Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gaudium et spes

Gaudium et spes (joy and hope) is one of those Vatican-II documents you hear referenced now and again, and I figured I should see what the scoop was.

It is wordy. Very wordy. In some ways that's inevitable, because they were trying to draft something that could be applicable in some way from slums in South America to the super-wealthy of Washington DC. Each section is more or less stand-alone. It would have been much more readable if they'd taken examples and illustrated their religious and social points from the examples.

Some of the things may have been surprises to people ("If one is in extreme necessity, he has the right to procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others."), but I'd heard of them before. I gather that the emphasis on self-determination was relatively new.

One section was rather startling. It emphasized that men are broken and sinful, and that men's governments are oppressive and greedy and violent, and then went on to assume that international organizations would give pure and righteous correction to us all.

Maybe my lack of surprise for the rest was because I wasn't immersed in pre-Vatican-II attitudes.

UPDATE: Yes, I know they were probably thinking of themselves in the role of "international organization", or of people like or inspired by themselves.

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