Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern)

June 30, 1987

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, released on the twentieth anniversary of Paul VI’'s Populorum Progressio, continues in the tradition of Catholic social teaching begun by Leo XIII and focuses on the notion of development, especially the influential, large-scale actions of nations and corporations. The accumulation of wealth in North America and Europe has led to an increasing disparity vis-à-vis poorer, developing nations in Africa and Latin America. The encyclical decries the fact that nations continue to build weapons while citizens lack food and education. Moreover, economic progress does not constitute development without concern for the social and spiritual dimensions of the human person. John Paul reiterates that both communism and unrestrained capitalism are extremes to be condemned, and he cautions against the “new” cultural imperialism—, —which, though not violent, seeks to impose the values of the West on other societies.

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