have a grave moral responsibility toward
those which are unable to ensure the means of their development
by themselves or have been prevented from doing so by tragic
historical events. It is a duty in solidarity and charity; it is also an
obligation in justice if the prosperity of the rich nations has come
from resources that have not been paid for fairly.
is an appropriate response to immediate, extraor
dinary needs caused by natural catastrophes, epidemics, and the
like. But it does not suffice to repair the grave damage resulting
from destitution or to provide a lasting solution to a country’s
needs. It is also necessary to
international economic and
so that they will better promote equitable
relationships with less advanced countries.
The efforts of poor
countries working for growth and liberation must be supported.
This doctrine must be applied especially in the area of agricultural
labor. Peasants, especially in the Third World, form the over
whelming majority of the poor.
An increased sense of God and increased self-awareness
are fundamental to any
full development of human society.
velopment multiplies material goods and puts them at the service
of the person and his freedom. It reduces dire poverty and eco
nomic exploitation. It makes for growth in respect for cultural
identities and openness to the transcendent.
It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene
directly in the political structuring and organization of social life.
This task is part of the vocation of the
acting on their
own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume
various concrete forms. It should always have the common good
in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and
the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity “to animate
temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show
that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.”
47 § 6; cf. 42.