1965: Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution

Gaudium et Spes is structured as a Proudhonian real-ideal “bottom up” dialectic that also follows the structure of Cardijn’s Three Truths dialectic.

Introduction: The situation of people in the world of today (Real/Truth of Experience)

Part I: The Church and Man’s Calling (Ideal/Truth of Faith)

Part II of Gaudium et Spes which contains five chapters on various issues (Method/Truth of Method)

Each of the five chapters comprises a separate SJA on each topic:

Chapter 1: Marriage and family

Chapter 2: The development of culture

Chapter 3: Economic and social life

Chapter 4: The life of the political community

Chapter 5: Peace and the community of nations

Each of these chapters was drafted by a different sub-commission and each of these sub-commissions applied the SJA in a slightly different way (and perhaps better or worse).

Chapter 3 on the Development of Culture perhaps offers the most classical implementation of the SJA, dividing its work into three parts:

Section 1: The Circumstances of Culture in the World Today

Section 2: Some Principles for the Proper Development of Culture

Section 3: Some More Urgent Duties of Christians in Regard to Culture

Thus Gaudium et Spes both adopts the method and offers an example of its implementation.


Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today


Stefan Gigacz, The Three Truths in Gaudium et Spes, The Leaven in the Council