunderstanding, in humanity's universal quest for truth and meaning, and it becomes the cornerstone of God's covenant with Israel, as attested by the tablets of the Law and the preaching of the Prophets.
This link finds a clear and precise expression in the teaching of Jesus Christ and is definitively confirmed by the supreme witness of the giving of his life, in obedience to the Father's will and out of love for his brothers and sisters. Inextricably linked in the human heart are the relationship with God — recognized as Creator and Father, the source and fulfilment of life and of salvation — and openness in concrete love towards man, who must be treated as another self, even if he is an enemy cf.
Mt In man's inner dimension are rooted, in the final analysis, the commitment to justice and solidarity, to the building up of a social, economic and political life that corresponds to God's plan. The disciple of Christ as a new creation. Personal and social life, as well as human action in the world, is always threatened by sin. Christ's disciple adheres, in faith and through the sacraments, to Jesus' Paschal Mystery, so that his old self , with its evil inclinations, is crucified with Christ. The inner transformation of the human person, in his being progressively conformed to Christ, is the necessary prerequisite for a real transformation of his relationships with others.
It is not possible to love one's neighbour as oneself and to persevere in this conduct without the firm and constant determination to work for the good of all people and of each person, because we are all really responsible for everyone . This path requires grace, which God offers to man in order to help him to overcome failings, to snatch him from the spiral of lies and violence, to sustain him and prompt him to restore with an ever new and ready spirit the network of authentic and honest relationships with his fellow men.
Even the relationship with the created universe and human activity aimed at tending it and transforming it, activity which is daily endangered by man's pride and his inordinate self-love, must be purified and perfected by the cross and resurrection of Christ. Man thanks his divine benefactor for all these things, he uses them and enjoys them in a spirit of poverty and freedom. Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man in whom and thanks to whom the world and man attain their authentic and full truth.
The mystery of God's being infinitely close to man — brought about in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, who gave himself on the cross, abandoning himself to death — shows that the more that human realities are seen in the light of God's plan and lived in communion with God, the more they are empowered and liberated in their distinctive identity and in the freedom that is proper to them. Sharing in Christ's life of sonship, made possible by the Incarnation and the Paschal gift of the Spirit, far from being a mortification, has the effect of unleashing the authentic and independent traits and identity that characterize human beings in all their various expressions.
For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order. There is no state of conflict between God and man, but a relationship of love in which the world and the fruits of human activity in the world are objects of mutual gift between the Father and his children, and among the children themselves, in Christ Jesus; in Christ and thanks to him the world and man attain their authentic and inherent meaning. In a universal vision of God's love that embraces everything that exists, God himself is revealed to us in Christ as Father and giver of life, and man as the one who, in Christ, receives everything from God as gift, humbly and freely, and who truly possesses everything as his own when he knows and experiences everything as belonging to God, originating in God and moving towards God.
The human person, in himself and in his vocation, transcends the limits of the created universe, of society and of history: his ultimate end is God himself , who has revealed himself to men in order to invite them and receive them into communion with himself . The human person cannot and must not be manipulated by social, economic or political structures, because every person has the freedom to direct himself towards his ultimate end.
We can speak here of an eschatological relativity , in the sense that man and the world are moving towards their end, which is the fulfilment of their destiny in God; we can also speak of a theological relativity , insofar as the gift of God, by which the definitive destiny of humanity and of creation will be attained, is infinitely greater than human possibilities and expectations. Any totalitarian vision of society and the State, and any purely intra-worldly ideology of progress are contrary to the integral truth of the human person and to God's plan in history.
The Church, sign and defender of the transcendence of the human person. The goal of salvation, the Kingdom of God embraces all people and is fully realized beyond history, in God. The Church places herself concretely at the service of the Kingdom of God above all by announcing and communicating the Gospel of salvation and by establishing new Christian communities.
