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The Encyclical Mater et Magistra

 

The Encyclical Mater et Magistra was published in the period between announcing the Council and its opening. Kennedy had just been elected president of the U.S. and in the USSR, Khrushchev had taken the détente route.

This broad and detailed reflection on the Encyclical by La Pira is part of the assertion that (...) the Catholic Church is positioned, in a sense, at the heart of human history (the history of tomorrow as well as today) to grasp the essential directions [and to offer them] certainly the most challenging and dramatic problem of our time, the one that concerns the "meaning of history”: does the history of the world have a "direction" and a "meaning"? 

According to La Pira, the Church (...) was fully aware of the "meaning of history" and the radically new era (and the essential components that make it new and differentiate it, specifying it, from previous eras) which had already become a part of history.

This era is specific for being:

1- A nuclear and space age

2- A period of universal peace. The possession of space - and therefore, of the earth - makes war impossible. It makes peace inevitable! 

3- Period of "historical and political emergency" for the peoples of Africa, Asia (and, to some extent, Latin America). 

4- Era of "socialization" of economic structures with a view to ... the eradication of poverty, hunger, unemployment, ignorance, disease, among all peoples of the earth! 

5- Era of “unification” of peoples and nations.

6- Era of Church unity. 

7- Era of incorporation of the Church - as a supernatural soul and light - into the total body of peoples and nations.