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Introduction to Catholic Social Thinking

Introduction to Catholic Social Thinking

The Centre for Church & Industry was established to give practical form to Catholic Social Thinking in the World of Work.  This Thinking started with Rerum Novarum in 1891 which dealt with the industrial revolution and its consequences for communities, employees and society as a whole.  The document was a radical statement of the Church's concern for the poor and those engaged in the World of Work.

The heart of Catholic Social Thinking is the value and dignity of each human person created in the image and likeness of God.  It is this vision that informs Catholic Social Thinking and challenges us all to work for the "Common Good": that is, the search after and maintenance of all those necessary conditions to enable people to become more fully human.  The Church would wish to influence society, political leaders and decision makers in commerce, industry and the wider world to ensure that their actions are in accord with humanity and the needs of people and their god-given dignity. 

Throughout the last 100 years the Church has continued to interpret the signs of the times in the light of the gospel message.  The Church has a long tradition of providing documents on the anniversaries of key events in order to highlight the changing nature of society and the moral and ethical values that need to underpin the way we engage with and treat each other.

Many of the Social Thinking documents have Latin titles as the original texts are in Latin - "Rerum Novarum" simply means "Of new things" which was in fact the industrial revolution.  More recently, on the 90th anniversary of the Encyclical, Pope John Paul II produced a summary of the Church's Thinking in the World of Work under the title "Laborem Exercens" meaning "Doing Work".  For the Centenary, the Pope produced "Centesimus Annus" which addressed the changing nature of society and the challenges within the former Eastern Bloc.  He took the opportunity to apply many of the principles of Catholic Social Thinking to modern problems. 

The Vatican more recently released an encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" dealing with the challenges of human progress, some forty years after "Populorum Progressio" the encyclical by Pope Paul VI. Veritatis Splendor reinforces the need for continuous improvement and challenge to address fairly throughout the globe the authentic needs of people, addressing the financial crisis since 2008. 

The Centre offers the opportunity for lay men and women to study together and reflect on the issues in the light of Christian Social Thinking which is shared by many of our Christian Churches. 

If you would like further information on courses or guidance to developing your understanding of Catholic Social Thinking, please refer to the Director of the Centre on 0161 848 9173.