Populorum progressio EN

The Church's Concern

1 The development of peoples has the Church's close attention, particularly the development of those peoples who are striving to escape from hunger, misery, endemic diseases and ignorance; of those who are looking for a wider share in the benefits of civilization and a more active improvement of their human qualities; of those who are aiming purposefully at their complete fulfillment. Following on the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council a renewed consciousness of the demands of the Gospel makes it her duty to put herself at the service of all, to help them grasp their serious problem in all its dimensions, and to convince them that solidarity in action at this turning point in human history is a matter of urgency.

2 Our predecessors in their great encyclicals, Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum, (1) Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno (2) and John XXIII in Mater et Magistra (3) and Pacem in Terris (4) --not to mention the messages of Pius XII (5) to the world did not fail in the duty of their office of shedding the light of the Gospel on the social questions of their times.

I. Cf. Acta Leonis Xlll, t. Xl (1892), pp. 97-148.
2. Cf AAS 23 (1931) pp. 177-228.
3. Cf AAS 53 (1961) pp. 401-64.
4. Cf. AAS 55 (1963), pp. 257-304.
5. Cf. in particular the Radio Message of June 1, 1941, for the 50th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, in AAS 33 (1941), pp. 195-205; Christmas Radio Message of 1942, in AAS 35 (1943), pp. 9-24; Address to a group of workers on the anniversary of Rerum Novarum, May 14, 1953, in AAS 45 (1953). pp. 402-8.

A Problem for All Men

3 Today the principal fact that we must all recognize is that the social question has become world-wide. John XXIII stated this in unambiguous terms (6) and the Council echoed him in its Pastoral Constitution on The Church in the Modern World. (7) This teaching is important and its application urgent. Today the peoples in hunger are making a dramatic appeal to the peoples blessed with abundance. The Church shudders at this cry of anguish and calls each one to give a loving response of charity to this brother's cry for help.

6. Cf. Encyclical Mater et Magistra
MM 1ff, May 15, 1961: AAS 53 (1961), p. 440.
7. GS 63-72: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 1084-94.

Our Journeys

4 Before We became Pope, two journeys, to Latin America in 1960 and to Africa in 1962, brought Us into direct contact with the acute problems pressing on continents full of life and hope. Then on becoming Father of all We made further journeys, to the Holy Land and India, and were able to see and virtually touch the very serious difficulties besetting peoples of long-standing civilizations who are at grips with the problem of development. While the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council was being held in Rome, providential circumstances permitted Us to address in person the General Assembly of the United Nations, and We pleaded the cause of poor peoples before this distinguished body.

Justice and Peace

5 Then quite recently, in Our desire to carry out the wishes of the Council and give specific expression to the Holy See's contribution to this great cause of peoples in development, We considered it Our duty to set up a Pontifical Commission in the Church's central administration, charged with "bringing to the whole of God's People the full knowledge of the part expected of them at the present time, so as to further the progress of poorer peoples, to encourage social justice among nations, to offer to less developed nations the means whereby they can further their own progress": (8) its name, which is also its programme, is Justice and Peace. We think that this can and should bring together men of good will with our Catholic sons and our Christian brothers. So it is to all that We address this solemn appeal for concrete action towards man's complete development and the development of all mankind.

8. Motu Proprio Catholicam Christi Ecclesiam, Jan. 6, 1967, AAS 59 (1967), p. 27.


6 Freedom from misery, the greater assurance of finding subsistence, health and fixed employment; an increased share of responsibility without oppression of any kind and in security from situations that do violence to their dignity as men; better education--in brief, to seek to do more, know more and have more in order to be more: that is what men aspire to now when a greater number of them are condemned to live in conditions that make this lawful desire illusory. Besides, peoples who have recently gained national independence experience the need to add to this political freedom a fitting autonomous growth, social as well as economic, in order to assure their citizens of a full human enhancement and to take their rightful place with other nations.

