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Catholic Social Teaching

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope Paul VI, 1967

Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical Populorum Progressio in 1967 to address the world economy and its effect on peoples around the world. At this time many nations saw their economic development stall, while others continued to grow at a record pace. In the document he talks about the rights of workers to a just wage, job security, reasonable working conditions, and to join a worker's association.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope John Paul II, 1995

Pope John Paul II released the encyclical Evangelium Vitae on March 25, 1995.  It deals with the most basic of all principles – the value and sacredness of human life.  Our duty to protect life is central to the Christian message.  The encyclical is broken into four main chapters which discuss contemporary threats to life, the Gospel's message regarding life, God's law, and hope for a new culture of life.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope Pius XI, 1931

Quadragesimo Anno was written by Pope Pius XI in 1931 forty years after Pope Leo XIII's Rerun Novarum on the Condition of Workers. He wrote this encyclical to address the ethical challenges facing workers, employers, the Church and the state as a result of end of the industrial revolution and the onset of the Great Depression.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope Paul VI, 1971

Pope Paul VI wrote the Apostolic letter “Octogesima Adveniens” in 1971 as a letter to Cardinal Maurice Roy, the President of the Council of Laity and of the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace on the eightieth anniversary of the encyclical Rerum Novarum.  His Holiness sought to highlight many social issues facing people at the time and to inspire renewed action for lay members to participate in social and political reform according to the Gospel.

November 21, 2011 Themes, Catholic Social Teaching

Christians have a special place in their hearts for the poor and vulnerable because Jesus had a special place in his heart for them.  The Gospels are filled with stories of how he helped those in need. Some of the most famous - the Beatitudes, the Last Judgment  and the Good Samaritan - summarize the importance of Christian service to the marginalized of society.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope John Paul II, 1998

The encyclical Fides Et Ratio was written by Pope John Paul II to his fellow bishops in 1998 to address the relationship between faith and reason.  It was written to support and defend traditional Christian philosophy.  His Holiness believed that faith and reason together allow people to know and love God.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching

Pope John XXII, 1961

Pope John XXIII wrote this encyclical in 1961 to continue the tradition of Rerum Novarum (1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931). The world had changed considerably in the previous 30 years both politically and economically. The Great Depression and World War II had ended, the cold war had begun, and technology allowed for increased productivity, but vast poverty remained across the globe.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
John Paul II, 1981

The encyclical Laborem Exercens was written by Pope John Paul II in 1981 to celebrate 90 years since the publication of Rerum Novarum.

In those ninety years issues surrounding employment and labor have not ceased to remain of importance to the Church.  Work has changed considerably since the industrial revolution and technological and innovative advances are accelerating that change.  In this encyclical His Holiness focuses on the dignity of human work in the contemporary world.

November 21, 2011 Themes, Catholic Social Teaching

Many scholars trace the beginning of modern Catholic social teaching to the 1891 publication of Rerum Novarum (Of New Things).  Reacting to the abuse of workers during the Industrial Revolution, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical focused on the application of the Gospel message to an industrial society.  

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, 2004

Almost 115 years after the publication of Rerum Novarum the Church sought to compile and summarize its modern social teachings.  In 2004 the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church to summarize and restate the Church’s social teachings to serve as a reference for all Catholics.

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