Rerum Novarum

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rerum Novarum


(literally, “of new things”), an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891. Rerum novarum, which was directed against socialism and the working-class movement, reflected the adaptation of the Catholic Church and the papacy to capitalism and to the defense of the principles of bourgeois society, after centuries of defending and supporting feudal absolutist regimes. The encyclical took note of new phenomena in economics and social relations, including the development of industrialism, the concentration of capital in the hands of a few, the increasing poverty among the broad masses of the people, and the deepening of social conflicts. Although Rerum novarum expressed sympathy for the working people, it preached that private property and the class division of society would always exist. Moreover, the encyclical resolutely opposed socialism, and called for the repudiation of the class struggle and for class collaboration.

Attributing all the world’s misfortunes to original sin, Rerum novarum declared that suffering is the lot of mankind. To counteract class organizations of workers, the encyclical proposed the creation of workers’ organizations headed by the clergy and based on the principles of collaboration between labor and capital.

The basic principles enunciated in Rerum novarum regarding new world phenomena laid the foundation for other social encyclicals, including Quadragesimo anno (1931), which marked the 40th anniversary of Rerum novarum, and Mater et magistra (1961), which marked the 70th anniversary, as well as the apostolic letter “Octogesimo adveniens” (1971), which marked the 80th anniversary.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
La respuesta del Vaticano a los retos de la cuestion social expresada atraves de De Rerum Novarum sera el catolicismo social (7) (Gutierrez Resa, 1993; Molina Sanchez, 1994).
Al igual que Martin Schlag, el Cardenal Paul Josef Cordes centra su atencion, en el capitulo 5, en la Doctrina Social de la Iglesia, la historia y el contexto de las enciclicas sociales, pero sobre todo en el enfoque propio y el mensaje presente en Caritas in Veritate, que el enmarca en un cambio de paradigma: "De Rerum Novarum (1891) a Caritas in Veritate (2009)".
Toutefois, dans la vie quotidienne, le commun des clercs fait une lecture beaucoup plus conservatrice de Rerum Novarum. Ils incitent fortement les ouvriers a opter pour les societes de secours mutuel, surtout celles dotees d'un aumonier agissant comme conseiller moral (73).
En ordre chronologique : Fernand Harvey (dir.), Aspects historiques du mouvement ouvrier, 91-92; Jacques Rouillard, Les syndicats nationaux au Quebec de 1900 a 1930 (Quebec 1979), 159; Jacques Rouillard, Histoire du syndicalisme quebecois, 46; Pierre Savard, << La reception de Rerum Novarum dans un sol mal prepare : le Canada francais >>, dans Actes du colloque internationale par l'Ecole francaise de Rome et le Greco no 2 du CNRS, Rerum Novarum, ecriture, contenu et reception d'une encyclique (Rome 1997), 411-412.
It was the great English Cardinal Henry Manning who in part instigated Pope Leo's encyclical letter De Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labour) which influenced and inspired thinkers and activists.