Effects of Colonialism

7 Though insufficient for the immensity and urgency of the task, the means inherited from the past are not lacking. It must certainly be recognized that colonizing powers have often furthered their own interests, power or glory, and that their departure has sometimes left a precarious economy, bound up for instance with the production of one kind of crop whose market prices are subject to sudden and considerable variation. Yet while recognizing the damage done by a certain type of colonialism and its consequences, one must at the same time acknowledge the qualities and achievement of colonizers who brought their science and technical knowledge and left beneficial results of their presence in so many underprivileged regions. The structures established by them persist, however incomplete they may be; they diminished ignorance and sickness, brought the benefits of communications and improved living conditions.

The Widening Gap

8 Yet once this is admitted, it remains only too true that the resultant situation is manifestly inadequate for facing the hard reality of modern economics. Left to itself it works rather to widen the differences in the world's levels of life, not to diminish them: rich peoples enjoy rapid growth whereas the poor develop slowly. The imbalance is on the increase: some produce a surplus of foodstuffs, others cruelly lack them and see their exports made uncertain.

Signs of Social Unrest

9 At the same time social conflicts have taken on world dimensions. The acute disquiet which has taken hold of the poor classes in countries that are becoming industrialised, is now embracing those whose economy is almost exclusively agrarian: farming people, too, are becoming aware of their " undeserved hardship." (9) There is also the scandal of glaring inequalities not merely in the enjoyment of possessions but even more in the exercise of power. While a small restricted group enjoys a refined civilization in certain regions, the remainder of the population, poor and scattered, is " deprived of nearly all possibility of personal initiative and of responsibility, and oftentimes even its living and working conditions are unworthy of the human person''. (10)

9. Encyclical , May 15, 1891: Acta Leonis Xlll, t. Xl (1892), p. 98.
GS 63.

10 Furthermore, the conflict between traditional civilizations and the new elements of industrial civilization break down structures which do not adapt themselves to new conditions. Their framework, sometimes rigid, was the indispensable prop to personal and family life; older people remain attached to it, the young escape from it, as from a useless barrier, to turn eagerly to new forms of life in society. The conflict of the generations is made more serious by a tragic dilemma: whether to retain ancestral institutions and convictions and renounce progress, or to admit techniques and civilizations from outside and reject along with the traditions of the past all their human richness. In effect, the moral, spiritual and religious supports of the past too often give way without securing in return any guarantee of a place in the new world .

Concomitant Dangers

11 In this confusion the temptation becomes stronger to risk being swept away towards types of messianism which give promises but create illusions. The resulting dangers are patent: violent popular reactions, agitation towards insurrection, and a drifting towards totalitarian ideologies. Such are the data of the problem. Its seriousness is evident to all.

The Church and Development

12 True to the teaching and example of her divine Founder, Who cited the preaching of the Gospel to the poor as a sign of His mission, (Cf. Lc 7,22) the Church has never failed to foster the human progress of the nations to which she brings faith in Christ. Her missionaries have built, not only churches, but also hostels and hospitals, schools and universities. Teaching the local populations the means of deriving the best advantages from their natural resources, missionaries have often protected them from the greed of foreigners. Without doubt their work, inasmuch as it was human, was not perfect, and sometimes the announcement of the authentic Gospel message was infiltrated by many ways of thinking and acting which were characteristic of their home country. But the missionaries were also able to develop and foster local institutions. In many a region they were among the pioneers in material progress as well as in cultural advancement. Let it suffice to recall the example of Father Charles de Foucauld, whose charity earned him the title "Universal Brother," and who edited an invaluable dictionary of the Touareg language. We ought to pay tribute to these pioneers who have been too often forgotten, but who were urged on by the love of Christ, just as we honor their imitators and successors who today still continue to put themselves at the generous and unselfish service of those to whom they announce the Gospel.

The Present Need

13 However, local and individual undertakings are no longer enough. The present situation of the world demands concerted action based on a clear vision of all economic, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects. Experienced in human affairs, the Church, without attempting to interfere in any way in the politics of States, "seeks but a solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ Himself under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth, to rescue and not to sit in judgment, to serve and not to be served". (12) Founded to establish on earth the Kingdom of heaven and not to conquer any earthly power, the Church clearly states that the two realms are distinct, just as the two powers, ecclesiastical and civil, are supreme, each in its own domain. (13) But, since the Church lives in history, she ought to "scrutinize the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel". (14) Sharing the noblest aspirations of men and suffering when she sees them not satisfied, she wishes to help them attain their full flowering, and that is why she offers men what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race.

