Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 461 II. C onversion and S ociety 1886 Society is essential to the fulfillment of the human voca­ tion. To attain this aim, respect must be accorded to the just hierarchy of values, which “subordinates physical and instinc­ tual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones:” 8 Human societymust primarily be considered something per­ taining to the spiritual. Through it, in the bright light of truth, men should share their knowledge, be able to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations, be inspired to seek spiritu­ al values; mutually derive genuine pleasure from the beauti­ ful, of whatever order it be; always be readily disposed to pass on to others the best of their own cultural heritage; and eagerly strive to make their own the spiritual achievements of others. These benefits not only influence, but at the same time give aim and scope to all that has bearing on cultural expressions, economic, and social institutions, political movements and forms, laws, and all other structures by which society is outwardly established and constantly devel­ oped. 9 1887 The inversion of means and ends, 10 which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which “make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible.” 11 1888 It is necessary, then, to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him. The acknowledged priority of the conversion of heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living con­ ditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it. 12 8 CA 36 § 2. 9 John XXIII, PT 36. 10 Cf. CA 41. 11 Pius XII, Address at Pentecost, June 1, 1941. 12 Cf. LG 36. 1779 2500 909 1869 407 1430