Rerum Novarum

The title words of the Encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on 15 May 1891 on the condition of labor. The Encyclical applies the old doctrines of traditional teaching concerning rights and duties of property and the proper relation of employer and employee to modern labor conditions. It refutes the false theories of the Socialists and defends the rights of private ownership. The true remedy it finds in the combined action of the Church, the State, the employer, and the employee. The Church being interested chiefly in the religious and moral aspects of social questions, the State has the duty and the right to intervene on behalf of justice and of social and individual well-being. Employers and workers it advises to organize into both mixed and separate associations for mutual and for self protection. The details set forth in the Encyclical reach practically all the principal problems and relations of industrial and social life. Thoughtful men look upon Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical as the most fruitful and effective document on industrial justice thus far pronounced.

New Catholic Dictionary

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