GS 3.
13. Cf. Encyclical Immortale Dei, Nov. 1, 1885: Acta Leonis Xlll, t. V (1885),p.127.
14. GS 4

Authentic Development

14 Development cannot be limited to mere economic growth. In order to be authentic, it must be complete: integral, that is, it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man. As an eminent specialist has very rightly and emphatically declared: " We do not believe in separating the economic from the human, nor development from the civilizations in which it exists. What we hold important is man, each man and each group of men, and we even include the whole of humanity". (15)

15. l. J. Lebret, O.P., Dynamique concrète du développement,, Paris: Economie et Humanisme, Les Editions Ouvriéres, 1961, p. 28.

Personal Responsibility

15 In the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfill himself, for every life is a vocation. At birth, everyone is granted, in germ, a set of aptitudes and qualities for him to bring to fruition. Their coming to maturity, which will be the result of education received from the environment and personal efforts, will allow each man to direct himself toward the destiny intended for him by his Creator. Endowed with intelligence and freedom, he is responsible for his fulfillment as he is for his salvation. He is aided, or sometimes impeded, by those who educate him and those with whom he lives, but each one remains, whatever be these influences affecting him, the principal agent of his own success or failure. By the unaided effort of his own intelligence and his will, each man can grow in humanity, can enhance his personal worth, can become more a person.

Man's Supernatural Destiny

16 However, this self-fulfillment is not something optional. Just as the whole of creation is ordained to its Creator, so spiritual beings should of their own accord orientate their lives to God, the first truth and the supreme good. Thus it is that human fulfillment constitutes, as it were, a summary of our duties. But there is much more: this harmonious enrichment of nature by personal and responsible effort is ordered to a further perfection. By reason of his union with Christ, the source of life, man attains to new fulfillment of himself, to a transcendent humanism which gives him his greatest possible perfection: this is the highest goal of personal development.

Ties With All Men

17 But each man is a member of society. He is part of the whole of mankind. It is not just certain individuals, but all men who are called to this fullness of development. Civilizations are born, develop and die. But humanity is advancing along the path of history like the waves of a rising tide encroaching gradually on the shore. We have inherited from past generations, and we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries: for this reason we have obligations towards all, and we cannot refuse to interest ourselves in those who will come after us to enlarge the human family. The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty.

Development in Proper Perspective

18 This personal and communal development would be threatened if the true scale of values were undermined. The desire for necessities is legitimate, and work undertaken to obtain them is a duty: "If any man will not work, neither let him eat". (2Th 3,10) But the acquiring of temporal goods can lead to greed, to the insatiable desire for more, and can make increased power a tempting objective. Individuals, families and nations can be overcome by avarice, be they poor or rich, and all can fall victim to a stifling materialism.

Latent Dangers

19 Increased possession is not the ultimate goal of nations nor of individuals. All growth is ambivalent. It is essential if man is to develop as a man, but in a way it imprisons man if he considers it the supreme good, and it restricts his vision. Then we see hearts harden and minds close, and men no longer gather together in friendship but out of self-interest, which soon leads to oppositions and disunity. The exclusive pursuit of possessions thus become an obstacle to individual fulfillment and to man's true greatness. Both for nations and for individual men, avarice is the most evident form of moral underdevelopment.

A New Humanism Needed

20 If further development calls for the work of more and more technicians, even more necessary is the deep thought and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew by embracing the higher values of love and friendship, of prayer and contemplation. (17) This is what will permit the fullness of authentic development, a development which is for each and all the transition from less human conditions to those which are more human.

17. Cf., for example, J. Maritain, Les conditions spirituelles du progrès et de la paix, in Rencontre des cultures à l'UNESCO sous le signe du Concile oecuménique Vatican II, Paris: Mame, 1966, p. 66.