Jn It follows from this, in particular, that the Church is not to be confused with the political community and is not bound to any political system . Indeed, it can be affirmed that the distinction between religion and politics and the principle of religious freedom constitute a specific achievement of Christianity and one of its fundamental historical and cultural contributions.
Precisely for this reason, the Church offers an original and irreplaceable contribution with the concern that impels her to make the family of mankind and its history more human, prompting her to place herself as a bulwark against every totalitarian temptation, as she shows man his integral and definitive vocation. At the level of concrete historical dynamics, therefore, the coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be discerned in the perspective of a determined and definitive social, economic or political organization. Rather, it is seen in the development of a human social sense which for mankind is a leaven for attaining wholeness, justice and solidarity in openness to the Transcendent as a point of reference for one's own personal definitive fulfilment.
The Church, the Kingdom of God and the renewal of social relations. God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. In this perspective, Church communities, brought together by the message of Jesus Christ and gathered in the Holy Spirit round the Risen Lord cf. Mt , ; Lk , offer themselves as places of communion, witness and mission, and as catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships. The transformation of social relationships that responds to the demands of the Kingdom of God is not fixed within concrete boundaries once and for all.
Rather, it is a task entrusted to the Christian community, which is to develop it and carry it out through reflection and practices inspired by the Gospel. It is the same Spirit of the Lord, leading the people of God while simultaneously permeating the universe, who from time to time inspires new and appropriate ways for humanity to exercise its creative responsibility. This inspiration is given to the community of Christians who are a part of the world and of history, and who are therefore open to dialogue with all people of good will in the common quest for the seeds of truth and freedom sown in the vast field of humanity.
The dynamics of this renewal must be firmly anchored in the unchangeable principles of the natural law, inscribed by God the Creator in each of his creatures cf. Rom , and bathed in eschatological light through Jesus Christ. This law is called to become the ultimate measure and rule of every dynamic related to human relations. In short, it is the very mystery of God, Trinitarian Love, that is the basis of the meaning and value of the person, of social relations, of human activity in the world, insofar as humanity has received the revelation of this and a share in it through Christ in his Spirit.
The transformation of the world is a fundamental requirement of our time also. To this need the Church's social Magisterium intends to offer the responses called for by the signs of the times, pointing above all to the mutual love between human beings, in the sight of God, as the most powerful instrument of change, on the personal and social levels. Mutual love, in fact, sharing in the infinite love of God, is humanity's authentic purpose, both historical and transcendent. New heavens and a new earth. God's promise and Jesus Christ's resurrection raise in Christians the well-founded hope that a new and eternal dwelling place is prepared for every human person, a new earth where justice abides cf.
This hope, rather than weaken, must instead strengthen concern for the work that is needed in the present reality. The good things — such as human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, all the good fruits of nature and of human enterprise — that in the Lord's Spirit and according to his command have spread throughout the earth, having been purified of every stain, illuminated and transfigured, belong to the Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, of love and of peace that Christ will present to the Father, and it is there that we shall once again find them.
The complete fulfilment of the human person, achieved in Christ through the gift of the Spirit, develops in history and is mediated by personal relationships with other people, relationships that in turn reach perfection thanks to the commitment made to improve the world, in justice and peace. Human activity in history is of itself significant and effective for the definitive establishment of the Kingdom, although this remains a free gift of God, completely transcendent. Such activity, when it respects the objective order of temporal reality and is enlightened by truth and love, becomes an instrument for making justice and peace ever more fully and integrally present, and anticipates in our own day the promised Kingdom.
Conforming himself to Christ the Redeemer, man perceives himself as a creature willed by God and eternally chosen by him, called to grace and glory in all the fullness of the mystery in which he has become a sharer in Jesus Christ . Being conformed to Christ and contemplating his face  instil in Christians an irrepressible longing for a foretaste in this world, in the context of human relationships, of what will be a reality in the definitive world to come; thus Christians strive to give food, drink, clothing, shelter, care, a welcome and company to the Lord who knocks at the door cf.
