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Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life cf. Jn : contemplating the Lord's face, we confirm our faith and our hope in him, the one Saviour and goal of history. The Church continues to speak to all people and all nations, for it is only in the name of Christ that salvation is given to men and women.
At the dawn of this Third Millennium, the Church does not tire of proclaiming the Gospel that brings salvation and genuine freedom also to temporal realities. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. To the people of our time, her travelling companions, the Church also offers her social doctrine.
Discovering that they are loved by God, people come to understand their own transcendent dignity, they learn not to be satisfied with only themselves but to encounter their neighbour in a network of relationships that are ever more authentically human. They are people capable of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by man.
Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain among themselves.
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This is the perspective that allows every person of good will to perceive the broad horizons of justice and human development in truth and goodness. Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people. So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect.
Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care?
Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely, if in addition to its traditional forms we think of its newer patterns. These latter often affect financially affluent sectors and groups which are nevertheless threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination And how can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity?
Or by the problems of peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars? Or by contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children? Christian love leads to denunciation, proposals and a commitment to cultural and social projects; it prompts positive activity that inspires all who sincerely have the good of man at heart to make their contribution.
Humanity is coming to understand ever more clearly that it is linked by one sole destiny that requires joint acceptance of responsibility, a responsibility inspired by an integral and shared humanism. It sees that this mutual destiny is often conditioned and even imposed by technological and economic factors, and it senses the need for a greater moral awareness that will guide its common journey. Marvelling at the many innovations of technology, the men and women of our day strongly desire that progress be directed towards the true good of the humanity, both of today and tomorrow.
The significance of this document. The Christian knows that in the social doctrine of the Church can be found the principles for reflection, the criteria for judgment and the directives for action which are the starting point for the promotion of an integral and solidary humanism. It is in this light that the publication of a document providing the fundamental elements of the social doctrine of the Church, showing the relationship between this doctrine and the new evangelization , appeared to be so useful.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which has drawn up the present document and is fully responsible for its content, prepared the text in a broad-based consultation with its own Members and Consulters, with different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, with the Bishops' Conferences of various countries, with individual Bishops and with experts on the issues addressed. This document intends to present in a complete and systematic manner, even if by means of an overview, the Church's social teaching, which is the fruit of careful Magisterial reflection and an expression of the Church's constant commitment in fidelity to the grace of salvation wrought in Christ and in loving concern for humanity's destiny.
Herein the most relevant theological, philosophical, moral, cultural and pastoral considerations of this teaching are systematically presented as they relate to social questions. In this way, witness is borne to the fruitfulness of the encounter between the Gospel and the problems that mankind encounters on its journey through history. In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority. Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See.
As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved. The document limits itself to putting forth the fundamental elements of the Church's social doctrine, leaving to Episcopal Conferences the task of making the appropriate applications as required by the different local situations.
This document offers a complete overview of the fundamental framework of the doctrinal corpus of Catholic social teaching. This overview allows us to address appropriately the social issues of our day, which must be considered as a whole, since they are characterized by an ever greater interconnectedness, influencing one another mutually and becoming increasingly a matter of concern for the entire human family.
The exposition of the Church's social doctrine is meant to suggest a systematic approach for finding solutions to problems, so that discernment, judgment and decisions will correspond to reality, and so that solidarity and hope will have a greater impact on the complexities of current situations. These principles, in fact, are interrelated and shed light on one another mutually, insofar as they are an expression of Christian anthropology, fruits of the revelation of God's love for the human person. However, it must not be forgotten that the passing of time and the changing of social circumstances will require a constant updating of the reflections on the various issues raised here, in order to interpret the new signs of the times.
The document is presented as an instrument for the moral and pastoral discernment of the complex events that mark our time; as a guide to inspire, at the individual and collective levels, attitudes and choices that will permit all people to look to the future with greater trust and hope ; as an aid for the faithful concerning the Church's teaching in the area of social morality. From this there can spring new strategies suited to the demands of our time and in keeping with human needs and resources.
