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My predecessor, the late and venerable Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, guided with wisdom, constancy and far-sightedness the complex phase of the preparation of this document; his illness prevented him from bringing it to a conclusion with its publication. This work, entrusted to me and now offered to those who will read it, carries therefore the seal of a great witness to the Cross who remained strong in faith in the dark and terrible years of Vietnam. This witness will know of our gratitude for all his precious labour, undertaken with love and dedication, and he will bless those who stop to reflect on these pages.
91. At the beginning of the 1930s, following the grave economic crisis of 1929, Pope Pius XI published the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, commemorating the fortieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum. The Pope reread the past in the light of the economic and social situation in which the expansion of the influence of financial groups, both nationally and internationally, was added to the effects of industrialization. It was the post-war period, during which totalitarian regimes were being imposed in Europe even as the class struggle was becoming more bitter. The Encyclical warns about the failure to respect the freedom to form associations and stresses the principles of solidarity and cooperation in order to overcome social contradictions. The relationships between capital and labour must be characterized by cooperation.
234. The judgment concerning the interval of time between births, and that regarding the number of children, belongs to the spouses alone. This is one of their inalienable rights, to be exercised before God with due consideration of their obligations towards themselves, their children already born, the family and society. The intervention of public authorities within the limits of their competence to provide information and enact suitable measures in the area of demographics must be made in a way that fully respects the persons and the freedom of the couple. Such intervention may never become a substitute for their decisions. All the more must various organizations active in this area refrain from doing the same.
263. Work represents a fundamental dimension of human existence as participation not only in the act of creation but also in that of redemption. Those who put up with the difficult rigours of work in union with Jesus cooperate, in a certain sense, with the Son of God in his work of redemption and show that they are disciples of Christ bearing his cross, every day, in the activity they are called to do. In this perspective, work can be considered a means of sanctification and an enlivening of earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ. Understood in this way, work is an expression of man's full humanity, in his historical condition and his eschatological orientation. Man's free and responsible action reveals his intimate relationship with the Creator and his creative power. At the same time, it is a daily aid in combating the disfigurement of sin, even when it is by the sweat of his brow that man earns his bread.
The State must provide an adequate legal framework for social subjects to engage freely in their different activities and it must be ready to intervene, when necessary and with respect for the principle of subsidiarity, so that the interplay between free associations and democratic life may be directed to the common good. Civil society is in fact multifaceted and irregular; it does not lack its ambiguities and contradictions. It is also the arena where different interests clash with one another, with the risk that the stronger will prevail over the weaker.
Sir Hugh then gave himself up wholly to despair: he darkened his room,refused all food but bread and water, permitted no one to approach him,and reviled himself invariably with the contrition of a wilful murderer.
Here the ill dressed man, who had already spoken to Camilla, quittinghis seat, strolled up to her, and fastening his eyes upon her face,though without bowing, made some speech about the weather, with thelounging freedom of manner of a confirmed old acquaintance. His wholeappearance had an air of even wilful slovenliness: His hair wasuncombed; he was in boots, which were covered with mud; his coat seemedto have been designedly [immersed] in powder, and his universalnegligence was not only shabby but uncleanly. Astonished and offended byhis forwardness, Camilla turned entirely away from him.
Such an opinion could not but be decisive; and they prepared tore-ascend; when the sight of a small door, near the entrance of thelarge apartment, excited the ever ready curiosity of Lionel, who, thoughthe key was on the outside, contrived to turn it wrong; but whileendeavouring to rectify by force what he had spoilt by aukwardness, asudden noise from within startled them all, and occasioned quick andreiterated screams from Miss Dennel, who, with the utmost velocity burstback upon the company on the leads, calling out; 'O Lord! how glad I amI'm coming back alive! Mr. Macdersey and young Mr. Tyrold are verylikely killed! for they've just found I don't know how many robbers shutup in a dark closet!'
They were detained so long between the first and second act, that SirSedley said he feared poor Desdemona had lost the thread-paper fromwhich she was to mend her gown, and recommended to the two young ladiesto have the charity to go and assist her. 'Consider,' he said, 'thetrepidation of a fair bride but just entered into her shackles. Whoknows but Othello may be giving her a strapping, in private, for wearingout her cloaths so fast! you young ladies think nothing of these littleconjugal freedoms.'
Sir Sedley received them with the most unaffected pleasure: forced uponsolitude, and by no means free from pain, he had found no resource butin reading, which of late had been his least occupation, except the merepolitics of the day. Even reflection had discovered its way to him,though a long banished guest, which had quitted her post, to make roomfor affectation, vanity, and every species of frivolity. Reduced,however, to be reasonable, even by this short confinement, he now feltthe obligation of their charitable visit, and set his foppery andconceit apart, from a desire to entertain them. Camilla had notconceived he had the power of being so pleasantly natural; and thestrong feeling of gratitude in her ever warm heart made her contributewhat she was able to the cheerfulness of the evening.
Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!
For several days ensuing, her name was unmentioned by either Usher or myself; and during this period I was busied in earnest endeavors to alleviate the melancholy of my friend. We painted and read together; or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his speaking guitar. And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.
All efforts proved in vain. Many of the most energetic in the search were relaxing their exertions, and yielding to a gloomy sorrow. There seemed but little hope for the child; (how much less than for the mother!) but now, from the interior of that dark niche which has been already mentioned as forming a part of the Old Republican prison, and as fronting the lattice of the Marchesa, a figure muffled in a cloak, stepped out within reach of the light, and, pausing a moment upon the verge of the giddy descent, plunged headlong into the canal. As, in an instant afterwards, he stood with the still living and breathing child within his grasp, upon the marble flagstones by the side of the Marchesa, his cloak, heavy with the drenching water, became unfastened, and, falling in folds about his feet, discovered to the wonder-stricken spectators the graceful person of a very young man, with the sound of whose name the greater part of Europe was then ringing.
A fearful idea now suddenly drove the blood in torrents upon my heart, and for a brief period, I once more relapsed into insensibility. Upon recovering, I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively in every fibre. I thrust my arms wildly above and around me in all directions. I felt nothing; yet dreaded to move a step, lest I should be impeded by the walls of a tomb. Perspiration burst from every pore, and stood in cold big beads upon my forehead. The agony of suspense grew at length intolerable, and I cautiously moved forward, with my arms extended, and my eyes straining from their sockets, in the hope of catching some faint ray of light. I proceeded for many paces; but still all was blackness and vacancy. I breathed more freely. It seemed evident that mine was not, at least, the most hideous of fates.
I had been deceived, too, in respect to the shape of the enclosure. In feeling my way I had found many angles, and thus deduced an idea of great irregularity; so potent is the effect of total darkness upon one arousing from lethargy or sleep! The angles were simply those of a few slight depressions, or niches, at odd intervals. The general shape of the prison was square. What I had taken for masonry seemed now to be iron, or some other metal, in huge plates, whose sutures or joints occasioned the depression. The entire surface of this metallic enclosure was rudely daubed in all the hideous and repulsive devices to which the charnel superstition of the monks has given rise. The figures of fiends in aspects of menace, with skeleton forms, and other more really fearful images, overspread and disfigured the walls. I observed that the outlines of these monstrosities were sufficiently distinct, but that the colors seemed faded and blurred, as if from the effects of a damp atmosphere. I now noticed the floor, too, which was of stone. In the centre yawned the circular pit from whose jaws I had escaped; but it was the only one in the dungeon. 153554b96e