Economic Activity in Gaudium et Spes: Opening to the World or Theological Vocation?

  • Matthew A. ShadleEmail author
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)


Part I of Gaudium et Spes puts forward a dramatic tension between the secularity of the economy, as one important dimension of “the world,” and the theological vocation of humankind to transform the world through labor. This chapter will explore this tension between the secularity of economic activity and that activity’s theological dimension, and examine how the teaching of Gaudium et Spes both affirmed and challenged the initiatives of Catholic groups devoted to social activism in the economic sphere at the time of the council, such as Catholic Action and labor unions. It will also consider how this tension has played out in the decades since the council.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marymount UniversityArlingtonUSA

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