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Integral human development in analytical perspective: a Trinitarian model.

The Problem

In modern Roman Catholic social teaching (CST) as defined by John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, integral human development (IHD) is the center of social thought and action. It has recently been defined (though initially as "authentic human development") with some consistency in meaning, not least in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and in Caritas in Veritate. (1) Benedict XVI repeats the subtitle of his encyclical when he defines the goal of any social and economic policy as follows: "to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth." (2) Yet the application of this term to social action is ridden with ambiguity. A document on program planning issued by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), a ministry of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, contains the following definitions:

   As a goal for CRS, IHD suggests a state of personal well-being in
   the context Of just and peaceful relationships and a thriving

   IHD also refers to the process by which a person achieves this
   well-being and common good. True Integral Human Development is a
   long-term dynamic process based on human dignity and right
   relations: i.e., each person's relations with God, self, others and
   all of creation.

   The primary livelihood outcome sought is Integral Human
   Development. (3)

The notion of IHD is thus used in three different senses in the same document: as a goal (understood as a desired state); as a process toward this goal; and as an outcome of this process--"a state of personal well-being"--which may be (but need only be partially) identical with its goal. Elsewhere IHD is defined as a strategy, which is a sort of disposition for future action: (4) "CRS programming is concerned with integral human development, a strategy which lifts up intellectual and spiritual well-being as fundamental to human dignity." This ambiguity is not accidental but chosen on purpose. (5) Traditional Aristotelian ontology does not allow for anything to be both a state of affairs and a process at the same time; development can only be one or the other. Even more importantly, for reasons of logic nothing can be, short of committing the fallacy of equivocation, both a goal and the means toward this goal. Aquinas regards the capacity for ordering themselves to an end and thus to distinguish between means and ends as the hallmark of rational beings. (6) Modern management thought regards this distinction as a necessary axiom. (7) Already Scripture distinguishes a goal from the way of arriving at it, with the goal being certain and the process toward it being error-prone yet guided by sufficient grace. (8)

Frequently, a confusion between means and ends besets a proper understanding of IHD. Caritas Internationalis, a canonically erected global confederation of 165 Catholic organizations working in humanitarian emergencies and international development, proffers four strategic priorities: (1) responding to emergencies; (2) integral human development; (3) building sustainable peace; and (4) adapting structures, processes, and finances of the confederation. (9) Surely these four priorities cannot be at the same level: IHD is the end of social action, and sustainable peace is a constitutive part (or necessary condition) of it; structures, processes, and financial resources are means toward this end, and effective responses to emergencies are their instantiations to particular cases of need. Similarly, the following passage reflects a logical muddle:

   The General Assembly saw 300 delegates from around the world come
   to Rome to share experiences, discuss and plan better ways to
   overcome poverty and to renew their solidarity with the poor
   through working together as a confederation on humanitarian aid,
   integral human development and better international policies. (10)

Surely humanitarian aid and better international policies can serve IHD, but not vice versa. Lastly, IHD is sometimes understood interchangeably as a material or a formal goal. It is one thing to identify it with human flourishing but abstain from specifying which factors contribute to it in which proportions; it is quite another thing to pick out some of these factors ad libitum and make them constitutive of the condition of IHD. The latter error is reflected in the following statement: "The CRS vision for IHD is that the people we serve increasingly realize their full human potential in solidarity with others and in the context of a just and peaceful society that respects the dignity of every person and the integrity of creation." (11) Of course the conditions mentioned in this sentence represent the basic values of CST, but can nobody achieve a higher level of IHD at times of war or under environmental disasters? Again it seems that facilitating conditions, as material goals, are not distinguished from IHD itself, which is a formal goal that can be achieved through various means and under a variety of conditions. Not making such distinction amounts to understanding IHD as equivalent to "all those social conditions which favor the full development of human personality." (12) This was how John XXIII defined the "common good," and IHD must certainly be distinguished from it, for the two terms have different meanings in CST. Conditions favorable to IHD need not by themselves be sufficient in bringing such development about.

The reason for the ambiguous use of the term lies in the lack of analytical clarity but also in the fact that the understanding of IHD is itself often partial and fragmentary rather than integral. Social science, and within it psychology, economics, and so forth gives IHD a different meaning from philosophy or theology, and even in the latter disciplines it is the position one takes on metaphysical issues such as realism or idealism, universalism or particularism, or a three-dimensionalist or four-dimensionalist ontology that decides which aspect of IHD will be emphasized. Moreover, natural language itself is ambiguous--for example, by using the same term development for a process and its result. The composite term integral human development demands logical--and, even more so, ontological--clarification as to the interaction of its constituents before a deeper theological understanding can be reached. The paramount reason for the ambiguous use of the concept lies in uncertainty as to what IHD really is. Barring such clarity, this important concept in CST may easily be misappropriated for ideological purposes.

