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GAUDIUM ET SPES

Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. The longest document of the council, it has two main divisions: 1. the Church's teaching on human beings, the world they live in, and her relationship to them; 2. various aspects of life today and human society, and in particular the pressing moral issues of our day. Its treatment of the Church's role in the modern world is realistic, recognizing that "atheism must be regarded as one of the most serious problems of our time." It is also practical, noting that with all the media at work today, yet "genuine fraternal dialogue is advanced not so much on this level as at the deeper level of personal fellowship," where individuals share together in spirit. The treatment of marriage and the Christian family is the most extensive in conciliar history. And the strong position on peace and war reflects the Church's mind in the nuclear age (December 7, 1965).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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