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WHY RERUM NOVARUM ?

Rerum Novarum was the name of the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 that articulated the proper relationship between labor and capital in Christian society. It addressed the interests of workers and the larger community while fully respecting the legitimate rights of private property.  Written during the industrial revolution—in the same age, but in the opposite spirit as the work of Marx and Engels—it struck a balance between the dignity of the human person and the principles of private property and explained the moral duties that holders of capital and workers owed to each other.  The encyclical was a seminal event in the development of Church social doctrine and has been commemorated, celebrated and applied by then-current Popes, most notably Pius XI on its 40th anniversary (Quadresimo Anno) and Pope John Paul II on its 100th (Centisimus Annus).

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