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"Tear away the mask from Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII




MAY 15, 1891

To   Our   Venerable   Brethren  the  Patriarchs,
Primates,  Archbishops,   Bishops,     and  other
Ordinaries  of  Places having Peace and Communion
with the Apostolic See.

That the spirit of  revolutionary  change,  which
has  long  been  disturbing  the  nations  of the
world, should have passed beyond  the  sphere  of
politics  and  made  its  influence  felt  in the
cognate sphere  of  practical  economics  is  not
surprising.  The  elements  of  the  conflict now
raging are unmistakable, in the vast expansion of
industrial pursuits and the marvelous discoveries
of science;  in  the  changed  relations  between
masters  and workmen; in the enormous fortunes of
some few individuals, and the  utter  poverty  of
the  masses;  in  the increased self-reliance and
closer mutual combination of the working classes;
as   also,   finally,  in  the  prevailing  moral
degeneracy. The momentous gravity of the state of
things   now  obtaining  fills  every  mind  with
painful apprehension; wise men are discussing it;
practical  men  are  proposing  schemes;  popular
meetings, legislatures, and rulers of nations are
all  busied  with  it  --  actually  there  is no
question which has taken a  deeper  hold  on  the
public mind.

2.  Therefore,  venerable  brethren, as on former
occasions when  it  seemed  opportune  to  refute
false  teaching,  We  have  addressed  you in the
interests of the Church and of the  common  weal,
and  have  issued  letters  bearing  on political
power, human liberty, the Christian  constitution
of  the  State,  and  like  matters,  so  have We
thought  it  expedient  now  to  speak   on   the
condition  of  the  working  classes.[1]  It is a
subject on which We  have  already  touched  more
than  once,  incidentally.  But  in  the  present
letter,  the  responsibility  of  the   apostolic
office  urges  Us  to  treat  the question of set
purpose  and  in  detail,  in   order   that   no
misapprehension  may  exist  as to the principles
which  truth  and   justice   dictate   for   its
settlement. The discussion is not easy, nor is it
void of danger. It is no easy  matter  to  define
the relative rights and mutual duties of the rich
and of the poor, of capital and of labor. And the
danger  lies  in  this, that crafty agitators are
intent on making  use  of  these  differences  of
opinion to pervert men's judgments and to stir up
the people to revolt.

3. In any case we clearly see, and on this  there
is  general agreement, that some opportune remedy
must  be  found  quickly  for  the   misery   and
wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority
of   the   working   class:   for   the   ancient
workingmen's  guilds  were  abolished in the last
century, and  no  other  protective  organization
took  their  place.  Public  institutions and the
laws set aside the ancient  religion.  Hence,  by
degrees it has come to pass that working men have
been surrendered, isolated and helpless,  to  the
hardheartedness  of  employers  and  the greed of
unchecked  competition.  The  mischief  has  been
increased  by  rapacious  usury,  which, although
more  than  once  condemned  by  the  Church,  is
nevertheless,  under  a different guise, but with
like injustice, still practiced by  covetous  and
grasping  men.  To  this  must  be added that the
hiring of labor and  the  conduct  of  trade  are
concentrated  in  the hands of comparatively few;
so that a small number of very rich men have been
able  to  lay  upon  the  teeming  masses  of the
laboring poor a yoke little better than  that  of
slavery itself.

4. To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working
on the poor man's envy of the rich, are  striving
to  do  away  with  private property, and contend
that individual  possessions  should  become  the
common property of all, to be administered by the
State or by municipal bodies. They hold  that  by
thus    transferring    property   from   private
individuals  to  the   community,   the   present
mischievous  state  of  things  will  be  set  to
rights, inasmuch as each citizen  will  then  get
his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But
their contentions are so clearly powerless to end
the  controversy  that  were  they  carried  into
effect the working man himself would be among the
first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically
unjust, for they would rob the lawful  possessor,
distort  the  functions  of the State, and create
utter confusion in the community.

5. It is  surely  undeniable  that,  when  a  man
engages  in  remunerative  labor,  the  impelling
reason and  motive  of  his  work  is  to  obtain
property,  and  thereafter to hold it as his very
own. If one man hires out to another his strength
or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving
in return what is necessary for the  satisfaction
of  his  needs; he therefore expressly intends to
acquire a right full and real, not  only  to  the
remuneration,  but  also  to the disposal of such
remuneration, just as he  pleases.  Thus,  if  he
lives  sparingly,  saves  money, and, for greater
security, invests his savings in land, the  land,
in  such  case,  is  only his wages under another
form; and, consequently, a working  man's  little
estate  thus purchased should be as completely at
his full disposal as are the  wages  he  receives
for  his labor. But it is precisely in such power
of disposal that ownership obtains,  whether  the
property consist of land or chattels. Socialists,
therefore,  by  endeavoring   to   transfer   the
possessions  of  individuals  to the community at
large,  strike  at   the   interests   of   every
wage-earner,  since they would deprive him of the
liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of
all   hope  and  possibility  of  increasing  his
resources and of bettering his condition in life.

