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Alienation

Sometimes we prove hard of heart and mind; we are forgetful, distracted and carried away by the limitless possibilities for consumption and distraction offered by contemporary society. This leads to a kind of alienation at every level.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #196

Children as living members of the family contribute in their own way to the sanctification of their parents. With sentiments of gratitude, affection and trust, they will repay their parents for the benefits given to them and will come to their assistance as devoted children in times of hardship and in the loneliness of old age. Widowhood, accepted courageously as a continuation of the calling to marriage, will be honored by all. Families will generously share their spiritual treasures with other families. The Christian family springs from marriage, which is an image and a sharing in the partnership of love between Christ and the church; it will show to all people Christ’s living presence in the world and the authentic nature of the church by the love and generous fruitfulness of the spouses, by their unity and fidelity, and by the loving way in which all members of the family cooperate with each other.

Gaudium et Spes (“The Church in the Modern World”), Vatican II, 1965, #48.


 

We cannot insist too much on the duty of welcoming others–a duty springing from human solidarity and Christian charity–which is incumbent both on the families and the cultural organizations of the host countries.Centers of welcome and hostels must be multiplied, especially for youth. This must be done first to protect them from loneliness, the feeling of abandonment and distress, which undermine all moral resistance. This is also necessary to protect them from the unhealthy situation in which they find themselves, forced as they are to compare the extreme poverty of their homeland with the luxury and waste which often surround them. It should be done also to protect them against the subversive teachings and temptations to aggression which assail them, as they recall so much ” unmerited misery”. Finally, and above all, this hospitality should aim to provide them, in the warm atmosphere of a brotherly welcome, with the example of wholesome living, an esteem for genuine and effective Christian charity, an esteem for spiritual values.

Populorum Progressio(“On the Development of Peoples”), Pope Paul VI, 1967, #67.


 

Humanity is experiencing a new loneliness; it is not in the face of a hostile nature which it has taken centuries to subdue, but in an anonymous crowd which surrounds men and women and in which they feel themselves to be strangers. Urbanization, undoubtedly an irreversible stage in the development of human societies, confronts
humanity with difficult problems. How are men and women to master its growth, regulate its organization, and successfully accomplish its animation for the good of all?

Octogesima Adveniens (“A Call to Action”), Pope Paul VI, 1971, #10.


 

The quest for economic and social justice will always combine hope and realism, and must be renewed by every generation. It involves diagnosing those situations that continue to alienate the world from God’s creative love as well as presenting hopeful alternatives that arise from living in a renewed creation. This quest arises
from faith and is sustained by hope as it seeks to speak to a broken world of God’s justice and loving kindness.

Economic Justice for All, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1986, #55.


 

Alienation is still a reality in Western societies, because of consumerism, that does not help one appreciate one’s authentic personhood and because of work, which shows interest only in profit, and none in the workers, considering them to be mere means.

Centesimus Annus (“The Hundredth Year,” Donders translation) , Pope John Paul II, 1991,#41.


 

The concept of alienation needs to be led back to the Christian vision of reality, by recognizing in alienation a reversal of means and ends. When man does not recognize in himself and in others the value and grandeur of the human person, he effectively deprives himself of the possibility of benefitting from his humanity and of entering into that relationship of solidarity and communion with others for which God created him. Indeed, it is through the free gift of self that one truly finds oneself. This gift is made possible by the human person’s essential “capacity for transcendence.”

Centesimus Annus (“The Hundredth Year”), Pope John Paul II, 1991,#41.


 

A human society is both alienated and alienating if its organization, production, and consumption make transcendence more difficult.

Centesimus Annus (“The Hundredth Year”), Pope John Paul II, 1991,#41.


 

Decisions that go against life sometimes arise from difficult or even tragic situations of profound suffering, loneliness, a total lack of economic prospects, depression and anxiety about the future. Such circumstances can mitigate even to a notable degree subjective responsibility and the consequent culpability of those who
make these choices which in themselves are evil. But today the problem goes far beyond the necessary recognition of these personal situations. It is a problem which exists at the cultural, social and political level, where it reveals its more sinister and disturbing aspect in the tendency, ever more widely shared, to interpret
the above crimes against life as legitimate expressions of individual freedom, to be acknowledged and protected as actual rights.

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II, 1995, #18.


 

And when earthly existence draws to a close, it is again charity which finds the most appropriate means for enabling the elderly, especially those who can no longer look after themselves, and the terminally ill to enjoy genuinely humane assistance and to receive an adequate response to their needs, in particular their anxiety
and their loneliness. In these cases the role of families is indispensable; yet families can receive much help from social welfare agencies and, if necessary, from recourse to palliative care, taking advantage of suitable medical and social services available in public institutions or in the home.

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II, 1995, #88.


 

Love—caritas—will always prove necessary, even in the most just society. There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will
always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbour is indispensable. The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering
person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern.

Deus Caritas Est (“God is Love”), Pope Benedict XVI, 2005, #28b.


 

Man is alienated when he is alone, when he is detached from reality, when he stops thinking and believing in a foundation. All of humanity is alienated when too much trust is placed in merely human projects, ideologies and false utopias. Today humanity appears much more interactive than in the past: this shared sense of being
close to one another must be transformed into true communion. The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.

Caritas in Veritate (“In Charity and Truth”), Pope Benedict XVI, 2009,#53.


 

The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #1.


 

Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God, lest they try to satisfy it with alienating solutions or with a disembodied Jesus who demands nothing of us with regard to others. Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and
liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #89.


 

Sometimes we prove hard of heart and mind; we are forgetful, distracted and carried away by the limitless possibilities for consumption and distraction offered by contemporary society. This leads to a kind of alienation at every level.

Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis, 2013, #196.

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