Heir to the hope of the righteous in Israel and first among the disciples of Jesus Christ is Mary, his Mother. Lk , in the name of all humanity, she accepts in history the One sent by the Father, the Saviour of mankind. Is ; The God of the Covenant, whom the Virgin of Nazareth praises in song as her spirit rejoices, is the One who casts down the mighty from their thrones and raises up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty, scatters the proud and shows mercy to those who fear him cf.
Lk Mary is totally dependent upon God and completely directed towards him by the impetus of her faith. The Church, God's dwelling place with men and women. The Church, sharing in mankind's joys and hopes, in its anxieties and sadness, stands with every man and woman of every place and time, to bring them the good news of the Kingdom of God, which in Jesus Christ has come and continues to be present among them. In the midst of mankind and in the world she is the sacrament of God's love and, therefore, of the most splendid hope, which inspires and sustains every authentic undertaking for and commitment to human liberation and advancement.
Rev , so that man is not alone, lost or frightened in his task of making the world more human; thus men and women find support in the redeeming love of Christ. As minister of salvation, the Church is not in the abstract nor in a merely spiritual dimension, but in the context of the history and of the world in which man lives.
Here mankind is met by God's love and by the vocation to cooperate in the divine plan. Unique and unrepeatable in his individuality, every person is a being who is open to relationships with others in society. Life together in society, in the network of relationships linking individuals, families and intermediate groups by encounter, communication and exchange, ensures a higher quality of living.
The common good that people seek and attain in the formation of social communities is the guarantee of their personal, familial and associative good. These are the reasons for which society originates and takes shape, with its array of structures, that is to say its political, economic, juridical and cultural constructs. As an expert in humanity, she is able to understand man in his vocation and aspirations, in his limits and misgivings, in his rights and duties, and to speak a word of life that reverberates in the historical and social circumstances of human existence.
Enriching and permeating society with the Gospel. With her social teaching the Church seeks to proclaim the Gospel and make it present in the complex network of social relations. It is not simply a matter of reaching out to man in society — man as the recipient of the proclamation of the Gospel — but of enriching and permeating society itself with the Gospel . For the Church, therefore, tending to the needs of man means that she also involves society in her missionary and salvific work.
The way people live together in society often determines the quality of life and therefore the conditions in which every man and woman understand themselves and make decisions concerning themselves and their vocation. For this reason, the Church is not indifferent to what is decided, brought about or experienced in society; she is attentive to the moral quality — that is, the authentically human and humanizing aspects — of social life. Society — and with it, politics, the economy, labour, law, culture — is not simply a secular and worldly reality, and therefore outside or foreign to the message and economy of salvation.
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Society in fact, with all that is accomplished within it, concerns man. By means of her social doctrine, the Church takes on the task of proclaiming what the Lord has entrusted to her. She makes the message of the freedom and redemption wrought by Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom, present in human history. As the Gospel reverberates by means of the Church in the today of men and women, this social doctrine is a word that brings freedom. This means that it has the effectiveness of truth and grace that comes from the Spirit of God, who penetrates hearts, predisposing them to thoughts and designs of love, justice, freedom and peace.
Evangelizing the social sector, then, means infusing into the human heart the power of meaning and freedom found in the Gospel, in order to promote a society befitting mankind because it befits Christ: it means building a city of man that is more human because it is in greater conformity with the Kingdom of God. With her social doctrine not only does the Church not stray from her mission but she is rigorously faithful to it.
The redemption wrought by Christ and entrusted to the saving mission of the Church is certainly of the supernatural order. This dimension is not a delimitation of salvation but rather an integral expression of it. The supernatural is not to be understood as an entity or a place that begins where the natural ends, but as the raising of the natural to a higher plane. In this way nothing of the created or the human order is foreign to or excluded from the supernatural or theological order of faith and grace, rather it is found within it, taken on and elevated by it.
