53 – The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment, the loneliness of the elderly, poverty, corruption

St. Pius X warned against pastors only committed ‘to doing good, above all to resolving the problems of the people,’ but who were concerned ‘greatly about nourishment and care of the body, while silencing the salvation of the soul and the gravest obligations of the Christian faith.’ This admonition, made in a time when society was incomparably more Christian than it is today, makes us recall the words of the Divine Master: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord’ (Deut 8:3). What should we think of the worsening of this situation in our days? Should more emphasis be put on another aspect? Or rather would it be best to strongly insist in this sense? In a world where family values tend to disappear, where the love of God is given secondary importance – when not entirely put aside – and where the divine precepts are taken with callous indifference, being obeyed only by a minority, what should the most urgent preoccupation of the Church be? It would seem that She should stress on impeccable catechetical formation, the transmission of Her holy doctrine to Her disoriented children, lost in this materialistic and atheistic world… Or should the attention perhaps be focused on unemployment and the isolation of the elderly, on poverty and corruption? Could these evils the result of a society without faith and without God? Should we not get to the root of the evil? Or is it better to just silence the symptoms?

Holy Mother Church has the right answers…


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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study


I – The greatest evils of our times are of a spiritual nature
II – The lack of religious instruction and its consequences in the crisis of society

I – The greatest evils of our times are of a spiritual nature

Pius X

Ignorance of divine things is the chief cause of the present weakness of souls and the serious evils that result from it
Apostasy from God is the terrible and deep rooted malady to blame for the disastrous state of human society today

Pius XI

The destructive scourges of the social order of today are not perceived by ‘the sensual man’
When examined with Christian eyes, nothing can be compared to the loss of souls
Those who repudiate the supreme authority of God destroy the basis of human society

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

A grave error: the separation between faith and life

Pius XII

The greatest sin of our time: the loss of the sense of sin
The greatest kind of sin: open and implacable hatred against God and His Church


The source of evils lies chiefly in despising and setting aside the authority of the Church

Gregory XVI

Indifferentism has produced many of the evils that afflict the Church

John Paul II

Today too many people have a bitter experience of a society without values, which results in hostility to the individual
We must ask ourselves what our responsibilities are regarding today’s evils
Today’s problems: religious indifference, loss of the transcendent sense of human life, loss of respect for life and the family, a crisis of obedience to the Church’s Magisterium

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

The most urgent needs today are resolved in the light of the ideals of the Gospel

Pius XI

We are witnessing a war against the Church, with most grievous damage to souls

Card. Joseph Ratzinger

Dictatorship of relativism: the evil of our times

II – The lack of religious instruction and its consequences in the crisis of society

John Paul II

Sound catechetics and trustful openness to the Magisterium aid in restoring the proper sense of sin: the first way of facing today’s grave spiritual crisis
The Church has particular responsibility in forming the necessary ethical and religious values
Education of the moral conscience is a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced
Today it is more necessary than ever the mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ

Benedict XVI

A satisfactory solution for problems requires the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society
The present crisis challenges the Church to devise effective ways of proclaiming the path of salvation
Disoriented youth need that the faith be proclaimed to them - the heart of the Church’s mission
Facing the ignorance of deepest spiritual roots: open yourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit so that no one is left without the indispensable spiritual food

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Anguish at the urgency of problems cannot blur what is essential: man does not live on bread alone, but on God’s Word

Pius XI

Catechetical apostolate is more urgent in the current conditions

Pius XII

We must make every effort to lead back to Christ those brethren who have strayed from the right path

Related studies

  • 159 – Diversity is a beautiful thing when it can constantly enter into a process of reconciliation and seal a sort of cultural covenant resulting in a ‘reconciled diversity’

  • 155 – “Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without helping the poor will risk breaking down”

  • 154 – “The Church has never been better. This is a wonderful moment for the Church”

  • 153 – “The Church can sometimes fall into a needless hallowing of our own culture, and thus show more fanaticism than true evangelizing zeal”

  • 141 – “This insidious worldliness is evident in a number of attitudes. In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige”


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