6. What is of far greater moment, however, is the
fact  that  the remedy they propose is manifestly
against justice. For, every man has by nature the
right to possess property as his own. This is one
of the chief points of  distinction  between  man
and  the  animal  creation,  for the brute has no
power of self-direction, but is governed  by  two
main  instincts,  which  keep  his  powers on the
alert, impel him to develop  them  in  a  fitting
manner, and stimulate and determine him to action
without  any  power  of  choice.  One  of   these
instincts  is  self-preservation,  the  other the
propagation of the species. Both can attain their
purpose  by  means  of  things  which  lie within
range; beyond  their  verge  the  brute  creation
cannot  go, for they are moved to action by their
senses only, and in the special  direction  which
these   suggest.   But  with  man  it  is  wholly
different. He possesses, on  the  one  hand,  the
full  perfection  of  the animal being, and hence
enjoys at least as much as the rest of the animal
kind, the fruition of things material. But animal
nature, however perfect, is far from representing
the  human  being  in its completeness, and is in
truth but humanity's  humble  handmaid,  made  to
serve  and  to  obey.  It is the mind, or reason,
which is the predominant element in  us  who  are
human creatures; it is this which renders a human
being human, and  distinguishes  him  essentially
from  the brute. And on this very account -- that
man alone among the animal  creation  is  endowed
with  reason  --  it  must be within his right to
possess  things  not  merely  for  temporary  and
momentary  use, as other living things do, but to
have and to hold them  in  stable  and  permanent
possession;  he  must  have  not only things that
perish in the use, but those also  which,  though
they  have  been  reduced  into use, continue for
further use in after time.

7. This becomes still  more  clearly  evident  if
man's  nature be considered a little more deeply.
For man,  fathoming  by  his  faculty  of  reason
matters  without  number, linking the future with
the present, and being master of  his  own  acts,
guides  his  ways  under  the eternal law and the
power  of  God,  whose  providence  governs   all
things. Wherefore, it is in his power to exercise
his choice not only as to matters that regard his
present  welfare,  but  also about those which he
deems may be for his advantage  in  time  yet  to
come.  Hence,  man  not  only  should possess the
fruits of the earth,  but  also  the  very  soil,
inasmuch  as from the produce of the earth he has
to lay by provision for the future.  Man's  needs
do  not  die  out,  but  forever  recur; although
satisfied today, they demand fresh  supplies  for
tomorrow.  Nature  accordingly must have given to
man a source that is stable and remaining  always
with  him,  from  which  he  might  look  to draw
continual supplies. And this stable condition  of
things  he  finds  solely  in  the  earth and its
fruits. There is no need to bring in  the  State.
Man  precedes  the State, and possesses, prior to
the  formation  of  any  State,  the   right   of
providing for the substance of his body.

8.  The fact that God has given the earth for the
use and enjoyment of the whole human race can  in
no  way  be  a  bar  to  the  owning  of  private
property.  For  God  has  granted  the  earth  to
mankind  in  general,  not  in the sense that all
without distinction can  deal  with  it  as  they
like,  but rather that no part of it was assigned
to any one in particular, and that the limits  of
private  possession have been left to be fixed by
man's own industry, and by the laws of individual
races.   Moreover,   the   earth,   even   though
apportioned  among  private  owners,  ceases  not
thereby to minister to the needs of all, inasmuch
as there is not one who  does  not  sustain  life
from  what  the  land  produces. Those who do not
possess the soil contribute their  labor;  hence,
it  may  truly be said that all human subsistence
is derived either from labor on one's  own  land,
or  from  some  toil, some calling, which is paid
for either in the produce of the land itself,  or
in  that  which  is  exchanged  for what the land
brings forth.

9.  Here,  again,  we  have  further  proof  that
private  ownership  is in accordance with the law
of nature. Truly, that which is required for  the
preservation  of life, and for life's well-being,
is produced in great abundance from the soil, but
not until man has brought it into cultivation and
expended upon it his solicitude and  skill.  Now,
when  man thus turns the activity of his mind and
the strength of his  body  toward  procuring  the
fruits  of  nature,  by such act he makes his own
that  portion  of   nature's   field   which   he
cultivates -- that portion on which he leaves, as
it were, the impress of his personality;  and  it
cannot  but  be  just that he should possess that
portion as his very own, and have a right to hold
it  without  any one being justified in violating
that right.

10. So strong and convincing are these  arguments
that  it  seems  amazing  that some should now be
setting up  anew  certain  obsolete  opinions  in
opposition to what is here laid down. They assert
that it is right for private persons to have  the
use  of the soil and its various fruits, but that
it is unjust for  any  one  to  possess  outright
either  the  land  on  which  he has built or the
estate which he has  brought  under  cultivation.
But  those  who deny these rights do not perceive
that they are defrauding  man  of  what  his  own
labor  has produced. For the soil which is tilled
and  cultivated  with  toil  and  skill   utterly
changes its condition; it was wild before, now it
is fruitful; was barren, but now brings forth  in
abundance.   That  which  has  thus  altered  and
improved the land becomes so truly part of itself
as  to  be in great measure indistinguishable and
inseparable from it. Is it just that the fruit of
a  man's  own sweat and labor should be possessed
and enjoyed by any one else?  As  effects  follow
their  cause,  so  is  it just and right that the
results of labor should belong to those who  have
bestowed their labor.

