E.F. Schumacher and Catholic Papal encyclicals on social justice



Important to Schumacher's final distillation of the ideas which came to maturity inSmall is Beautiful were the social encyclicals. On 15 May 1961 Pope John XXIII published Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher), his first social encyclical. In the opening paragraphs the Pope restated the Church's right and duty to teach on matters of justice in society, He then devoted the whole of Part One to emphasizing that he adhered faithfully to the social teaching of his predecessors Leo XIII, Pius XI and Pius XII. Pope John drew attention to the teaching of Pius XI that the wage contract 'should, when possible, be modified somewhat by a clear reference to the right of the wage-earner to a share in the profits, and, indeed, to sharing, as appropriate, in decision-making in his place of work'. Reinforcing his predecessor's teaching, Pope John wrote that 'it is our conviction that the workers should make it their aim to be involved in the organized life of the firm by which they are employed and in which they work.'
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