The Scale of Values

21 Less human conditions: the lack of material necessities for those who are without the minimum essential for life, the moral deficiencies of those who are mutilated by selfishness. Less human conditions: oppressive social structures, whether due to the abuses of ownership or to the abuses of power, to the exploitation of workers or to unjust transactions. Conditions that are more human: the passage from misery towards the possession of necessities, victory over social scourges, the growth of knowledge, the acquisition of culture. Additional conditions that are more human: increased esteem for the dignity of others, the turning toward the spirit of poverty, (Cf. Mt 5,3) cooperation for the common good, the will and desire for peace. Conditions that are still more human: the acknowledgment by man of supreme values, and of God their source and their finality. Conditions that, finally and above all, are more human: faith, a gift of God accepted by the good will of man, and unity in the charity of Christ, Who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all men.

Issues and Principles

22 "Fill the earth and subdue it": (Gn 1,28) the Bible, from the first page on, teaches us that the whole of creation is for man, that it is his responsibility to develop it by intelligent effort and by means of his labor to perfect it, so to speak, for his use. If the world is made to furnish each individual with the means of livelihood and the instruments for his growth and progress, each man has therefore the right to find in the world what is necessary for himself. The recent Council reminded us of this: "God intended the earth and all that it contains for the use of every human being and people. Thus, as all men follow justice and unite in charity, created goods should abound for them on a reasonable basis" (20) All other rights whatsoever, including those of property and of free commerce, are to be subordinated to this principle. They should not hinder but on the contrary favor its application. It is a grave and urgent social duty to redirect them to their primary finality.

20. GS 69

The Use of Private Property

23 "If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1Jn 3,17) It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich". (22) That is, private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute and unconditioned right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities. In a word, "according to the traditional doctrine as found in the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, the right to property must never be exercised to the detriment of the common good". If there should arise a conflict "between acquired private rights and primary community exigencies", it is the responsibility of public authorities "to look for a solution, with the active participation of individuals and social groups". (23)

22. De Nabuthe, c. 12, n. 53; (P. L. 14, 747). Cf. J.-R. Palanque, Saint Ambrose et l'empire romain, Paris: de Boccard, 1933, pp. 336 f.
23. Letter to the 82nd Session of the French Social Weeks (Brest 1965), in L'homme et la révolution urbaine, Lyons Chronique sociale 1965, pp. 8 and 9. Cf. L'Osservatore Romano, July 10, i 965, Documentation catholique t. 62, Paris, 1965, col 1365.

The Use of Private Property

24 If certain landed estates impede the , general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation. While giving a clear statement on this, (24) the Council recalled no less clearly that the available revenue is not to be used in accordance with mere whim, and that no place must be given to selfish speculation. Consequently it is unacceptable that citizens with abundant incomes from the resources and activity of their country should transfer a considerable part of this income abroad purely for their own advantage, with out care for the manifest wrong they inflict on their country by doing this. (25)

GS 71
25. Cf., ibid.. GS 65

The Value of lndustrialization

25 The introduction of industry is a necessity for economic growth and human progress; it is also a sign of development and contributes to it. By persistent work and use of his intelligence man gradually wrests nature's secrets from her and finds a better application for her riches. As his self-mastery increases, he develops a taste for research and discovery, an ability to take a calculated risk, boldness in enterprises, generosity in what he does and a sense of responsibility.

Unbridled Liberalism

26 But it is unfortunate that on these new conditions of society a system has been constructed which considers profit as the key motive for economic progress, competition as the supreme law of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right that has no limits and carries no corresponding social obligation. This unchecked liberalism leads to dictatorship rightly denounced by Pius XI as producing "the international imperialism of money". (26) One cannot condemn such abuses too strongly by solemnly recalling once again that the economy is at the service of man. (27) But if it is true that a type of capitalism has been the source of excessive suffering, injustices and fratricidal conflicts whose effects still persist, it would also be wrong to attribute to industrialization itself evils that belong to the woeful system which accompanied it. On the contrary one must recognize in all justice the irreplaceable contribution made by the organization of labor and of industry to what development has accomplished.

