Populorum Progressio Quotations

Private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute or unconditioned right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities….The right to property must never be exercised to the detriment of the common good. (#23)


“If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jn 3:17). It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose:

“You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. 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. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.” (#23)


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.
This unchecked liberalism leads to dictatorship rightly denounced by Pius XI as producing “the international imperialism of money”. One cannot condemn such abuses too strongly by solemnly recalling once again that the economy is at the service of man. (#26)


The struggle against destitution, though urgent and necessary, is not enough. It is a question, rather, of building a world where every man, no matter what his race, religion or nationality, can live a fully human life, freed from servitude imposed on him by other men or by natural forces over which he has not sufficient control; a world where freedom is not an empty word and where the poor man Lazarus can sit down at the same table with the rich man. This demands great generosity, much sacrifice and unceasing effort on the part of the rich man.

Let each one examine his conscience, a conscience that conveys a new message for our times. Is he prepared to support out of his own pocket works and undertakings organized in favor of the most destitute? Is he ready to pay higher taxes so that the public authorities can intensify their efforts in favor of development? Is he ready to pay a higher price for imported goods so that the producer may be more justly rewarded? (#47)


Both for nations and for individual men, avarice is the most evident form of moral underdevelopment. (#19)


Today the principal fact that we must all recognize is that the social question has become world-wide. (#3)


The present situation must be faced with courage and the injustices linked with it must be fought against and overcome. 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. (#32)


Increased possession is not the ultimate goal of nations nor of individuals. All growth is ambivalent. It is essential if people are to develop as human beings, but in a way it imprisons them if they considers it the supreme good, and it restricts their vision. (#19)


Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development. One must avoid the risk of increasing still more the wealth of the rich and the dominion of the strong, whilst leaving the poor in their misery and adding to the servitude of the oppressed. (#33)


To seek to do more, know more and have more in order to be more: that is what people aspire to now when a greater number of them are condemned to live in conditions that make this lawful desire illusory (#6)


The superfluous wealth of rich countries should be placed at the service of poor nations. The rule which up to now held good for the benefit of those nearest to us, must today be applied to all the needy of this world. Besides, the rich will be the first to benefit as a result. Otherwise their continued greed will certainly call down upon them the judgement of God and the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell. (#49)


Economics and technology have no meaning except from the human person whom they should serve. And the human person is only truly human in as far as, master of one’s own acts and judge of their worth, one is author of one’s own advancement, in keeping with the nature which was given to human beings by the Creator. (#34)


The desire for necessities is legitimate, and work undertaken to obtain them is a duty: If people will not work, neither let them eat. But the acquiring of temporal goods can lead to greed, to the insatiable desire for more, and can make increased power a tempting objective. Individuals, families, and nations can be overcome by avarice, be they poor or rich, and all can fall victim to a stifling materialism. (#19)


Peace cannot be limited to a mere absence of war, the result of an ever precarious balance of forces. No, peace is something that is built up day after day, in the pursuit of an order intended by God, which implies a more perfect form of justice among people. (#76)


Development cannot be limited to mere economic growth. In order to be authentic, it must be complete: integral, that is, it has to promote the good of every person and of all humanity. (#14)


Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development. One must avoid the risk of increasing still more the wealth of the rich and the dominion of the strong, whilst leaving the poor in their misery and adding to the servitude of the oppressed. (#33)


No one can remain indifferent to the lot of his brothers and sisters who are still buried in wretchedness, and victims of insecurity, slaves of ignorance. Like the heart of Christ, the heart of the Christian must sympathize with this misery: “I have pity on this multitude”. (#74)


We have inherited from past generations, and we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries: for this reason we have obligations towards all, and we cannot refuse to interest ourselves in those who will come after us to enlarge the human family. The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty. (#17)


If certain landed estates impede the, general 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. (#24)


Excessive economic, social and cultural inequalities among peoples arouse tensions and conflicts, and are a danger to peace. (#76)


Every program made to increase production has, in the last analysis, no other raison d’etre than the service of humanity. Such programs should reduce inequalities, fight discriminations, free people from various types of servitude and enable them to be the instrument of their own material betterment, of their moral progress and of their spiritual growth. (#34)


There can be no progress towards the complete development of individuals without the simultaneous development of all humanity in the spirit of solidarity. (#43)


Experienced in human affairs, the Church … “seeks but a solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ Himself under the lead of the befriending Spirit.” … But, since the Church lives in history, she ought to “scrutinize the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel.” Sharing the noblest aspirations of men and women and suffering when she sees them not satisfied, she wishes to help them attain their full flowing, and that is why she offers all people what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race. (#13)

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