We are indeed in a “time unsurpassed in distress.” A fifth of the world’s population lives in absolute poverty. About three billion people lack adequate nutrition.
Every three days, more people die from malnutrition and disease than from the bombing of Hiroshima. Every year more people die from preventable hunger than died in the Holocaust.
One out of every four human beings has no access to safe drinking water.
There are somewhere between one billion and two billion unemployed adults in the world. The poorer countries have 60 percent of the world’s students and 12 percent of the world’s total education budget. More than half of the world’s adult population cannot read or write.
More than half of the countries of the world have used violence against their own citizens in the form of torture, brutality, and summary executions. About 4 million people died in wars in the 18th century; about 8 million people died in wars in the 19th century; about 100 million people ... died in wars ... in the 20th century.
One day we “will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory,” (Mark 13:26) to bring vindication, to right all the wrongs done by human beings to each other.
The present situation of the world, from the point of view of development, offers a rather negative impression ... In today’s world, including the world of economics, the prevailing picture is one destined to lead us more quickly towards death rather than one of concern for true development which would lead all towards a ‘more human’ life.
Pope John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 1987:13, 24