Rom — recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love. As this link was broken in the man Adam, so in the Man Christ it was reforged cf. Redemption begins with the Incarnation, by which the Son of God takes on all that is human, except sin, according to the solidarity established by the wisdom of the Divine Creator, and embraces everything in his gift of redeeming Love. Man is touched by this Love in the fullness of his being: a being that is corporeal and spiritual, that is in a solidary relationship with others.
The whole man — not a detached soul or a being closed within its own individuality, but a person and a society of persons — is involved in the salvific economy of the Gospel. This is especially true in times such as the present, marked by increasing interdependence and globalization of social issues. Social doctrine, evangelization and human promotion. The Church's social doctrine is an integral part of her evangelizing ministry.
Nothing that concerns the community of men and women — situations and problems regarding justice, freedom, development, relations between peoples, peace — is foreign to evangelization, and evangelization would be incomplete if it did not take into account the mutual demands continually made by the Gospel and by the concrete, personal and social life of man. They also include links in the theological order, since one cannot disassociate the plan of creation from the plan of Redemption.
The latter plan touches the very concrete situations of injustice to be combated and of justice to be restored. They include links of the eminently evangelical order, which is that of charity: how in fact can one proclaim the new commandment without promoting in justice and in peace the true, authentic advancement of man? Understood in this way, this social doctrine is a distinctive way for the Church to carry out her ministry of the Word and her prophetic role.
This is a ministry that stems not only from proclamation but also from witness. This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization. This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ. The Church's competence comes from the Gospel: from the message that sets man free, the message proclaimed and borne witness to by the Son of God made man. This is her primary and sole purpose.
There is no intention to usurp or invade the duties of others or to neglect her own; nor is there any thought of pursuing objectives that are foreign to her mission. This mission serves to give an overall shape to the Church's right and at the same time her duty to develop a social doctrine of her own and to influence society and societal structures with it by means of the responsibility and tasks to which it gives rise.
The Church has the right to be a teacher for mankind, a teacher of the truth of faith: the truth not only of dogmas but also of the morals whose source lies in human nature itself and in the Gospel . The word of the Gospel, in fact, is not only to be heard but is also to be observed and put into practice cf. Mt ; Lk ; Jn ,; Jas Consistency in behaviour shows what one truly believes and is not limited only to things strictly church-related or spiritual but involves men and women in the entirety of their life experience and in the context of all their responsibilities.
However worldly these responsibilities may be, their subject remains man, that is, the human being whom God calls, by means of the Church, to participate in his gift of salvation. Men and women must respond to the gift of salvation not with a partial, abstract or merely verbal acceptance, but with the whole of their lives — in every relationship that defines life — so as not to neglect anything, leaving it in a profane and worldly realm where it is irrelevant or foreign to salvation.
For this reason the Church's social doctrine is not a privilege for her, nor a digression, a convenience or interference: it is her right to proclaim the Gospel in the context of society , to make the liberating word of the Gospel resound in the complex worlds of production, labour, business, finance, trade, politics, law, culture, social communications, where men and women live.
The warning that St. Knowledge illuminated by faith. The Church's social doctrine was not initially thought of as an organic system but was formed over the course of time, through the numerous interventions of the Magisterium on social issues. The fact that it came about in this manner makes it understandable that certain changes may have taken place with regard to its nature, method and epistemological structure. It cannot be defined according to socio-economic parameters. It is not an ideological or pragmatic system intended to define and generate economic, political and social relationships, but is a category unto itself.
In fact, this social doctrine reflects three levels of theological-moral teaching: the foundational level of motivations; the directive level of norms for life in society; the deliberative level of consciences, called to mediate objective and general norms in concrete and particular social situations. These three levels implicitly define also the proper method and specific epistemological structure of the social doctrine of the Church.