In short, the text is proposed as an incentive for dialogue with all who sincerely desire the good of mankind. This document is intended first of all for Bishops, who will determine the most suitable methods for making it known and for interpreting it correctly. Priests, men and women religious , and, in general, those responsible for formation will find herein a guide for their teaching and a tool for their pastoral service. Christian communities will be able to look to this document for assistance in analyzing situations objectively, in clarifying them in the light of the unchanging words of the Gospel, in drawing principles for reflection, criteria for judgment and guidelines for action.
This document is proposed also to the brethren of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, to the followers of other religions, as well as to all people of good will who are committed to serving the common good : may they receive it as the fruit of a universal human experience marked by countless signs of the presence of God's Spirit. It is a treasury of things old and new cf. It is a sign of hope in the fact that religions and cultures today show openness to dialogue and sense the urgent need to join forces in promoting justice, fraternity, peace and the growth of the human person.
The Catholic Church joins her own commitment to that made in the social field by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whether at the level of doctrinal reflection or at the practical level. Together with them, the Catholic Church is convinced that from the common heritage of social teachings preserved by the living tradition of the people of God there will come motivations and orientations for an ever closer cooperation in the promotion of justice and peace.
At the service of the full truth about man. Ex ; Jn and moves among them cf.
By means of the present document, the Church intends to offer a contribution of truth to the question of man's place in nature and in human society, a question faced by civilizations and cultures in which expressions of human wisdom are found. Rooted in a past that is often thousands of years old and manifesting themselves in forms of religion, philosophy and poetic genius of every time and of every people, these civilizations and cultures offer their own interpretation of the universe and of human society, and seek an understanding of existence and of the mystery that surrounds it.
Who am I? Why is there pain, evil, death, despite all the progress that has been made? What is the value of so many accomplishments if the cost has been unbearable? What will there be after this life? These are the basic questions that characterize the course of human life.
The direction that human existence, society and history will take depends largely on the answers given to the questions of man's place in nature and society; the purpose of the present document is to make a contribution to these answers. The deepest meaning of human existence, in fact, is revealed in the free quest for that truth capable of giving direction and fullness to life.
The aforementioned questions incessantly draw human intelligence and the human will to this quest. They are the highest expression of human nature, since they require a response that measures the depth of an individual's commitment to his own existence. The fundamental questions accompanying the human journey from the very beginning take on even greater significance in our own day, because of the enormity of the challenges, the novelty of the situations and the importance of the decisions facing modern generations.
The first of the great challenges facing humanity today is that of the truth itself of the being who is man. The boundary and relation between nature, technology and morality are issues that decisively summon personal and collective responsibility with regard to the attitudes to adopt concerning what human beings are, what they are able to accomplish and what they should be.
A second challenge is found in the understanding and management of pluralism and differences at every level: in ways of thinking, moral choices, culture, religious affiliation, philosophy of human and social development. The third challenge is globalization , the significance of which is much wider and more profound than simple economic globalization, since history has witnessed the opening of a new era that concerns humanity's destiny.
The disciples of Jesus Christ feel that they are involved with these questions; they too carry them within their hearts and wish to commit themselves, together with all men and women, to the quest for the truth and the meaning of life lived both as individual persons and as a society. They contribute to this quest by their generous witness to the free and extraordinary gift that humanity has received : God has spoken his Word to men and women throughout history; indeed he himself has entered history in order to enter into dialogue with humanity and to reveal to mankind his plan of salvation, justice and brotherhood.
In Jesus Christ, his Son made man, God has freed us from sin and has shown us the path we are to walk and the goal towards which we are to strive. The Church journeys along the roads of history together with all of humanity. She lives in the world, and although not of the world cf. Jn she is called to serve the world according to her innermost vocation. This attitude, found also in the present document, is based on the deep conviction that just as it is important for the world to recognize the Church as a reality of history and a leaven in history, so too is it important for the Church to recognize what she has received from history and from the development of the human race.
The Church, the sign in history of God's love for mankind and of the vocation of the whole human race to unity as children of the one Father , intends with this document on her social doctrine to propose to all men and women a humanism that is up to the standards of God's plan of love in history, an integral and solidary humanism capable of creating a new social, economic and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice and solidarity.
