130 Years After Revolutionary Change…
By Neilan D’souza
On the 15th of May 1891, Pope Leo XIII published the Encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum’ which focused mainly on Capital and labour and articulated the Catholic Church’s response to social conflict in the wake of capitalism and industrialization which had provoked socialist and communist movements and ideologies. This year 2021, commemorates 130 years of ‘Revolutionary Change’ (direct translation of the Latin meaning of ‘Rerum Novarum’) taking place in the Catholic church. Since then, the Church formally began to recognise the social issues in the society. This Encyclical set the ground for valuable teachings, known today as the Catholic Social Teachings.
The post industrial revolution era gave rise to many more drastic problems to society. Along with the ever growing wage gap, poverty and inhumane working conditions, Environmental issues such as water, land and air pollution intensified; numerous diseases and infections emerged, as well as rapid afforestation, mining and other activities adding up to ecological degradation lead to the drastic climate crisis which we are suffering from even today.
In the course of 130 years many developments and papal documents have been published by subsequent Popes addressing various social issues persisting in our societies. But due to unawareness, apathy or disregard by both the laity and clergy towards achieving social and climate justice, we have all fallen victims to the ‘business as usual’ culture prevalent in our world today.
To the numerous social injustices taking place in the world, we as Christians and Catholics have an important role to play in our personal christian lives. As “People of God” It is not enough for us to only participate in acts of charity but we must strongly engage ourselves in social action. We must actively contribute towards building awareness of the numerous injustices taking place in our environments and seek action by organising ourselves or unite with existing causes in order to amplify the process of change.
Therefore in this issue of the ALL Forum E-newsletter we encourage our readers to participate in acts beyond charity especially during these times and amplify the process of social change.