Populorum Progressio Our predecessors in their great encyclicals, Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum,[1] Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno[2] and John XXIII in Mater et. On Easter Sunday , two years after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI announced to the world the encyclical “Populorum. Official Website of the Catholic Church for England and Wales.

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Following on the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council a renewed consciousness of the demands of the Gospel makes it her duty to put herself at the service of all, to help them grasp their serious problem in all its dimensions, and to convince them that solidarity in action at this turning point in human history is a matter of urgency. Today the principal fact that we must all recognize is that the social question has become world-wide. Today the peoples in hunger are making a dramatic appeal to the peoples blessed with abundance.

Before We became Pope, two journeys, to Latin America in encycliical to Africa inbrought Us into direct contact with the progreesio problems pressing on continents full of life and hope. Then on becoming Father of all We made further journeys, to the Holy Land and India, and were able to see and virtually touch the very serious difficulties besetting peoples of long-standing civilizations who are at grips with the problem of development.

While the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council was being held in Rome, providential circumstances permitted Us to address in person the General Assembly of the United Nations, and We pleaded the cause of poor peoples before this distinguished body.

We think that this can and should bring together men of good will with our Catholic sons encyclucal our Christian brothers. Freedom from misery, the greater assurance of finding subsistence, health and fixed employment; an increased progresio of responsibility without oppression of any kind and in security from situations that do violence to their dignity as men; better education — in brief, to seek to plpulorum more, know more and have more in order to be more: Besides, peoples who have recently gained national independence experience the need to add to this political freedom a fitting autonomous growth, social as well as proressio, in order to assure their citizens of a full human enhancement and to take their rightful place with other nations.

Populorkm insufficient for the immensity and urgency of the task, the means inherited from the past are not lacking. It must certainly be recognized that colonizing powers have often furthered their own interests, power or glory, and that endyclical departure has sometimes left a precarious economy, bound up for instance with the production of one kind of crop whose market prices are subject eencyclical sudden and considerable variation.

Yet while recognizing the damage done by a certain type of colonialism and its consequences, one must at the same time acknowledge the qualities and achievement of colonizers who brought their science and technical knowledge and left beneficial results of their presence in so many underprivileged regions. The structures established by them persist, however incomplete they may be; they diminished ignorance and sickness, brought the benefits of communications and improved living conditions.

Yet once this is admitted, it remains only too true that the popilorum situation is manifestly inadequate for facing the hard reality of modern economics. The imbalance is on the increase: At the same time social conflicts have taken on world dimensions. The acute disquiet which has taken hold of the poor classes in countries that are becoming industrialised, is now embracing those whose economy is almost exclusively agrarian: Furthermore, the conflict between traditional civilizations and the new elements of industrial civilization break down structures which do not adapt themselves to new conditions.

Their framework, sometimes rigid, was the indispensable prop to personal and family life; older people remain attached to it, the young escape from it, as from a useless barrier, to turn eagerly to new forms of life in society. The conflict of the generations is made more serious by a tragic dilemma: In effect, the moral, spiritual and religious supports of the past too often give way without securing in return any guarantee of a place in the new world.

In this confusion encycilcal temptation progressiio stronger to risk being swept away towards types of messianism which give promises but create illusions. The resulting dangers are patent: Such are the data of the problem. Its seriousness is evident to all. True to the teaching and example of her divine Founder, Who cited the preaching of the Gospel to the poor as a sign of His mission,[11] the Church has never progressii to foster the human progress of the nations to which enchclical brings faith in Christ.


Her missionaries have built, not only churches, but also hostels and hospitals, schools and universities. Teaching the local populations popuulorum means of deriving the best advantages from their natural resources, missionaries have often protected them from the greed of foreigners.

Without doubt their work, inasmuch as it was human, was not perfect, and sometimes the announcement of the authentic Gospel message was infiltrated by many ways of thinking and acting which were enncyclical of their home country.

But the missionaries were also able to develop and foster local institutions. In many a region they were among the pioneers in material progress as well as in cultural advancement.

We ought to pay tribute to these pioneers who have been too often forgotten, but who were urged on by the love of Christ, just as we honor their imitators and successors who today still continue to put themselves at the generous and unselfish service of those to whom they announce the Gospel. However, local and individual undertakings are no longer enough.

The present situation of the world demands concerted action based on a clear vision of all economic, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects. In order to be authentic, it must be complete: As an eminent specialist has very rightly and emphatically declared: In the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfill himself, for every life is a vocation. At birth, everyone is granted, in germ, a set of aptitudes and qualities for him to bring to fruition.

Their coming to maturity, which will be the result of education received from the environment and personal efforts, will allow each man to direct himself toward the destiny intended for him by his Creator.