This article attempts to elucidate the term integral human development, always in line with its meaning in magisterial teaching. Based on an ontological reconstruction of the components of the term, it will demonstrate that its essence lies in a Trinitarian structure of persons and the social world. The model of the Holy Trinity unites the dynamic aspect of development with the continuant nature of persons. It also determines the applicability of the term to empirical social science and to social policy. Social action purporting to facilitate IHD must be grounded in a solid metaphysics, which itself is a precondition for CST to be both fruitful and faithful.

The Ontology of Integral Human Development

Clarification of IHD starts at the linguistic level but must progress to that of ontology: What sorts of entities are the three components? Are they independent and arbitrarily connected or interdependent and organically conjoined? Language can hide the true relations between terms in a composite expression. The properties ascribed to an object such as the adjectives "human" and "integral" can easily be confused with composition; the crucial question is whether this is an instance of predication at all or rather another ontological relation.

The ontological square of Aristotelian metaphysics distinguishes between substances and accidents (or qualities), which can be either universals or particulars (see figure 1). (13)

Development cannot be a substance but only an accident, for it is the change over time of a bearer who then is a substance. Development is thus a quality universal that differentiates humans as a substance universal. The adjective human in "integral human development" must be understood as designating endurant entities, that is, human beings, rather than as an accidental property attributed to development. In a proper ontological reconstruction, "human" is then not a quality at all but the actual subject of IHD as synonymous with "man" or "mankind," and development is an accident or occurrent (and either a process or one of its stages) modifying it. Humans are differentiated by the development they undergo, just as they are differentiated by height, intelligence, or artistic talents. Being integral is another quality universal. It, too, differentiates humans, whose constituent parts can have various degrees of integrality and who live in environments into which they may be more or less integrated. Thus integral does not directly modify development but tells us something about the human person who is both an enduring substance and yet also, at any particular point in time, differentiated by a particular state of development. Thus the logical structure of IHD that reflects its proper ontology is: (integral = development [human]). Human development is nothing but the development of humans.

The traditional ontological square only admits things (i.e., houses, pencils, or humans) as continuants but not entities that are dependent on things. It does not, among the qualities, distinguish between dependent continuants such as powers, functions, roles, or dispositions, and dependent occurrents such as processes, actions, and events. Development could fall into both of these categories. It may be understood as an ongoing condition of a continuant, such as fear, love, or an extended headache. It may also be seen as a process consisting of stages. In philosophical language, it may be both determinable and determinate. The quality of being integral or having parts constituting a whole is an independent continuant but cannot be a process or event. It is similar to development in only one of its types. Admitting a distinction between two types of qualities or occurrents then leads to an extension of the ontological square into a sextet. (14)

IHD is in this model both a state of affairs at a point in time and a process that has led to this state. Development as such is a qualitative aspect of the flow of time arising from the "stitching together" of innumerable durationless instants, much as in the conventional representation of a time interval as a set of instants of the form [[t.sub.1], [t.sub.2]] = {t [member of] R: [t.sub.1] < t < [t.sub.2]}. But development as predicated on humans also gives them a unique quality. The ontological structure of IHD can then be represented as follows (see figure 2):

This ontological reconstruction presents IHD as being about persons rather than about a particular type of development. Persons undergo development, which as a quality universal will be of a certain kind; their development can be assessed at a particular point in the process. This concept already goes beyond Aristotle, for whom no substance "has degrees or admits of a more and a less." (15) Instances of humans--Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Norbert of Xanten, or Saint Theresa of Avila--exemplify development and integration of properties while the particular qualities of being at a certain development level and having an integrated personality instantiate the respective universals. These quality particulars inhere in particular substances such as persons. Saints have in the Catholic understanding practiced the cardinal and theological virtues in an eminent manner and thus exemplify in an extraordinary way development of faith and wholeness of personality while participating in particular instances thereof. (16)

