5.3.2 PP I.1 Historical context (##6-11)

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Unit 5 Contents

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Like John XXIII, Paul VI had been much influenced by Joseph Cardijn and the Catholic worker movements.  It is noteworthy that in PP‘s Introduction he refers to his own experience of ‘seeing’ poverty in Latin America, Africa, Palestine and India: “We… were able to see and virtually touch the very serious difficulties besetting peoples… who are at grips with the problem of development” (#4).  Perhaps he is here acknowledging the value he has found in the ‘see, judge, act’ method of addressing social questions.

As he begins Part I of the encyclical, he can be seen as developing this theme.  The first of its three chapters, which has the heading ‘The Dimensions of the Problem’, gives attention to the historical context in which the challenge of development had to be addressed in 1967, notably the immediate aftermath of colonialism. Many countries in African and Asia had gained independence from colonial powers over the previous 20 years.

He refers also to the threat that traditional cultures can face from economic progress; we saw that MM had already touched on this theme (##169-170; cf. 5.2.9, Response to Exercise).

I suggest that Part I of the encyclical as a whole can be read as following the ‘see, judge, act’ structure. The second chapter is headed ‘The Church and Development’ and, in its direct focus on ‘integral development’, forms a fundamental assessment of how to understand what development is. The third chapter, entitled ‘Action to be Taken’ attends to some of the main things needed in practice to pursue that vision.

After reading PP Part I, you can assess whether this suggestion about its structure makes good sense.

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Reading (2pp)

Populorum Progressio, Part I, chap. 1: ##6-11

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End of 5.3.2

Go to 5.3.3   I.2 Integral development (##13-21 and #42)

Module B outline

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