Sie sind auf Seite 1von 55

Rerum Novarum

I. The spirit of revolution in the field of capital
and labor is on everyone's mind - the
industrial revolution is sweeping the globe. -
bringing forth a new AGE: new inventions,
machines, factories, products, work - what's
on our mind? Wealth, prosperity - which
further brings about INEQUALITY - ECONOMIC
II. Truth and justice demand that we address
these topics of rights and duties so that this
revolution can be AVOIDED
I. The Socialists offer an answer by REMOVING
PRIVATE PROPERTY which is wrong and would
cause the workers to suffer first
II. PROPERTY, or capital, is simply wages in
another form. - thus Socialism strikes at the
heart of what labor is for, THE FREE USE OF
III. Socialist principle as against the virtue of
justice - private property is a natural right. -
indeed permanent possession of things is part of
what humans require for life. - Rerum novarum
strongly asserts the RIGHT TO OWN PRIVATE
PROPERTY, including land, as a principle of natural
Is it just that the fruit of a man's own sweat and
labor should be possessed and enjoyed by any
one else?
As effects follow their cause, so is it just and right
that the results of labor should belong to those
who have bestowed their labor.
IV. God allows for private property - Still, we are
not allowed to use it however we want to. - there
are limits which are fixed by man's own industry,
and by the law of the individual races - The right
to own property does not mean absolute
freedom in the use of money, but carries
responsibilities with it. Leo encouraged the
WEALTHY to meet their own needs, the needs of
their families, and to maintain a "becoming"
standard of living. But they have a responsibility
to GIVE ALMS from what is left over. This is not
V. The necessity to provide for a family - another proof
of the right to private property is that - MAN LEAVES,
on which he labors. Therefore, he must be allowed
ownership of the thing
- we believe that this is all OBVIOUS that it is ODD that
the socialist answer CANNOT SEE THE TRUTH. THE
- the respect for private property is in fact the most
unmistakable manner to the peace and tranquility of
human existence - divine law even confirms this in the
9th and 10th commandment - the necessity to provide
for a family even makes this right to private property
NECESSARY - since man is called to raise families, and
families are older than any state - man has a right to
provide for his society, the family
- the right of private property becomes firmer
with the increased size of family. - looking to the
future, if the father cannot own property how
can he pass on capital to his family? - the family
must necessarily have rights and duties which are
prior to those of the community
---> State cannot have control over family -
certainly public aid for needy families ought to be
in place - the State may step in with regard to
certain abuses
- but the rulers of the commonwealth must go no
The contention, then, that the civil government
should at its option intrude into and exercise
intimate control over the family and the
household is a great and pernicious error.
VI. Result of the Socialist's answer - results in
the destruction of the structure of the HOME -
it is clear that the main tenet of socialism,
community of goods, must be utterly rejected,
since it only injures those whom it would
seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to
the natural rights of mankind, and would
introduce confusion and disorder into the
commonweal. - community of goods - which
can only result in ENVY, a dis incentivizing of
labor, and nothing else but equal misery
VII. Conclusion - the Church is the keeper of
the Gospel, which provides the KEY to
SOLVING the conflict between men. - the
Gospel not only ENLIGHTENS THE MIND but
LIFE - lastly, the Church does already IMPROVE
AROUND THE WORLD, by means of numerous
The Role of
the Church and
the State
Since the working class are largely in
the majority, and since the State has
the obligation to maintain the
common good, it only makes sense
that the State focus on the needs of
the working class first so as to be able
to meet the needs of all the other
classes. This is called distributive
The true remedy to social injustice, According
to the Pope, is to be found in the combined
action of the Church, the State, the employer
and the employed. The Church is properly
interested in the social question because of its
religious and moral aspects; the State has the
right and the duty to intervene on behalf of
justice and individual and social well-being;
and employers and workers should organize
into both mixed and separate associations for
mutual protection and for self protection.
The Role of The
According to the Pope:
There naturally exist among mankind manifold
differences of the most important kind; people differ
in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal
fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition.
capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without
there is no intermediary more powerful than religion
in drawing the rich and the working class together, by
reminding each of its duties to the other, and
especially of the obligations of justice.
Duties of the proletarian and the
to do the work agreed upon well
never to injure the property or
person of the employer
never to engage in violence or
disorder to defend ones cause
do not associate with hucksters
Duties of the wealthy owner and the
view every worker with dignity and not as a bondsmen.
to know that working for gain is creditable
to know that to misuse men, to view them as means to an end is truly shameful and
in dealing with workers, their religion and soul ought to be kept in mind
make sure they have time to fulfill religious duties
protect them from corruption and dangerous occasions
do not lead him away from his family
encourage him way from squandering his earnings