The dual nature of human development is crucial. Saints often arrive at an exceptional and exemplary state of holiness and virtue only through trials and tribulations; many saints were sinners at previous stages of their lives yet their lives as a whole were those of saints. Thus substance particulars participate in particular levels of development of and integration between personality, faith, and lives. Development is thus ontologically both an occurrent, or a process over time, and a state of affairs as the end state pro tempore of such a process. The integrality of personal development, too, is both an ongoing process that can wax or wane (and as such is determinable) and that, at a given time t, has a determinate magnitude. It seems that both ontological models are needed and that most of philosophy has held to be incompatible--that of a three-dimensionalist (or "thing") and of a four-dimensionalist (or "event") metaphysics. Development is about substances that change, in whole or in part, which again requires the assumption of processes. It is also about substances as the results of such change that can then be measured against some standard, that is, a particular development level. Basic formal ontology (BFO) as a domain-neutral upper-level ontology encompasses both perspectives. Where Aristotelian ontology requires a decision between IHD as based on continuants or on occurrents, BFO can accommodate both and is thus closer to a commonsense thinking that can distinguish the falling of water from a waterfall, which has determinate spatial boundaries. (17) It also acknowledges that water falls whereas the waterfall does not fall. A successful understanding of reality must accommodate both facts. Recent literature has termed the two perspectives SNAP and SPAN ontologies. (18)


Development can be understood as a process (SPAN) or as a state of affairs as a result of this process (SNAP). It is both an unfolding of a substance over time, that is, a series of ordered time slices, and the level of accumulation of these incremental changes. Bergson's distinction between duree and simultaneity comes to mind here. In social and psychological studies on development, the focus can be on either perspective, as in child development where the diachronic aspect of the term is used or in development levels of countries where the focus is on the synchronic aspect. This is the reason for the ambiguity of defining IHD in literature produced by charitable organizations. When Caritas in Veritate speaks about IHD both meanings are in play. In certain passages, the dynamic form of development is addressed; (19) in others the static form of a fait accompli. (20) Yet development is overwhelmingly a process directed at a goal, with stages along this path occasionally being considered. It is so because development levels at ti presuppose a process of change ti-1. The goal is fixed, and this determines the nature of the process: "integral human development is primarily a vocation." (21) Analysis of biographies of extraordinarily successful personalities has indeed shown that every life was ordered and oriented toward one or more goals. (22)

Development as a process cannot itself change; processes simply are changes in those independent continuant entities that are their participants. As occurrent entities, they happen, but they themselves cannot change. Humans as continuants, on the other hand, may change in either of two ways: through development over time or through gaining or losing parts. Types of processes can then be distinguished by ontological criteria, but these are not relevant in the present context. (23)

Development is more than the mere history of things, which they by necessity have as substances that endure and are therefore present at more than one point in time. Their history is simply an agglomeration of events. (24) The horizontal axis of development of a substance--by being differentiated by new qualities or by gaining or losing parts--must be distinguished from its vertical axis. Horizontal growth may simply mean gradual accretion of elements of the same category through addition, fusion, or inclusion, as in aging or in the accumulation of assets. Vertical development always has a qualitative component by attaining to a different ontological level. Development is qualitatively more than horizontal growth, or mere "progress." (25) Paul VI and his successors emphasized the ambivalence of development understood as material progress: "Every kind of progress is a two-edged sword. It is necessary if man is to grow as a human being; yet it can also enslave him, if he comes to regard it as the supreme good and cannot look beyond it." (26) It has become a standard theme of CST that development must not be reduced to its material substrate. Magisterial teaching has indeed made it a hallmark of true development that "being" trumps "having." Although these terms have never been defined clearly, John Paul II stated, "The evil does not consist in 'having' as such, but in possessing without regard for the quality and the ordered hierarchy of the goods one has. Quality and hierarchy arise from the subordination of goods and their availability to man's 'being' and his true vocation." (27) And Benedict XVI, in referring to the message of Populorum Progressio, wrote, "in the notion of development, understood in human and Christian terms, he identified the heart of the Christian social message, and he proposed Christian charity as the principal force at the service of development." (28)

The notion of development according to CST is therefore much richer than that used in social science and in the social policy debate. It is a thoroughly normative concept because it is teleological--directed at a given end. In this sense, IHD is committed to a SPAN ontology. The Human Development Index (HDI) propagated by the United Nations Development Program, on the other hand, understands development only as a state that can be measured at discrete points in time. An index value composed of life expectancy at birth, mean years, and expected years of schooling, and gross national income per capita, as in the current HDI, is based on SNAP ontology. It does not explain development as a dynamic process that leads to outcomes reflected by particular HDI values. (29)

