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Life in Christ

461

II.

C

onversion and

S

ociety

1886

Society is essential to the fulfillment of the human voca­

tion. To attain this aim, respect must be accorded to the just

hierarchy of values, which “subordinates physical and instinc­

tual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones:”

8

Human societymust primarily be considered something per­

taining to the spiritual. Through it, in the bright light of truth,

men should share their knowledge, be able to exercise their

rights and fulfill their obligations, be inspired to seek spiritu­

al values; mutually derive genuine pleasure from the beauti­

ful, of whatever order it be; always be readily disposed to

pass on to others the best of their own cultural heritage; and

eagerly strive to make their own the spiritual achievements

of others. These benefits not only influence, but at the same

time give aim and scope to all that has bearing on cultural

expressions, economic, and social institutions, political

movements and forms, laws, and all other structures by

which society is outwardly established and constantly devel­

oped.

9

1887

The inversion of means and ends,

10

which results in giving

the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it,

or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust

structures which “make Christian conduct in keeping with the

commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost

impossible.”

11

1888

It is necessary, then, to appeal to the spiritual and moral

capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his

inner conversion,

so as to obtain social changes that will really serve

him. The acknowledged priority of the conversion of heart in no

way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of

bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living con­

ditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform

to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder

it.

12

8

CA

36 § 2.

9 John XXIII,

PT

36.

10 Cf.

CA

41.

11 Pius XII, Address at Pentecost, June 1, 1941.

12 Cf.

LG

36.

1779

2500

909

1869

407

1430