11.  With  reason,  then,  the  common opinion of
mankind, little affected by the few  dissentients
who  have  contended  for  the opposite view, has
found in the careful study of nature, and in  the
laws  of  nature, the foundations of the division
of property, and the practice  of  all  ages  has
consecrated  the  principle of private ownership,
as being pre-eminently in conformity  with  human
nature, and as conducing in the most unmistakable
manner to the  peace  and  tranquility  of  human
existence.  The  same  principle is confirmed and
enforced by the civil laws -- laws which, so long
as  they  are just, derive from the law of nature
their binding force. The authority of the  divine
law  adds its sanction, forbidding us in severest
terms even to  covet  that  which  is  another's:
"Thou  shalt  not  covet thy neighbor's wife; nor
his house, nor his field,  nor  his  man-servant,
nor  his  maid-servant,  nor his ox, nor his ass,
nor anything that is his."[2]

12. The rights here spoken of, belonging to  each
individual  man,  are seen in much stronger light
when considered in relation to man's  social  and
domestic  obligations.  In  choosing  a  state of
life, it is indisputable that  all  are  at  full
liberty  to follow the counsel of Jesus Christ as
to observing virginity, or to bind themselves  by
the  marriage  tie.  No human law can abolish the
natural and original right of  marriage,  nor  in
any  way limit the chief and principal purpose of
marriage ordained by  God's  authority  from  the
beginning:  "Increase  and multiply."[3] Hence we
have the family, the "society" of a  man's  house
-- a society very small, one must admit, but none
the less a true society, and one older  than  any
State.  Consequently,  it  has  rights and duties
peculiar to itself which are quite independent of
the State.

13.  That right to property, therefore, which has
been proved to  belong  naturally  to  individual
persons, must in like wise belong to a man in his
capacity of head of a family; nay, that right  is
all  the  stronger  in  proportion  as  the human
person receives a wider extension in  the  family
group.  It  is a most sacred law of nature that a
father should provide food  and  all  necessaries
for  those  whom he has begotten; and, similarly,
it is  natural  that  he  should  wish  that  his
children, who carry on, so to speak, and continue
his personality, should be by him  provided  with
all  that  is  needful  to  enable  them  to keep
themselves decently from want and misery amid the
uncertainties  of  this  mortal  life. Now, in no
other way can a father effect this except by  the
ownership  of  productive  property, which he can
transmit  to  his  children  by  inheritance.   A
family,  no  less  than  a  State, is, as We have
said, a true society, governed  by  an  authority
peculiar  to  itself,  that  is  to  say,  by the
authority of the father. Provided, therefore, the
limits  which are prescribed by the very purposes
for which it  exists  be  not  transgressed,  the
family  has  at least equal rights with the State
in the choice and pursuit of the  things  needful
to its preservation and its just liberty. We say,
"at least equal rights";  for,  inasmuch  as  the
domestic household is antecedent, as well in idea
as in fact,  to  the  gathering  of  men  into  a
community,   the  family  must  necessarily  have
rights and duties which are prior to those of the
community,   and   founded  more  immediately  in
nature. If  the  citizens,  if  the  families  on
entering into association and fellowship, were to
experience hindrance in a commonwealth instead of
help,  and  were  to  find  their rights attacked
instead of being upheld, society would rightly be
an object of detestation rather than of desire.

14.   The   contention,   then,  that  the  civil
government should at its option intrude into  and
exercise intimate control over the family and the
household is a great and pernicious error.  True,
if  a  family finds itself in exceeding distress,
utterly deprived of the counsel of  friends,  and
without any prospect of extricating itself, it is
right that extreme necessity  be  met  by  public
aid,   since   each  family  is  a  part  of  the
commonwealth.  In  like  manner,  if  within  the
precincts  of  the  household  there  occur grave
disturbance of mutual  rights,  public  authority
should  intervene to force each party to yield to
the other its proper due;  for  this  is  not  to
deprive  citizens of their rights, but justly and
properly to safeguard and strengthen them.

But the rulers of the  commonwealth  must  go  no
further;  here,  nature  bids them stop. Paternal
authority can be neither abolished  nor  absorbed
by the State; for it has the same source as human
life itself. "The child belongs to  the  father,"
and  is,  as  it  were,  the  continuation of the
father's personality; and speaking strictly,  the
child  takes  its  place in civil society, not of
its own right, but in its quality  as  member  of
the  family in which it is born. And for the very
reason that "the child belongs to the father"  it
is,  as  St.  Thomas  Aquinas  says,  "before  it
attains the use of free will, under the power and
the  charge  of  its parents."[4] The socialists,
therefore,  in  setting  aside  the  parent   and
setting  up  a  State  supervision,  act  against
natural justice, and destroy the structure of the

15.  And in addition to injustice, it is only too
evident what an upset and disturbance there would
be  in  all  classes,  and to how intolerable and
hateful a slavery citizens  would  be  subjected.
The  door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual
invective, and to discord; the sources of  wealth
themselves  would  run dry, for no one would have
any interest  in  exerting  his  talents  or  his
industry;  and  that  ideal  equality about which
they  entertain  pleasant  dreams  would  be   in
reality  the  leveling  down  of  all  to  a like
condition of misery and degradation.