Endowed with intelligence and freedom, he is responsible for his fulfillment as he is for his salvation. He is aided, or sometimes impeded, by those who educate him and those with whom he lives, but each one remains, whatever be these influences affecting him, the principal agent of his own success or failure. By the unaided effort of his own intelligence and his will, each man can grow in humanity, can enhance his personal worth, can become more a person.

However, this self-fulfillment is not something optional. Just as the whole of creation is ordained to its Creator, so spiritual beings should of their own accord orientate their lives to God, the first truth and the supreme good.

Thus it is that human fulfillment constitutes, as it were, a summary of our duties. But there is much more: By reason of his union with Christ, the source of life, man attains to new fulfillment of himself, to a transcendent humanism which gives him his greatest possible perfection: But each man is a member of society. He is part of the whole of mankind. It is not just certain individuals, but all men who are called to this fullness of development.

Civilizations are born, develop and die. But humanity is advancing along the path of history like the waves of a rising tide encroaching gradually on the shore.

50th Anniversary of the Encyclical “Populorum Progressio”

We have inherited from past generations, and we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries: The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty. This personal and communal development would be threatened if the true scale of values were undermined. The desire for necessities is legitimate, and work undertaken to obtain them is a duty: Individuals, families and nations can be overcome by avarice, be they poor or rich, and all can fall victim to a stifling materialism.

Increased possession is not the progredsio goal of nations nor of individuals. All growth is ambivalent. It is essential if man is to develop as a man, but in a way it imprisons man if he considers it the supreme good, and it restricts his vision.

Then we see hearts harden and minds close, and men no longer gather together in friendship but out of self-interest, which soon leads to oppositions and disunity. Both for nations and for individual men, avarice is the most evident form of moral underdevelopment. If further development calls for the work of more and more technicians, even more necessary is the deep populorumm and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew by embracing the higher values of love and friendship, of prayer and contemplation.

Conditions that are more human: Additional conditions that are more human: Conditions that are still more human: Conditions that, finally and above all, are more human: If the world is made to furnish each individual with the means of livelihood and the instruments for his growth and progress, each man has therefore the right to find in the world what is necessary for himself.


The recent Council encycliacl us of this: They should not hinder but on the contrary favor its application. It is a grave progressoo urgent social duty to redirect them to their primary finality.

To quote Saint Ambrose: You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities.

oopulorum If certain landed estates impede thegeneral prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.

While giving a clear statement on this,[24] the Council recalled no less clearly that the available revenue is not to be used in accordance with mere whim, and that no place must be given to selfish speculation.

Consequently it is unacceptable that citizens with abundant incomes from the resources and activity of their country should transfer a considerable part of this income pgogressio purely for their own advantage, with proressio care for the manifest wrong they inflict on their country by doing this.

As his self-mastery increases, he develops a taste for research and discovery, an ability to take a calculated risk, boldness in enterprises, generosity in what he does and a sense of responsibility.

Populorum progressio – Wikipedia

But it is unfortunate that on these new conditions of society a system has been constructed which considers profit as the key motive for economic progress, competition as the supreme law of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right that has no limits and carries no corresponding social obligation.

On the contrary one must recognize in all justice the irreplaceable contribution made by the organization of labor and of industry to what development has accomplished. Bent over a material that resists his efforts, a man by his work gives his imprint to it, acquiring, as he does so, perseverance, skill and a spirit of invention.

Further, when work is done in common, when hope, hardship, ambition and joy are shared, it brings together and firmly unites the wills, minds and hearts of men: When it is more scientific and better organized, there is a risk of its dehumanizing those who perform it, by making them its servants, for work is human only if it remains intelligent and free. John XXIII gave a reminder of the urgency of giving everyone who works his proper dignity by making him a true sharer in the work he does with others: We must make haste: Yet the work required should advance smoothly if there is not to be the risk of losing indispensable equilibrium.

A hasty agrarian reform can fail. Industrialization if introduced suddenly can displace structures still necessary, and produce hardships in society which would be a setback in terms of human values. There are certainly situations whose injustice cries to heaven. When whole populations destitute of necessities live in a state of dependence barring them from all initiative and responsibility, and all opportunity to advance culturally and share in social and political life, recourse to violence, as a means to right these wrongs to human dignity, is a grave temptation.

50th Anniversary of the Encyclical “Populorum Progressio”

We know, however, that a revolutionary uprising — save where there is manifest, long-standing tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country — produces new injustices, throws more elements out of balance and brings on new disasters.

A real evil should not be fought against at the cost of greater misery. We want to be clearly understood: Development demands bold transformations, innovations that go deep. Urgent reforms should be undertaken without delay. It is for each one to take his share in them with generosity, particularly those whose education, position and opportunities afford them wide scope for action.

May they show an example, and give of their own possessions as several of Our brothers in the episcopacy have done.

Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development.