In a conference on Saturday devoted to reflection on the recently-published Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pope John Paul II urged that the Church’s social doctrine be known in a complete manner, not with undue emphasis on only one aspect or another, and that the laity use it as a reference for family, professional, and civic responsibilities.
The Pope said that "there is still much to do so that the rich contribution of Church doctrine may be a coherent criterion of wisdom and an inspiring and convincing force of the social action of Catholics."
"For this reason it is very important," he stressed, "to make the social doctrine of the Church known in a precise, clear and complete way in order to avoid that only one aspect or another is emphasized, according to one's sensitivity and preconceived ideas so that one ends up by losing the unitary consideration and using it in a manipulative fashion.”
“In addition,” he said, “it is necessary to educate people to use this doctrine as a stimulating point of reference for family, professional and civil responsibilities, assuming it as a shared criterion of personal and communitarian choices and activities in continuity with the beautiful witness ... of humble and great Christians who have passionately lived for the cause of man in light of the Gospel."
The Holy Father underscored that the great questions that afflict humanity "in an ever-more 'global' and 'interdependent' context, must be confronted with a clear vision of man and his personal and social vocation on the common foundation of natural law."
"The social doctrine of the Church," he concluded, "highlights the basic values of an ordered and solidary human coexistence with the light of Revelation, freeing these values from obscurities and ambiguities. Lay Christians, open to the action of God's grace, are the lively instruments so that values effectively permeate history."