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In an open letter to all Catholics, Pope Leo XIII addressed the conditions of the working classes, the relationships between labor and capital, as well as government and its citizens. The letter supported the rights of labor to form unions, rejected socialism as well as unrestricted capitalism, while affirming the right to private property.
Pope Leo XIII also maintained that the role of government is to promote social justice through the protection of rights, while the Church must work to teach correct social principles and ensure class harmony. He restated the Church's long-standing teaching regarding the crucial importance of private property rights, but recognized that the free operation of market forces must be tempered by moral considerations.
Catholic Studies | Religion
Leo XIII, Pope, "Rerum Novarum – Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII on the Conditions of Labor" (1891). Historical Catholic and Dominican Documents. 13.