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462

Part Three

1889

Without the help of grace, men would not know how “to

discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives

in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil

only makes it worse.”

13

This is the path of charity, that is, of the

love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social com­

mandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the prac­

tice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires

a life of self-giving: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but

whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

14

IN BRIEF

1890

There is a certain resemblance between the unity of the

divine persons and the fraternity that men ought to

establish among themselves.

1891

The human person needs life in society in order to

develop in accordance with his nature. Certain socie­

ties, such as the family and the state, correspond more

directly to the nature of man.

1892

“The human person . . . is and ought to be the principle,

the subject, and the object of every social organization”

(

GS

25 § 1).

1893

Widespread participation in voluntary associations

and institutions is to be encouraged.

1894

In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, nei­

ther the state nor any larger society should substitute

itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals

and intermediary bodies.

1895

Society ought to promote the exercise of virtue, not

obstruct it. It should be animated by a just hierarchy

of values.

1896

Where sin has perverted the social climate, it is neces­

sary to call for the conversion of hearts and appeal to

the grace of God. Charity urges just reforms. There is

no solution to the social question apart from the Gos­

pel (cf.

CA

3, 5).

13

CA

25.

14

Lk

17:33.

1825