Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope/Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)
Author: Pope Paul VI
December 7, 1965
Gaudium et Spes, the Church's comprehensive vision for its involvement in the modern world, was promulgated on the final day of the Second Vatican Council. Addressed to the whole of humanity, the encyclical praises scientific achievement but cautions against an attitude of total dominion over nature and a belief that technology can solve all earthly problems. It highlights the strides made for women's equality and the rights of poor workers but also insists that the increasing socioeconomic disparities within and between nations must be solved. The document characterizes poverty as a grave threat to freedom, and it decries abortion, genocide, torture, slavery, and prostitution as assaults upon human dignity. All forms of discrimination are rejected as contrary to Christian principles. War and the use of nuclear weapons are denounced as antithetical to the Gospel message of peace, and nations are urged to strengthen international organizations such as the UN.