Papal Encyclicals and Catholic Political Thought
#1
Up until now, I have not really had the chance to study papal documents properly. My hope is to acquaint myself, somewhat deeply, with the most important encyclicals of the past two hundred years or so. More specifically, my goal is to understand Catholic political theory, as expressed officially by the popes.

What would be the most heuristic way to embark on this project? I could, of course, read all the encyclicals in chronological order, but I doubt that this is the most productive way of going about it. 

If someone could recommend to me where to start, I would really appreciate it. As I mentioned, I am interested in the encyclicals that most loudly, as it were, address the modern world i.e. those that outline the Church's stance on the modern state, liberalism, democracy, Americanism, etc., those that perhaps even allude to subjects like monarchy, tradition, and natural law.
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#2
(02-24-2018, 11:04 AM)Leslie Cuff Wrote: Up until now, I have not really had the chance to study papal documents properly. My hope is to acquaint myself, somewhat deeply, with the most important encyclicals of the past two hundred years or so. More specifically, my goal is to understand Catholic political theory, as expressed officially by the popes.

What would be the most heuristic way to embark on this project? I could, of course, read all the encyclicals in chronological order, but I doubt that this is the most productive way of going about it. 

If someone could recommend to me where to start, I would really appreciate it. As I mentioned, I am interested in the encyclicals that most loudly, as it were, address the modern world i.e. those that outline the Church's stance on the modern state, liberalism, democracy, Americanism, etc., those that perhaps even allude to subjects like monarchy, tradition, and natural law.

You try starting with this book that is readily available, it addresses many of the things you are looking for

https://www.amazon.com/Popes-Against-Mod...089555643X
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#3
If you are interested in the social doctrine of the Catholic Church then I suggest that you start with Rerum Novarum.

 http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en...varum.html
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#4
(02-25-2018, 01:49 AM)Poche Wrote: If you are interested in the social doctrine of the Catholic Church then I suggest that you start with Rerum Novarum.

 http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en...varum.html

Great suggestion, that is Chapter 7 in the aforementioned book!
"There are in truth three states of the converted: the beginning,  the middle and the perfection. In the beginning, they experience the charms of sweetness; in the middle, the contests of temptation; and in the end, the fullness of perfection."
-- Pope St. Gregory

Cor Jesu Eucharistic Miserere Nobis 

Salus animarum suprema lex
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#5
In general, the Father and the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, spoke about this on Saturday, February 17, during the live broadcast of the Open Church program on social justice.
"When we talk about decent wages, we primarily rely on the concept of the dignity of a human person. We understand that salary is not only to assure some of his basic needs, but also to feel his own dignity. A person should know that the society and the employer treat him with due respect. After all, everyone needs the necessary conditions for the development of their gifts and talents, spiritual and cultural level," said the spiritual leader at the beginning of the program.
The hierarch claims that he is very upset when we often talk about wages and we are subconsciously thinking of such a payout, which our country now puts forward, in terms of basic or minimum wages. In his opinion,  the minimum wage not always can ensure decent development of an individual in Ukraine.
So the Church does not say so much about a certain amount, as about other aspects that must be assured. After all, there are professions that require long-term training, a large personal contribution on the part of a person. The concept of decent wages is based on this.

The Head of the UGCC during the program also answered questions about the unofficial salary. He believes that "salary in envelopes" is a great offense and falsehood. "I think that this kind of salary is a disdain for the person who works. Why? On the one hand, such a salary does not provide all the necessary social guarantees for an employee. Therefore, it is not worthy of the employee who sacrifices his personal skills, efforts, time and attention in order to work," stressed the Head of the Church. - "On the other hand, it is a great offense for the state, because it can not then properly develop and provide decent conditions for creating common good. Therefore, every employer must feel his duty of social responsibility!"
His Beatitude Sviatoslav added that now skilled managers (who understand how to develop their businesses) are aware that they also need to invest in their employees. Instead, the shadow wage is a refusal to invest in a person who works. It is clear that such a relationship between the employee and the employer (where part of the salary is hidden in the shade) creates such circumstances when a person will not work in such a place for long because he feels not properly respected.
"It is interesting and pleasant to see that after the Revolution of Dignity, there was a social request to abandon "wages in envelopes." The state should create appropriate conditions, circumstances in order to motivate employers not to pay their employees "wages in envelopes," said the Head of the UGCC.
In addition, he urged the viewers to get used to the fact that we have a duty to pay taxes, because otherwise we refuse to build our own state. However, fair relations between the state, the tax system and those that create jobs (avoiding excessive taxes, tax pressure, etc.) should be established.