This humanism can become a reality if individual men and women and their communities are able to cultivate moral and social virtues in themselves and spread them in society. Centesimus Annus , God's gratuitous presence. Every authentic religious experience, in all cultural traditions, leads to an intuition of the Mystery that, not infrequently, is able to recognize some aspect of God's face.
On the one hand, God is seen as the origin of what exists , as the presence that guarantees to men and women organized in a society the basic conditions of life, placing at their disposal the goods that are necessary. On the other hand, he appears as the measure of what should be , as the presence that challenges human action — both at the personal and at the social levels — regarding the use of those very goods in relation to other people.
In every religious experience, therefore, importance attaches to the dimension of gift and gratuitousness , which is seen as an underlying element of the experience that the human beings have of their existence together with others in the world, as well as to the repercussions of this dimension on the human conscience, which senses that it is called to manage responsibly and together with others the gift received. Against the background of universal religious experience, in which humanity shares in different ways, God's progressive revelation of himself to the people of Israel stands out.
This revelation responds to the human quest for the divine in an unexpected and surprising way, thanks to the historical manner — striking and penetrating — in which God's love for man is made concrete. These become historical action, which is the origin of the manner in which the Lord's people collectively identify themselves, through the acquisition of freedom and the land that the Lord gives them.
The gratuitousness of this historically efficacious divine action is constantly accompanied by the commitment to the covenant, proposed by God and accepted by Israel. On Mount Sinai, God's initiative becomes concrete in the covenant with his people, to whom is given the Decalogue of the commandments revealed by the Lord cf.
Ex Moral existence is a response to the Lord's loving initiative. It is the acknowledgment and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. The Ten Commandments, which constitute an extraordinary path of life and indicate the surest way for living in freedom from slavery to sin, contain a privileged expression of the natural law. They describe universal human morality.
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In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the rich young man that the Ten Commandments cf. There comes from the Decalogue a commitment that concerns not only fidelity to the one true God, but also the social relations among the people of the Covenant. The gift of freedom and the Promised Land, and the gift of the Covenant on Sinai and the Ten Commandments are therefore intimately linked to the practices which must regulate, in justice and solidarity, the development of Israelite society. Among the many norms which tend to give concrete expression to the style of gratuitousness and sharing in justice which God inspires, the law of the sabbatical year celebrated every seven years and that of the jubilee year celebrated every fifty years  stand out as important guidelines — unfortunately never fully put into effect historically — for the social and economic life of the people of Israel.
Besides requiring fields to lie fallow, these laws call for the cancellation of debts and a general release of persons and goods: everyone is free to return to his family of origin and to regain possession of his birthright. This legislation is designed to ensure that the salvific event of the Exodus and fidelity to the Covenant represents not only the founding principle of Israel's social, political and economic life, but also the principle for dealing with questions concerning economic poverty and social injustices.
This principle is invoked in order to transform, continuously and from within, the life of the people of the Covenant, so that this life will correspond to God's plan. To eliminate the discrimination and economic inequalities caused by socio-economic changes, every seven years the memory of the Exodus and the Covenant are translated into social and juridical terms, in order to bring the concepts of property, debts, loans and goods back to their deepest meaning. The precepts of the sabbatical and jubilee years constitute a kind of social doctrine in miniature .
They show how the principles of justice and social solidarity are inspired by the gratuitousness of the salvific event wrought by God, and that they do not have a merely corrective value for practices dominated by selfish interests and objectives, but must rather become, as a prophecy of the future, the normative points of reference to which every generation in Israel must conform if it wishes to be faithful to its God. These principles become the focus of the Prophets' preaching, which seeks to internalize them.
God's Spirit, poured into the human heart — the Prophets proclaim — will make these same sentiments of justice and solidarity, which reside in the Lord's heart, take root in you cf. Jer and Ezek Then God's will, articulated in the Decalogue given on Sinai, will be able to take root creatively in man's innermost being. This process of internalization gives rise to greater depth and realism in social action, making possible the progressive universalization of attitudes of justice and solidarity , which the people of the Covenant are called to have towards all men and women of every people and nation.