Hence,  it  is  clear  that  the  main  tenet  of
socialism,  community  of  goods, must be utterly
rejected, since it only  injures  those  whom  it
would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary
to the  natural  rights  of  mankind,  and  would
introduce   confusion   and   disorder  into  the
commonweal.  The  first  and   most   fundamental
principle,  therefore,  if one would undertake to
alleviate the condition of the  masses,  must  be
the inviolability of private property. This being
established, we proceed to show where the  remedy
sought for must be found.

16.  We approach the subject with confidence, and
in the exercise of the  rights  which  manifestly
appertain  to  Us,  for  no practical solution of
this  question  will  be  found  apart  from  the
intervention of religion and of the Church. It is
We who are the chief guardian of religion and the
chief  dispenser  of what pertains to the Church;
and by keeping silence we would seem  to  neglect
the  duty  incumbent  on us. Doubtless, this most
serious question demands the  attention  and  the
efforts of others besides ourselves -- to wit, of
the rulers of States, of employers of  labor,  of
the   wealthy,   aye,   of  the  working  classes
themselves, for whom  We  are  pleading.  But  We
affirm  without  hesitation that all the striving
of men will be vain if they leave out the Church.
It  is  the Church that insists, on the authority
of the Gospel, upon those teachings  whereby  the
conflict  can  be brought to an end, or rendered,
at least, far less bitter; the  Church  uses  her
efforts  not  only  to enlighten the mind, but to
direct by her precepts the life  and  conduct  of
each and all; the Church improves and betters the
condition of the working man by means of numerous
organizations;   does  her  best  to  enlist  the
services  of  all  classes  in   discussing   and
endeavoring to further in the most practical way,
the  interests  of  the  working   classes;   and
considers  that  for this purpose recourse should
be  had,  in  due  measure  and  degree,  to  the
intervention of the law and of State authority.

17.  It  must be first of all recognized that the
condition of things  inherent  in  human  affairs
must  be  borne  with,  for  it  is impossible to
reduce  civil  society   to   one   dead   level.
Socialists  may  in  that intent do their utmost,
but all striving against nature is in vain. There
naturally    exist    among    mankind   manifold
differences of the most  important  kind;  people
differ  in capacity, skill, health, strength; and
unequal fortune is a necessary result of  unequal
condition.  Such  inequality  is  far  from being
disadvantageous either to individuals or  to  the
community.  Social  and  public  life can only be
maintained by means of various kinds of  capacity
for  business  and the playing of many parts; and
each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits
his  own  peculiar domestic condition. As regards
bodily labor, even had man never fallen from  the
state  of  innocence,  he would not have remained
wholly idle; but that which would then have  been
his free choice and his delight became afterwards
compulsory, and the  painful  expiation  for  his
disobedience.  "Cursed  be the earth in thy work;
in thy labor thou shalt eat of it all the days of
thy life."[5]

18. In like manner, the other pains and hardships
of life will have no end or cessation  on  earth;
for  the  consequences of sin are bitter and hard
to bear, and they must accompany man so  long  as
life  lasts.  To suffer and to endure, therefore,
is the lot of humanity; let them strive  as  they
may,  no  strength  and  no  artifice  will  ever
succeed in banishing from human life the ills and
troubles  which  beset  it.  If any there are who
pretend  differently  --  who  hold  out   to   a
hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain
and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and  constant
enjoyment  --  they  delude the people and impose
upon them, and their lying promises will only one
day  bring  forth  evils  worse than the present.
Nothing is more useful  than  to  look  upon  the
world  as  it  really is, and at the same time to
seek elsewhere, as We have said, for  the  solace
to its troubles.

19.  The  great  mistake  made  in  regard to the
matter now under consideration is to take up with
the  notion  that  class  is naturally hostile to
class, and that the wealthy and the  working  men
are   intended   by  nature  to  live  in  mutual
conflict. So irrational and so false is this view
that  the  direct  contrary is the truth. Just as
the symmetry of the human frame is the result  of
the  suitable  arrangement of the different parts
of the body, so in a  State  is  it  ordained  by
nature  that  these  two  classes should dwell in
harmony and agreement,  so  as  to  maintain  the
balance  of  the  body  politic.  Each  needs the
other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor
without  capital. Mutual agreement results in the
beauty of good order,  while  perpetual  conflict
necessarily   produces   confusion   and   savage
barbarity. Now,  in  preventing  such  strife  as
this,  and  in  uprooting  it,  the  efficacy  of
Christian institutions is marvelous and manifold.
First  of  all,  there  is  no  intermediary more
powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the
interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and
the working class together, by reminding each  of
its  duties  to  the other, and especially of the
obligations of justice.

