When we think of development we primarily think of economic progress, but we must also need to strive towards authentic development – allowing the individual to grow into the person God intended them to be.

There is more to progress than economic growth. Genuine progress must be complete. No one can be left out. No part of any one can be left out.” Populorum Progressio -”Development of the peoples” (1967), paragraph 14.

Too often, wealth generation is used as the milestone against which development is measured. But authentic development is much more than economic progress. As Pope Paul VI reminds us, it is about the development of people as human beings. True progress allows every individual to grow into the person God intended them to be.

Whenever one person’s freedom or greed diminishes another person’s flourishing, or wherever one nation’s prosperity is detrimental to another’s, authentic development is denied. Real advancement affirms the dignity of each individual and nourishes their growth as human beings made in the image of God. In the words of the livesimply message, “This would be true progress, worth more than economic growth alone”.

By recognising each other’s needs and joining hands in solidarity, many woman in the majority world often model what authentic development means. They affirm each other’s worth and are eager to embrace changes which bring greater fulfilment to the whole community, whether through working co-operatively, sharing resources or being the voice of peace.

Annabel Shilson-Thomas

Source: http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/community-participation/reflection/1441-2/

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