Rerum novarum (from its incipit, with the direct translation of the Latin meaning "of the new things", or Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor, is an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on 15 May 1891. It was an open letter, passed to all Catholic patriarchs, primates, archbishops and bishops, that addressed the condition of the working classes.
It discussed the relationships and mutual duties between labor and capital, as well as government and its citizens. Of primary concern was the need for some amelioration of "the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class." It supported the rights of labor to form unions, rejected socialism and unrestricted capitalism, while affirming the right to private property.Beth, if you are reading this, it has dawned on me that sitting around the table with two autodidacts on a Friday night (Friday night!) may not be the most fun a 21 year old girl ever had.