The tradition around Rerum Novarum

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by Bruce Duncan CSsR
Source: Compass: a Review of Topical Theology, 25, 3 (Spring, 1991), 6-13.

One  has only to visit much of the third world today to be convinced of the continuing relevanceof Pope LeoXIII’s I89I encyclical, Rerum Novarum,especially in its supportfor improved living conditions for workers, a decent wage, the right to form union and the need for State intervention to protect workers from exploitation. Living conditions in many parts of Europe a century ago were not much different from the appalling third world conditionsioday, although Britain, Germany, Belgium and France had already done much to eliminate the worst abuses of women and even very young children working in mines, of people not uncommonly working 14 hours a day over a seven-day week, and of bare subsistence wages.

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