The Holy Father | Encyclicals | Download Help
Ioannes Paulus PP. II
1981 09 14
IntraText CT - Text
3. The Question of Work, the Key to the Social Question
In the midst of all these processes-those of the diagnosis of objective social reality and also those of the Church's teaching in the sphere of the complex and many-sided social question-the question of human work naturally appears many times. This issue is, in a way, a constant factor both of social life and of the Church's teaching. Furthermore, in this teaching attention to the question goes back much further than the last ninety years. In fact the Church's social teaching finds its source in Sacred Scripture, beginning with the Book of Genesis and especially in the Gospel and the writings of the Apostles. From the beginning it was part of the Church's teaching, her concept of man and life in society, and, especially, the social morality which she worked out according to the needs of the different ages. This traditional patrimony was then inherited and developed by the teaching of the Popes on the modern "social question", beginning with the Encyclical Rerum Novarum. In this context, study of the question of work, as we have seen, has continually been brought up to date while maintaining that Christian basis of truth which can be called ageless.
While in the present document we return to this question once more-without however any intention of touching on all the topics that concern it-this is not merely in order to gather together and repeat what is already contained in the Church's teaching. It is rather in order to highlight-perhaps more than has been done before-the fact that human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question, if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man's good. And if the solution-or rather the gradual solution-of the social question, which keeps coming up and becomes ever more complex, must be sought in the direction of "making life more human"8, then the key, namely human work, acquires fundamental and decisive importance.