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March for Life Reflections (Part 2/2)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-igd82-d36c70

 
Topics:
0:00 The Pro-Life Movement, Media Coverage, and the GOP
4:43 Discussion of the Acton Article and Pro-Life Medicare For All
16:05 Imagining a Realignment of the Pro-Life Movement
21:03 Saint John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae on Creating a Culture of Life
24:22 Conclusion
25:58 Closing Prayer

Winter Embertide

Winter Embertide

Spiritual Readings:

Gaudium et Spes § 33-35: Human progress must honor and glorify God.
Gaudium et Spes § 36-37: Science must be purified by faith.
Gaudium et Spes § 38-39: By the grace of God, we can build a better world.

Prayers:

Laudes Creaturarum (“Canticle of the Sun”)
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
Prayer for the Earth
(from Laudato Si’)

 

 

Free Printable Pamphlets Available Now

What’s the reason behind the 47-year failure of the pro-life movement to end the legalized massacre of the unborn? Based on the teaching of St. John Paul II, we believe that it’s because of an attempt to serve both God and Mammon. By allying with the free-market capitalism of the mainstream GOP, pro-lifers have been supporting the same forces that turn a profit through destroying the family, exploiting the Third World, and commodifying sexuality.

This is a part of capitalism that secular leftists don’t talk about. Unfortunately, you probably won’t hear about it from the pulpit at your local parish either. That’s why we need your help to spread the word. We encourage friends of Tradistae to help share links to Easy Essays and distribute pamphlets to friends, family, local political organizations, and throughout your parish. Starting a conversation about the social encyclicals with your local priest is an important first step. As Peter Maurin reminded us nearly a century ago: “Rome will have to do more than to play a waiting game; she will have to use some of the dynamite inherent in her message.” This is even truer today.

If the Popes are right about the relationship between liberal capitalism and abortion, then there’s only one way to destroy the “culture of death” and build a “civilization of love.” We need to reject capitalism and choose life.

Each pamphlet contains citations for all facts and statistics along with important quotations from St. John Paul II (primarily from Evangelium Vitae). By printing two-sided on a sheet of paper (flip on the short edge), they can be easily folded into a tri-fold pamphlet.

  1. From Margaret Sanger to Bill and Melinda Gates, Abortion is Racist Eugenics: Easy Essay / Pamphlet PDF
  2. For Capitalists, Pregnancy is a Disease, Abortion is the Cure: Easy Essay / Pamphlet PDF
  3. Sex Sells: Abortion, Capitalism, and the Sexual Revolution: Easy Essay / Pamphlet PDF
  4. The Billionaires are Pro-Choice. You Shouldn’t Be: Easy EssayPamphlet PDF

If you’d like to support our work, you can volunteer your time to format pamphlets by contacting us or donate to Tradistae on Patreon.

Thank you. And Godspeed.

The Billionaires are Pro-Choice. You Shouldn’t Be.

While it is true that the taking of life not yet born or in its final stages is sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion, it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of “the strong” against the weak who have no choice but to submit. (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae § 19)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows that capitalists are still using abortion as a tool for racist eugenics in the Third World. In the First World, capitalism’s relentless destruction of the family causes pregnancy to be treated as an illness that lowers female “productivity” in the labor market. Meanwhile the industries of sexual capitalism—from pornography to contraception—are worth tens of billions worldwide. Across all sectors, sexualized media churns out profits in marketing and advertising. No wonder 180 CEOs wrote an open letter stating that banning abortion is “bad for business” (WaPo, June 6, 2019). Sex sells, and it costs the lives of the unborn. 

In the words of capitalism.org: “there is no such thing as the freedom to live inside (or outside) of another human being as a parasite, i.e., against the will of that person… Under capitalism (a social system based on the principle of individual rights), abortion is an inalienable right.” In a system of pure individualism, a child in the womb is nothing more than a tenant who can be evicted by the mother, who is nothing more than a landlord. 