Underdevelopment, then, cannot only mean that a certain value on a scale has not been reached. It also--and for CST primarily--means that the human person is disordered because the process of human development is qualitatively deficient, for example, because of lacking wholeness between its components. Underdevelopment can be remedied, at least by increments, through human action without falling into the traps of Pelagian self-salvation, for the sources of underdevelopment lie "in other dimensions of the human person: first of all, in the will, which often neglects the duties of solidarity; secondly in thinking, which does not always give proper direction to the will." (30) Most of all, underdevelopment derives from lack of fraternal charity, which "originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is." Before a lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis, the conditions of development--transposed into the positive mode--are of a volitional, an intellectual, but always of a moral and religious nature. Grace is indispensable for attaining a high level of human development; nobody becomes a saint but by grace, though human persons must cooperate with its supernatural power. (31) This does not belittle the importance of social and political conditions fostering IHD. Caritas in Veritate indeed lists many of these, from access to productive resources to the absence of corruption, and from proper incentives to a sound environment and to functioning institutions. In fact, no previous encyclical has both attributed so much importance to economic factors and at the same time devoted as much analysis to them. (32) Yet development cannot be reduced to its economic aspect, which covers only a small if important area of life.

Just as there may be underdevelopment, there may also be overdevelopment or, as both John Paul II and Benedict XVI write, "superdevelopment." (33) It consists either in an excessive accumulation of consumer goods or in technology that no longer augments the human good and results from a subordination of "being" to "having." Superdevelopment results from a wrong balance among goods, that is, from a lack of "regard for the quality and the ordered hierarchy of the goods one has." (34) Such development is not integral because it subjugates moral, spiritual, and religious values. Truly human development in the sense of development that lives up to the vocation of the human person is therefore by its nature balanced. IHD does not consist in maximization but in optimization, as true development consists in the right mix between horizontal and vertical growth.


Not all development is either integral or human. (35) Before development can be integral, it must be human. The human person is "the subject primarily responsible for development." (36) Different from other organisms, the responsibility lies with humans themselves, and guided by grace they are co-agents in IHD. Other species can experience evolutionary progress, for example, by adapting to ecological niches but not integral development. The specific difference lies in IHD always containing a vertical dimension toward perfection in the image of God and in the possibility of human agency.

Importantly, Benedict XVI does not write about the development of humans (progressio hominum) but about human development. The adjective refers not only descriptively to the species homo sapiens sapiens but also to what is uniquely characteristic of it and in this sense constitutes its essence. That the integral nature of development--at least as an option--is characteristic of humanity is firmly established in the subtitle of the encyclical: De humana integra progressione. (37) The encyclical was meant to recall the teachings of Populorum Progressio, which never uses a phrase such as "human development." Where it is used in the singular, Paul VI wrote of hominis progressio but hardly of humana progressio or progressio humana. (38) "Development" is modified by adjectives only twice--as "economic development" (oeconomica progressio) and as "social development" (progressio socialis). (39) In line with our ontological reconstruction of IHD, humankind is at its core.

This is where misunderstanding often arises, as well as among Catholic social service organizations. "Human" does not eo ipso mean "social" but it does mean "relational." Humans, as being synonymous with persons, are unique in that their parts are so integrated that each person is a "world for himself' (Welt fur sich); humans can never coalesce into a continuum. (40) Persons are in a particular sense wholes that are, according to a tradition reaching back to Plato, composed of body, mind, and soul. (41) In the tradition of the scholastic dictum omne ens est unum ("every being is one"), (42) the specific unity of humans goes beyond the usual principles of compositionality such as contact, cohesion, and fusion; it is constituted by the life--or the development--of persons. (43) As part of their life, and different from "naked" individuals, persons are by their nature defined by the relations in which they stand, of which many may be contingent but some are necessary (in a biological, moral, legal, or theological sense). Relations as such are accidents in Aristotle's sense, or rather, qualities in which at the level of particulars two or more substance particulars participate. They can again be of a horizontal type or a vertical type, depending on whether they link equals or unequals.

Of course "human" is not limited to the level of individuals; it spills horizontally over into forms of social organization in which humans are the irreducible nuclei. John Paul II emphasized that humans by their nature form "real communities of persons," which range from families, companies, clubs, and charitable organizations, to the national and international levels. (44) Benedict XVI writes that "the integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization." (45) In all this, CST emphasizes the primacy of humanity; it does not postulate a priority of sociality. (46) The essential difference from other organisms comes with the vertical relations of humans: personality indicates the uniquely human property of standing in a relationship with God. Where individualism has difficulty with the ontologically relational nature of man, it completely ignores his vertical and transcendent dimension. (47) Exactly this, however, is an essential chapter in IHD according to CST.

