In , Pope John Paul II reflected on the rapid downfall of communism in his encyclical Centesimus. Annus. He named three ‘decisive factors’ in the fall of. Cenetisimus Annus (on the hundredth anniversary), the ninth encyclical of John Paul II’s pontificate and his third social encyclical, was written on the one. From the Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus of Pope John Paul II, 1 May Following the collapse of Communist totalitarianism and of many other.

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If, on the other hand, each subsequent one makes definite contributions to the larger body of the teachings, what does Centesimus Annus offer that the previous documents did not give? The present Encyclical is part of these celebrations, which are meant to thank God — the origin of “every good endowment and every perfect gift” Jas 1: At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error, which unfortunately is widespread in our day. A society is alienated if its forms of social organization, production and consumption make it more difficult to offer anjus gift of self and to establish this solidarity between people.

For a long Time the most elementary economic relationships were distorted, and basic virtues of economic life, such as truthfulness, trustworthiness and hard cenhesimus were denigrated. In our time, the role of human work is becoming increasingly important as the productive factor both of non-material and of material wealth.

The Social Dimensions of Globalisation. The “new things” to which the Pope devoted his attention were anything but positive.

This chapter expresses the importance of using moral, peaceful and visibility of the truth to diminish dictatorship or whatever they may have had which was negative to society as a whole. The Encyclical Laborem exercens moreover clearly recognized the positive role of conflict when it takes the form of a “struggle for social justice”; 41 Quadragesimo anno had already stated that “if the class struggle abstains from enmities and mutual hatred, it gradually changes into an honest discussion of differences founded on a desire for justice”.

However, they do not always stand in the same relationship to each other.

Centesimus Annus 25 Years Later

The Document begins by pointing out various events that happened in the year of but more importantly how it embraced a longer period of the s with dictatorial and oppressive regimes.

The fact is that many people, perhaps the majority today, do not have the means which would enable them to take their place in an effective and humanly dignified way within a productive system in which work is truly central.

Marxism thus ends up by affirming that only in a collective society can alienation be eliminated. To these rights Pope Leo XIII adds another right regarding the condition of the working class, one which I wish to mention because of its importance: Thus, if not actually exploited, they are to a great extent marginalized; economic development takes place over their heads, so to speak, when it does not actually reduce the already narrow scope of their old subsistence economies.


However, aspects typical of the Third World also appear in developed countries, where the constant transformation of the methods of production and consumption devalues certain acquired skills and professional expertise, and thus requires a continual effort of re-training and updating. George Marie Martin O.

Reaffirming Global Solidarity, Restoring Humanity. The Pope’s approach in publishing Rerum novarum gave the Church “citizenship status” as it were, amid the changing realities of public life, and this standing would be more fully confirmed later on. Moreover, the worker was not even sure of being able to sell “his own commodity”, continually threatened as he was by unemployment, which, in the absence of nanus kind of social security, meant centfsimus spectre of death by starvation.

Man has a right to work. Thus they find themselves in the present situation not as a result of free choice or mistakes which were made, but as a consequence of tragic historical events which were violently imposed on them, and which prevented them from following the path of economic and social development.

There is certainly a legitimate sphere of autonomy in economic annuz which the State should not enter. The result is a lack of freedom, which causes a person to reject a commitment to enter into a stable relationship with another person and to bring children into the world, or which leads people to consider children as one of the many “things” which an individual can have or not have, according to taste, and which compete with other possibilities. The Pope wished to proclaim this right within the context of the other rights and duties of workers, notwithstanding the general opinion, even in his day, that such questions pertained exclusively to an individual’s private life.

The second ecntesimus in the crisis was certainly the inefficiency of the economic system, which is not to be considered simply as a technical problem, but rather a consequence of the violation of the human rights to private initiative, to ownership of property and to freedom in the economic sector. It is right that in the present difficulties the formerly Communist countries should be aided by the united effort of other nations. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive in this area.

To those who are searching today for a new and authentic theory and praxis of liberation, the Church offers not only her social doctrine and, in general, her teaching about the human person redeemed in Christ, but also her concrete commitment and material assistance in the struggle against marginalization and suffering.

The Promises of Centesimus Annus

Liberalism is not the subject of a special section, but it is worth noting that criticisms of it are raised in the treatment of the duties of the State. In history, these two factors — work and the land — are to be found at the beginning of every human society. For such individuals the encyclical must be read in a way that confirms their personal prediction that “big is beautiful”.


Profit is centesi,us regulator of the life of a business, but it is not the only one; other human and moral factors must also be considered which, in the long term, are at least equally important for the cenntesimus of a business.

The foundation of the right to private initiative and ownership is to be found in this activity. 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.

What Sacred Scripture teaches us about the prospects of the Kingdom of God is not without consequences for the life of temporal societies, which, as the adjective indicates, belong to the realm of time, with all that this implies of imperfection and impermanence.

However, he correctly judged the danger posed to the masses by the attractive presentation of this simple and radical solution to the “question of the working class” of the time — all the more so when one considers the terrible situation of injustice in which the working classes of the recently industrialized nations found themselves.

Remaining faithful both to St. They draw comfort that the Church approves of free markets but would not wait long enough to listen about the evils of consumerism, of the practices in business which make angels cry, and the fact that many of their brothers are in dire economic straits.

They subscribe in their own fashion to the philosophy of “having” rather than to the philosophy of “being”, a flawed position which the Pope expressly condemns in Centesimus Annus. It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life.

Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and sceptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Man works in order to provide for the needs of his family, his community, his nation, and ultimately all humanity. These economic agents, in turn, by exercising their virtues on the job will contribute to a healthy development of the economy.

In this way the requirements of a society worthy of man are better perceived, deviations are corrected, the courage to work for what is good is reinforced.