What is the Importance of Gaudium et Spes?

Here is a piece I wrote on the the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes for The Catholic Answer, the magazine for Our Sunday Visitor. This document is one of the great social teaching documents and provides a great template for approaching our work in the world as laity.

“In many ways, Gaudium et Spes, or the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, is the culmination of what the Second Vatican Council hoped to accomplish, the capstone of the council. The English title helps us see why. When Pope St. John XXIII called the council, he wanted a pastoral council, not a dogmatic one. He desired a council that would not so much produce condemnations or ‘anathemas’ in response to pressing heresies, but rather a council that could lay out a vision for the future of a Church with updated expressions for our ancient faith. The promulgation of Gaudium et Spes in 1965, at the very end of the council, was the council’s first and only pastoral constitution.” ….

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