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Blessed Pope Paul VI: Quotes
One cannot dissociate the plan of Creation from the plan of
Redemption. The latter plan touches the very concrete situations of
injustice to be combated and of justice to be restored.
+ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, December 8, 1975
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI
ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES (Excerpts)
MARCH 26, 1967
14. The development We speak of here cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be
well rounded; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man. As an eminent specialist on this
question has rightly said: "We cannot allow economics to be separated from human realities, nor development from
the civilization in which it takes place. What counts for us is man—each individual man, each human group, and
humanity as a whole.''
Man's Supernatural Destiny
16. Self-development, however, is not left up to man's option. Just as the whole of creation is ordered toward its
Creator, so too the rational creature should of his own accord direct his life to God, the first truth and the highest
good. Thus human self-fulfillment may be said to sum up our obligations.
Moreover, this harmonious integration of our human nature, carried through by personal effort and responsible
activity, is destined for a higher state of perfection. United with the life-giving Christ, man's life is newly enhanced;
it acquires a transcendent humanism which surpasses its nature and bestows new fullness of life. This is the
highest goal of human self-fulfillment.
Issues and Principles
22. In the very first pages of Scripture we read these words: "Fill the earth and subdue it." This teaches us that the
whole of creation is for man, that he has been charged to give it meaning by his intelligent activity, to complete
and perfect it by his own efforts and to his own advantage.
Now if the earth truly was created to provide man with the necessities of life and the tools for his own progress, it
follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth. The recent Council reiterated this
truth: "God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the
leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all."
All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to
this principle. They should in no way hinder it; in fact, they should actively facilitate its implementation. Redirecting
these rights back to their original purpose must be regarded as an important and urgent social duty.
The Use of Private Property
23. "He who has the goods of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the
love of God abide in him?" Everyone knows that the Fathers of the Church laid down the duty of the rich toward the
poor in no uncertain terms. As St. Ambrose put it: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but
you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use
of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich." These words indicate that the right to private
property is not absolute and unconditional.
No one may appropriate surplus goods solely for his own private use when others lack the bare necessities of life.
In short, "as the Fathers of the Church and other eminent theologians tell us, the right of private property may
never be exercised to the detriment of the common good." When "private gain and basic community needs conflict
with one another," it is for the public authorities "to seek a solution to these questions, with the active involvement
of individual citizens and social groups."
The Value of Industrialization
25. The introduction of industrialization, which is necessary for economic growth and human progress, is both a
sign of development and a spur to it. By dint of intelligent thought and hard work, man gradually uncovers the
hidden laws of nature and learns to make better use of natural resources. As he takes control over his way of life,
he is stimulated to undertake new investigations and fresh discoveries, to take prudent risks and launch new
ventures, to act responsibly and give of himself unselfishly.
Nobility of Work
27. The concept of work can turn into an exaggerated mystique. Yet, for all that, it is something willed and
approved by God. Fashioned in the image of his Creator, "man must cooperate with Him in completing the work of
creation and engraving on the earth the spiritual imprint which he himself has received." God gave man
intelligence, sensitivity and the power of thought—tools with which to finish and perfect the work He began. Every
worker is, to some extent, a creator—be he artist, craftsman, executive, laborer or farmer.
Bent over a material that resists his efforts, the worker leaves his imprint on it, at the same time developing his
own powers of persistence, inventiveness and concentration. Further, when work is done in common—when hope,
hardship, ambition and joy are shared—it brings together and firmly unites the wills, minds and hearts of men. In
its accomplishment, men find themselves to be brothers.
The Ultimate Purpose
34. Organized programs designed to increase productivity should have but one aim: to serve human nature. They
should reduce inequities, eliminate discrimination, free men from the bonds of servitude, and thus give them the
capacity, in the sphere of temporal realities, to improve their lot, to further their moral growth and to develop their
spiritual endowments. When we speak of development, we should mean social progress as well as economic
It is not enough to increase the general fund of wealth and then distribute it more fairly. It is not enough to
develop technology so that the earth may become a more suitable living place for human beings. The mistakes of
those who led the way should help those now on the road to development to avoid certain dangers. The reign of
technology—technocracy, as it is called—can cause as much harm to the world of tomorrow as liberalism did to the
world of yesteryear. Economics and technology are meaningless if they do not benefit man, for it is he they are to
serve. Man is truly human only if he is the master of his own actions and the judge of their worth, only if he is the
architect of his own progress. He must act according to his God-given nature, freely accepting its potentials and its
claims upon him.
