Gaudium et Spes

Posted: November 26th, 2013

Gaudium et Spes


The Catholic Church has four apostolic charters introduced by the second Vatican council in Rome. One of the charters is ‘the pastoral constitution on the church in the modern world’. It is better known as Gaudium et Spes. This document was written to provide a general idea of what the Catholic Church taught about humanity and the society. The word Gaudium et Spes in the Latin language means joy and hope. In the same way, the document provides an account on the emotions such as happiness, anguish and apprehension that Christians face in this age. Gaudium et Spes defines and safeguards the function of the church in a materialistic society particularly in relation to injustice, paucity, ecumenism, technological reconstruction and finances.

Section numbers (1-10)

This part comprises of the prologue and the introduction. The document addresses the harmony of the church with the whole world. It looks at the entire human population as God’s blueprint and the love of Christ, which surrounds them and brings fulfillment. The introduction examines the emotions that man goes through such as anticipation and anxiety. Additionally, it presents the changes that have taken place in their spirituality and relationships. Lastly, it mentions the imbalances created by the changes and the questions deeply rooted in the human heart.

Section numbers (11-45)

            It is the first part of the document. It looks at four distinct topics in relation to the church and the views of the people of God. There are questions to be asked and the answer will provide a distinct solution for the followers of God.

The Dignity of the human person (12-22)

            This section begins by recounting creation, how God made man in his own representation and likeness. It talks of sin and the ability of man to distinguish between right and wrong. This chapter provides answers to why man experiences joy and sorrow. Similarly, the self-respect of man is addressed. Man has dominance over the other creatures.

The community of humankind (23-32)

            The council declares their intention in this chapter. Their intention is to repeat the truth that Christians require to develop a better understanding of the society as God intended it to be. The council describes God as a father who cares about the welfare of the human race. God has predestined a good end for all men and women who obey His word.

Man’s activity throughout the world (33-39)

This chapter looks into the problem, which is the fact that the church has no elucidation to every predicament faced by man even though it is the custodian of the word of God. However, the church still wants to be part of the solution. Other works discussed in this section include the significance of the activities performed by man, how to regulate these activities.

The role of the church in the modern world (40-45)

            The connection between the church and the world is discussed in this section. It is essential for the church to co-exist with the world. The church is a spiritual society, which is on a journey just like the rest of the human race. The church has something valuable to present to the world. The world waits for the manifestation of a church with the characteristics of God such as love, peace, joy and patience.

How does the author reach his conclusions?

In the fourth chapter ‘the role of the church in the modern world’, the author tries to draw a conclusion on the lessons learnt since the beginning of the document. It ties together the dignity of man, the significance of the activities of man in the society and the love of God. The role of the church ids defined from this basis that they have a lot to offer to the world.

Key terms and how the author uses them

            One of the key terms used is humanity; the author used this word to addresses the men and women in the entire world. Another key word is the church, which describes the people who believe in God and have faith that He sent his son Jesus Christ to die for the salvation of the entire human race. The world refers to the creation of God, the animals, land features and the human being who have dominance over them.



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