A Summary of
Gaudium et Spes
PASTORAL CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH IN THE MODERN WORLD PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS, POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 7, 1965
1. The joys and the hopes and the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age are identical to that of the followers of Christ. This community, the Church, because of this, is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.
2. Therefore, this Second Vatican Council intends to communicate to those who are sons of the Church and invoke the name of Christ, and all of humanity, the role of the Church in the modern world.
3. This Council can provide no better proof of its solidarity with and love for man and the world than to discuss the problems that plague her. So, this Sacred Synod offers to mankind the assistance of the Church in fostering that brotherhood of all men.
Introduction The Situation of Men in the Modern World
4. The carry out this task that Church, scrutinizes in the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel. The change is spreading rapidly throughout the world, and with this transformation, serious difficulties in its wake. Never has such an abundance of wealth and yet proportion of poverty struck mankind. New forms of social and psychological slavery make their appearance.
5. Intellectual formation, the mathematical and natural sciences, and technologies that stemmed from the science are becoming more and more important. With these new advances there has risen a new series of problems calling for the of efforts analysis and synthesis.
6. By this very circumstance the traditional local communities experienced more thorough changes every day. New and more efficient media in social communication are contributing to the knowledge of events in many men are being introduced to these changes in their manner of life.
7. Changes in attitudes and values for human structures are frequently called into question especially among young people. Institutions, laws, and modes of thinking arise, even in the norms of behavior. These have their impact on religions and woman the arch even a vivid sense of god there are many others who are growing in the denial of god for religion. As a consequence many people are shaken.
8. This development, coming so rapidly, begets and intensifies contradictions and balances in the world. For families in discord, population, economic and social pressures arise. Also, differences between races, social orders, between wealthy nations and those who are needy become separated.
9. The modern world can be said to be both powerful and week at the same time, due to the independent and brand new nations seeking an involvement with the affairs of existing nations and people hounded by hunger calling upon those who are better off.
10. The imbalance in the world is a reflection of the imbalance that man contains within himself. The church believes that the key to untying this knot is through Jesus Christ.
Part I – The Church and Man’s Calling
11. Faith puts everything into perspective, shining light on man’s vocation, and directing the mind to solutions that are human. This council wishes to assess those values which mean most to man and relate them too their divine source. These values are exceedingly good, but are often kept hidden in man’s heart.
12. Scripture teaches us that man was created in the image of God, is capable of knowing that Creator, and has been given dominion over earthly creatures for God’s glory. But God did not make mankind in the solitary way, but created both man and woman as companionship produces a primary form of communication, and this manifests the social being who must relate to others.
13. Man was created in the state of holiness by God, but man did not glorify God, and as inclinations towards evil. As a result, all human life displays a dramatic struggle between good and evil. But the Lord came to heal and strengthen and cast out all bondage that holds him in sin.
14. Although man is made up body and soul, man is one, and is not allowed to despise his body, and is obliged to use it in good and honorable service as God created it. But man is still susceptible to rebellious stirrings in his body. But man is correct to regard himself as higher than other creatures, for it is in the depths of his interior qualities where he enters into discovering his own heart, discerns his destiny, and is therefore not under any delusion or fantasy in laying forth the truth in this matter.
15. By his intellect, man surpasses the material universe, and has made leaps and bounds in technological, artistic, and scientific discoveries and developments. Still, he is always searching for truth and discovering more questions to be answered, which due to sin, is partially obscured. This wisdom and seeking of knowledge steeps man in the orientation of love for what is good and true. This era of man needs this more than any other.
16. It is in his conscience that man discovers a law which he does not impose on himself, but which holds in obedience nonetheless, to avoid a good and evil, to obey it, and to be judged by it. Man can also remain ignorant to it, willingly.
17. Only in true freedom can man direct himself towards goodness. Man achieves such a dignity when he pursues his goal in what is good and perky risk for himself what is appropriate to help reach that end by God’s grace.
