Integral Development: Human Dignity and Solidarity

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Integral Development: Human Dignity and Solidarity

  1. 1. Integral Development Human Dignity and Solidarity
  2. 2. • Today the emphasis that is by far dominant in developing programs is their economic impact. • Cultural and social consequences are often ignored.
  3. 3. • But, generating jobs for the unemployed, raising the standard of living, increasing the gross national product, providing economic sufficiency are laudable objectives only to the extent that they do not sacrifice the integrality of authentic development.
  4. 4. • For development to be integral it must serve the total person in all dimensions including the interior, that is the spiritual dimension and eternal salvation of the human person. • Fidelity to the interior dimension of life and its openness to its transcendent vocation from and towards God is essential for development to be integral.
  5. 5. • Such inner values as righteousness and freedom are not economically compensable.
  6. 6. • Development cannot be integral if it does not serve the good of the whole community and of all its members. • “A firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to the good of all and of each individual because we are really responsible for all” ~ Pope John Paul II
  7. 7. • Hence, if development causes the widening of the morally scandalous gap between the rich and poor of our society, development is simply unauthentic and misdirected.
  8. 8. • Each person no matter how poor and uneducated is endowed with an inalienable dignity as an image of God, a child of God, redeemed by God and entrusted with an eternal destiny. • Each person has to be respected as equal member of the human family, actively participating towards the common good in solidarity with others.
  9. 9. • A situation such as concentration of economic wealth and political power in the hands of the few is an affront to human dignity and solidarity. • It runs counter to the truth that all human beings and not just a few are „the source, the center, and the purpose of all socio-economic life.‟
  10. 10. • Human dignity and solidarity are fundamental values from which our development as a people must proceed.
  11. 11. Universal Purpose of Earthly Goods and Private Property
  12. 12. • Related to human solidarity is the fundamental principle that “God destined the earth and all it contains for all men and all peoples so that all created things would be shared fairly by all mankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.‟
  13. 13. • The „injustices of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all‟ is „one of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world‟. • Because earthly goods are meant for all, there is a responsibility for developed countries to aid developing countries and to correct the terms of commercial relationships that presently favor the richer and more powerful countries.
  14. 14. • For our own situation, the same principle underscores the social dimension of private property. • An almost exclusively privatistic view of private property has contributed to the wide chasm between the poor and the rich. • Orthopraxis, and not rejection, of the Catholic social teaching on private property is a burning imperative in our situation.
  15. 15. • We need to reaffirm the truth that private property is derived form the nature of the human person, „is valid and necessary in itself,‟ and „ought to be considered an extension of human freedom‟. • This is a constant teaching of the Church. But equally constant, and – sadly – not so faithfully practice is the perennial truth that private property has a social dimension.
  16. 16. • This social dimension is the clear implication of evangelical Christian love: • „If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.‟
  17. 17. • Furthermore, Christian tradition „has always understood this right within the broader context of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole creation: the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone.‟
  18. 18. • This social dimension is the clear implication of evangelical Christian love: • „If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.‟
  19. 19. • Private property is thus subordinated to the universal destination of goods. • As an element of its social dimension it prompted Pope John Paul II to refer to private property as under a „social motgage‟. • Respect for this dimension and respect for the fundamental principle of universal destination are absolutely demanded in our situation.
  20. 20. • They would dictate not the hoarding of capital nor its flight, but, its use to create jobs for the unemployed. They would demand that the use and ownership of the goods of our land be more and more diffused for the benefit of all. • In the agricultural sphere, the same principles would require a truly comprehensive agrarian reform.

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