Daily Series on the Catechism

PART  III:  LIFE IN CHRIST

Section Two:  The Ten Commandments

Chapter 2:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

Article 7,  The Seventh Commandment

IV.  Economic Activity and Social Justice (cont’d)

§ 2429  Everyone has the right of economic initiative; everyone should make legitimate use of his talents to contribute to the abundance that will benefit all and to harvest the just fruits of his labor. He should seek to observe regulations issued by legitimate authority for the sake of the common good (cf. CA 32; 34).

§ 2430  Economic life brings into play different interests, often opposed to one another. This explains why the conflicts that characterize it arise (cf. LE 11). Efforts should be made to reduce these conflicts by negotiation that respects the rights and duties of each social partner: those responsible for business enterprises, representatives of wage-earners (for example, trade unions), and public authorities when appropriate.

§ 2431  The responsibility of the state. “Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services.

Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly…Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society” (CA 48).

§ 2432  Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their operations (cf. CA 37). They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits. Profits are necessary, however. They make possible the investments that ensure the future of a business and they guarantee employment.

§ 2433  Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants (cf. LE 19; 22-23). For its part, society should, according to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment (cf. CA 48).

Tomorrow – Economic Activity and Social Justice (to be continued)

(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]

  • “CA” – Pope St. John Paul II (May 1991), “Centesimus Annus [Hundredth Year Anniversary of ‘Rerum Novarum’ (Of Revolutionary Change)]”
  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
  • “LE” – Pope St. John Paul II (Sept 1981), “Laborem Exercens [The Exercise of Work]”
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