18. Man rightly follows the intuition of his heart when he abhors and repudiates the law in total disappearance of his own person. Man seeks pleasure which cannot be found in mere matter. Although death beggars the imagination, the Church holds firm in her teachings that God created man for a blissful end, far beyond earthly misery. This bodily death will be vanquished by God, who calls man to join him in the sharing of an endless divine life which was won by Christ when he rose in victory.
19. The root reason for the dignity humans is in man’s call to communion with God, for man would not have existed without God’s ever present love. For this reason the topic of atheism must be dealt with. Those who intentionally shut out God from their hearts and dodge religious questions are not following the dictates of their own consciences and are not free of blame.
20. Modern atheism takes a systematic approach to the desires of human experience, stretching them against any dependence on God. Among the modern forms of atheism should not be overlooked those forms which replaced God with the idea of economic and social emancipation. This life philosophy is folly and deceptive.
21. The Church has already repudiated and cannot cease to, as firmly as possible, renounce the poisonous doctrines that contradict reason and dethrone man. Recognition of God is in no way hostile to man’s dignity, for man was created to be a free number of society, and is called to communion with God to share in His happiness. The remedy applied to atheism is to seek a proper presentation of the Church’s teaching as well as the integral life of the members. This is best done through the brotherly charity of the faithful who are united in spirit. While professing against atheism, the Church holds strong that believers and non-believers alike ought to work for the betterment of the world, when which cannot be realized apart from sincere and prudent dialogue.
22. Only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, restores man to divine likeness in his perfection. He is united with every man in many ways, having worked with human hands, fought with a human mind, acted with a human choice, and love with a human heart; like us in all things except sin. By suffering for us He did not only provide an imitation for us to follow, He blazed a trail, which if we follow, life and death take on the new meaning. This is true not just for Christians but for all men of good will in whose hearts God works in an unseen way. For in a manner only known to God, he offers the possibility of being associated with the Paschal mystery. Such is the mystery of man.
Chapter II – The Community of Mankind
23. The world is growing in independence of one another by way of technological advances. But man does not reach perfection of this progress except by interpersonal relationships. This Council will call to mind basic truths and their implications for today.
24. God wills that all people live as a family and treat each other with brotherhood, and are called to the same goal: Himself. For upon mankind, He inserted likeness between divine persons and unity for His sons in charity and truth.
25. The progress of the human person and the advance of society hinge on the social nature of man. Among these, mankind depends on the political and familial communities. This mutual importance is increasing day by day and, which we call socialization, and are not without its dangers for human rights. Because these affairs are flawed by the consequences of sin, strenuous efforts and the assistance of grace are necessary.
26. Everyday human interdependence grows all over the world. The effort for the common good must take into consideration the general welfare and aspirations of other groups. To all men there must be made available everything necessary to live a truly human life.
27. Everyone must consider their neighbor as more important than themselves. Whenever is opposed to life, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on the body, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but do more harm to those who practice them with them those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator.
28. Respect and love should be offered to those who did not think as we do, even in religious matters, and of this love does not render us indifferent to truth and goodness. This also requires us to forgive each other.
29. Since all men possess a rational soul and are created in God’s likeness, basic equality must receive greater recognition. Though it is true, not all are alike in physical, intellectual, and moral resources. Nonetheless, every sort of discrimination must be eradicated, and institutions must labor to preserve the dignity and purpose of a man.
30. No one should contain themselves as an individual when it comes to the common good. But this development cannot occur unless men cultivate moral and social virtues and promote them and society.
31. For men to discharge the obligations of their conscience they must be carefully educated to a higher degree of culture, especially youth.
32. So from the beginning of salvation, God chose men not individuals, for a covenant consummated in Jesus Christ. He founded a community of love after his resurrection, through His Body which is the Church.
Chapter III – Man’s Activity Throughout the World
33. Man strives to better his life. But what is the meaning of value, activity, and how should these be used?
34. Men labor to better their lives, and this should be in accordance with God’s will. When we triumph, to glorify God and His mysterious design.