The Church's social doctrine finds its essential foundation in biblical revelation and in the tradition of the Church. From this source, which comes from above, it draws inspiration and light to understand, judge and guide human experience and history. Before anything else and above everything else is God's plan for the created world and, in particular, for the life and destiny of men and women, called to Trinitarian communion. Faith, which receives the divine word and puts it into practice, effectively interacts with reason.
The understanding of faith, especially faith leading to practical action, is structured by reason and makes use of every contribution that reason has to offer. Faith and reason represent the two cognitive paths of the Church's social doctrine: Revelation and human nature. This understanding of faith includes reason, by means of which — insofar as possible — it unravels and comprehends revealed truth and integrates it with the truth of human nature, found in the divine plan expressed in creation. This is the integral truth of the human person as a spiritual and corporeal being, in relationship with God, with other human beings and with other creatures.
Being centred on the mystery of Christ, moreover, does not weaken or exclude the role of reason and hence does not deprive the Church's social doctrine of rationality or, therefore, of universal applicability. Since the mystery of Christ illuminates the mystery of man, it gives fullness of meaning to human dignity and to the ethical requirements which defend it. The Church's social doctrine is knowledge enlightened by faith, which, as such, is the expression of a greater capacity for knowledge. It explains to all people the truths that it affirms and the duties that it demands; it can be accepted and shared by all.
In friendly dialogue with all branches of knowledge. The Church's social doctrine avails itself of contributions from all branches of knowledge, whatever their source, and has an important interdisciplinary dimension. The social doctrine makes use of the significant contributions of philosophy as well as the descriptive contributions of the human sciences. Above all, the contribution of philosophy is essential. This contribution has already been seen in the appeal to human nature as a source and to reason as the cognitive path of faith itself. By means of reason, the Church's social doctrine espouses philosophy in its own internal logic, in other words, in the argumentation that is proper to it.
Affirming that the Church's social doctrine is part of theology rather than philosophy does not imply a disowning or underestimation of the role or contribution of philosophy. In fact, philosophy is a suitable and indispensable instrument for arriving at a correct understanding of the basic concepts of the Church's social doctrine , concepts such as the person, society, freedom, conscience, ethics, law, justice, the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, the State.
This understanding is such that it inspires harmonious living in society. It is philosophy once more that shows the reasonableness and acceptability of shining the light of the Gospel on society, and that inspires in every mind and conscience openness and assent to the truth. A significant contribution to the Church's social doctrine comes also from human sciences and the social sciences. In view of that particular part of the truth that it may reveal, no branch of knowledge is excluded.
The Church recognizes and receives everything that contributes to the understanding of man in the ever broader, more fluid and more complex net work of his social relationships. She is aware of the fact that a profound understanding of man does not come from theology alone, without the contributions of many branches of knowledge to which theology itself refers.
This attentive and constant openness to other branches of knowledge makes the Church's social doctrine reliable, concrete and relevant. Thanks to the sciences, the Church can gain a more precise understanding of man in society, speak to the men and women of her own day in a more convincing manner and more effectively fulfil her task of incarnating in the conscience and social responsibility of our time, the word of God and the faith from which social doctrine flows.
An expression of the Church's ministry of teaching. The social doctrine belongs to the Church because the Church is the subject that formulates it, disseminates it and teaches it. It is not a prerogative of a certain component of the ecclesial body but of the entire community; it is the expression of the way that the Church understands society and of her position regarding social structures and changes.
The whole of the Church community — priests, religious and laity — participates in the formulation of this social doctrine, each according to the different tasks, charisms and ministries found within her. The Church's social doctrine is not only the thought or work of qualified persons, but is the thought of the Church, insofar as it is the work of the Magisterium, which teaches with the authority that Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors: the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.
In the Church's social doctrine the Magisterium is at work in all its various components and expressions. Of primary importance is the universal Magisterium of the Pope and the Council: this is the Magisterium that determines the direction and gives marks of the development of this social doctrine.