None of this should come as a surprise. The logic of consumerism and the market goes hand in hand with abortion: “You can have your personal preference, but you need to be pro-choice.” Capitalism exalts personal choice at all costs. But as usual in capitalism, lurking beneath this so-called “choice” is the cruelty of money-power and market logic. Just as the free market denies people their basic needs because they cannot afford them, the unborn are denied the right to life because they are deemed not valuable or useful enough to live.

The deceptive modern definition of freedom (“her body, her choice”) also defends abortion. This denies the traditional definition of freedom: freedom to do what is good. The “freedom” to use property rights to harm someone else—whether by aborting a baby in the womb or by denying workers a just wage—is not freedom, but slavery to sin. This follows the satanic confusion of those who “do what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6).

Finally, the logic of liberalism (“you can’t enforce morality on private individuals”) defends abortion. This rejects the true purpose of law: to lead people to virtue. Yet while it claims to be “neutral,” our capitalist economy and culture tells many pregnant mothers: “You must kill your child, if you want to be successful, wealthy, and happy.” Abortion is a sacrament of liberalism, a new sacrifice of children to idols of health, freedom, and prosperity—Moloch, Libertas, and Mammon. Any God-fearing person must reject these false arguments for what they are: capitalist idolatry. “Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows. /  I will not take part in their offerings of blood. /  Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” (Psalm 16:4)

The culture of death must be destroyed; the pro-life movement needs to look beyond conservatives to end abortion.

Here it must be noted that it is not enough to remove unjust laws. The underlying causes of attacks on life have to be eliminated, especially by ensuring proper support for families and motherhood… Governments and the various international agencies must above all strive to create economic, social, public health and cultural conditions which will enable married couples to make their choices about procreation in full freedom and with genuine responsibility. They must then make efforts to ensure “greater opportunities and a fairer distribution of wealth so that everyone can share equitably in the goods of creation. Solutions must be sought on the global level by establishing a true economy of communion and sharing of goods, in both the national and international order.” (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae § 90-91)

Sex Sells: Abortion, Capitalism, and the Sexual Revolution

In this way a kind of “conspiracy against life” is unleashed. This conspiracy involves not only individuals in their personal, family or group relationships, but goes far beyond… In order to facilitate the spread of abortion, enormous sums of money have been invested and continue to be invested in the production of pharmaceutical products which make it possible to kill the fetus in the mother’s womb without recourse to medical assistance. (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae § 12-13)

Contraception and abortion are capitalist tools. They are useful for both maintaining the size of the labor market and for racist eugenics, but they have another purpose: the incredible profit of the Sexual Revolution.

Though sexual morality has long been in decline, the Sexual Revolution was a dramatic upheaval that swept away many remaining social norms. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion throughout the nation in 1973, but not before Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) legalized contraception for all Americans and Stanley v. Georgia (1969) established a “right” to the private possession of pornography.

How did such shocking degeneracy occur so quickly? The most powerful force was not the feminists and hippies who fought on the liberal side of the culture wars, it was multi-millionaire capitalists working with lawyers who followed the logic of liberalism.

To survive, capitalism must always create new commodities and markets. In the 1950s, a small band of capitalists led by Hugh Hefner tapped into the powerful desires of sexuality—previously contained by traditional family morals—and dragged them into the free market. In the words of Lyombe Eko, “Playboy was a classic sexual-capitalist venture. Hefner began the magazine in 1953 with a $600 loan and $8,000 from stocks that he sold to friends and family” (The Regulation of Sex-Themed Visual Imagery, Chapter 11). By taking entrepreneurial risks, capitalists amassed incredible wealth which they used to lobby politicians and judges, appealing to the liberal logic of the 1st Amendment and the Free Market.