35. Man is more precious for what he is done for what he has. Human activity should accord with the divine plan, harmonize with it, and allow men to pursue their vocation.
36. Many contemporaries fear that a closer bond between human activity and religion work against the independence of man, of societies, and the sciences. But believers of all religions hear His voice in the discourse of creatures. However, when God is forgotten, the creature grows unintelligible.
37. While human progress is a great advantage to man, it brings a strong temptation, and man is to cling to what is good, which is why Christ’s Church acknowledges the human progress can serve man’s true happiness, but man cannot be conformed to the world. This unhappy situation is purified by the power of Christ’s cross and resurrection.
38. God’s Word, dwelt among men as flesh, revealing to us that God is love. Those who believe in divine love give assurance that the way of the love lies open, and is not hopeless. Some He calls as clear witnesses, and others He summons to dedicate themselves, but He frees all.
39. We do not know the time of the consummation of humanity and the earth, nor do we know how things will be transformed. But we are taught that god is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where just as will abide. For here grows a body of new if human family. And while earthly progress must be distinguished from the growth of Christ’s kingdom, it is a vital concern. On this earth that kingdom is already present.
Chapter IV – The Role of the Church in the Modern World
40. Everything said about the dignity of the human person lays the foundation for the relationship between the Church and the world and the basis of dialogue between them. Thus, the visible Church has the same earthly lot to as the rest of humanity, but serves humanity as a leaven for society. The council now sets forth certain principles for fostering mutual exchange with the world.
41. Only God meets the deepest longings of the human heart which is never fully satisfied by what this world has to offer. Man will always yearn to know the meaning of life, activity, and death. Answers to these questions are revealed in Christ, and whoever follows Christ becomes a perfect man.
42. Christ gave his Church a mission, a religious one, which should initiate activities on behalf of all men but especially the needy. Promotion of unity belongs to the Church, and for this reason, the Church admonish as her sons to overcome strife between nations and race. The council affirms the Church is willing to assist and promote all institutions are true, good, and just.
43. The council exhorts Christians to discharge their earthly duties in response of the Gospel spirit. There should be no false opposition between professional and social activities, and religious life. Also, laymen should see that the divine law is ascribed on the life of the earthly city, taking on their own role. And whatever defects occur when a struggle against them with energy.
44. The Church knows how richly she has profited from history in the development of humanity. The experience a past ages prophet the Church, and she knows to promote a good exchange and special help for those in the world. Since the Church is a visible social structure she can and should enrich the development of human life.
45. The Church has a single intention; that God’s Kingdom come, and the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass.
Part II – Some Problems of Special Urgency
46. In order to set forth the dignity of the human person, this Council would like to call attention to a number of particularly urgent needs.
Chapter I – Fostering the Nobility of Marriage and the Family
47. All men including Christians who hold the community of marriage in high esteem will sincerely rejoice and fostering this community and the perfecting of love. Yet polygamy, divorce, free love, another disfigurements have an obscuring effect. Despite the difficulties produced, changes in modern society reveal the true character of this institution. The Sacred Synod wishes to offer guidance and support of those Christians who are in the married state.
48. By the human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other, a relationship arises which by the divine will, make a lasting impact of society. The Savior of Man and the Church come into a couple who is joining matrimony and abides with them thereafter. The Christian family will manifest to all men Christ’s living presence in the world.
49. The biblical Word of God urges them that those in the married state develop a pure and conjugal love and undivided affection. This leads to spouses to a free and mutual gifting of themselves. The Christian vocation demands and notable virtue, where authentic love, which is highly prized, will be a higher credence to public opinion on this institution.
50. Marriage and conjugal love are ordained toward the begetting and education of children, the supreme gift of marriage. Parents should regard it as their mission, the task of transmitting education to whom life has been transmitted, taking into account both their own welfare and of their children, and those which their feature me bring. Parents themselves and no one else should ultimately take up this judgment in the sight of God. Marriage is not to be instituted solely for procreation but for the compact between persons and mutual love of spouses.