37. There is no denying that the accelerated rate of population growth brings many added difficulties to the
problems of development where the size of the population grows more rapidly than the quantity of available
resources to such a degree that things seem to have reached an impasse. In such circumstances people are
inclined to apply drastic remedies to reduce the birth rate.
There is no doubt that public authorities can intervene in this matter, within the bounds of their competence. They
can instruct citizens on this subject and adopt appropriate measures, so long as these are in conformity with the
dictates of the moral law and the rightful freedom of married couples is preserved completely intact. When the
inalienable right of marriage and of procreation is taken away, so is human dignity.
Finally, it is for parents to take a thorough look at the matter and decide upon the number of their children. This is
an obligation they take upon themselves, before their children already born, and before the community to which
they belong—following the dictates of their own consciences informed by God's law authentically interpreted, and
bolstered by their trust in Him.
Worldwide Brotherly Love
66. Human society is sorely ill. The cause is not so much the depletion of natural resources, nor their monopolistic
control by a privileged few; it is rather the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations.
To All Promoters of Development
86. Finally, a word to those of you who have heard the cries of needy nations and have come to their aid. We
consider you the promoters and apostles of genuine progress and true development. Genuine progress does not
consist in wealth sought for personal comfort or for its own sake; rather it consists in an economic order designed
for the welfare of the human person, where the daily bread that each man receives reflects the glow of brotherly
love and the helping hand of God.
87. We bless you with all Our heart, and We call upon all men of good will to join forces with you as a band of
brothers. Knowing, as we all do, that development means peace these days, what man would not want to work for
it with every ounce of his strength? No one, of course. So We beseech all of you to respond wholeheartedly to Our
urgent plea, in the name of the Lord.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, on the feast of the Resurrection, March 26, 1967, in the fourth year of Our
Read the full Encyclical here.
GAUDIUM ET SPES
HIS HOLINESS, POPE PAUL VI
ON DECEMBER 7, 1965 (Excerpts)
THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
12. According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be
related to man as their center and crown.
But what is man? About himself he has expressed, and continues to express, many divergent and even
contradictory opinions. In these he often exalts himself as the absolute measure of all things or debases himself to
the point of despair. The result is doubt and anxiety. The Church certainly understands these problems. Endowed
with light from God, she can offer solutions to them, so that man's true situation can be portrayed and his defects
explained, while at the same time his dignity and destiny are justly acknowledged.
For Sacred Scripture teaches that man was created "to the image of God," is capable of knowing and loving his
Creator, and was appointed by Him as master of all earthly creatures that he might subdue them and use them to
God's glory. "What is man that you should care for him? You have made him little less than the angels, and
crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under
his feet" (Ps. 8:5-7).
But God did not create man as a solitary, for from the beginning "male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).
Their companionship produces the primary form of interpersonal communion. For by his innermost nature man is a
social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential.
Therefore, as we read elsewhere in Holy Scripture God saw "all that he had made, and it was very good" (Gen.
13. Although he was made by God in a state of holiness, from the very onset of his history man abused his liberty,
at the urging of the Evil One. Man set himself against God and sought to attain his goal apart from God. Although
they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, but their senseless minds were darkened and they served the
creature rather than the Creator. What divine revelation makes known to us agrees with experience. Examining his
heart, man finds that he has inclinations toward evil too, and is engulfed by manifold ills which cannot come from
his good Creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his beginning, man has disrupted also his proper
relationship to his own ultimate goal as well as his whole relationship toward himself and others and all created
Therefore man is split within himself. As a result, all of human life, whether individual or collective, shows itself to
be a dramatic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. Indeed, man finds that by himself he is
incapable of battling the assaults of evil successfully, so that everyone feels as though he is bound by chains. But
the Lord Himself came to free and strengthen man, renewing him inwardly and casting out that "prince of this
world" (John 12:31) who held him in the bondage of sin. For sin has diminished man, blocking his path to
The call to grandeur and the depths of misery, both of which are a part of human experience, find their ultimate
and simultaneous explanation in the light of this revelation.