26. Encyclical
Quadragesimo Anno , May 15, 1931, AAS 23 (1931), p. 212.
27. Cf., for example, Colin Clark, The Conditions of Economic Progress, 3rd ed., London: Macmillan and Co., and New York: St. Martin's Press,m 1960, pp. 3-6.

Nobility of Work

27 Similarly with work: while it can sometimes be given exaggerated significance, it is for all something willed and blessed by God. Man created to His image " must cooperate with his Creator in the perfecting of creation and communicate to the earth the spiritual imprint he himself has received". (28) God Who has endowed man with intelligence, imagination and sensitivity, has also given him the means of completing His work In a certain way: whether he be artist or craftsman, engaged in management, industry or agriculture, everyone who works is a creator. Bent over a material that resists his efforts, a man by his work gives his imprint to it, acquiring, as he does so, perseverance, skill and a spirit of invention. Further, when work is done in common, when hope, hardship, ambition and joy are shared, it brings together and firmly unites the wills, minds and hearts of men: in its accomplishment, men find themselves to be brothers. (29)

28. Letter to the 51st Session of the French Social Weeks (Lyons, 1961). in Le travail et les travailleurs dans la société contemporaine, Lyons, Chronique sociale, 1965, p. 6. Cf, L'Osservatore Romano, July 10, 1964; Documentation catholique, t. 61, Paris, 1964, col 931
29. Cf., for example, M.D. Chenu, O. P., Pour une théologie du travail, Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1955. Eng. tr.: The Theology of Work: An Exploration, Dublin: Gill and Son, 1963.

Dangers and Ideals

28 Work of course can have contrary effects, for it promises money, pleasure and power, invites some to selfishness, others to revolt; it also develops professional awareness, sense of duty and charity to one's neighbor. When it is more scientific and better organized, there is a risk of its dehumanizing those who perform it, by making them its servants, for work is human only if it remains intelligent and free. John XXIII gave a reminder of the urgency of giving everyone who works his proper dignity by making him a true sharer in the work he does with others: " every effort should be made that the enterprise become a community of persons in the dealings, activities and standing of all its members". (30) Man's labor means much more still for the Christian: the mission of sharing in the creation of the supernatural world (31) which remains incomplete until we all come to build up together that perfect Man of whom St. Paul speaks "who realizes the fullness of Christ". (Ep 4,13)

30. Mater et Magistra, AAS 53 (1961), n. MM 423.
31. Cf., for example, O. von Nell-Breuning, S. J., Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, t. 1: Grundfragen, Freiburg: Herder, 1956, pp. 183-84.

Balanced Progress Required

29 We must make haste: too many are suffering, and the distance is growing that separates the progress of some and the stagnation, not to say the regression, of others. Yet the work required should advance smoothly if there is not to be the risk of losing indispensable equilibrium. A hasty agrarian reform can fail. Industrialization if introduced suddenly can displace structures still necessary, and produce hardships in society which would be a setback in terms of human values.

Reform, Not Revolution

30 There are certainly situations whose injustice cries to heaven. When whole populations destitute of necessities live in a state of dependence barring them from all initiative and responsibility, and all opportunity to advance culturally and share in social and political life, recourse to violence, as a means to right these wrongs to human dignity, is a grave temptation.

31 We know, however, that a revolutionary uprising--save where there is manifest, long-standing tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country--produces new injustices, throws more elements out of balance and brings on new disasters. A real evil should not be fought against at the cost of greater misery.

A Task for Everyone

32 We want to be clearly understood: the present situation must be faced with courage and the injustices linked with it must be fought against and overcome. Development demands bold transformations, innovations that go deep. Urgent reforms should be undertaken without delay. It is for each one to take his share in them with generosity, particularly those whose education, position and opportunities afford them wide scope for action. May they show an example, and give of their own possessions as several of Our brothers in the episcopacy have done. (33) In so doing they will live up to men's expectations and be faithful to the Spirit of God, since it is " the ferment of the Gospel which has aroused and continues to arouse in man's heart the irresistible requirements of his dignity". (34)

33. Cf., for example, Bishop Manuel Larrain Errazuriz of Talca, Chile, President of CELAM, <<Lettre pastorale sur le développement et la paix>>. Paris: Pax Christi, 1965.
GS 26