In the words of the Financial Times, “in its effect, if not its intention, the 1960s were a gift to capitalism. Its emphasis on the individual reinforced the market, not the revolution, which is an innately collective act, requiring a groupthink and ascetic discipline that the 1960s blew away (mostly for the better). Individualism led to sexual freedom, artistic innovation and a questioning of authority, but also prepared the ground for the economic reforms of the subsequent decades.” (FT, April 13, 2018

Today, the industries of sexual capitalism—pornography distributed via magazines, video, internet, and cable, pay-per-view, strip clubs, fetish organizations, sex toys, contraception, abortion—are worth hundreds of billions worldwide. In the US, the porn industry alone was estimated to be worth $15 billion in 2018, larger than Netflix ($11.7 billion) or the NFL ($14 billion) (Source). Strip clubs in the US were worth $8 billion in 2019 (IBISWorld Report). Globally, the sex toy market is worth $29 billion (Source) and the contraceptive market $28.2 billion (Source). None of this factors in the profits produced by advertisements, marketing, and clickbait employing sexualized media.

Meanwhile, the U.S. “Family Planning” Industry (Planned Parenthood and the many independent clinics which provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion) is worth only $3 billion dollars (IBISWorld Report), yet it serves as the cornerstone of sexual capitalism. Abortion is necessary because condoms sometimes fail. Sex can only be completely separated from children if the “accidents” can be killed. And capitalism has always been happy to kill in the name of the market.

…contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree…. such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment.” (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae § 13)

For Capitalists, Pregnancy is a Disease, Abortion is the Cure

Abortion is a direct attack on the working class. 49% of children killed by abortion lived below the federal poverty line. The next 26% lived at less than double the poverty line (Source). This means that 75% of abortions are performed on the working-class families who struggle most. The death of these children is considered acceptable, even positive, because they were too poor to live anyway. Population control isn’t just for the Third World, it’s also for the working-class in America. It’s no surprise that 180 CEOs wrote an open letter stating that banning abortion is “bad for business” (WaPo, June 6, 2019). In the words of G.K. Chesterton, “It cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism.” (Source)

Why do so many in the billionaire class love abortion? Ironically, it means more desperate workers. Killing babies might mean less workers in the long-term, but destroying the family means more workers right now. Capitalists make decisions based on short-term profits, not the impact on future generations. After the success of the liberal feminist movement of the 1970s (which included Roe v. Wade in 1973), large numbers of women entered the labor market and the two-income family became normal. Now that women are regular members of the workforce, capitalism prefers to keep them working without inconvenient “interruptions”, such as maternity leave or child-rearing responsibilities. This is why, in the pro-abortion 1992 Casey decision, the Supreme Court stated that  “the capacity of women to act in society” was based largely on the availability of abortion. Frequently, women must take on part-time and poorly paid jobs so that they can balance motherhood with employment. This system encourages (and sometimes forces) women to put their younger children into daycare, which breaks down the family and adds yet another expense to working-class parents.

Pregnancy is treated as a disease or illness which must be cured so that women can get back into the for-profit labor force. As Erika Bachiochi explains “We’re not interested in ensuring women the capacity to act in society—to have a place in society—if they aren’t aping men. We can’t afford to do the much more difficult work of creating environments that welcome women who have children—which, of course, is the great majority of women. Instead, we’ll just continue to tell women what Roe told them a generation before. You choose: your baby or yourself, your baby or your future, your baby or your success; this is a man’s world, and you better become like a man—that is, not pregnant—if you want to succeed” (“How Abortion Hurts Women”). On average, American women want to have larger families (Source). Abortion conspires with debt and poverty to force women out of motherhood and into the job market. Giving birth to children and raising them well is incredibly hard work, but it doesn’t boost stock prices or increase the GDP, so the value of such in-home labor is $0.00 to the billionaire class.