20. Of  these  duties,  the  following  bind  the
proletarian  and the worker: fully and faithfully
to perform the work which  has  been  freely  and
equitably   agreed  upon;  never  to  injure  the
property,  nor  to  outrage  the  person,  of  an
employer;   never   to   resort  to  violence  in
defending their own cause, nor to engage in  riot
or  disorder;  and to have nothing to do with men
of evil principles, who work upon the people with
artful  promises  of  great  results,  and excite
foolish  hopes  which  usually  end  in   useless
regrets  and  grievous loss. The following duties
bind the wealthy owner and the employer:  not  to
look  upon  their  work people as their bondsmen,
but to respect in every  man  his  dignity  as  a
person  ennobled by Christian character. They are
reminded that, according to  natural  reason  and
Christian   philosophy,   working   for  gain  is
creditable, not shameful,  to  a  man,  since  it
enables  him to earn an honorable livelihood; but
to misuse men as though they were things  in  the
pursuit  of  gain,  or  to  value them solely for
their physical powers -- that is  truly  shameful
and  inhuman.  Again  justice  demands  that,  in
dealing with the working man,  religion  and  the
good of his soul must be kept in mind. Hence, the
employer is bound to see that the worker has time
for  his religious duties; that he be not exposed
to corrupting influences and dangerous occasions;
and  that  he be not led away to neglect his home
and  family,  or  to   squander   his   earnings.
Furthermore, the employer must never tax his work
people beyond their strength, or employ  them  in
work unsuited to their sex and age. His great and
principal duty is to give every one what is just.
Doubtless,  before  deciding  whether  wages  are
fair, many things  have  to  be  considered;  but
wealthy owners and all masters of labor should be
mindful of this -- that to exercise pressure upon
the  indigent  and  the destitute for the sake of
gain, and to gather one's profit out of the  need
of  another,  is condemned by all laws, human and
divine. To defraud any one of wages that are  his
due  is a great crime which cries to the avenging
anger  of  Heaven.  "Behold,  the  hire  of   the
laborers  . . . which by fraud has been kept back
by you, crieth; and the cry of them hath  entered
into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath."[6] Lastly,
the rich must religiously  refrain  from  cutting
down the workmen's earnings, whether by force, by
fraud, or by usurious dealing; and with  all  the
greater  reason because the laboring man is, as a
rule,  weak  and  unprotected,  and  because  his
slender  means  should  in  proportion  to  their
scantiness be accounted sacred.

Were these precepts carefully obeyed and followed
out,  would  they not be sufficient of themselves
to keep under all strife and all its causes?

21. But the Church,  with  Jesus  Christ  as  her
Master  and  Guide,  aims  higher still. She lays
down precepts yet more perfect, and tries to bind
class  to class in friendliness and good feeling.
The things  of  earth  cannot  be  understood  or
valued  aright  without taking into consideration
the life to come, the  life  that  will  know  no
death.   Exclude   the   idea  of  futurity,  and
forthwith the very notion of  what  is  good  and
right  would perish; nay, the whole scheme of the
universe would become  a  dark  and  unfathomable
mystery.  The  great  truth  which  we learn from
nature herself is also the grand Christian  dogma
on  which  religion rests as on its foundation --
that, when we have given up  this  present  life,
then  shall  we really begin to live. God has not
created us  for  the  perishable  and  transitory
things  of  earth,  but  for  things heavenly and
everlasting; He has given  us  this  world  as  a
place  of exile, and not as our abiding place. As
for riches and the other things  which  men  call
good  and  desirable,  whether  we  have  them in
abundance, or are lacking in them --  so  far  as
eternal  happiness  is  concerned  -- it makes no
difference; the only important thing  is  to  use
them  aright.  Jesus  Christ, when He redeemed us
with plentiful  redemption,  took  not  away  the
pains  and sorrows which in such large proportion
are woven together in the web of our mortal life.
He  transformed  them  into motives of virtue and
occasions of merit;  and  no  man  can  hope  for
eternal   reward   unless   he   follow   in  the
blood-stained footprints of his  Savior.  "If  we
suffer   with  Him,  we  shall  also  reign  with
Him."[7] Christ's labors and sufferings, accepted
of  His own free will, have marvelously sweetened
all suffering and all labor. And not only by  His
example,  but  by  His grace and by the hope held
forth of everlasting recompense, has He made pain
and grief more easy to endure; "for that which is
at   present   momentary   and   light   of   our
tribulation,   worketh   for   us  above  measure
exceedingly an eternal weight of glory."[8]

