Rerum Novarum Index-
Rerum Novarum on the social question encyclical letter of the Pope Leo XIII May 15, 1891

Author: Supreme Pontiff León XIII | Source:

Existence and severity of the workers' question

Once awakened the eagerness of novelties, which so long ago agitated the States, it was necessary to happen that the desire to make moves in the political order was extended to the economic, which it has with that so much kinship. 

Indeed, the recent increases of the industry and the new ways by which the arts go, the change worked in the mutual relations of masters and laborers, having accumulated the riches in a few and impoverished the multitude, the greater confidence of the workmen In themselves, and the closer union with which each other has come together, and finally, the corruption of customs, have made war erupt. 

The gravity that surrounds this war, is understood by the lively expectation that has the suspended moods, and so it exercises the wits of the learned, the boards of the prudent, the popular assemblies, the judgement of the legislators and the tips of the princes, in such a way that there is no longer any question, however great, that more forcefully than this one worries the spirits of the men. 


General Index 


* Existence and severity of the worker question 

* Causes of worker discomfort 


A. Remedy proposed by Socialism 

* Detrimental to the worker 

* It's unfair 

* Family Priority 

* Community consequences 


B. Solution proposed by the Church 

I-For the influx of its doctrine 

* Sustaining human inequality 

* Defining the relationships between capital and work 

* Pointing out the true destiny of the present life 

* Inculcating to the rich their duties of justice and charity 

* Comforting the poor 

* Engendering the true fraternity 


II-By the divine virtue of its action 

* Internally reforming society 

* Moral to men 

* Instituting charitable works 


III-By human resources advising State action 

* The state should promote distributive justice 

* Preferential attention to the Proletarians 

* Intervention of the Authority 

* Respect for the rights of all 

* The State must promote moral well-being 

* The State must promote the material well-being of the worker 

* Wage determination 


IV-The private initiative of employers and workers 

* The associations 

* Right of association 

* Unfair persecution of religious congregations 

* Need for the Association for Catholic Workers 

* Cooperation to social works 

* Organization of Catholic Workers' associations 

* Beneficial influence of such associations 

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