It is a fact that in many societies women work in nearly every sector of life. But it is fitting that they should be able to fulfil their tasks in accordance with their own nature, without being discriminated against and without being excluded from jobs for which they are capable, but also without lack of respect for their family aspirations and for their specific role in contributing, together with men, to the good of society. The true advancement of women requires that labour should be structured in such a way that women do not have to pay for their advancement by abandoning what is specific to them and at the expense of the family, in which women as mothers have an irreplaceable role. (St. John Paul II, Laborem Exercens § 19)

From Margaret Sanger to Bill and Melinda Gates, Abortion is Racist Eugenics

The Pharaoh of old, haunted by the presence and increase of the children of Israel, submitted them to every kind of oppression and ordered that every male child born of the Hebrew women was to be killed (cf. Ex 1:7-22). Today not a few of the powerful of the earth act in the same way. They too are haunted by the current demographic growth, and fear that the most prolific and poorest peoples represent a threat for the well-being and peace of their own countries… Even the economic help which they would be ready to give is unjustly made conditional on the acceptance of an anti-birth policy. (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae § 16)

Abortion is a tool for eugenics. Many know of the racist legacy of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who once gave a talk to the KKK and helped promote the “Negro Project.” In her own words, “[Birth control] means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks— those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.” (NYT, April 8, 1923). To this day, 79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods (Map). Capitalists continue to say that a lack of “family planning” is the primary reason for poverty in communities of color, while capitalism itself has disproportionately enslaved, defrauded, and extorted these communities for centuries. 

Few know that this project is continued on an international scale by the enormous wealth of Bill Gates and other capitalists. In 1965, the Rockefeller Foundation was a significant donor to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (Source). Today, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent billions on population control in Africa and throughout the Third World. Obianuju Ekeocha, author of Target Africa, wrote in her 2012 open letter to Melinda Gates: “Amidst all our African afflictions and difficulties, amidst all the socioeconomic and political instabilities, our babies are always a firm symbol of hope, a promise of life, a reason to strive for the legacy of a bright future. So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the plan and promise of Melinda Gates to implant the seeds of her ‘legacy’ in 69 of the poorest countries in the world (most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa). Her pledge is to collect pledges for almost $5 billion in order to ensure that the African woman is less fertile, less encumbered and, yes, she says, more ‘liberated.'” (Ekeocha’s Open Letter). 

Nearly a decade of this capitalist “liberation” has only resulted in consistently rising African debt to usurious international loans with no significant improvements to economic inequality. In fact, a 2017 United Nations report shows that the African countries with the lowest inequality are the ones with the highest fertility rates (“Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa”, Page 23). The slaughter of millions of unborn Africans has not produced a shred of prosperity. 

The use of abortion for eugenics can also be seen in Iceland and other European countries. There, Down Syndrome has been “cured” by aborting any babies who test positive for the disorder (WaPo, March 14, 2018). Those who cannot efficiently contribute to the capitalist economy are not considered true human beings. But the mass murder of children in the womb—the disabled, the foreigner, the racially oppressed—will not last forever, “for the avenger of bloodshed remembers, He does not forget the cry of the afflicted” (Psalm 9:13).

“The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground” (Gen 4:10). It is not only the voice of the blood of Abel, the first innocent man to be murdered, which cries to God, the source and defender of life. The blood of every other human being who has been killed since Abel is also a voice raised to the Lord. (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae § 25)

Gaudium et Spes: By the Grace of God, We Can Build A Better World

An excerpt from the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world from the Second Vatican Council.

Summary: God entered into His creation and offers the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist to transform and purify us, so that the effort to establish peace, justice, and universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one (§ 38). Somebody all Creation will be renewed in Christ and His Kingdom will be fully manifested, but until then the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one (§ 39).

38. For God’s Word, through Whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh and dwelt on the earth of men. [10] Thus He entered the world’s history as a perfect man, taking that history up into Himself and summarizing it. [11] He Himself revealed to us that “God is love”  (1 John 4:8) and at the same time taught us that the new command of love was the basic law of human perfection and hence of the world’s transformation.

To those, therefore, who believe in divine love, He gives assurance that the way of love lies open to men and that the effort to establish a universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one. He cautions them at the same time that this charity is not something to be reserved for important matters, but must be pursued chiefly in the ordinary circumstances of life. Undergoing death itself for all of us sinners, [12] He taught us by example that we too must shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict upon those who search after peace and justice. Appointed Lord by His resurrection and given plenary power in heaven and on earth, [13] Christ is now at work in the hearts of men through the energy of His Holy Spirit, arousing not only a desire for the age to come, but by that very fact animating, purifying and strengthening those noble longings too by which the human family makes its life more human and strives to render the whole earth submissive to this goal.

