Pope Paul VI
The progressive development of peoples is an object of deep interest and concern to the Church. This is particularly true in the case of those peoples who are trying to escape the ravages of hunger, poverty, endemic disease and ignorance; of those who are seeking a larger share in the benefits of civilization and a more active improvement of their human qualities; of those who are consciously striving for fuller growth.
The Church's Concern
With an even clearer awareness, since the Second Vatican Council, of the demands imposed by Christ's Gospel in this area, the Church judges it her duty to help all men explore this serious problem in all its dimensions, and to impress upon them the need for concerted action at this critical juncture.
2. Our recent predecessors did not fail to do their duty in this area. Their noteworthy messages shed the light of the Gospel on contemporary social questions. There was Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum, (1) Pius XI's encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, (2) Pius XII's radio message to the world, (3) and John XXIII's two encyclicals, Mater et Magistra (4) and Pacem in Terris. (5)
A Problem for All Men
3. Today it is most important for people to understand and appreciate that the social question ties all men together, in every part of the world. John XXIII stated this clearly, (6) and Vatican II confirmed it in its Pastoral Constitution on The Church in the World of Today. (7) The seriousness and urgency of these teachings must be recognized without delay.
The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance. And the Church, cut to the quick by this cry, asks each and every man to hear his brother's plea and answer it lovingly.