This rebuke is of course based on a mistaken and inadequate idea of alienation, derived solely from the sphere of relationships of production and ownership, that is, giving them a materialistic foundation and moreover denying the legitimacy and positive value of market relationships even in their own sphere. The Church renders this service to human society by preaching the truth about the creation of the world, which God has placed in human hands so that people may make it fruitful and more perfect through their work; and by preaching the truth about the Redemption, whereby the Son of God has saved mankind and at the same time has united all people, making them responsible for one another. Faith not only helps people to find solutions; it makes even situations of suffering humanly bearable, so that in these situations people will not become lost or forget their dignity and vocation. This process, which throws practical light on a truth about the person which Christianity has constantly affirmed, should be viewed carefully and favourably. The manner in which new needs arise and are defined is always marked by a more or less appropriate concept of man and of his true good. The fall of the Soviet Union was the major economic backdrop of Centesimus annus. Indeed, besides the earth, man's principal resource is man himself. Finally, "humane" working hours and adequate free-time need to be guaranteed, as well as the right to express one's own personality at the work-place without suffering any affront to one's conscience or personal dignity. 54. A re-reading of this kind will not only confirm the permanent value of such teaching, but will also manifest the true meaning of the Church's Tradition which, being ever living and vital, builds upon the foundation laid by our fathers in the faith, and particularly upon what "the Apostles passed down to the Church"5 in the name of Jesus Christ, who is her irreplaceable foundation (cf. May people learn to fight for justice without violence, renouncing class struggle in their internal disputes, and war in international ones. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Among the many factors involved in the fall of oppressive regimes, some deserve special mention. The situation of women too is far from easy in these conditions. If Pope Leo XIII calls upon the State to remedy the condition of the poor in accordance with justice, he does so because of his timely awareness that the State has the duty of watching over the common good and of ensuring that every sector of social life, not excluding the economic one, contributes to achieving that good, while respecting the rightful autonomy of each sector. Lastly, it should be remembered that after the Second World War, and in reaction to its horrors, there arose a more lively sense of human rights, which found recognition in a number of International Documents52 and, one might say, in the drawing up of a new "right of nations", to which the Holy See has constantly contributed. At the same time, another conception of property and economic life was beginning to appear in an organized and often violent form, one which implied a new political and social structure. In the face of a conflict which set man against man, almost as if they were "wolves", a conflict between the extremes of mere physical survival on the one side and opulence on the other, the Pope did not hesitate to intervene by virtue of his "apostolic office",9 that is, on the basis of the mission received from Jesus Christ himself to "feed his lambs and tend his sheep" (cf. This is especially confirmed by the events which took place near the end of 1989 and at the beginning of 1990. The Church receives "the meaning of man" from Divine Revelation. In every age the true and perennial "newness of things" comes from the infinite power of God, who says: "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev 21:5). The Church has constantly repeated that the person and society need not only material goods but spiritual and religious values as well. The Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation from time to time organizes consultation meetings on questions related to the Economy and Common Good and/or Finance and the Common Good. Indirectly and according to the principle of subsidiarity, by creating favourable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity, which will lead to abundant opportunities for employment and sources of wealth. She has certainly not done this in order to recover former privileges or to impose her own vision. However, they have worldwide importance because they have positive and negative consequences which concern the whole human family. If we keep in mind what history tells us about the practices permitted or at least not excluded by law regarding the way in which workers were employed, without any guarantees as to working hours or the hygienic conditions of the work-place, or even regarding the age and sex of apprentices, we can appreciate the Pope's severe statement: "It is neither just nor human so to grind men down with excessive labour as to stupefy their minds and wear out their bodies". The principle that debts must be paid is certainly just. But if war can end without winners or losers in a suicide of humanity, then we must repudiate the logic which leads to it: the idea that the effort to destroy the enemy, confrontation and war itself are factors of progress and historical advancement.51 When the need for this repudiation is understood, the concepts of "total war" and "class struggle" must necessarily be called into question. It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. Undoubtedly, the struggle which led to the changes of 