Now, the gifts of the Spirit are diverse: while He calls some to give clear witness to the desire for a heavenly home and to keep that desire green among the human family, He summons others to dedicate themselves to the earthly service of men and to make ready the material of the celestial realm by this ministry of theirs. Yet He frees all of them so that by putting aside love of self and bringing all earthly resources into the service of human life they can devote themselves to that future when humanity itself will become an offering accepted by God. [14]

The Lord left behind a pledge of this hope and strength for life’s journey in that sacrament of faith where natural elements refined by man are gloriously changed into His Body and Blood, providing a meal of brotherly solidarity and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

39. We do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity, [15] nor do we know how all things will be transformed. As deformed by sin, the shape of this world will pass away; [16] but we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide, [17] and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart. [18] 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. [19] Enduring with charity and its fruits, [20] all that creation [21] 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, [22] 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 new age.

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. [23]

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.” [24] On this earth that Kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower.

Footnotes:

  1. Cf. John 1:3 and 14.
  2. Cf. Eph. 1:10.
  3. Cf. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8.
  4. Cf. Acts 2:36; Matt. 28:18.
  5. Cf. Rom. 15:16.
  6. Cf. Acts 1:7.
  7. Cf. 1 Cor. 7:31; St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, V, 36, PG, VIII, 1221.
  8. Cf. 2 Cor. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:13.
  9. Cf. 1 Cor. 2:9; Apoc. 21:4-5.
  10. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:42 and 53.
  11. Cf. 1 Cor. 13:8; 3:14.
  12. Cf. Rom. 8:19-21.
  13. Cf. Luke 9:25.
  14. Cf. Pius XI, encyclical letter Quadragesimo Anno: AAS 23 (1931), p. 207.
  15. Preface of the Feast of Christ the King.

Gaudium et Spes: Science Must Be Purified By Faith

An excerpt from the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world from the Second Vatican Council.

Summary: Genuine science will never conflict with faith, but it must have reference to its Creator (§ 36). Without the purifying light of Christ, scientific progress will be transformed into an instrument of sin, even to the point of destroying mankind by our own deranged pride (§ 37).

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. [6] 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. [7]

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.

37. Sacred Scripture teaches the human family what the experience of the ages confirms: that while human progress is a great advantage to man, it brings with it a strong temptation. For when the order of values is jumbled and bad is mixed with the good, individuals and groups pay heed solely to their own interests, and not to those of others. Thus it happens that the world ceases to be a place of true brotherhood. In our own day, the magnified power of humanity threatens to destroy the race itself.

For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested. [8] Caught in this conflict, man is obliged to wrestle constantly if he is to cling to what is good, nor can he achieve his own integrity without great efforts and the help of God’s grace.

That is why Christ’s Church, trusting in the design of the Creator, acknowledges that human progress can serve man’s true happiness, yet she cannot help echoing the Apostle’s warning: “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). Here by the world is meant that spirit of vanity and malice which transforms into an instrument of sin those human energies intended for the service of God and man.

Hence if anyone wants to know how this unhappy situation can be overcome, Christians will tell him that all human activity, constantly imperiled by man’s pride and deranged self-love, must be purified and perfected by the power of Christ’s cross and resurrection. For redeemed by Christ and made a new creature in the Holy Spirit, man is able to love the things themselves created by God, and ought to do so. He can receive them from God and respect and reverence them as flowing constantly from the hand of God. Grateful to his Benefactor for these creatures, using and enjoying them in detachment and liberty of spirit, man is led forward into a true possession of them, as having nothing, yet possessing all things. [9] “All are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:22-23).

