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Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, commemorates the ninetieth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum. John Paul II affirms the dignity of work and places work at the center of the social question. The encyclical states that human beings are the proper subject of work. Work expresses and increases human dignity. The Pope stresses the priority of labor over things while criticizing systems which do not embody these principles. He supports the rights of workers and unions. John Paul II concludes by outlining a spirituality of work.

Laborem Exercens represents a clear and succinct statement of John Paul II’s thoughts on the social question. Written almost entirely by the Pope himself, the encyclical reflects statements made while he was a Polish prelate and those made during the first years of his pontificate.

Laborem Exercens develops and refines the Church’s teachings on property and its criticism of capitalism and Marxism.

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