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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 359

Popularum Progressio came out of the Second Vatican Council, and it discussed the place of Christianity and the Catholic Church within a changing modern world. It reflects the post-colonial and industrialized context in which it was created. It is in part a political document, but it is also grounded deeply in theological concerns and is ultimately grounded in a Catholic understanding of the Gospel.

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Even as it applies Catholic beliefs and values to modern challenges, it takes as its foundation many traditional cornerstones of Catholic moral and religious thought. In that respect, it is simultaneously highly progressive and deeply traditional in the message it conveys.

At its core, the Catholic Church takes a critical stance concerning modernity. Wealth disparity, both among individuals and between nations, the specter of colonialism, economic exploitation: these are all critical themes of the Popularum Progressio. But, as opposed to a more purely secular analysis (which would usually tend to discuss these issues in strictly material, social, cultural or psychological terms), the Popularum introduces a distinctly cosmic element to its reading.

We see applied to this viewpoint traditional themes of Catholic theology such as the Natural Law, which likewise introduces a distinctly theological criticism of modernity, in the way that modernity has distorted and disrupted the Christian Order. The dysfunction then is not only a dysfunction among humans or classes or countries, it is...

(The entire section contains 359 words.)

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