Following is the summary of Chapter 4 of the schema on the Church in the modern world released by the ecumenical council press office.
SUMMARY: CHAPTER 4
The Principal Tasks of Christians Today
This chapter is a practical application of the principles enunciated in the three previous chapters.
- a) The dignity of the human person:
All men must be treated alike, without regard for race, sex or social condition. It is not enough for this equality to be recognized only theoretically, but it must be translated into action. Much has been done for the advancement of man but even today there are some concrete realities, which offend against his dignity.
- b) Marriage and the family:
In what regards the family, the following truths must be kept in mind:
- The supernatural, and not only the natural, ends of marriage;
- Marriage is based on genuine love, constituted by fidelity and indissolubility;
- Marriage is not only a means of procreation, but it is the way which normally leads to procreation, which is not dictated by blind instinct, but by a sense of responsibility enlightened by Christian principles;
- The Church is aware of the difficulties of those Christian couples who want to respect the law of God in regard to birth control but — while still hoping for better solutions founded on scientific and theological studies — has no other course but to recommend the spirit of sacrifice in continence.
- c) Culture:
- As we dedicate ourselves to human activities, we are following the commandment of God whereby man was given all power over the earth, and at the same time we are contributing to the enhancement of the dignity of the human person.
- It must be borne in mind that all must observe the hierarchy of values and it is evident that spiritual values must occupy first place. Nevertheless there are concrete situations in which the first duty is to satisfy material needs.
- Wherever cultures meet, this means the beginning of a dialogue in which the first requirement is mutual respect.
- In the accomplishment of her mission the Church also exercises a cultural function and this is demonstrated by the great number of artistic works which have sprung from Christian civilization.
- d) Economic life:
- Economic progress tends toward an equitable distribution of wealth, in such a way as to make man’s daily life more human.
- The Church shows no preference for one or other of the different economic systems.
- We must ultimately achieve the elimination of all social differences, without prejudice to the respect due to the characteristic gifts and rights of individuals.
- There must be recognition of the rights of workingmen insofar as they are sharers and collaborators in one common undertaking.
- Catholics must enter into economic and social life, occupying the places belonging to them in view of the common welfare.
- e) The solidarity of the human race:
- Economic development must keep pace with the cultural development of a nation.
- Underdeveloped nations have the obligation to do everything in their power to make progress.
- Especially today the more developed countries have an obligation to assist poorer nations.
- Assistance to emerging countries is a very serious duty of justice and charity.
- There must be generous international collaboration for the solution of the demographic problem. Immoral solutions of the problem, that is to say, solutions which run counter to the divine law, may not be propagated.
- Peace is in strict relationship with the independence of people.
- In our times international organizations are really necessary, especially those whose aim is to establish harmony among peoples.
- Participation by Catholics in this field is indispensable and urgently necessary. It must be a concrete manifestation of each one’s own Christian Faith.
- f) Peace:
- True peace consists in friendship among peoples and in a balance of power.
- International controversies must be solved peacefully. Especially, in no case should there be recourse to nuclear arms, since there is no proportion between the good which might be obtained and a war carried on by these means and the evil effects which would be caused for the entire human race.
- Those international organizations are deserving of support which aim at eliminating the cause of war and the armaments race.
- No effort and no sacrifice should be omitted for the attainment of genuine peace.
Catholics must collaborate with all men for the attainment of the common welfare:
— with Christian non-Catholics;
— with the adorers of one God;
— with whoever, even though not a believer, is working for the welfare of humanity;
— also with those who oppose the Church, by means of prayer and the spirit of pardon.