If human development has a goal transcending human wants, it also has a direction. The structure of this direction has a universal and a particular form. At a universal level, "such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development." (48) This implies that IHD cannot be limited to maximizing a resource, which would be merely horizontal growth. It must also unfold vertically, that is, toward union with God and toward a relationship with those forms of life--animals, plants, and their ecosystems--that God has placed at different levels in the order of creation. (49) Because IHD happens in response to a vocation, "man is constitutionally oriented towards 'being more.'" (50) It is not merely progress, as the incremental movement along a horizontal path; it is not built on mere means such as technology or social justice--"but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed." (51) At the particular level, there are certain structures that enable horizontal and vertical growth. For example, Benedict XVI writes, "In the task of development man finds the family to be the first and most basic social structure; but he is often helped by professional organizations." (52) Other structures may be beneficial to IHD, from companies as real communities of persons to markets that reward work, creativity, and entrepreneurship. In fact, much of CST deals with laying out the structures available to humans in their attempts to pursue IHD. Yet it also teaches that trust in institutions and human arrangements alone is misplaced if it is not based on "a transcendent vision of the person" that sees the other as the image of God. (53)


At a first glance, the integral nature of IHD appears to apply to development, but it is not the process that must or even can be integral (in the SPAN perspective) nor any particular time slice thereof (in the SNAP perspective). CST requires of IHD that it leads to a greater wholeness of persons: "it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man." (54) Being integral as a quality or process universal always differentiates humans.

Humans are composite rather than atomistic creatures; (55) unity is therefore crucial for their flourishing: "The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development." (56) Integral development means that humans must find a right balance among the components of their lives: "authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension." (57) Conversely, for CST, one crucial cause of underdevelopment lies in "a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis." (58) The condition of integrality therefore transcends humans as individuals; it extends to the totality of their lives and encompasses the human ability to synthesize parts--family life, careers, friendships, social engagement, religion, and so on--into a meaningful whole.

The whole-part structure of human development is of the essence here. The popular but shallow term holistic that is often used to define "integral" is at best a metaphor but means little in concreto. (59) "Integral" has also a different meaning from "integrated," which is another buzzword in combinations such as "integrated care." (60) Integration means the bringing together or merging of elements or components that were formerly separate. Something that is integral, however, may be the result of an intricate--or organic--fusion, but it may also have been born or originated as an organic unity. Integral wholes do not form by accident; they are either the product of long processes of evolution, with successive marginal adjustments of parts to optimize mutual fit or else the direct product of divine creation. The particular artistic and intellectual creativity that developed in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and particularly in Vienna, between the 1880s and the 1920s is an example for such a slow process of integration of disparate cultural, ethnic, and intellectual elements. (61) The more interesting case may be that of entities "born organic," which are found only among organisms.

Reductionist accounts of development do not live up to the requirement of integrality. For example, Amartya Sen's theory of development as freedom, or his broader capability approach, is not only reductionist by dwelling on one constitutive characteristic, it also eschews any transcendent nature of development. Maritain's integral humanism, on the other hand, seeks to bring the different dimensions of the human person together without ignoring or diminishing the value of either. While one's private good as an individual is subordinate to the (temporal) common good of the community, as a person with a supernatural end, one's spiritual good is superior to society--and this is something that all political communities should recognize. (62)

The integral nature of human development therefore requires that other themes are added to economic ones at the center of CST. The developments currently most detrimental to IHD occur in bioethics, from contraception and abortion to embryonic research, the dignity of reproduction, and the redefinition of the nature of sex. (63) They are no less impediments to IHD as are war, poverty, political corruption, or environmental pollution. (64) In a positive formulation, Caritas in Veritate mentions, among others, the following conditions as contributing to IHD, at both the personal and social levels of human existence (see figure 3):

A Trinitarian Model

The philosophical puzzle about IHD is to understand how diachronic identity--remaining the same person during development--coheres with qualitative change while gaining in integrality. What develops is not a simple substance but an aggregate composed of parts, and development occurs as much by change in composition as by the mere addition of parts. Benedict XVI recognizes that IHD is a complex process: "the correlation between its multiple elements requires a commitment to foster the interaction of the different levels of human knowledge in order to promote the authentic development of peoples." (65) Because "the picture of development has many overlapping layers," (66) for any program of human development to be successful, it is necessary first to achieve clarity as to the precise correlation between the components of the goal at which it is directed: "joint action [...] needs to be given direction." (67) Just as every human as a whole supervenes upon its parts, IHD is more than an accidental composition of a bearer, a process, and a qualification of it. The composition is a complex mereological product (rather than a sum) that goes beyond the simple Gestalt principle of super-summativity, that is, a whole being greater than the sum of its parts. (68) IHD is one-sidedly dependent on its fundament in humanity. (69) Only humanity can achieve wholeness by integrating body, mind, and spirit, and humanity has a purpose and is thus ordered toward development. IHD cannot go into just any direction. It must combine a horizontal expansion--"having more" as expressed in higher salary, greater job responsibility, or higher social esteem--with a vertical ascent toward "being more," as human persons take seriously their call to union with God. (70) "Pluris valere" thus defines a lofty goal for IHD. (71)

