Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples)

Pope Paul VI, 1967

Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical Populorum Progressio in 1967 to address the world economy and its effect on peoples around the world. At this time many nations saw their economic development stall, while others continued to grow at a record pace. In the document he talks about the rights of workers to a just wage, job security, reasonable working conditions, and to join a worker's association.

The development of nations and peoples is of great interest to the Church, which is especially concerned for those who seek to escape hunger, poverty, disease, and ignorance. While many nations have been blessed with abundance, they need to hear their brother's cry for help and answer it lovingly.

The Church is committed to advocating for a secure food supply, cures for diseases, and stable employment. Each nation needs the social and economic structure necessary to achieve growth.

The growing gap between rich and poor nations and increasing signs of social unrest demonstrate the severity of the situation. The Church has long made efforts to help nations develop, but their great needs must be answered by their fellow countries.

It has been the duty of humanity to "fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1. 28) through physical labor. The earth was created to provide each person with the necessities of life. The encyclical continues by discussing the value and peril of industrialization and recommends a balanced approach toward development.

All of humanity is called to lend a hand toward helping those in need. Development as a goal must include both social progress as well as economic growth, allowing men and women to further their moral growth and develop their spiritual endowments. Basic education is necessary for economic development - literacy is "the first and most basic tool for personal enrichment and social integration." (Paragraph 35)

There are three major duties which must be completed for the world to achieve development. The wealthiest nations must give aid and promote solidarity with developing nations. Fair trading relations between strong and poor nations must be established. The world must also focus on universal charity by building a more humane world community.

We should all pray that God will "bend every effort of mind and spirit to" the eradication of the evils that plague our world. (Paragraph 75) The world must work together for the common good and abolish hunger, poverty, and injustice.

His Holiness concluded the encyclical by calling on Catholic, other Christians, and to all of humanity work together to achieve progress in these endeavors.

Link to: Populorum Progressio

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