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Religion and Politics in Statements of the Roman Catholic Church

May 25, 2013

‘Discerning the times is the responsibility of every Christian, especially pastors and theologians, to hear, distinguish and interpret the many voices of our age and to judge them in the light of the divine word.’ (Gaudium et Spes 44)

‘Nations on the road to progress…continually fall behind while very often their dependence on wealthier nations deepens more rapidly, even in the economic sphere.’ (Gaudium et Spes 9)

‘There is the growing realization that the heritage of nature is limited and that it is being intolerably polluted. (Changes will have to take place)…These changes may perhaps mean unemployment, at least for a time, or the need for retraining.   They will probably mean a reduction or a less rapid increase in material well-being for the more developed countries.’ (Pope John Paul II)

‘Although nearly all peoples have gained their independence, it is still far from true that they are free from excessive inequalities and from every form of undue dependence.’ (Gaudium et Spes 85)

‘Many look forward to a genuine and total emancipation of humanity wrought solely by human effort.  They are convinced that the future role of humans over the earth will satisfy every desire of the heart….beneath economic and political demands lies a deeper and more widespread longing. Persons and societies thirst for a full and free life worthy of humanity.’ (Gaudium et Spes 9 and 110)

‘Earthly progress must be carefully distinguished from the growth of Christ’s kingdom.  Nevertheless, to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of society, it is of vital concern to the kingdom of God.’ (Gaudium et Spes 39)

 Populorum Progressio speaks of ‘building a world where every person, no matter what race, religion or nationality, can live a fully human life, freed from servitude imposed by others or by natural forces over which there is not sufficient control.’ (47)

‘Since redemption includes the order of creation, the ministry of the church necessarily encompasses…the whole complexus of human realities and problems…All human activities, even the most humble, must be vivified for Christians by the Spirit of God and ordered to the kingdom of God’ (Schema of Ariccia 51-52))

‘The Church is the ‘visible sacrament of this saving unity (9) with God and all humankind (1) the universal sacrament of salvation’ (Lumen Gentium 48)

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