IHD then occurs through particular qualities coming to inhere in particular humans, by grace and human cooperation, which changes the constellation of the components of the person. At the level of universals, humankind thereby assumes more of the qualities that Jesus Christ defined in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12; Luke 6:20--22) or that the evangelists and Paul described as the theological virtues and the fruit of the spirit (1 Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:22). IHD implies the development of all components even though not always at the same time or by the same degrees. The origin of these differentiating qualities is God who implanted them in nuce in human personality or by imparting them through others. Augustine wrote that in God there are no accidents--only substance and relation. (72) In one of his earlier works, Benedict XVI drew the ontological conclusion of understanding IHD as growth into the likeness of God: "Therein lies concealed a revolution in man's view of the world: the sole dominion of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality." (73) The great task of IHD is then to overcome the limitation of relations in Aristotelian ontology as merely accidental; as humans develop integrally, relations become substantial. Aquinas taught that the distinguishing features among the persons of the Trinity were subsistent relations, for "a relation in God is not like an accident inherent in a subject, but is the divine essence itself. So it is subsistent just as the divine essence is subsistent. Therefore, just as the Godhead is God, so the divine paternity is God the Father, who is a divine person. Therefore, 'divine person' signifies a relation as subsistent. And this is to signify relation by way of substance [per modum substantiae]." (74) Aquinas emphasized in all his works that God reveals himself as both substance and relation, and IHD as growing into the likeness of God then means combining both categories. (75)

There is a single entity that can serve as a model for IHD by having relations as the essential quality differentiating a substance while uniting at once vertical and horizontal relationships: the Holy Trinity. Roman Catholic Trinitarian dogmatics assumes no hierarchy between the three persons although the Son proceeds from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son filioque). The three persons have their individual identity and yet are all God, bound together by mutual love. Their mutual indwelling (perichoresis) thus sublates vertical and horizontal differences. Intratrinitarian love is therefore the dynamic element that becomes exemplary for IHD at the personal and social levels. This "economic" model of the Trinity is found, in a more rudimentary form, in John Paul II's teaching (76) but has been fully developed in Caritas in Veritate, which holds it up as the ideal of social relations. (77)

Structuring society in the image of the Trinity means going beyond the social dualism of individual versus society, individual versus government, or economics versus politics that has beset much of the liberal tradition of social thought. Benedict XVI sees the necessity of three agents cooperating, each propelled by its own logic: the market, civil society, and the state. (78) They have different identities and functions and are therefore different entities, yet are of the same substance because they are ultimately different forms of human organization. It is persons who exchange on markets, build institutions of society, and embody functions of state. In ontological terms, the three social agents are qualities that differentiate respectively inhering in substances (see figure 2). The only substance that "underlies" and constitutes them is the human person. Nevertheless, the type of person we are is constituted by the relations in which we stand with God, our fellow humans, and the natural environment. The more humans grow into the likeness of a Triune God--which is the essence of IHD--the more these relations cease to be accidental but become substantial.

The three social agents can be envisaged as being mutually related in analogy to the Trinity. The nature of God as a community in the unity of three different persons united by relations of mutual love thus has social implications: "The Trinity is absolute unity insofar as the three divine Persons are pure relationality. The reciprocal transparency among the divine Persons is total and the bond between each of them complete, since they constitute a unique and absolute unity." (79) Each divine person is a whole rather than a part; (80) by analogy, a society composed of human persons is also a whole composed of wholes rather than of individuals. (81) The doctrine of the Trinity says that God is himself community, and every human institution seeking to grow into the perfection of God must by necessity transform itself into a community of persons. This defines a clear direction of how persons must pursue IHD. Several corollaries follow from it. One of them is a positive view of businesses that are hybrids among several traditional categories by crossing the divides between for-profit and nonprofit, private and public, and so forth. (82) Another is an equally affirmative view of businesses as "real communities of persons" that provide multiple opportunities for their constituents to pursue their own IHD individually and collectively.

The vision of recent CST is that of an intrinsic integration of society as directed toward a goal--integral human development. IHD is about humans and not about development for its own sake, as mere economicism or secular humanism would imply. It must start with the person, and the purpose of CST is its integral development, not peace or social justice, which may only serve as means toward that goal. The human person, on the other hand, can never be a means toward any economic, social, or political projects. (83) The model of the Holy Trinity sets an absolute--and humanly unattainable--standard both for development and for wholeness, though mankind can build relations that, even though imperfect reflect those exemplified by the Trinity. It implies that IHD is served more by some human institutions than by others. Human prudence as guided by CST and by social research must work out the concrete guidelines.