22. Therefore,  those  whom  fortune  favors  are
warned  that  riches  do  not  bring freedom from
sorrow and are of no avail for eternal happiness,
but rather are obstacles;[9] that the rich should
tremble at the threatenings of  Jesus  Christ  --
threatenings  so  unwonted  in  the  mouth of our
Lord[10] -- and that a most strict  account  must
be given to the Supreme Judge for all we possess.
The chief and most excellent rule for  the  right
use  of  money  is  one  the heathen philosophers
hinted at, but which the Church  has  traced  out
clearly,  and  has  not  only made known to men's
minds, but has impressed  upon  their  lives.  It
rests  on  the  principle that it is one thing to
have a right  to  the  possession  of  money  and
another to have a right to use money as one ills.
Private  ownership,  as  we  have  seen,  is  the
natural right of man, and to exercise that right,
especially as members of  society,  is  not  only
lawful, but absolutely necessary. "It is lawful,"
says St. Thomas  Aquinas,  "for  a  man  to  hold
private  property;  and  it is also necessary for
the carrying on of human existence.''[11] But  if
the question be asked: How must one's possessions
be used? -- the Church replies without hesitation
in  he words of the same holy Doctor: "Man should
not consider his material possessions as his own,
but as common to all, so as to share them without
hesitation when others are in  need.  Whence  the
apostle  saith, 'Command the rich of this world .
.  to  offer  with   no   stint,   to   apportion
largely'."[12]  True,  no  one  is  commanded  to
distribute to others that which is  required  for
his  own  needs  and  those of his household; nor
even to give away what is reasonably required  to
keep up becomingly his condition in life, "for no
one ought to  live  other  than  becomingly."[13]
But,   when   what  necessity  demands  has  been
supplied, and one's standing fairly taken thought
for,  it  becomes  a duty to give to the indigent
out  of  what  remains  over.  "Of   that   which
remaineth,  give  alms."[14]  It  is duty, not of
justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian
charity  -- a duty not enforced by human law. But
the laws and judgments of men must yield place to
the  laws  and  judgments of Christ the true God,
who in many  ways  urges  on  His  followers  the
practice  of almsgiving -- "It is more blessed to
give than to receive";[15] and who will  count  a
kindness  done  or refused to the poor as done or
refused to Himself -- "As long as you did  it  to
one  of  My least brethren you did it to Me."[16]
To sum up, then, what has been said: Whoever  has
received  from the divine bounty a large share of
temporal blessings, whether they be external  and
material, or gifts of the mind, has received them
for the purpose of using them for the  perfecting
of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he
may  employ  them,  as  the  steward   of   God's
providence,  for  the benefit of others. "He that
hath a talent," said St. Gregory the Great,  "let
him  see  that  he  hide  it  not;  he  that hath
abundance, let him quicken himself to  mercy  and
generosity;  he  that hath art and skill, let him
do his best to share  the  use  and  the  utility
hereof with his neighbor."[17]

23.  As  for  those  who possess not the gifts of
fortune, they are taught by the  Church  that  in
God's  sight  poverty  is  no  disgrace, and that
there is nothing to  be  ashamed  of  in  earning
their bread by labor. This is enforced by what we
see in Christ Himself, who, "whereas He was rich,
for  our  sakes became poor'';[18] and who, being
the Son of God, and God Himself,  chose  to  seem
and  to  be  considered the son of a carpenter --
nay, did not disdain to spend a great part of His
life  as  a  carpenter  Himself. "Is not this the
carpenter, the son of Mary?"[19]

24. From contemplation of this divine  Model,  it
is  more  easy  to understand that the true worth
and nobility of man lie in his  moral  qualities,
that is, in virtue; that virtue is, moreover, the
common inheritance of  men,  equally  within  the
reach  of  high  and low, rich and poor; and that
virtue, and virtue alone, wherever found, will be
followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness.
Nay, God Himself seems to incline rather to those
who suffer misfortune; for Jesus Christ calls the
poor "blessed";[20] He lovingly invites those  in
labor  and  grief  to come to Him for solace;[21]
and He displays the tenderest charity toward  the
lowly and the oppressed. These reflections cannot
fail to keep down the pride  of  the  well-to-do,
and to give heart to the unfortunate; to move the
former to  be  generous  and  the  latter  to  be
moderate  in  their desires. Thus, the separation
which pride would set up tends to disappear,  nor
will  it  be difficult to make rich and poor join
hands in friendly concord.

25.  But,  if  Christian  precepts  prevail,  the
respective classes will not only be united in the
bonds  of  friendship,  but  also  in  those   of
brotherly love. For they will understand and feel
that all men are  children  of  the  same  common
Father,  who is God; that all have alike the same
last end, which is God  Himself,  who  alone  can
make   either   men   or  angels  absolutely  and
perfectly happy; that each and all  are  redeemed
and  made  sons  of  God,  by  Jesus Christ, "the
first-born  among  many   brethren";   that   the
blessings of nature and the gifts of grace belong
to the whole human race in common, and that  from
none   except   the   unworthy  is  withheld  the
inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven.  "If  sons,
heirs  also;  heirs  indeed  of God, and co-heirs
with Christ."[22]

Such is the scheme of duties and of rights  which
is  shown forth to the world by the Gospel. Would
it not seem that, were  society  penetrated  with
ideas like these, strife must quickly cease?

26  But the Church, not content with pointing out
the remedy, also applies it. For the Church  does
her  utmost  to  teach  and  to train men, and to
educate them  and  by  the  intermediary  of  her
bishops   and   clergy   diffuses   her  salutary
teachings far and wide. She strives to  influence
the  mind and the heart so that all may willingly
yield themselves to be formed and guided  by  the
commandments  of  God.  It  is  precisely in this
fundamental  and  momentous  matter,   on   which
everything  depends  that  the Church possesses a
power peculiarly her own. The  instruments  which
she  employs  are  given  to  her by Jesus Christ
Himself for the  very  purpose  of  reaching  the
hearts  of  men,  and drive their efficiency from
God. They alone can reach the innermost heart and
conscience, and bring men to act from a motive of
duty, to control their passions and appetites, to
love God and their fellow men with a love that is
outstanding and of  the  highest  degree  and  to
break   down  courageously  every  barrier  which
blocks the way to virtue.

