Religion: Mater et Magistra

The most important social statement of the Roman Catholic Church in recent centuries has been a document known as Rerum Novarum (Of New Things)* issued on May 15, 1891 by 81-year-old Leo XIII as a papal encyclical—an open letter to the bishops of the church. Dealing directly and forcibly with the social ills facing the world at the turn of the century, it condemned socialism as immoral but supported trade unions and higher wages, state regulation of industry and broader distribution of property and wealth. Brought up to date 40 years later by Pope Pius XI, it is the starting point...

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