The reflection of the Prophets and that found in the Wisdom Literature, in coming to the formulation of the principle that all things were created by God, touch on the first manifestation and the source itself of God's plan for the whole of humanity. In Israel's profession of faith, to affirm that God is Creator does not mean merely expressing a theoretical conviction, but also grasping the original extent of the Lord's gratuitous and merciful action on behalf of man. In fact, God freely confers being and life on everything that exists. Man and woman, created in his image and likeness cf.
Gen , are for that very reason called to be the visible sign and the effective instrument of divine gratuitousness in the garden where God has placed them as cultivators and custodians of the goods of creation. It is in the free action of God the Creator that we find the very meaning of creation, even if it has been distorted by the experience of sin. In fact, the narrative of the first sin cf. Gen describes the permanent temptation and the disordered situation in which humanity comes to find itself after the fall of its progenitors. Disobedience to God means hiding from his loving countenance and seeking to control one's life and action in the world.
Breaking the relation of communion with God causes a rupture in the internal unity of the human person, in the relations of communion between man and woman and of the harmonious relations between mankind and other creatures. It is in this original estrangement that are to be sought the deepest roots of all the evils that afflict social relations between people, of all the situations in economic and political life that attack the dignity of the person, that assail justice and solidarity.
In Jesus Christ the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. The benevolence and mercy that inspire God's actions and provide the key for understanding them become so very much closer to man that they take on the traits of the man Jesus, the Word made flesh.
Is Jesus therefore places himself on the frontline of fulfilment, not only because he fulfils what was promised and what was awaited by Israel, but also in the deeper sense that in him the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. Jesus, in other words, is the tangible and definitive manifestation of how God acts towards men and women. The love that inspires Jesus' ministry among men is the love that he has experienced in his intimate union with the Father.
Jesus announces the liberating mercy of God to those whom he meets on his way, beginning with the poor, the marginalized, the sinners. He invites all to follow him because he is the first to obey God's plan of love, and he does so in a most singular way, as God's envoy in the world. Jesus' self-awareness of being the Son is an expression of this primordial experience. For Jesus, recognizing the Father's love means modelling his actions on God's gratuitousness and mercy; it is these that generate new life. It means becoming — by his very existence — the example and pattern of this for his disciples.
Jesus' followers are called to live like him and, after his Passover of death and resurrection, to live also in him and by him , thanks to the superabundant gift of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, who internalizes Christ's own style of life in human hearts. With the unceasing amazement of those who have experienced the inexpressible love of God cf. Rom , the New Testament grasps, in the light of the full revelation of Trinitarian love offered by the Passover of Jesus Christ, the ultimate meaning of the Incarnation of the Son and his mission among men and women.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? The Face of God, progressively revealed in the history of salvation, shines in its fullness in the Face of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. God is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; truly distinct and truly one, because God is an infinite communion of love. God's gratuitous love for humanity is revealed, before anything else, as love springing from the Father, from whom everything draws its source; as the free communication that the Son makes of this love, giving himself anew to the Father and giving himself to mankind; as the ever new fruitfulness of divine love that the Holy Spirit pours forth into the hearts of men cf.
Rom By his words and deeds, and fully and definitively by his death and resurrection , Jesus reveals to humanity that God is Father and that we are all called by grace to become his children in the Spirit cf. Rom ; Gal , and therefore brothers and sisters among ourselves. Meditating on the gratuitousness and superabundance of the Father's divine gift of the Son, which Jesus taught and bore witness to by giving his life for us, the Apostle John grasps its profound meaning and its most logical consequence. The commandment of mutual love shows how to live in Christ the Trinitarian life within the Church, the Body of Christ, and how to transform history until it reaches its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The commandment of mutual love, which represents the law of life for God's people , must inspire, purify and elevate all human relationships in society and in politics. Trinitarian love, the origin and goal of the human person. The revelation in Christ of the mystery of God as Trinitarian love is at the same time the revelation of the vocation of the human person to love. This revelation sheds light on every aspect of the personal dignity and freedom of men and women, and on the depths of their social nature.