51. This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples, at least temporarily, thinking the family size should not be increased. To these people, dishonorable solutions present themselves. But from the moment of conception all life must be guarded, while abortion in infanticide are unspeakable crimes. Sons of the Church may not undertake any form of birth control.
52. The active presence of the father is highly beneficial to the formation of children especially younger ones. The children should be given guidance that will carry them to choose to vocation and life, and no pressure should be put on them to make them enter into marriage or to a specific partner. Christians should actively promote the values of marriage and the family. Those who are skilled in sciences, priests, in various organizations, should strengthen young people and spouses.
Chapter II – The Proper Development of the Culture
53. Man comes to true humanity only through culture, and the cultivation of goods and values of nature. “Culture” indicates everything whereby man develops and perfects his bodily and spiritual qualities.
Section I. The Circumstances of Culture in the World Today
54. We are living in a new age of human history. Sciences, psychological studies, historical, industrial, and urban developments, form a more universal human culture.
55. Throughout the world there is a mounting sense of autonomy and responsibility. Thus, we are witnessing the birth of a new humanism defined by this responsibility to brothers and history.
56. It is no cause of wonder that man nourishes hope but also looks with anxiety upon many contradictory things which he must resolve. Human culture must evolve in such a way that can keep up with a human person and aid man in those duties, to which fulfillment are called, especially Christians.
Section II. Some Principals for the Proper Development of Culture
57. Christians should seek and think of things which are above. While gaining insights in philosophy, history, math, and the natural sciences, man is able to elevate the understanding of good, truth, and beauty.
58. There are many ties between the message of salvation and human culture. God reveals himself through His Incarnate Son and speaks to a culture proper to each epoch. The Church does the same, while still advancing humans and civic culture, also by her liturgy, she leads them to word interior liberty.
59. For culture, it’s necessary to develop the human faculties. Culture has constant need of a just liberty in order to develop. This Sacred Synod declares that there are two orders of knowledge which are distinct: faith and reason. Within the limits of morality and utility, man can practice these arts as he chooses.
Section III. Some More Urgent Duties of Christians in Regard to Culture
60. It is now possible for most of humanity to be free of ignorance. Therefore it is necessary to provide all with the sufficient quality of cultural benefits, including studies, which man should devote himself to dutifully.
61. It is also more difficult today too formal good synthesis of this knowledge. But it is still the duty of every man to form the intellect and the conscience and to nurse to further of this education. Opportunity’s for the circulation of books and social communications foster a universal culture.
62. But it is sometimes hard to harmonize culture with the Christian teaching. Theologians are invited to seek more suitable ways of communicating doctrine for their times. The faithful should live in close union with men of their time and strive to understand the way they think and judge. Those in theology and seminaries should strive to collaborate with men of other sciences.
Chapter III – Economic and Social Life
63. In economics and social realms, the complete human person is to be respected and promoted.
Section I. Economic Development
64. Increased attention is rightly given to agricultural and industrial goods, and so technical progress must be promoted not just for profit but for the service of man.
65. Economies must remain under man’s determination and not subject to a small group of greedy men. All citizens should remember that it is their duty and a right to be recognized by civil authority.
66. For justice in the quality, the removal of immense economic inequalities should be removed as soon as possible, employment should be sought, and technical and professional formation should be furnished.
Section II. Certain Principals Governing Socio-Economic Life as a Whole
67. Human labor is superior to other elements of economic life. Man supports himself with his labor and joins his fellow men in serving them. Man’s labors are offered to God and are associated with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Sometimes men are worked to the reduction of themselves, and so the processes of work should be adapted to the needs of the person.
68. The responsibility and administration of enterprises and profits should be promoted. People should have access to form or join unions that are truly representative of them, and a strike can remain necessary for some circumstances. But negotiation and reconciliation should be our primary aim.