A Task for Everyone

33 Individual initiative alone and the mere free play of competition could never assure successful development. One must avoid the risk of increasing still more the wealth of the rich and the dominion of the strong, whilst leaving the poor in their misery and adding to the servitude of the oppressed. Hence programs are necessary in order " to encourage, stimulate, coordinate, supplement and integrate" (35) the activity of individuals and of intermediary bodies. It pertains to the public authorities to choose, even to lay down the objectives to be pursued, the ends to be achieved, and the means for attaining these, and it is for them to stimulate all the forces engaged in this common activity. But let them take care to associate private initiative and intermediary bodies with this work. They will thus avoid the danger of complete collectivization or of arbitrary planning, which, by denying liberty, would prevent the exercise of the fundamental rights of the human person.

35. Mater et Magistra, AAS 53 (1961), p. 414.
MM 1

The Ultimate Purpose

34 This is true since every program, made to increase production, has, in the last analysis, no other raison d'otre than the service of man. Such programs should reduce inequalities, fight discriminations, free man from various types of servitude and enable him to be the instrument of his own material betterment, of his moral progress and of his spiritual growth. To speak of development, is in effect to show as much concern for social progress as for economic growth. It is not sufficient to increase overall wealth for it to be distributed equitably. It is not sufficient to promote technology to render the world a more human place in which to live. The mistakes of their predecessors should warn those on the road to development of the dangers to be avoided in this field. Tomorrow's technocracy can beget evils no less redoubtable than those due to the liberalism of yesterday. Economics and technology have no meaning except from man whom they should serve. And man is only truly man in as far as, master of his own acts and judge of their worth, he is author of his own advancement, in keeping with the nature which was given to him by his Creator and whose possibilities and exigencies he himself freely assumes.

Basic Education

35 It can even be affirmed that economic growth depends in the very first place upon social progress: thus basic education is the primary object of any plan of development. Indeed hunger for education is no less debasing than hunger for food: an illiterate is a person with an undernourished mind. To be able to read and write, to acquire a professional formation, means to recover confidence in oneself and to discover that one can progress along with the others. As We said in Our message to the UNESCO Congress held in 1965 at Teheran, for man literacy is " a fundamental factor of social integration, as well as of personal enrichment, and for society it is a privileged instrument of economic progress and of development''. (36) We also rejoice at the good work accomplished in this field by private initiative, by the public authorities and by international organizations: these are the primary agents of development, because they render man capable of acting for himself.

36. L'Osservatore Romano, Sept. 11, 1965; Documentation catholique, t. 62, Paris 1965, Col 1674-75.

Role of the Family

36 But man finds his true identity only in his social milieu, where the family plays a fundamental role. The family's influence may have been excessive, at some periods of history and in some places, when it was exercised to the detriment of the fundamental rights of the individual. The long-standing social frameworks, often too rigid and badly organized, existing in developing countries, are, nevertheless, still necessary for a time, yet progressively relaxing their excessive hold on the population. But the natural family, monogamous and stable, such as the divine plan conceived it (Mt 19,16) and as Christianity sanctified it, must remain the place where " the various generations come together and help one another to grow wiser and to harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social life". (38)

38. GS 52

Population Growth

37 It is true that too frequently an accelerated demographic increase adds its own difficulties to the problems of development: the size of the population increases more rapidly than available resources, and things are found to have reached apparently an impasse. From that moment the temptation is great to check the demographic increase by means of radical measures. It is certain that public authorities can intervene, within the limit of their competence, by favoring the availability of appropriate information and by adopting suitable measures, provided that these be in conformity with the moral law and that they respect the rightful freedom of married couples. Where the inalienable right to marriage and procreation is lacking, human dignity has ceased to exist. Finally, it is for the parents to decide, with full knowledge of the matter, on the number of their children, taking into account their responsibilities towards God, themselves, the children they have already brought into the world, and the community to which they belong. In all this they must follow the demands of their own conscience enlightened by God's law authentically interpreted, and sustained by confidence in Him. (39)

39. Cf.
GS 50-51 and note 14, and GS 87

Populorum progressio EN