do not overly tax employees

do not employ people to labor unsuited to their sex and age.
give them a just wage
to gather profit from the need of others i.e. the indigent or destitute is against human/divine law.
to defraud someone of just wage is a crime that calls for vengeance from Heaven
the employer may not cut the wages by force, fraud, or usury
When we have given up this present
life, then shall we really begin to live.
Private Ownership: Is it lawful?
How must one's possessions be used?
Those who possess not the gifts of
fortune, they are taught by the church
that in God's sight poverty is no
disgrace, and that there is nothing to
be ashamed of in earning their bread
by labor.
The true value of a man is not wealth
but rather virtue, and virtue alone,
wherever found.
If Christian precepts prevail, the
respective classes will not only be
united in the bonds of friendship, but
also in those of brotherly love.
The Church, not content with pointing
out the remedy, also applies it. The
Church strives to influence the mind
and the heart so that all may willingly
yield themselves to be formed and
guided by the commandments of God.
The Church intervenes directly in
behalf of the poor, by setting on foot
and maintaining many associations
which she knows to be efficient for the
relief of poverty.
It cannot be doubted that to attain the
purpose Rerum Novarum, not only the
Church, but all human agencies, must
The Role of the
The foremost duty of the rulers of the
State should be to make sure that the
laws and institutions, the general
character and administration of the
commonwealth, shall be such as of
themselves to realize public well-being
and private prosperity.
General welfare is met through:
moral rule
well-regulated family life
respect for religion and justice
moderate and fair public taxes
the progress of arts and trades
abundant yield of land
essentially, anything which makes the citizens
better and happier.
Since the working class are largely in
the majority, and since the State has
the obligation to maintain the
common good, it only makes sense
that the State focus on the needs of
the working class first so as to be able
to meet the needs of all the other
classes. This is called distributive
There will always be differences
between classes. All contribute to the
common good, just not in the same
The State should safeguard:
The community
Because the conservation thereof is the business
of the supreme power, that the safety of the
commonwealth is not only the first law, but it is a
governments whole reason of existence.
The members
Because the object of the government should be
not the advantage of the ruler but the benefit of
those over whom he is placed.
The law must not undertake more, nor
proceed further, than is required for
the remedy of the evil or the removal
of the mischief.
Rights must be religiously respected
wherever they exist, and it is the duty
of the public authority to prevent and
to punish injury, and to protect every
one in the possession of his own.
Strikes are usually the result of too
much labor, excessively hard labor, or
insufficient wages. If the State
addresses these things, then, it can
keep the peace.
The State should protect mens soul
and body.
What is a just wage?
If a workman's wages be sufficient to
enable him comfortably to support
himself, his wife, and his children, he
will find it easy, if he be a sensible
man, to practice thrift, and he will not
fail, by cutting down expenses, to put
by some little savings and thus secure
a modest source of income.
property will certainly become
more equitably divided
great abundance of the fruits
of the earth
men would cling to the
country in which they were
workers have the right to safe and
sustainable working conditions and working
hours and employers are responsible to
provide these

work in the mines, and outdoor work in

certain seasons, as dangerous to health and
requiring additional protections
"It is neither just nor humane so to grind men
down with excessive labor as to stupefy their
minds and wear out their bodies."

Leo expressed great concern that everyone

have adequate rest periods and work that
does not exceed their strength
Work should not be so long that it dulls the
spirit or that the body sinks from exhaustion .
The factors in the establishment of hours are
listed as: the nature of the work; the
circumstances of time and place; the physical
condition of the workers.
Fair wages are defined in Rerum novarum as
at least a living wage

Leo recommended paying more than that:

enough to support the worker, his wife and
family, with a little savings left over so that
the worker can improve his condition over
Right of association
Pope Leo distinguished the larger, civil
society (also called the commonwealth, or
public society), and smaller, private societies
which exist within it.
The civil society exists to protect the common
good and preserve the rights of all equally

Private societies exist for various purposes

within the civil society

harmonious society in which the different

levels of society cooperated rather than
Examples of Private Societies
- trade union
- religious orders

Leo strongly supported the right of private

societies to exist and self-regulate
Pope Leo supported unions, yet opposed at
least some parts of the then emerging labor

- He urged workers, if their union seemed on

the wrong track, to form alternative
- Wise direction and organization are essential
to the success of unions
Mankind knows that our own weaknesses
require the community of others for help

This is how civil societies are formed and thus

associations like these as well.
These associations are distinct from the State
in that they have different ends

State is concerned with the general welfare,

the common good. The association, however,
is concerned with the private good of the
members of the association.
Common end
the natural need of men to associate with
each other for aid

thus, they cannot be prohibited by the State,

since they, again, precede the State. if the
association exists to harm the common good
and or attack the State, the State can
take measures to protect itself and society.
With so many of the working class who have lost
hope in the despair of injustice, Christian
associations can provide not just the practical
answers to the problems, but also balm to the

by helping them out of their difficulties, inviting

them to companionship and receiving the
returning wanderers to a haven where they can
securely find repose
All of this being said, the main thing is the
need for religion, for only the Gospel can
destroy evil at its root.
The Church will always be found available to
help society.

For this reason the bishops need to promote

true charity, that law of the Gospel, the
surest antidote against worldly pride and
immoderate love of self.
Pope Leo XIII wanted very much for workers
to claim their rights, but he also wanted
harmony and peace in society.

He took the position that strikes are evil and

should not be permitted, placing his hopes
on the ability of employers and employees to
sort things out amicably with the help of the
government and the Church.