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The s in Australia, as in other industrialised nations, were years of rapid economic and industrial change. They were characterised by the combined impact. John Paul II, The encyclical Laborem Exercens was written by Pope John Paul II in to celebrate 90 years since the publication of. Issued by Pope John Paul II on the ninetieth anniversary of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, Laborem Exercens expands and reshapes the corpus of.

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In the midst of all these processes-those of the diagnosis of objective social reality and also those of the Church’s teaching in the sphere of the complex and many-sided social question- the question of human work naturally appears many times. While it may seem that in the industrial process it is the machine that “works” and man merely supervises it, making it function and keeping it going in various ways, it is also true that for this very reason industrial development provides grounds for reproposing in new ways the question of human work.

Nevertheless, even if emigration is in some aspects an evil, in certain circumstances it is, as the phrase goes, a necessary evil. Many practical problems arise at this point, as well as legal and economic ones; but the community, that is to say, the public authorities, associations and intermediate groups, business enterprises and the disabled themselves should pool their ideas and resources so as to attain this goal that must not be shirked: In practice this means the first concern must be the quality of life of the workers and not the maximization of profit.

The Pontiff suggests many of the same proposals which were made by Leo XIII, Pius XI and Pius XII, such as associating labor with the ownership of capital and even makes a clear sumjary to the occupational groups highlighted by Pius XI, intermediate bodies with economic, social and cultural purposes; they would be bodies enjoying real autonomy with regard to the public powers, pursuing their sunmary aims in honest collaboration exerccens each other and in subordination to the demands of the common good In both cases he can be equally exploited.

However, within this context they have a specific character corresponding to the specific nature of human work as outlined above. Whether the work is done in a system of private ownership of the means of production or in a system where ownership has undergone a certain “socialization”, the relationship between the employer first and foremost the direct employer and the worker is resolved on the basis of the wage, that is through just remuneration for work done.


It has key importance both in the system built on exercnes principle of private ownership of the means of production and also in the system in which private ownership of these means has been limited even in a radical way.

Laborem Exercens (On Human Labor)

John Paul draws from this passage the conclusion that work is essential to exerccens nature, and that “man is the subject of work. It only means that the primary basis of tbe value of work is man himself, who is its subject. These new conditions and demands will require a reordering and adjustment of the structures of the modern economy and of the distribution of work.

Thus the real conflict between labour and capital was transformed into a systematic class struggle, conducted not only by ideological means but also and chiefly by political means. The fact of the mutual dependence of societies and States and the need to collaborate in various areas mean that, while preserving the sovereign rights of each society and State in the field of planning and organizing labour in its own society, action in this important area must also be taken in the dimension of international collaboration by means of the necessary treaties and agreements.

The ability to pay just wages, in fact the entire labor lwborem, depends on many things over which an individual owner or corporation has little or no control.

Catholic Social Teaching: John Paul II, Laborem Exercens

However, this struggle should be seen as a normal endeavour “for” the just good: It is easy to see that this framework of forms of dependence linked with the concept of the indirect employer is enormously extensive and complicated.

John Paul expressed concerns about the phenomenon of people who emigrateeither permanently or seasonally, in search of work:. Work in the objective sense should be subordinated, in this circumstance too, to the dignity of man, to the subject of work and not to economic advantage. Orbis Books, Washington, D. In all cases of this sort, in every social situation of this type, there is a confusion or even a reversal of the order laid down from the beginning by the words of the Book of Genesis: The Church finds in the very first pages ofthe Book of Genesis the source of her conviction that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth.


One can see from this, though, that John Paul is not using capital in this case as shorthand for capitalists.

Catholic Australia – LABOREM EXERCENS () – Pope John Paul II

For although the problem of disregard of the subject of human work is real, it cannot be solved merely by subjecting the worker to state ownership and a bureaucratic boss instead exercen private ownership and a corporate boss. In a moment you are asked to do a short reading by Patricia Lamoureux which both gives a brief critical assessment of LE and summarizes a range of reaction to it.

In fact, the family is simultaneously a community made possible by work and the first school eexercens work, exercdns the home, for every person.

A systematic opportunity for thinking and evaluating in this way, and in a certain sense a stimulus for doing so, is provided by the quickening process of the development of a onesidedly materialistic civilization, which gives prime importance to the objective dimension of work, while the subjective dimension-everything in direct or indirect relationship with the subject of work-remains on a secondary level.

It is clear that the term “the earth” of which the biblical text speaks is to be understood in the flrst place as that fragment of the visible universe that man inhabits. There is a clear implication that labour be not viewed as a commodity. Laborem Exercens is a sustained reflection on the fxercens of human work, which John Paul considers to be a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question It likewise calls for the formulation of the new tasks that in this sector face each individual, the family, each country, the whole human race, and, finally, the Church herself.

Identify and discuss some of the reasons given by Laborem Exercens in supporting the right of persons with a disability to work. The break occurred in such a way that labour was separated from capital and set in opposition to it, and capital was set in opposition to labour, as though they were two impersonal forces, two production factors juxtaposed in the same “economistic” perspective.

This truth has important and decisive consequences. At the same time it differs from the programme of capitalism practised by liberalism and by the political systems inspired by it.