Footnotes:

  1. Cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chapter III: Denz. 1785-1186 (3004-3005).
  2. Cf. Msgr. Pio Paschini, Vita e opere di Galileo Galilei, 2 volumes, Vatican Press (1964).
  3. Cf. Matt. 24:13; 13:24-30 and 36-43.
  4. Cf. 2 Cor. 6:10.

Gaudium et Spes: Human Progress Must Honor and Glorify God

An excerpt from the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world from the Second Vatican Council.

Summary: New technologies have drastically changed society, but what is the meaning and value of this feverish activity? (§ 33) We must glorify God in cultivating His creation, which includes the modern triumphs of human progress (§ 34). However our stewardship of the earth requires justice towards our fellow man, which has far greater worth than our technological advances (§ 35).

33. Through his labors and his native endowments man has ceaselessly striven to better his life. Today, however, especially with the help of science and technology, he has extended his mastery over nearly the whole of nature and continues to do so. Thanks to increased opportunities for many kinds of social contact among nations, the human family is gradually recognizing that it comprises a single world community and is making itself so. Hence many benefits once looked for, especially from heavenly powers, man has now enterprisingly procured for himself.

In the face of these immense efforts which already preoccupy the whole human race, men agitate numerous questions among themselves. What is the meaning and value of this feverish activity? How should all these things be used? To the achievement of what goal are the strivings of individuals and societies heading? The Church guards the heritage of God’s word and draws from it moral and religious principles without always having at hand the solution to particular problems. As such she desires to add the light of revealed truth to mankind’s store of experience, so that the path which humanity has taken in recent times will not be a dark one.

34. Throughout the course of the centuries, men have labored to better the circumstances of their lives through a monumental amount of individual and collective effort. To believers, this point is settled: considered in itself, this human activity accords with God’s will. For man, created to God’s image, received a mandate to subject to himself the earth and all it contains, and to govern the world with justice and holiness; [1] a mandate to relate himself and the totality of things to Him Who was to be acknowledged as the Lord and Creator of all. Thus, by the subjection of all things to man, the name of God would be wonderful in all the earth. [2]

This mandate concerns the whole of everyday activity as well. For while providing the substance of life for themselves and their families, men and women are performing their activities in a way which appropriately benefits society. They can justly consider that by their labor they are unfolding the Creator’s work, consulting the advantages of their brother men, and are contributing by their personal industry to the realization in history of the divine plan. [3]

Thus, far from thinking that works produced by man’s own talent and energy are in opposition to God’s power, and that the rational creature exists as a kind of rival to the Creator, Christians are convinced that the triumphs of the human race are a sign of God’s grace and the flowering of His own mysterious design. For the greater man’s power becomes, the farther his individual and community responsibility extends. Hence it is clear that men are not deterred by the Christian message from building up the world, or impelled to neglect the welfare of their fellows, but that they are rather more stringently bound to do these very things. [4]

35. Human activity, to be sure, takes its significance from its relationship to man. Just as it proceeds from man, so it is ordered toward man. For when a man works he not only alters things and society, he develops himself as well. He learns much, he cultivates his resources, he goes outside of himself and beyond himself. Rightly understood this kind of growth is of greater value than any external riches which can be garnered. A man is more precious for what he is than for what he has. [5] Similarly, all that men do to obtain greater justice, wider brotherhood, a more humane disposition of social relationships has greater worth than technical advances. For these advances can supply the material for human progress, but of themselves alone they can never actually bring it about.

Hence, the norm of human activity is this: that in accord with the divine plan and will, it harmonize with the genuine good of the human race, and that it allow men as individuals and as members of society to pursue their total vocation and fulfill it.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Cf. Gen. 1:26-27; 9:3; Wis. 9:3.
  2. Cf. Ps. 8:7 and 10.
  3. Cf. John XXIII, encyclical letter Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 (1963), p. 297.
  4. Cf. Message to all mankind sent by the Fathers at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, Oct. 20, 1962: AAS 54 (1962), p. 823.
  5. Cf. Paul VI, Address to the diplomatic corps Jan 7 1965: AAS 57 (1965), p. 232.