In the communion of love that is God, and in which the Three Divine Persons mutually love one another and are the One God, the human person is called to discover the origin and goal of his existence and of history. It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself cf. Christian revelation shines a new light on the identity, the vocation and the ultimate destiny of the human person and the human race. Every person is created by God, loved and saved in Jesus Christ, and fulfils himself by creating a network of multiple relationships of love, justice and solidarity with other persons while he goes about his various activities in the world.
Human activity, when it aims at promoting the integral dignity and vocation of the person, the quality of living conditions and the meeting in solidarity of peoples and nations, is in accordance with the plan of God, who does not fail to show his love and providence to his children. The pages of the first book of Sacred Scripture, which describe the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God cf.
Gen , contain a fundamental teaching with regard to the identity and the vocation of the human person. Gen This vision of the human person, of society and of history is rooted in God and is ever more clearly seen when his plan of salvation becomes a reality. Christian salvation: for all people and the whole person.
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father's initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent.
It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation cf. Rom 8 , to share in Christ's resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit. This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity's claims to self-salvation. The salvation offered by God to his children requires their free response and acceptance.
In fact, the divine plan of salvation does not consign human creatures to a state of mere passivity or of lesser status in relation to their Creator, because their relationship to God, whom Jesus Christ reveals to us and in whom he freely makes us sharers by the working of the Holy Spirit, is that of a child to its parent: the very relationship that Jesus lives with the Father cf.
Jn ; Gal The universality and integrality of the salvation wrought by Christ makes indissoluble the link between the relationship that the person is called to have with God and the responsibility he has towards his neighbour in the concrete circumstances of history. This is sensed, though not always without some confusion or misunderstanding, in humanity's universal quest for truth and meaning, and it becomes the cornerstone of God's covenant with Israel, as attested by the tablets of the Law and the preaching of the Prophets.
This link finds a clear and precise expression in the teaching of Jesus Christ and is definitively confirmed by the supreme witness of the giving of his life, in obedience to the Father's will and out of love for his brothers and sisters. Inextricably linked in the human heart are the relationship with God — recognized as Creator and Father, the source and fulfilment of life and of salvation — and openness in concrete love towards man, who must be treated as another self, even if he is an enemy cf.
Mt In man's inner dimension are rooted, in the final analysis, the commitment to justice and solidarity, to the building up of a social, economic and political life that corresponds to God's plan. The disciple of Christ as a new creation. Personal and social life, as well as human action in the world, is always threatened by sin. Christ's disciple adheres, in faith and through the sacraments, to Jesus' Paschal Mystery, so that his old self , with its evil inclinations, is crucified with Christ. The inner transformation of the human person, in his being progressively conformed to Christ, is the necessary prerequisite for a real transformation of his relationships with others.
It is not possible to love one's neighbour as oneself and to persevere in this conduct without the firm and constant determination to work for the good of all people and of each person, because we are all really responsible for everyone . This path requires grace, which God offers to man in order to help him to overcome failings, to snatch him from the spiral of lies and violence, to sustain him and prompt him to restore with an ever new and ready spirit the network of authentic and honest relationships with his fellow men.
Even the relationship with the created universe and human activity aimed at tending it and transforming it, activity which is daily endangered by man's pride and his inordinate self-love, must be purified and perfected by the cross and resurrection of Christ. Man thanks his divine benefactor for all these things, he uses them and enjoys them in a spirit of poverty and freedom.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man in whom and thanks to whom the world and man attain their authentic and full truth. The mystery of God's being infinitely close to man — brought about in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, who gave himself on the cross, abandoning himself to death — shows that the more that human realities are seen in the light of God's plan and lived in communion with God, the more they are empowered and liberated in their distinctive identity and in the freedom that is proper to them.
Sharing in Christ's life of sonship, made possible by the Incarnation and the Paschal gift of the Spirit, far from being a mortification, has the effect of unleashing the authentic and independent traits and identity that characterize human beings in all their various expressions. For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order. There is no state of conflict between God and man, but a relationship of love in which the world and the fruits of human activity in the world are objects of mutual gift between the Father and his children, and among the children themselves, in Christ Jesus; in Christ and thanks to him the world and man attain their authentic and inherent meaning.
