Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII

Essay by Roderic976University, Bachelor'sA+, November 2004

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In the Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII makes several validated points in concordance with the time in which it was written. The Industrial Revolution, specifically, was having a huge impact on the social conditions in Europe. The rights and interests of laborers were put down for the betterment of state economies and owner privileges. The role of the Church was also changing. No longer was it a strong influence on the various European states, but now was needed to shape its role as a voice for the new oppressed coming out of the Industrial Revolution. Lastly, Pope Leo XIII calls for a dramatic social change. The new state heads and industry tycoons are to be held responsible for the declining social conditions of their people. This is from the belief that ownership of property and wealth is a privilege of humanity that must be used for the good of all.

In the first part of the document, Pope Leo XIII addresses aspects of Socialism and Capitalism. Socialism is the idea that whatever one earns will be taken by the state and equally distributed among all persons. It directly violates a person's right to private property and makes the state a controlling body that takes advantage of the working class. Furthermore, this taking advantage of might produce unfair conditions for many involved. What about people that are not working? How are earnings to be divided up among them? An unstable and confused condition in the community would result. At the other extreme, Capitalism is all about being in possession of as much as possible and who cares who you have to step on to get there. This is one thing I want to express my utmost passion for in respect to our current social condition. I will use Bill Gates as...