Family, and Work in the
Social Theory of
John Paul II
Robert J. Spitzer, S.J.
I will limit my investigation to three works of Pope John Paul II: Laborem Exercens, Familiaris Consortio,and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis.
In Sollidtudo Rei Sodalis,an encyclical celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Populorum Progressio (1967), John Paul II shows himself to be squarely in line with the social teaching of the Church embodied in the works of Leo XIII,1 John XXIII,2 the Second Vatican Council,3 and Paul VI.4 In the midst of his affirmation of Paul VI's socio-economic assessment of the good and just society, John Paul II inserts an uncharacteristically vehement statement about the proper end of society: “When individuals and communities do not have a rigorous respect for the moral,
1 Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum,15 May 1891, encyclical letter On the Condition of the Working Classes.
2 Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris,11 April 1963, encyclical letter Peace on Earth.
3 Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes,17 December 1965, Pastoral Constitution on the Church.
4 Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio,26 March 1967, encyclical letter On the Progress of Peoples.