14. Though made of body and soul, man is one. Through his bodily composition he gathers to himself the elements
of the material world; thus they reach their crown through him, and through him raise their voice in free praise of
the Creator. For this reason man is not allowed to despise his bodily life, rather he is obliged to regard his body as
good and honorable since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. Nevertheless, wounded by sin,
man experiences rebellious stirrings in his body. But the very dignity of man postulates that man glorify God in his
body and forbid it to serve the evil inclinations of his heart.
36. Now many of our contemporaries seem to fear that a closer bond between human activity and religion will work
against the independence of men, of societies, or of the sciences.
If by the autonomy of earthly affairs we mean that created things and societies themselves enjoy their own laws
and values which must be gradually deciphered, put to use, and regulated by men, then it is entirely right to
demand that autonomy. Such is not merely required by modern man, but harmonizes also with the will of the
Creator. For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability,
truth, goodness, proper laws and order. Man must respect these as he isolates them by the appropriate methods of
the individual sciences or arts. Therefore if methodical investigation within every branch of learning is carried out in
a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, it never truly conflicts with faith, for earthly matters
and the concerns of faith derive from the same God. Indeed whoever labors to penetrate the secrets of reality with
a humble and steady mind, even though he is unaware of the fact, is nevertheless being led by the hand of God,
who holds all things in existence, and gives them their identity. Consequently, we cannot but deplore certain habits
of mind, which are sometimes found too among Christians, which do not sufficiently attend to the rightful
independence of science and which, from the arguments and controversies they spark, lead many minds to
conclude that faith and science are mutually opposed.
But if the expression, the independence of temporal affairs, is taken to mean that created things do not depend on
God, and that man can use them without any reference to their Creator, anyone who acknowledges God will see
how false such a meaning is. For without the Creator the creature would disappear. For their part, however, all
believers of whatever religion always hear His revealing voice in the discourse of creatures. When God is forgotten,
however, the creature itself grows unintelligible.
39. We do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity, nor do we know how all things
will be transformed. As deformed by sin, the shape of this world will pass away; but we are taught that God is
preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and
surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart. Then, with death overcome, the sons of God
will be raised up in Christ, and what was sown in weakness and corruption will be invested with incorruptibility.
Enduring with charity and its fruits, all that creation which God made on man's account will be unchained from the
bondage of vanity.
Therefore, while we are warned that it profits a man nothing if he gain the whole world and lose himself, the
expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one. For here
grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshadowing of the
Hence, while earthly progress must be carefully distinguished from the growth of Christ's kingdom, to the extent
that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God.
For after we have obeyed the Lord, and in His Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood
and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of
stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the Father: "a kingdom eternal and universal, a
kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace." On this earth that Kingdom is already
present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower.
Some Principles for the Proper Development of Culture
57. Christians, on pilgrimage toward the heavenly city, should seek and think of these things which are above. This
duty in no way decreases, rather it increases, the importance of their obligation to work with all men in the building
of a more human world. Indeed, the mystery of the Christian faith furnishes them with an excellent stimulant and
aid to fulfill this duty more courageously and especially to uncover the full meaning of this activity, one which gives
to human culture its eminent place in the integral vocation of man.
When man develops the earth by the work of his hands or with the aid of technology, in order that it might bear
fruit and become a dwelling worthy of the whole human family and when he consciously takes part in the life of
social groups, he carries out the design of God manifested at the beginning of time, that he should subdue the
earth, perfect creation and develop himself. At the same time he obeys the commandment of Christ that he place
himself at the service of his brethren.
