5.3.10 PP II.3 Universal charity: toward a more human world (##66-75)

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Unit 5 Contents

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Recall that Part II of PP is outlining three duties that the “better-off nations” (#44) have towards poorer countries.  The two that we have looked at so far are relatively concrete and clear in what they require – the duty, out of solidarity, to give aid, and the duty of justice in trade relations.  The third is broader, less precise and more ambitious.  It is that relations among different countries and their peoples should be characterized by love.

Of course it is to be expected that a Christian leader will speak about the duty to love!  We noted at the start of the module that the central claim of Christian faith is this: God is love and has freely revealed his love in the world (1.2.1).  Jesus summed up the requirements of God’s law as to love God and to love neighbour, and this twofold command defines what it is to live as a Christian.

In fact Pope Paul uses the word ‘charity’, which comes from the Latin caritas.  In Unit 3 we looked briefly at this term and its relationship with justice.  Remind yourself of this by reading section (ii) on the following page.

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Re-reading (1p)

VPlater, Module B, 3.1.3, ‘(ii) Charity and justice’

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As this implies, the duty of charity is not separate from the duties to give aid and to practise justice in trade that Pope Paul has set out in the two preceding sections.  Rather, it is love of neighbour that can drive people to do exactly those things.  However what charity or love asks of us also goes beyond what solidarity or justice requires.

That gives us a key, I suggest, for how to understand what PP says under the heading of “universal charity”.  After beginning the chapter with the strong statement that “[t]he world is sick” largely because of the lack of fraternity “among individuals and peoples”, Paul VI makes “recommendations” about two main issues.  In relation to both, what is needed is that people love one another, nothing less.  The two are:

*  the importance of people in wealthy countries giving warm hospitality to those who come from places of “extreme poverty” (##67-69)

*  the equal importance of all who travel showing sensitive respect to the traditions and cultures of peoples they visit (##70-74).

Pope Paul then concludes this chapter on universal charity in this way: “More than any other, the individual who is animated by true charity labors skillfully to discover the causes of misery, to find the means to combat it, to overcome it resolutely” (#75).

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Reading (3pp)

Populorum Progressio, Part II, chap. 3: ##66-75

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Reflection

I said above that the duty of the richer nations to practise universal charity is “broader, less precise and more ambitious” than the first two that PP has discussed (to give aid, and to ensure justice in trade).

To what extent does the reading you have just done show concretely what that duty requires in practice?

How important do you think the kind of appeal that Pope Paul makes here is – urging love between people of different nations and cultures?

To what extent is it open to critique as being mere words, or hopelessly vague, or unrealistic?

If someone criticised it on these grounds, would you wish to defend it?  If so, on what basis?

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End of 5.3.10

Go to 5.3.11   Conclusion: development and peace (##76-87)

 

Module B outline

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