Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Pope Leo XIII—Rerum Novarum: Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor | Full

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 26, 2022 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“Hence, 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.”

Rerum Novarum—literally meaning “Of New Things,” but more accurately translated, “Of Revolutionary Change,”was Pope Leo XIII’s response to the political upheaval of the 19th century. Issued on May 15, 1891, Rerum Novarum set forth a definitive word on these “new things”, and laid the groundwork for much of the development of the Church’s social thought through the 20th century. Today, Rerum Novarum is considered a foundational text of Catholic social teaching.

Covering everything from property rights to trade unions, to questions of wages and the relationship of man to the State, Rerum Novarum is a sweeping document that is at once comprehensive and accessible. There’s no need to be a political philosopher or economist here. Leo XIII develops his arguments in a methodical and straightforward way, and states plainly that human society can be healed in no other way than in a return to Christian life and Christian institutions.

Originally released on this podcast in two parts, Rerum Novarum is now available to be listened to in a single continuous episode.


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James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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