Skip to main content

Social Encyclicals

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope John Paul II, 1987

In Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Pope John Paul II celebrates the twentieth anniversary of Populorum Progressio by updating the Church’s teaching on the “development of peoples” and changes that took place in the preceding two decades.

Populorum Progressio was inspired by the Church’s desire to help the millions of people who lived in a state of poverty and underdevelopment.  The document concluded by noting that “development is the new name for peace,” (Paragraph 10) another mission of the Church.

November 21, 2011 Social Encyclicals, Catholic Social Teaching
Pope John Paul II, 1991

The encyclical Centesimus Annus was written in 1991 by Pope John Paul II on the one hundredth anniversary of Rerum Novarum.  It came on the heels of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  In it John Paul II seeks to conduct a “re-reading” of Pope Leo’s landmark encyclical to re-discover the richness of the fundamental principles in which Rerum Novarum dealt with the condition of workers and the economy as a whole.

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 Leo XIII, 1891

Pope Leo XIII wrote the encyclical Rerum Novarum as the industrial revolution and political change swept across Europe. The relationship between employers and employees was changing dramatically. Individuals had become wealthy, but most remained poor even though they worked hard. Pope Leo XIII's encyclical spoke of the condition of the working classes during a time when many advocated revolution.

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 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.

Pages