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Transcript of Social Teachings
JOHN PAUL IIHOLY FATHERCENTESIMUS ANNUSENCYCLICAL LETTERON THE HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY OFRERUM NOVARUM
Centesimus AnnusPope John Paul IIYear 1991On the hundredth anniversary of Rerum novarum.It examines contemporaneous political and economic issues.
Centesimus Annus begins with a restatement and a current application of the major principles of Rerum Novarum. Pope John Paul II then addresses the relationship of the Churchs social teaching to major trends and events in the past one hundred years with a special emphasis on the events in Eastern Europe in 1945 and 1989.
Document OutlineIntroductionCharacteristics of Rerum NovarumTowards the new things of todayThe year 1989Private Property and the Universality of Material GoodsState and CultureHumans as the way of the Church
Major PointsRole of the GovernmentDangers of SocialismCapitalismPrivate Property/MaterialismHuman Dignity
Events since 1945Many people lost the ability to control their own destiny.Violent extremist groups found already support.The atomic threat oppressed the world.
The Year 1989 In 1989: in Eastern Europe, oppressive regimes fell; some Third World countries began a transition to more just and participatory structures (#22). The Churchs commitment to defend and promote human rights was an important contribution to the events of 1989 (#22).
Factors that contributed to the fall of oppressive regimes: violation of workers rights (#23); inefficiency of the economic system (#24); spiritual void brought about by atheism (#24).
Non-violent, peaceful protest accomplished almost all of the changes in Eastern Europe (#23). The events of 1989 would be unthinkable without prayer and trust in God (#25).
The events of 1989 illustrate opportunities for human freedom to cooperate with the plan of God whoacts in history (#26). In some countries, the events of 1989 resulted from an encounter between the Church and the workersmovement (#26).
The events of 1989 illustrated that the Churchs social doctrine of (as well as concrete commitment to)
International structures that can help rebuild, economically and morally, the countries that have abandoned communism are needed (#27).
Peace and prosperity are goods that belong to the whole human race (#27). Aid for Eastern Europe, without a slackening of aid for the Third World, is needed (#28). There must be a change in priorities and values on which economic and political choices are made (#28).
The advancement of the poor is an opportunity for the moral, cultural, and economic growth of allhumanity (#28). Development must be seen in fully human, and not merely economic, terms (#29).
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The Role of the GovernmentDuty in our livesInternational RelationsSocialism
Dangers of SocialismLack of Moral ValuesWorth of the Human PersonGovernment Control of Economy
Should capitalism be their only option? The Pope answered the question this way:Capitalism
If by capitalism is meant an economic system which recognises the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative ...
But if by capitalism is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative (# 42).
Human DignityRespect due to all peopleThe poor and the response of ChristiansDuty of the Government
Authentic human development
It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards having rather than being, and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. (# 36)
It is therefore necessary to create life-styles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.
In this regard, it is not a matter of the duty of charity alone, that is, the duty to give from ones abundance, and sometimes even out of ones needs, in order to provide what is essential for the life of a poor person. (# 36)
[I]t will be necessary to abandon a mentality in which the poor as individuals and as peoples are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced. The poor ask for the right to share in enjoying material goods and to make good use of their capacity for work, thus creating a world that is more just and prosperous for all. (# 28)
The advancement of the poor constitutes a great opportunity for the moral, cultural and even economic growth of all humanity (# 28).