Furthermore, when man gives himself to the various disciplines of philosophy, history and of mathematical and
natural science, and when he cultivates the arts, he can do very much to elevate the human family to a more
sublime understanding of truth, goodness, and beauty, and to the formation of considered opinions which have
universal value. Thus mankind may be more clearly enlightened by that marvelous Wisdom which was with God
from all eternity, composing all things with him, rejoicing in the earth, delighting in the sons of men.
In this way, the human spirit, being less subjected to material things, can be more easily drawn to the worship and
contemplation of the Creator. Moreover, by the impulse of grace, he is disposed to acknowledge the Word of God,
Who before He became flesh in order to save all and to sum up all in Himself was already "in the world" as "the
true light which enlightens every man" (John 1:9-10).
Read the full Encyclical here.
OF POPE PAUL VI (Excerpts)
14 May 1971
9. ...Based on technological research and the transformation of nature, industrialization constantly goes forward,
giving proof of incessant creativity. While certain enterprises develop and are concentrated, others die or change
their location. Thus new social problems are created: professional or regional unemployment, redeployment and
mobility of persons, permanent adaptation of workers and disparity of conditions in the different branches of
industry. Unlimited competition utilizing the modern means of publicity incessantly launches new products and tries
to attract the consumer, while earlier industrial installations which are still capable of functioning become useless.
While very large areas of the population are unable to satisfy their primary needs, superfluous needs are
ingeniously created. It can thus rightly be asked if, in spite of all his conquests, man is not turning back against
himself the results of his activity. Having rationally endeavored to control nature, is he not now becoming the slave
of the objects which he makes?
21. While the horizon of man is thus being modified according to the images that are chosen for him, another
transformation is making itself felt, one which is the dramatic and unexpected consequence of human activity. Man
is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in
his turn the victim of this degradation. Not only is the material environment becoming a permanent menace -
pollution and refuse, new illness and absolute destructive capacity - but the human framework is no longer under
man's control, thus creating an environment for tomorrow which may well be intolerable. This is a wide-ranging
social problem which concerns the entire human family.
The Christian must turn to these new perceptions in order to take on responsibility, together with the rest of men,
for a destiny which from now on is shared by all.
Ambiguous nature of progress
41. This better knowledge of man makes it possible to pass a better critical judgment upon and to elucidate a
fundamental notion that remains at the basis of modern societies as their motive, their measure and their goal:
namely, progress. Since the nineteenth century, western societies and, as a result, many others have put their
hopes in ceaselessly renewed and indefinite progress. They saw this progress as man's effort to free himself in face
of the demands of nature and of social constraints; progress was the condition for and the yardstick of human
freedom. Progress, spread by the modern media of information and by the demand for wider knowledge and
greater consumption, has become an omnipresent ideology. Yet a doubt arises today regarding both its value and
its result. What is the meaning of this never-ending, breathless pursuit of a progress that always eludes one just
when one believes one has conquered it sufficiently in order to enjoy it in peace? If it is not attained, it leaves one
dissatisfied. Without doubt, there has been just condemnation of the limits and even the misdeeds of a merely
quantitative economic growth; there is a desire to attain objectives of a qualitative order also. The quality and the
truth of human relations, the degree of participation and of responsibility, are no less significant and important for
the future of society than the quantity and variety of the goods produced and consumed.
Overcoming the temptation to wish to measure everything in terms of efficiency and of trade, and in terms of the
interplay of forces and interests, man today wishes to replace these quantitative criteria with the intensity of
communication, the spread of knowledge and culture, mutual service and a combining of efforts for a common
task. Is not genuine progress to be found in the development of moral consciousness, which will lead man to
exercise a wider solidarity and to open himself freely to others and to God? For a Christian, progress necessarily
comes up against the eschatological mystery of death. The death of Christ and his resurrection and the outpouring
of the Spirit of the Lord help man to place his freedom, in creativity and gratitude, within the context of the truth of
all progress and the only hope which does not deceive.
Read the full Encyclical here.
© Copyright 1967, 1965, 1971 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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