27 On this subject we need  but  recall  for  one
moment the examples recorded in history. Of these
facts there cannot be any shadow  of  doubt:  for
instance,  that  civil  society  was renovated in
every part by Christian institutions; that in the
strength  of  that  renewal  the  human  race was
lifted up to better things -- nay,  that  it  was
brought  back  from  death  to  life,  and  to so
excellent a life that nothing  more  perfect  had
been  known  before,  or will come to be known in
the ages that have yet to be. Of this  beneficent
transformation Jesus Christ was at once the first
cause and the final end; as from Him all came, so
to  Him was all to be brought back. For, when the
human race, by the light of the  Gospel  message,
came to know the grand mystery of the Incarnation
of the Word and the redemption of  man,  at  once
the  life  of Jesus Christ, God and Man, pervaded
every race and nation, and  interpenetrated  them
with  His  faith, His precepts, and His laws. And
if human society is to be healed now, in no other
way  can  it  be  healed  save  by  a  return  to
Christian life and Christian institutions. When a
society  is  perishing,  the  wholesome advice to
give to those who would restore it is to call  it
to  the  principles from which it sprang; for the
purpose and perfection of an  association  is  to
aim at and to attain that for which it is formed,
and its efforts  should  be  put  in  motion  and
inspired  by  the end and object which originally
gave it being.  Hence,  to  fall  away  from  its
primal  constitution  implies disease; to go back
to it, recovery. And this may  be  asserted  with
utmost  truth  both  of  the  whole  body  of the
commonwealth and of that class of its citizens --
by far the great majority -- who get their living
by their labor.

28.  Neither  must  it  be  supposed   that   the
solicitude  of  the Church is so preoccupied with
the spiritual concerns  of  her  children  as  to
neglect their temporal and earthly interests. Her
desire is that the poor, for example, should rise
above  poverty and wretchedness, and better their
condition in life;  and  for  this  she  makes  a
strong  endeavor.  By the fact that she calls men
to virtue and forms  them  to  its  practice  she
promotes  this  in  no  slight  degree. Christian
morality,   when   adequately   and    completely
practiced,    leads   of   itself   to   temporal
prosperity, for it merits the  blessing  of  that
God  who  is  the  source  of  all  blessings; it
powerfully restrains the greed of possession  and
the  thirst  for  pleasure -- twin plagues, which
too  often  make   a   man   who   is   void   of
self-restraint   miserable   in   the   midst  of
abundance;[23] it makes men supply for  the  lack
of  means  through  economy,  teaching them to be
content with frugal living, and further,  keeping
them out of the reach of those vices which devour
not small incomes merely, but large fortunes, and
dissipate many a goodly inheritance.

29.  The Church, moreover, intervenes directly in
behalf of  the  poor,  by  setting  on  foot  and
maintaining  many associations which she knows to
be efficient for the relief of  poverty.  Herein,
again,  she  has  always  succeeded so well as to
have even extorted the  praise  of  her  enemies.
Such  was  the  ardor of brotherly love among the
earliest Christians that  numbers  of  those  who
were in better circumstances despoiled themselves
of their possessions in order  to  relieve  their
brethren; whence "neither was there any one needy
among  them."[24]  To  the  order   of   deacons,
instituted  in that very intent, was committed by
the Apostles the charge of the daily  doles;  and
the   Apostle  Paul,  though  burdened  with  the
solicitude of all the churches, hesitated not  to
undertake  laborious  journeys  in order to carry
the  alms  of  the   faithful   to   the   poorer
Christians. Tertullian calls these contributions,
given  voluntarily   by   Christians   in   their
assemblies,  deposits  of piety, because, to cite
his own words, they were employed "in feeding the
needy,  in burying them, in support of youths and
maidens destitute of means and deprived of  their
parents,  in the care of the aged, and the relief
of the shipwrecked."[25]

30 Thus, by  degrees,  came  into  existence  the
patrimony  which  the  Church  has  guarded  with
religious care as the inheritance  of  the  poor.
Nay, in order to spare them the shame of begging,
the Church has provided aid for  the  needy.  The
common  Mother  of  rich  and  poor  has  aroused
everywhere  the  heroism  of  charity,  and   has
established  congregations  of religious and many
other useful institutions for help and mercy,  so
that  hardly  any  kind  of suffering could exist
which was not afforded relief. At the present day
many there are who, like the heathen of old, seek
to blame and condemn the Church for such  eminent
charity.  They  would  substitute  in its stead a
system of relief organized by the State.  But  no
human  expedients  will  ever  make  up  for  the
devotedness  and  self-sacrifice   of   Christian
charity.  Charity,  as  a virtue, pertains to the
Church; for virtue it is not, unless it be  drawn
from  the  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ; and
whosoever turns his back on the Church cannot  be
near to Christ.

31  It cannot, however, be doubted that to attain
the purpose we are  treating  of,  not  only  the
Church,  but all human agencies, must concur. All
who are concerned in the matter should be of  one
mind and according to their ability act together.
It is with this, as with providence that  governs
the  world;  the results of causes do not usually
take place save where all the causes cooperate.

