Daily Series on the Catechism

PART  III:  LIFE IN CHRIST

Section Two:  The Ten Commandments

Chapter 2:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

Article 7,  The Seventh Commandment

V.  Justice and Solidarity Among Nations (cont’d)

§ 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, extraordinary 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 (cf. SRS 16).

The efforts of poor countries working for growth and liberation must be supported (cf. CA 26). This doctrine must be applied especially in the area of agricultural labor. Peasants, especially in the Third World [developing countries], form the overwhelming majority of the poor.

§ 2441  An increased sense of God and increased self-awareness are fundamental to any full development of human society. This development multiplies material goods and puts them at the service of the person and his freedom. It reduces dire poverty and economic exploitation. It makes for growth in respect for cultural identities and openness to the transcendent [Divine] (cf. SRS 32; CA 51).

§ 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” (SRS 47 § 6; cf. SRS 42).

VI.  Love for the Poor

§ 2443  God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you received without pay, give without pay” (Matthew 5:42; 10:8). It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones (cf. Mt 25:31-36). When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s Presence (Mt 11:5; cf. Luke 4:18).

Tomorrow – Love for the Poor (to be continued)

(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]

  • “CA” – Pope St. John Paul II (May 1991), “Centesimus Annus [Hundredth Year Anniversary of ‘Rerum Novarum’ (Of Revolutionary Change)]”
  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
  • “SRS” – Pope St. John Paul II (Dec 1987), “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis [The Care of the Social Needs]”
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