A Dehumanized Form of Development

The presumed frontrunner to serve as the next President of the United States recently delivered the keynote address to the UN where she characterized abortion as essential to “human development.” Per CNN:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a Friday speech at the United Nations to tie women’s reproductive rights with the broader goal of human development.

“There is one lesson from the past, in particular, that we cannot afford to ignore: You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development, without safeguarding women’s reproductive health and rights,” Clinton said near the end of a speech marking International Women’s Day. “That is a bedrock truth.”

Lies masquerade as truth under the dictatorship of relativism. The authentic truth is that life begins at conception and the taking of that life is the opposite of human development.

Oh how the world would be different if Mrs. Clinton (and all who cheer and vote for her) would read and take to heart (and mind) the beautiful description of human development as presented in Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s final encyclical. Many, many passages could be cited. Here are but a few. In paragraph 2:

Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practiced in the light of truth…. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.

At the end of paragraph 25:

I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world’s economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: “Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life” (Gaudium et Spes, 63).

The week before her address to the UN, Mrs. Clinton spoke at Georgetown where she referred to women’s “peace and security” issues as “integral.” Oh how the world would be different if every Catholic college and university studied the coherent sequence of truth as expressed through the Second Vatican Council and by all of the Popes following Vatican II. Consider these excerpts from Caritas in Veritate, paragraph 11:

The publication of Populorum Progressio occurred immediately after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and in its opening paragraphs it clearly indicates its close connection with the Council.

Twenty years later, in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, John Paul II, in his turn, emphasized the earlier Encyclical’s fruitful relationship with the Council, and especially with the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes.

I too wish to recall here the importance of the Second Vatican Council for Paul VI’s Encyclical and for the whole of the subsequent social Magisterium of the Popes. The Council probed more deeply what had always belonged to the truth of the faith, namely that the Church, being at God’s service, is at the service of the world in terms of love and truth. Paul VI set out from this vision in order to convey two important truths.

The first is that the whole Church, in all her being and acting — when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity — is engaged in promoting integral human development. She has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities: all the energy she brings to the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity is manifested when she is able to operate in a climate of freedom. In not a few cases, that freedom is impeded by prohibitions and persecutions, or it is limited when the Church’s public presence is reduced to her charitable activities alone.

The second truth is that authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension.

In the course of history, it was often maintained that the creation of institutions was sufficient to guarantee the fulfillment of humanity’s right to development. Unfortunately, too much confidence was placed in those institutions, as if they were able to deliver the desired objective automatically. In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone.

Moreover, such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development.

May all Catholics recognize that candidates who support abortion disqualify themselves from receiving the Catholic vote. And may we all seek justice, love goodness, and walk humbly into the voting booth; for if we do, we will vote for authentic human development.


This article, A Dehumanized Form of Development is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

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Michael O. Kenney

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