In a universal vision of God's love that embraces everything that exists, God himself is revealed to us in Christ as Father and giver of life, and man as the one who, in Christ, receives everything from God as gift, humbly and freely, and who truly possesses everything as his own when he knows and experiences everything as belonging to God, originating in God and moving towards God. The human person, in himself and in his vocation, transcends the limits of the created universe, of society and of history: his ultimate end is God himself , who has revealed himself to men in order to invite them and receive them into communion with himself .
The human person cannot and must not be manipulated by social, economic or political structures, because every person has the freedom to direct himself towards his ultimate end. We can speak here of an eschatological relativity , in the sense that man and the world are moving towards their end, which is the fulfilment of their destiny in God; we can also speak of a theological relativity , insofar as the gift of God, by which the definitive destiny of humanity and of creation will be attained, is infinitely greater than human possibilities and expectations.
Any totalitarian vision of society and the State, and any purely intra-worldly ideology of progress are contrary to the integral truth of the human person and to God's plan in history. The Church, sign and defender of the transcendence of the human person. The goal of salvation, the Kingdom of God embraces all people and is fully realized beyond history, in God.
The Church places herself concretely at the service of the Kingdom of God above all by announcing and communicating the Gospel of salvation and by establishing new Christian communities. Jn It follows from this, in particular, that the Church is not to be confused with the political community and is not bound to any political system . Indeed, it can be affirmed that the distinction between religion and politics and the principle of religious freedom constitute a specific achievement of Christianity and one of its fundamental historical and cultural contributions.
Precisely for this reason, the Church offers an original and irreplaceable contribution with the concern that impels her to make the family of mankind and its history more human, prompting her to place herself as a bulwark against every totalitarian temptation, as she shows man his integral and definitive vocation.
At the level of concrete historical dynamics, therefore, the coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be discerned in the perspective of a determined and definitive social, economic or political organization. Rather, it is seen in the development of a human social sense which for mankind is a leaven for attaining wholeness, justice and solidarity in openness to the Transcendent as a point of reference for one's own personal definitive fulfilment. The Church, the Kingdom of God and the renewal of social relations.
God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. In this perspective, Church communities, brought together by the message of Jesus Christ and gathered in the Holy Spirit round the Risen Lord cf.
Mt , ; Lk , offer themselves as places of communion, witness and mission, and as catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships. The transformation of social relationships that responds to the demands of the Kingdom of God is not fixed within concrete boundaries once and for all. Rather, it is a task entrusted to the Christian community, which is to develop it and carry it out through reflection and practices inspired by the Gospel.
It is the same Spirit of the Lord, leading the people of God while simultaneously permeating the universe, who from time to time inspires new and appropriate ways for humanity to exercise its creative responsibility. This inspiration is given to the community of Christians who are a part of the world and of history, and who are therefore open to dialogue with all people of good will in the common quest for the seeds of truth and freedom sown in the vast field of humanity. The dynamics of this renewal must be firmly anchored in the unchangeable principles of the natural law, inscribed by God the Creator in each of his creatures cf.
Rom , and bathed in eschatological light through Jesus Christ. This law is called to become the ultimate measure and rule of every dynamic related to human relations. In short, it is the very mystery of God, Trinitarian Love, that is the basis of the meaning and value of the person, of social relations, of human activity in the world, insofar as humanity has received the revelation of this and a share in it through Christ in his Spirit.
The transformation of the world is a fundamental requirement of our time also. To this need the Church's social Magisterium intends to offer the responses called for by the signs of the times, pointing above all to the mutual love between human beings, in the sight of God, as the most powerful instrument of change, on the personal and social levels. Mutual love, in fact, sharing in the infinite love of God, is humanity's authentic purpose, both historical and transcendent. New heavens and a new earth.
