Interpersonal relations are one unavoidable experience that constitutes our existential reality. Indeed, no one can be self-sufficient enough to do away with his fellow’s support. A medical doctor can, for instance, flourish in his profession but he will always need other people’s technical expertise for maintenance of his equipment; he will also need a curriculum developer for the education of his children. Thus, mankind lives in an absolute interconnectedness in which one achieves one’s development desires through cooperation and mutual exchange of services.  

This assumption suggests that for exchange of services to be successful, some values must regulate individuals’ initiatives for development. Our present time, however, signals appalling incidences of grave inequalities and human exploitations which are taking precedence over values of fairness, solidarity, and mutual responsibility for the overall development of each and all peoples. We find ourselves in a world driven by profit making impulse and the maximization of personal wealth seems its sole drive.

Development understood as accumulation of wealth and maximization of personal gains is not development in the truest sense of the word. Unfortunately, the world seems often times to embark on this rather narrow view which, beside its materialistic reflection, is also at the heart of many evils we experience in our development policies at both national and international levels.

The Catholic Church in her evangelization mandate takes steps to draw the attention of all people on the most fundamental principles that should characterize true development, that which is integral in nature and comprehensive in application. She pursues her mandate by awakening her faithful to certain imperatives that should inspire development initiatives and regulate their individual undertakings. The values of common good, solidarity, subsidiarity and intrinsic dignity of each individual are tools of social evangelization that the Church seeks to promote as she keeps the world abreast of the need to be congruent in the pursuit of development and the liberation of mankind from the bondage of injustice, exclusion, exploitation, and slavery.

The old African saying: “I am because we are and since we are therefore I am,” reminds us that the future of development needs to find root in values which recognize and protect the dignity of the neighbor; and this is what, time and again, the Catholic social teaching strives to enlighten the whole world on. Hence, the Catholic social teaching remains an invaluable tool in the vision of the global future of development, thanks to its prophetic role of keeping the world on alert about the dangers of succumbing to the trap of faceless development, which promotes poverty and discrepancies instead of equitable wealth and the dignity of the human person.

related | Explore more of the dialogue among some 20 bloggers based at Jesuit institutions worldwide.
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