69. By God’s intention, created goods should be allowed in abundance for all. Each man should have access to a sufficient amount of goods for him and his family. Those who are in extreme need have the right to gather their needs from the riches of others. Remember the aphorism of the Fathers, “Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him.”
70. Investments must be directed towards employment and sufficient income for people in the present in the future. Individuals or groups must keep these objectives in mind.
71. External goods and private properties should be available for access by individuals and communities. When overlooked, property sometimes becomes susceptible to greed.
72. Christians who work for justice and charity make a great contribution to the prosperity of mankind in the peace of the world. Whoever seeks the Kingdom of God first has a stronger and more pure love for his brethren.
Chapter IV – The Life of the Political Community
73. Today, profound changes in structures and institutions have a great influence on the political community, which is good, but some political systems prevailed in hampering civic and religious freedom.
74. The political community exists for the common good, and should embrace the sum of the common good. These are founded on human nature and design by God, even while some political regimes appoint rulers at the free will of its citizens. When authority is exercised citizens are bound in their conscience to obey an act with responsibility and dignity.
75. Bearing in mind conformity with human nature, all citizens should be free to use their vote for the common good. The rights of all families and persons in groups must be recognized, and should not be hampered with the development of a family, or social groups. Citizens must also not accept the excessive abuse of power in public authority. Great care must be taken in civic and political formation.
76. There is a correct notion that must be understood between political communities and the Church. The Church and political communities are independent of one another, yet are devoted to the personal and social vocation of the same men. All times and in all places the Church should have freedom to preach the faith, proclaim her social doctrines, and pass moral judgments on those matters which regard public order.
Chapter V – The Fostering of Peace and the Promotion of a Community of Nations
77. Our generation faces a crisis in maturity, which cannot be accomplished unless each person devotes himself to the cause of peace. This Council wishes to summon Christians could to cooperate with all men in securing a peace based on justice and love.
78. These is not the absence of war, but results from order by its founder, and finds its ultimate meaning and the eternal law. All Christians are summoned to love, seek truth, and to be peacemakers, and praise those who renounce the use of violence.
Section I. The Avoidance of War
79. War and terrorism destroy the world, in this council wishes to recall the natural law. As long as the danger of war remains, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimately defend themselves, but should not seek the subjugation of other nations.
80. Scientific weapons can inflict massive destruction going far beyond the bounds of legitimate defense. Any act of war aimed at destroying entire cities, or entire races, is a crime against God and man himself.
81. Scientific weapons are not solely used in war, and the arms race is an utterly treacherous trap for humanity. It is our duty to strain in an effort to completely outlaw war by the international consent.
82. Efforts to eliminate the danger of war ought not to be underrated and support should be given to leaders who work hard to do away with it. In this sense, beware of bad politics and politicians.
Section II. Setting Up an International Community
83. To build up peace, the encouragement of things that discourage war must be sought. Countries should cooperate to the advantage of peace and organizing in close bodies.
84. The pursuit of the universal common good requires nations organize themselves in a manner suited to present responsibilities. They must make provisions for man’s needs in social and certain special circumstances.
85. Present solidarity of mankind also calls for greater international cooperation in the economic field. If an authentic economy is to be established on a worldwide basis, greed must end.
86. These norms seem useful to this cooperation: developing nations should seek total human fulfillment of their citizens, the help of developing nations should be sought by those above mentioned, the international community should coordinate and promote development, and all must guard against technical solutions that are untimely.
87. International cooperation is needed today in order to explore ways that the human necessities of food and suitable education can be furnished.
88. Christians should cooperate in establishing an international order which for most genuine respect for all freedoms and brotherhood. Particularly Catholics should carry unison with their Christian brothers in this effort.
89. The Church preaches the Gospel of all men and so the Church must be clearly present in the midst of the community of nations.
90. It is very much desired that Catholics will seek and cooperate actively in a positive manner with their separated brethren who together with them profess the gospel of charity with all men thirsting for true peace. 1