Wolfgang Grassl

Professor of Business Administration St. Norbert College


(1.) Cf. John XXIII, encyclical letter Mater et Magistra (May 15, 1961), 65, 74; Paul VI, pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes (December 7, 1965), 59; Paul VI, encyclical letter Populorum Progressio (March 26, 1967), 14, 16, 20; Paul VI, apostolic letter Octogesima Adveniens (May 14, 1971), 31, 52; John Paul II, encyclical letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (December 30, 1987), 1, 17, 27-34, 38, 41, 46; John Paul II, encyclical letter Centesimus Annus (May 1, 1991), 29, 43; John Paul II, encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (March 25, 1995), 81; Benedict XVI, encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate (June 29, 2009), 4, 8, 11, 17, 23, 29, 34, 43, 48, 51, 55, 62, 67, 74, 77; Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004), nos. 3, 103, 332, 348, 394, 554, 582.

(2.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 67.

(3.) Geoff Heinrich, David Leege, and Carrie Miller, A User's Guide to Integral Human Development (IHD) (Baltimore: Catholic Relief Services, 2008), 2, 5.

(4.) Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Teaching in Action (Baltimore: Catholic Relief Services, 2012),

(5.) "The IHD concept points both to the goal we want to promote and the process for moving together in solidarity toward this goal" (Heinrich, Leege and Miller 2008, 2).

(6.) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 22, a. 2, ad 4; I, q. 103, a. 1, ad 3; I-II, q. 1, a. 2.

(7.) See Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox, The Goal: A Process of (Ongoing Improvement, 3rd ed. (Great Barrington, MA: North River Press, 2004).

(8.) See Philippians 3:12--14; 2 Corinthians 12:9.

(9.) Caritas Internationalis, Secretary General's Report 2007-2011 (Rome: Caritas Internationalis, 2011), http: //www. caritas. org/Resources/SecGenReport2011/ ExecutiveSummary.html; Strategic Framework 2011-2015 (Rome: Caritas Internationalis, 2011),

(10.) Caritas Internationalis, Annual Report 2011 (Rome: Caritas Internationalis, 2012),

(11.) Heinrich, Leege and Miller, A User's Guide, 52.

(12.) John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 65.

(13.) Aristotle, Categories, II, V; cf. Fabian Neuhaus, Pierre Grenon, and Barry Smith, "A Formal Theory of Substances, Qualities, and Universals," in Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS'04), ed. Achille Varzi and Laure Vieu (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2004), 49-59.

(14.) Cf. Barry Smith, "Against Fantology," in Experience and Analysis, ed. Maria E. Reicher and Johann C. Marek (Vienna: OBV&HPT, 2005), 153-70.

(15.) Aristotle, Categories, V, 3b35.

(16.) Similarly, Aquinas assumes two senses of "this particular thing"; cf. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 75, a. 2, ad 1.

(17.) Antony Galton and Riichiro Mizoguchi, "The Water Falls but the Waterfall Does Not Fall: New Perspectives on Objects, Processes and Events," Applied Ontology 4, no. 2 (2009): 71-107.

(18.) Development can be understood as a "snapshot" at t or as "spanning" a time interval [[t.sub.1], [t.sub.n]]. Cf. Barry Smith and Pierre Grenon, "SNAP and SPAN: Towards Dynamic Spatial Ontology," Spatial Cognition and Computation 4, no. 1 (2004): 69-104.

(19.) See, for example, Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 4, 8, 11, 14, 18, 27, 30, 47.

(20.) See, for example, Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 9, 19, 28, 32.

(21.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 11.

(22.) Cf. Charlotte Buhler and Fred Massarik, eds., The Course of Human Life: A Study of Goals in the Humanistic Perspective (New York: Springer, 1968).

(23.) Barry Smith, "Classifying Processes: An Essay in Applied Ontology," Ratio 25, no. 4 (2012): 463-88; Galton and Mizoguchi, "The Water Falls."

(24.) Cf. Roderick M. Chisholm, "Events Without Times: An Essay on Ontology," Nous 24 (1990): 413-27.

(25.) Cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 29.

(26.) Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 19.

(27.) John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28.

(28.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 13.

(29.) Cf. Sabina Akire, Human Development: Definitions, Critiques, and Related Concepts (United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Research Paper 2010/01).

(30.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 19.

(31.) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 111, a. 2.

