In the Light of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum, Discuss the Following Questions Substantively
Krystle Diane B. Quilas
Benjamin Joseph A. Tejada
In the light of the encyclical Rerum Novarum, discuss the following questions substantively.
What is root cause of poverty?
Poverty is the incapacity of a person to provide his basic needs. Merriam-Webster (2012) defines poverty as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions”. Poverties.org (2012) states that it is “a general lack of infrastructure, institution, technology and education” and that it is caused by “a nations weak forces of production, capital, labour etc.” In addition, Anup Shah (2011) says that the causes of poverty were “lack of individual responsibility, bad government policy, exploitation by people and businesses with power and influence”. Certainly, we really cannot distinguish what is the root cause of poverty because there are numerous factors that contribute to it such as economic problems, social problems, etc.
The issue on Rerum Novarum was about the mistreatment of the workers by their employers such as being paid unjustly and being treated as slaves. The effect of this mistreatment results to poverty since the wages they earn doesnt fit the effort exerted by the worker and the money they earn isnt enough to provide his and his familys needs.
What ideologies involved that clash each other alongside this issue?
Knowing the stand of socialism and the church, it is very clear that they have different perspectives that refute each other. In Rerum Novarum, it wants that all people have the right to private property but it contradicts the principle of communism that everything must be owned by the state, which is a misunderstanding on the moral truths that deals with equality. The issue on giving the just wage was also contradicting because the employers wanted to get back their capital and earn more profit. If the 2 parties (the employer and the worker) will not agree, then there will be a big problem because both of them are dependent with each other. As what Pope Leo XIII said in at Rerum Novarum, 11: “Capital cannot stand without labour, nor labour without capital.”
What is the church position?
The group “Catholics Committed to Support the Pope” (2010) states that the “Catholic clergy and laity had attempted to apply the teaching of the Church to problems of poverty and justice in the nineteenth century world of industry and labor.” Pope Leo XIII was aware on the conditions of the wokers during his time thats why he came up with the social encyclical,