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586

Part Three

2439

Rich nations

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.

2440

Direct aid

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

reform

international economic and

financial

institutions

so that they will better promote equitable

relationships with less advanced countries.

228

The efforts of poor

countries working for growth and liberation must be supported.

229

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.

2441

An increased sense of God and increased self-awareness

are fundamental to any

full development of human society.

This de­

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.

230

2442

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

lay faithful,

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.”

231

228 Cf.

SRS

16.

229 Cf.

CA

26.

230 Cf.

SRS

32;

CA

51.

231

SRS

47 § 6; cf. 42.

1908

899