(32.) Cf. Wolfgang Grassl and Andre Habisch, "Ethics and Economics: Towards a New Humanistic Synthesis for Business," Journal of Business Ethics 99, no. 1 (2011):


(33.) John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28; Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 29.

(34.) John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28.

(35.) In fact, most occurrences of "development" in Caritas in Veritate refer to other forms such as economic, cultural, and social development; the development of technology; and so on.

(36.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 47.

(37.) Caritas in Veritate was drafted partially in German and in Italian. What is said about the Latin editio typica applies also to sviluppo umano integrale and, even more so, to ganzheitliche Entwicklung des Menschen, where the emphasis is not on human development but on the development of man.

(38.) Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 43; cf. also 48; there is a single occurrence of humana progressio (73).

(39.) Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 26, 50, 64, 70.

(40.) See Dietrich von Hildebrand, Die Metaphysikder Gemeinschaft (Regensburg: Josef Habbel, 1954), chap. 1.

(41.) Cf. Jacques Maritain, The Person and the Common Good, trans. J. J. Fitzgerald (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947), 46.

(42.) Cf. Peter Coffey, Ontology: Or, the Theory of Being; an Introduction to General Metaphysics (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1914), 115.

(43.) Cf. Peter van Inwagen, Material Beings (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990).

(44.) John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 49.

(45.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 67.

(46.) John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 10, 21.

(47.) Cf. Maritain, The Person and the Common Good, chap. 3.

(48.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 11.

(49.) Cf. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 38; Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 51; cf. also the collection of texts in Pope Benedict XVI, The Environment, ed. J. Lindsey (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).

(50.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 14.

(51.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 18.

(52.) Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 38.

(53.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 11.

(54.) Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 14; Caritas in Veritate, 18.

(55.) Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

(56.) Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

(57.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 11; cf. also Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 14.

(58.) Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 40, 85; Caritas in Veritate, 31.

(59.) Nonetheless "holistic" is often used to define IHD; cf. Heinrich, Leege, and Miller, A User's Guide, 52.

(60.) Cf. Dennis L. Kodner and Cor Spreeuwenberg, "Integrated Care: Meaning, Logic, Applications, and Implications--A Discussion Paper," International Journal of Integrated Care 2, no. 3 (2002).

(61.) Cf. Wolfgang Grassl and Barry Smith, "A Theory of Austria," in From Bolzano to Wittgenstein: The Tradition of Austrian Philosophy, ed. J. C. Nyiri (Vienna: Holder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1986), 11-30.

(62.) Cf. Jacques Maritain, Integral Humanism: Temporal and Spiritual Problems of a New Christendom, trans. Joseph W. Evans (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1968).

(63.) Cf. Manfred Spieker, "Continuity and Res Novae in the Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 2 (2011): 327-13.

(64.) Cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 15, 28, 44, 51, 74.

(65.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 30.

(66.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 22.

(67.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 30.

(68.) Cf. Thomas Bittner and Barry Smith, "A Theory of Granular Partitions," in Applied Ontology: An Introduction, ed. Katherine Munn and B. Smith (Frankfurt: Ontos, 2008), 125-58.

(69.) Mutual dependence as proposed by Kohler, Wertheimer, and other Gestalt psychologists might be envisaged. Cf. Peter M. Simons, "Gestalt and Functional Dependence," in Foundations of Gestalt Theory, ed. Barry Smith (Munich and Vienna: Philosophia Verlag, 1988), 158-91.

(70.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 14, 18, 29.

(71.) Cf. Wolfgang Grassl, "Pluris Valere: Towards Trinitarian Rationality in Social Life," in The Whole Breadth of Reason: Rethinking Economics and Politics, ed. Simona Beretta and Mario A. Maggioni (Venice: Marcianum Press, 2012), 313-17.

(72.) Augustine, De Trinitate, lib. V, cap. 4-6.

(73.) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, trans. J. R. Foster (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 184.

(74.) Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 29, a. 4.

(75.) Cf. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 28, a. 2 ad 1.

(76.) John Paul II, encyclical letter Ut Unum Sint (May 25, 1995), 8, 43; Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (December 30, 1988), 18, 40.

(77.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 54.

(78.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 38.

(79.) Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 54.

(80.) Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 30, a. 4.

(81.) Maritain, The Person and the Common Good, 46.

(82.) Cf. Wolfgang Grassl, "Hybrid Forms of Business: The Logic of Gift in the Commercial World," Journal of Business Ethics 100, no. 1 (2011): 109-23.

(83.) Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium, no. 133.
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Author:Grassl, Wolfgang
Publication:Journal of Markets & Morality
Article Type:Essay
Date:Mar 22, 2013
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