1989 called for clarity, moderation, suffering and sacrifice. In a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation and man is exposed to the violence of passion and to manipulation, both open and hidden. Group of the Foundation “Centesimus Annus” to formulate a series of questions. While the Pope proclaimed the right to private ownership, he affirmed with equal clarity that the "use" of goods, while marked by freedom, is subordinated to their original common destination as created goods, as well as to the will of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Gospel. Man fulfils himself by using his intelligence and freedom. Following the destruction caused by the war, we see in some countries and under certain aspects a positive effort to rebuild a democratic society inspired by social justice, so as to deprive Communism of the revolutionary potential represented by masses of people subjected to exploitation and oppression. Prominent among these, because of the space which the Pope devotes to it and the importance which he attaches to it, is the "natural human right" to form private associations. Grace, in cooperation with human freedom, constitutes that mysterious presence of God in history which is Providence. Centesimus Annus, in particular, brought a new empirical sensitivity to the papal social magisterium, which in previous pontificates was sometimes characterized by a certain abstractness about political and economic life. This option is not limited to material poverty, since it is well known that there are many other forms of poverty, especially in modern society—not only economic but cultural and spiritual poverty as well. For this to happen, a great effort must be made to enhance mutual understanding and knowledge, and to increase the sensitivity of consciences. While noting this process with satisfaction, nevertheless one cannot ignore the fact that the overall balance of the various policies of aid for development has not always been positive. Pope Leo wrote: "those whom fortune favours are admonished ... that they should tremble at the warnings of Jesus Christ ... and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for the use of all they possess"; and quoting Saint Thomas Aquinas, he added: "But if the question be asked, how must one's possessions be used? An insane arms race swallowed up the resources needed for the development of national economies and for assistance to the less developed nations. It is Christ who made man's way his own, and who guides him, even when he is unaware of it. These reforms were carried out in part by States, but in the struggle to achieve them the role of the workers' movement was an important one. JOHN PAUL II HOLY FATHER  « CENTESIMUS ANNUS » ENCYCLICAL LETTER  TO HIS VENERABLE BROTHER BISHOPS IN THE EPISCOPATE THE PRIESTS AND DEACONS FAMILIES OF MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS ALL THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL AND TO ALL MEN AND WOMEN OF GOOD WILL ON THE HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM. Clearly these authors see Centesimus as a sort of sea-change in For many years there has been in Europe and the world a situation of non-war rather than genuine peace. While these certainly have an influence on freedom, they do not determine it; they make the exercise of freedom more difficult or less difficult, but they cannot destroy it. In addition to the irrational destruction of the natural environment, we must also mention the more serious destruction of the human environment, something which is by no means receiving the attention it deserves. The historical experience of the West, for its part, shows that even if the Marxist analysis and its foundation of alienation are false, nevertheless alienation — and the loss of the authentic meaning of life — is a reality in Western societies too. This demands renewed efforts of cooperation and solidarity between all countries; b) because in the developed countries there is sometimes an excessive promotion of purely utilitarian values, with an appeal to the appetites and inclinations towards immediate gratification, making it difficult to recognize and respect the hierarchy of the true values of human existence; c) because in some countries new forms of religious fundamentalism are emerging which covertly, or even openly, deny to citizens of faiths other than that of the majority the full exercise of their civil and religious rights, preventing them from taking part in the cultural process, and restricting both the Church's right to preach the Gospel and the rights of those who hear this preaching to accept it and to be converted to Christ. The fall of Marxism has naturally had a great impact on the division of the planet into worlds which are closed to one another and in jealous competition. The "new things" to which the Pope devoted his attention were anything but positive. It has further highlighted the reality of interdependence among peoples, as well as the fact that human work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples, not divide them. To that end, it is preferable that each power be balanced by other powers and by other spheres of responsibility which keep it within proper bounds. It clearly rejects the idea that the fall of communism reflects the victory of capitalism. "It necessarily follows", the Pope concludes, "that every individual has a natural right to procure what is required to live; and the poor can procure that in no other way than by what they can earn through their work".24, A workman's wages should be sufficient to enable him to support himself, his wife and his children. 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