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Roman Catholic


Papal Documents Papal Documents
One of the largest sources of insight into the Catholic Church in world affairs comes from the wide collection of papal encyclicals written and promulgated by the pope, the...
Economic and Social Justice Economic and Social Justice
The Catholic Church’s concerns with economic and social well-being and justice date back to the early years of the Christian community, but it was not until 1891 when the...
Human Rights and Democracy Human Rights and Democracy
The Catholic Church’s approach to human rights and democracy is one of great historical complexity. Though the Catholic Church has supported human dignity and social...
Science and the Environment Science and the Environment
The Catholic Church’s position on science and the environment has grown in importance over recent years. The Church has consistently argued that faith and reason are not...


Ecclesiam Suam (Paths of the Church)


Mater et Magistra (On Christianity and Social Progress)

May 15, 1961
In Mater et Magistra, Pope John XXIII reexamines social and economic issues originally addressed in Rerum Novarum within the post-war milieu. John praises the potential of science and technology for increasing the standard of living but remains cautious about its potential for restricting human freedom. Decrying the growing economic disparity both between and within nations, he challenges wealthy nations to share their resources with developing nations without infringing upon the autonomy of the latter. John presses for the right to political self-determinism among newly formed nations, and he outlines a human rights-based international relations framework. He argues that economic policies must be balanced so that all classes benefit from technological advance. The pope defends private property as a natural right and encourages workers to organize to secure a just wage. While championing the principle of subsidiarity, he exhorts governments to enact national policies that will advance the common good.
Pope John XXIII Pope John XXIII
During his short reign (1958-1963), Pope John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) ushered in a new era for the Roman Catholic Church. John stunned the world when he convened the Second Vatican Council for the explicit purpose of bringing the Church...
Roman Catholic Church Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church is the world's largest Christian Church, with over 1 billion members, and currently headed by Pope Francis. Since becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, it has been persistently...