Looking Back and Looking Around
In April 2016 the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held a symposium to mark the 25th anniversary since the publication of Pope Saint John Paul II's social encyclical 'Centesimus Annus'. Pope John Paul wrote his encyclical to commemorate Pope Leo XIII's historic encyclical Rerum Novarum. In Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul invited everyone to re-read Pope Leo's encyclical, "to "look back" at the text itself to discover anew the richness of the fundamental principles" it contained relating to the question of the condition of workers. He said it was also an invitation to "look around" at the "new things" which surround us and in which we find ourselves caught up, which are very different from the "new things" which characterised the final decade of the 19th century. It is also an invitation to "look to the future" ......"as disciples of the "one" teacher, to show the way, to proclaim the truth and to communicate the life which is Christ."
As part of this commemoration, Vatican Radio produced a ten minute podcast called 'Shedding light on 'Centesimus Annus', where the Professor of Social Teaching from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas, Dominican Alejandro Crosthwaite, shared his thoughts on the subject. He also discussed Pope John Paul II's other encyclicals on Catholic Social Teaching and recalled how the Pope stressed that when it comes to justice and addressing and changing unjust structures in the world, it mainly falls to the laity as part of their mission because their mission is in the world to transform the world!
Knowing and understanding these fundamental social principles equip us to see things with new eyes, renew our missionary works, not only in serving and helping people in need but to confront, ask questions and find solutions that will make the family of man and its history more human.
"Discover your vocation in life and live your life fulfilling your mission"
— Pope John Paul II
Updated: February 2018