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Pastoral Constitution

North American participated in slavery until the 13th amendment of the American Constitution in 1885 and was in the middle of racial discrimination between whites and blacks for decades. Recently, American citizens are divided by the issue of the legalization of abortion. Democratic and Republican, the two main political parties in the United States take opposing sides: The Democrat proposes that abortion be legalized and the Republican opposes it. Now, the nation’s interest and involvement in these controversial issues creates tension with the teachings of human dignity stated in Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

According to this document, human dignity must be emphasized and life should be safeguarded by all means. Anything that my put a man’s life and/or his dignity in jeopardy, like discrimination of any kind, violence, abuse, destruction, physical and emotional harm, prostitution and abortion are treated as disgrace in the eye of God. Some teachings in Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World appear unrealistic. It states that the interdependence among the individuals is getting tighter to achieve the common good and towards universal solidarity.

The same when it says that politicians act according to the law of God and serve for the goodness of the society. People — politicians or not—are individualistic and opportunistic. Their actions are motivated by personal gain, not by common good or universal solidarity. This is the real picture. I like Thomas Merton’s concept of total denial of one’s self to be completely united with God. When he prays, he clears his mind of earthly things and un-Godly thought because he considers these as obstacle that hinders him to feel the presence of God.

His mind falls into nothingness and silence. Merton believes in presenting himself before God as ‘nothing and free of any human attributes.’ Only then he feels ready and deserving to receive God. Reference: • Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium Et Spes). Promulgated By His Holiness, Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965. Retrieved March 19, 2009 from file:///C:/Users/user/AppData/Local/Temp/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et- spes_en%5B1%5D. html

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