The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as
persons and the rights that flow from it:
Every formof social or cultural discrimination in fundamen
tal personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social
conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradi
cated as incompatible with God’s design.
On coming into the world, man is not equipped with
everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life.
He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities,
intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social
commerce, and the distribution of wealth.
The “talents” are not
These differences belong to God’s plan, who wills that
each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed
with particular “talents” share the benefits with those who need
them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to
practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the
mutual enrichment of cultures:
I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them
to each person, but some to one, some to others. . . . I shall give
principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this
one, a living faith to that one. . . . And so I have given many
gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diver
sity that I have not given everything to one single person, so
that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one
another. . . . I have willed that one should need another and
that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and
gifts they have received from me.
There exist also
that affect millions of men
and women. These are in open contradiction of the Gospel:
Their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for
fairer and more humane conditions. Excessive economic and
social disparity between individuals and peoples of the one
human race is a source of scandal andmilitates against social
justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and interna
29 § 2.
29 § 2.
43 St. Catherine of Siena,
29 § 3.