"The state must respect those who give salaries, who develop businesses which create jobs for its citizens! Unfortunately, I have such a feeling that the relationship between an honest employer, an honest worker and an honest state that duly respects both the first and the second is not yet regulated! "- emphasized His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

http://news.ugcc.ua/en/news/the_state_mu...81922.html
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#6
I would suggest starting with Rerum Novarum and reading them chronologically, since each Pope built on what his Predecessors said, further developing themes that they only touched on. Then, go back and read the peripheral Social Encyclicals on Freemasonry, Marriage, the Christian Constitution of States, etc. Most of the early ones can be read in one sitting. Only later do the Holy Fathers get prolix!  :D

Also, don't forget that whilst HH Pope Pius XII didn't write a 'Social Encyclical', he gave numerous Allocutions on the Social Question. I'm sure many of them are available at vatican.va, and some are available (despite its name) at Papal Encyclicals Online.
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#7
The basic principles of Catholic doctrine on civil authority are laid out in the following encyclical by Leo XIII:

Diuturnum
http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en...urnum.html

In general, the Leonine corpus is a great source on this topic.  While previous Popes condemned certain errors as they arose, Leo XIII through a series of encyclicals developed and provided the positive formulation of the Church's doctrine on the civil state and began developing the Church's doctrine on the civil rights of individuals.  He started the tradition of Popes really pumping out documents, so it can be difficult to wade through.  The key ones from him are probably Immortale Dei and Libertas.  His letter addressing the issues in France can also be illustrative (Au Milieu Des Sollicitudes).  Rerum Novarum is of course the seminal document with regard to economic aspects (especially the relationship between capital and labor).

Looking at the question more from the perspective of the individual and his relationship to the state--especially his rights--the various radio messages and other addresses of Pius XII really form the groundwork in this area.  They also informed the Church's position on the developing civil order coming out of WWII, especially the international order. They ultimately culminated in the encyclical Pacem in Terris of his successor, John XXIII, which put it all together, so to speak.

Since then, papal encyclicals in the social realm have mostly been economically focused, along the lines of Rerum Novarum.
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#8
Thank you everyone for the replies.

I might as well ask another question: At which point would you guys suggest did the papacy slacken its resistance against modernism. Can we point to a specific pope, document, or occasion? Or is it too incremental to say?
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#9
I would like to observe that my aunt's catechism (written long before Vatican II) made the observation that some people made the accusation that the Catholic Church was socialist because there was a social teaching of the Church.
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#10
(02-28-2018, 04:21 AM)Poche Wrote: I would like to observe that my aunt's catechism (written long before Vatican II) made the observation that some people made the accusation that the Catholic Church was socialist because there was a social teaching of the Church.

Pius XI noted in Quadrigesimo Anno that the "moderate socialists" were very similar to the Catholics:


Quote:113. The other section, which has kept the name Socialism, is surely more moderate. It not only professes the rejection of violence but modifies and tempers to some degree, if it does not reject entirely, the class struggle and the abolition of private ownership. One might say that, terrified by its own principles and by the conclusions drawn therefrom by Communism, Socialism inclines toward and in a certain measure approaches the truths which Christian tradition has always held sacred; for it cannot be denied that its demands at times come very near those that Christian reformers of society justly insist upon.

114. For if the class struggle abstains from enmities and mutual hatred, it gradually changes into an honest discussion of differences founded on a desire for justice, and if this is not that blessed social peace which we all seek, it can and ought to be the point of departure from which to move forward to the mutual cooperation of the Industries and Professions. So also the war declared on private ownership, more and more abated, is being so restricted that now, finally, not the possession itself of the means of production is attacked but rather a kind of sovereignty over society which ownership has, contrary to all right, seized and usurped. For such sovereignty belongs in reality not to owners but to the public authority. If the foregoing happens, it can come even to the point that imperceptibly these ideas of the more moderate socialism will no longer differ from the desires and demands of those who are striving to remold human society on the basis of Christian principles. For certain kinds of property, it is rightly contended, ought to be reserved to the State since they carry with them a dominating power so great that cannot without danger to the general welfare be entrusted to private individuals.
Of course, he also noted since the class warfare and the outright denial of private property are the hallmarks of socialism, these moderate socialists shouldn't call themselves socialists.

On the other hand, just as the Church has been falsely accused of promoting socialism, it has often been falsely accused of promoting capitalism, as Fulton Sheen noted in the full version of his famous quote.


Quote:There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church - which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics "adore statues"; because they "put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God"; because they say "indulgence is a permission to commit sin"; because the Pope "is a Fascist"; because the "Church is the defender of Capitalism." If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.
http://www.radioreplies.info/vol-1-preface.php
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