God's promise and Jesus Christ's resurrection raise in Christians the well-founded hope that a new and eternal dwelling place is prepared for every human person, a new earth where justice abides cf. This hope, rather than weaken, must instead strengthen concern for the work that is needed in the present reality.
The good things — such as human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, all the good fruits of nature and of human enterprise — that in the Lord's Spirit and according to his command have spread throughout the earth, having been purified of every stain, illuminated and transfigured, belong to the Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, of love and of peace that Christ will present to the Father, and it is there that we shall once again find them. The complete fulfilment of the human person, achieved in Christ through the gift of the Spirit, develops in history and is mediated by personal relationships with other people, relationships that in turn reach perfection thanks to the commitment made to improve the world, in justice and peace.
Human activity in history is of itself significant and effective for the definitive establishment of the Kingdom, although this remains a free gift of God, completely transcendent. Such activity, when it respects the objective order of temporal reality and is enlightened by truth and love, becomes an instrument for making justice and peace ever more fully and integrally present, and anticipates in our own day the promised Kingdom. Conforming himself to Christ the Redeemer, man perceives himself as a creature willed by God and eternally chosen by him, called to grace and glory in all the fullness of the mystery in which he has become a sharer in Jesus Christ .
Being conformed to Christ and contemplating his face  instil in Christians an irrepressible longing for a foretaste in this world, in the context of human relationships, of what will be a reality in the definitive world to come; thus Christians strive to give food, drink, clothing, shelter, care, a welcome and company to the Lord who knocks at the door cf.
Heir to the hope of the righteous in Israel and first among the disciples of Jesus Christ is Mary, his Mother. Lk , in the name of all humanity, she accepts in history the One sent by the Father, the Saviour of mankind. Is ; The God of the Covenant, whom the Virgin of Nazareth praises in song as her spirit rejoices, is the One who casts down the mighty from their thrones and raises up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty, scatters the proud and shows mercy to those who fear him cf.
Lk Mary is totally dependent upon God and completely directed towards him by the impetus of her faith. The Church, God's dwelling place with men and women. The Church, sharing in mankind's joys and hopes, in its anxieties and sadness, stands with every man and woman of every place and time, to bring them the good news of the Kingdom of God, which in Jesus Christ has come and continues to be present among them.
In the midst of mankind and in the world she is the sacrament of God's love and, therefore, of the most splendid hope, which inspires and sustains every authentic undertaking for and commitment to human liberation and advancement. Rev , so that man is not alone, lost or frightened in his task of making the world more human; thus men and women find support in the redeeming love of Christ. As minister of salvation, the Church is not in the abstract nor in a merely spiritual dimension, but in the context of the history and of the world in which man lives.
Here mankind is met by God's love and by the vocation to cooperate in the divine plan. Unique and unrepeatable in his individuality, every person is a being who is open to relationships with others in society. Life together in society, in the network of relationships linking individuals, families and intermediate groups by encounter, communication and exchange, ensures a higher quality of living. The common good that people seek and attain in the formation of social communities is the guarantee of their personal, familial and associative good.
These are the reasons for which society originates and takes shape, with its array of structures, that is to say its political, economic, juridical and cultural constructs. As an expert in humanity, she is able to understand man in his vocation and aspirations, in his limits and misgivings, in his rights and duties, and to speak a word of life that reverberates in the historical and social circumstances of human existence. Enriching and permeating society with the Gospel.
With her social teaching the Church seeks to proclaim the Gospel and make it present in the complex network of social relations. It is not simply a matter of reaching out to man in society — man as the recipient of the proclamation of the Gospel — but of enriching and permeating society itself with the Gospel . For the Church, therefore, tending to the needs of man means that she also involves society in her missionary and salvific work. The way people live together in society often determines the quality of life and therefore the conditions in which every man and woman understand themselves and make decisions concerning themselves and their vocation.
For this reason, the Church is not indifferent to what is decided, brought about or experienced in society; she is attentive to the moral quality — that is, the authentically human and humanizing aspects — of social life. Society — and with it, politics, the economy, labour, law, culture — is not simply a secular and worldly reality, and therefore outside or foreign to the message and economy of salvation.