Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Catholic Social Thought and Global Development

This resource is no longer being updated.

Since its initial authoritative formulation in Rerum Novarum (1891), Catholic social thought has taken on an increasingly global character. Leo XIII's famous encyclical addressed the excesses of the industrial revolution in Europe and called for increased social protection and labor rights. Subsequent major social statements on anniversaries of Rerum—in 1931, 1961, 1981, and 1991—built out core themes of Catholic social thought, including human dignity, the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, and stewardship of the environment, in a more global direction. This resource brings together those key documents, and several others, including Gaudium et Spes (1965), Populorum Progressio (1968), and Caritas et Veritate (2009). It also arranges key quotes from major Church documents, by theme, as they relate to contemporary global issues.
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