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Centesimus Annus (which is Latin for "hundredth year") was an encyclical written by Pope John Paul II in 1991, on the hundredth anniversary of Rerum Novarum. It is part of a larger body of writings known as Catholic social teaching, that trace their origin to Rerum Novarum, which was issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, and ultimately the New Testament.
Unjust distribution of goods
In particular, the encyclical places emphasis on the problems of the unjust sharing of goods among industrialized and poor countries; of the unjust distribution of goods within a given nation; of the exploitation of goods with disregard to the environment; of the role of governments who have the duty to manage the destination of goods for the welfare of all and not only of particular groups; of the danger that States turn into welfare agencies easily blocked by bureaucratic trappings; of the necessity for a free market and for the movement of capital to be regulated for the common good, to which even legitimate profit ought to be ordained and subordinated.
Centesimus Annus has been cited by Christian environmentalists for its paragraphs 37 and 38 on environment protection.
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP)
Pope John Paul II founded the Papal Foundation "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP)" with the Chirograph of 5 June 1983 and established the Foundation on 1 May 1991. He was supported by a group of distinguished Catholic laypeople led initially by Cardinal Rosalio José Castillo Lara, and since 2006 by Cardinal Attilio Nicora.
The aim of the Papal Foundation "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" is the Catholic social teaching better known to do, particularly the encyclical "Centesimus Annus". Therefore it work together with other religious associations. The CAPP will support initiatives to develop the presence and activity of the Catholic Church in the various sectors of society. The Foundation also promotes the search of monetary donations to directly support the activities of the Apostolic chair.
Commentary on Socialism and Communism
Rerum Novarum does make references to the state of the world today throughout its entirety. It proves to be significantly accurate as to what has happened since then. The events in 1989 and 1990 were predicted by Pope Leo XIII because of his foresight of negative consequences of social order, which was socialism- the only social philosophy of it’s time. The Pope critiques the “question of the working class” and sees the terrible situation in itself.
Following Rerum Novarum, Centesimus Annus also addresses the fact that communism and totalitarianism spread after the Second World War, instead of being addressed. It favors attempts to allow free market mechanisms, and rejects communism as a way of rule. It emphasizes the balance of giving power to the state while not destroying the value of the human person. It shows how a free-market society can achieve greater satisfaction of material needs than Communism.
- Link to the text of Centesimus Annus
- Avery Dulles: "Centesimus Annus and the Renewal of Culture"
- Acton Institute: "Celebrating the 15th Year of Centesimus Annus"
- Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation
- - Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation (US affiliate)
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