5.3.1 PP Part I, ‘Towards an Integral Human Development’

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Unit 5 Contents

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One of the principles of CST that was introduced back in Unit 1 was ‘integral human development’.  We have not focused on this again since then but it will be a main theme both in the remainder of this unit and in Unit 6.  It will be useful to read again the page in Unit 1 that outlined it.

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Re-reading (4pp)

VPlater, Module B, 1.3.9 ‘Integral human development’

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It was Populorum Progressio (PP) that made this principle prominent in CST.  Part I of the encyclical has the title, ‘Towards an Integral Human Development’.1

As that screen in Unit 1 notes, however, it first found expression in the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes.  This was in the context of addressing the “proper development of culture”, not economic development only.  GS refers to the obligation we all share of building a “more human world” and it connects this with “the integral vocation of man”.  It continues,

When man develops the earth…, he carries out the design of God manifested at the beginning of time, that he should subdue the earth, perfect creation and develop himself. At the same time he obeys the commandment of Christ that he place himself at the service of his brethren. (Gaudium et Spes, #57, italics added)

It is as men and women contribute to this development of a more human world, through a huge range of activities, that we serve each other.

Not long after this passage, GS addresses economic development specifically.  Conscious of unprecedented growth in economic production and rapid technical development in the post-WW2 period, at least in Western countries, the document states:

The fundamental finality [i.e. goal] of this production is not the mere increase of products nor profit or control but rather the service of man, and indeed of the whole man with regard for the full range of his material needs and the demands of his intellectual, moral, spiritual, and religious life; this applies to every man whatsoever and to every group of men, of every race and of every part of the world. (#64, italics added)

Gaudium et Spes was published right at the end of Vatican II in 1965 and many soon found it a huge inspiration. Especially the sections from which those quotations come can be seen as an important part of the background to Populorum Progressio.  Pope Paul VI, who had succeeded John XXIII in 1963, was already working on PP during Vatican II and it was issued in March 1967, less than 18 months after the Council ended.

PP is relatively short and this part of Unit 5 will guide you through reading the whole encyclical. It has been hugely influential, especially in the work of Catholic development agencies, such as CAFOD, SCIAF and Progressio in Britain – the last of these is named after it.2. We shall give attention to the work of these agencies later.

The first reading from PP is the Introduction.

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Reading (2pp)

Populorum Progressio, ##1-5

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The main point in the introduction is one to which I drew attention at the start of this unit: “we must all recognize… that the social question has become worldwide” (#3; cf. 5.1.1). The text says that “[t]his teaching is important and its application urgent” (#3).

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End of 5.3.1

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

Module B outline

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  1. The distinction into Part I and Part II and their headings are found in the official English and French translations of PP at www.vatican.va.  The encyclical was originally written in French, and I have adapted the headings to reflect more fully the original French.  Surprisingly, neither the division into Parts I and II nor the headings are present in the official Latin text. 

  2. While the body now called Progressio has existed since well before PP’s publication, it changed its name from the ‘Catholic Institute for International Relations’ to ‘Progressio’ to reflect the place of the document in inspiring its work. 

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