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What is ‘integral’ human development, Pope asks—and answers

April 04, 2017

In an April 4 address to a conference organized by the new Vatican dicastery for Integral Human Development, Pope Francis lamented a modern culture “at least in the Western world, which has exalted the individual to the point of turning it into an island.”

The Pope told the participants in the conference—which was marking the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Populorum Progressio, by Pope Paul VI—that the name of the new dicastery offers a clue to the sort of development that Pope Paul sought, and all Christians should seek. He organized his comments around an exploration of the term “integral.”

To integrate, the Pope said, implies first the integration of peoples, so that “there is no longer that dramatic inequality between those who have too much and thoes who have nothing.” It also means “offering viable models of social integration,” so that no one is excluded from contributing to society. Next it means integrating all the different aspects of communal life: “the economy, finance, labor, culture, family life, and religion.” It means “integrating individual and community dimensions.” Finally, the Pope continued, it requires “integrating body and soul,” recognizing that man’s welfare is not measured exclusively in economic terms.

 
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