It is sufficient, therefore, to inquire what part
the  State  should play in the work of remedy and

32 By the  State  we  here  understand,  not  the
particular  form of government prevailing in this
or  that  nation,  but  the  State   as   rightly
apprehended;  that  is  to  say,  any  government
conformable in its institutions to  right  reason
and  natural  law,  and  to those dictates of the
divine wisdom which  we  have  expounded  in  the
encyclical  On  the Christian Constitution of the
State.[26] The foremost duty, therefore,  of  the
rulers  of  the State should be to make sure that
the laws and institutions, the general  character
and  administration of the commonwealth, shall be
such  as  of   themselves   to   realize   public
well-being  and  private  prosperity. This is the
proper scope of wise  statesmanship  and  is  the
work  of the rulers. Now a State chiefly prospers
and thrives through  moral  rule,  well-regulated
family  life,  respect  for religion and justice,
the moderation and fair imposing of public taxes,
the  progress  of  the  arts  and  of  trade, the
abundant yield of the land -- through everything,
in  fact,  which  makes  the  citizens better and
happier. Hereby, then, it lies in the power of  a
ruler  to  benefit  every class in the State, and
amongst the rest to promote  to  the  utmost  the
interests  of the poor; and this in virtue of his
office, and without being open  to  suspicion  of
undue interference -- since it is the province of
the commonwealth to serve the  common  good.  And
the  more  that  is  done  for the benefit of the
working  classes  by  the  general  laws  of  the
country,  the less need will there be to seek for
special means to relieve them.

33. There is  another  and  deeper  consideration
which  must  not be lost sight of. As regards the
State, the interests of all, whether high or low,
are equal. The members of the working classes are
citizens by nature and by the same right  as  the
rich;  they are real parts, living the life which
makes up, through the family,  the  body  of  the
commonwealth;  and  it  need  hardly be said that
they are  in  every  city  very  largely  in  the
majority.  It  would be irrational to neglect one
portion of the citizens and  favor  another,  and
therefore the public administration must duly and
solicitously provide  for  the  welfare  and  the
comfort  of  the working classes; otherwise, that
law of justice will  be  violated  which  ordains
that  each  man  shall  have his due. To cite the
wise words of St. Thomas Aquinas:  "As  the  part
and  the  whole are in a certain sense identical,
so that which belongs to the  whole  in  a  sense
belongs  to  the  part."[27]  Among  the many and
grave duties of rulers who would  do  their  best
for  the  people,  the  first and chief is to act
with strict justice -- with that justice which is
called  distributive  --  toward  each  and every
class alike.

34. But although all citizens, without exception,
can  and  ought to contribute to that common good
in which individuals share so  advantageously  to
themselves,  yet  it  should not be supposed that
all can contribute in the like  way  and  to  the
same  extent. No matter what changes may occur in
forms  of  government,   there   will   ever   be
differences  and inequalities of condition in the
State. Society cannot exist or  be  conceived  of
without  them.  Some  there  must  be  who devote
themselves to the work of the  commonwealth,  who
make  the  laws  or  administer justice, or whose
advice and authority govern the nation  in  times
of  peace, and defend it in war. Such men clearly
occupy the  foremost  place  in  the  State,  and
should  be  held in highest estimation, for their
work concerns most  nearly  and  effectively  the
general  interests  of  the  community. Those who
labor at a trade or calling do  not  promote  the
general welfare in such measure as this, but they
benefit the nation, if less directly, in  a  most
important  manner.  We have insisted, it is true,
that, since the end of society  is  to  make  men
better,  the  chief good that society can possess
is virtue. Nevertheless, it is the business of  a
well  constituted  body  politic  to  see  to the
provision of those material  and  external  helps
"the  use  of  which  is  necessary  to  virtuous
action."[28]  Now,  for  the  provision  of  such
commodities,  the  labor  of the working class --
the exercise of their skill, and  the  employment
of  their  strength,  in  the  cultivation of the
land,  and  in  the  workshops  of  trade  --  is
especially  responsible  and quite indispensable.
Indeed, their co-operation is in this respect  so
important  that  it  may be truly said that it is
only by the labor of working men that States grow
rich.   Justice,   therefore,  demands  that  the
interests  of  the  working  classes  should   be
carefully  watched over by the administration, so
that  they  who  contribute  so  largely  to  the
advantage  of  the community may themselves share
in the benefits which they create --  that  being
housed,  clothed,  and  bodily fit, they may find
their life  less  hard  and  more  endurable.  It
follows  that  whatever  shall  appear  to  prove
conducive to the well-being  of  those  who  work
should  obtain  favorable consideration. There is
no fear that solicitude  of  this  kind  will  be
harmful to any interest; on the contrary, it will
be to the advantage of all, for it cannot but  be
good  for  the commonwealth to shield from misery
those on whom  it  so  largely  depends  for  the
things that it needs.

35  We  have  said that the State must not absorb
the individual or  the  family;  both  should  be
allowed  free and untrammeled action so far as is
consistent with the common good and the  interest
of others. Rulers should, nevertheless, anxiously
safeguard the community and all its members;  the
community, because the conservation thereof is so
emphatically the business of the  supreme  power,
that  the  safety of the commonwealth is not only
the first law, but it  is  a  government's  whole
reason  of  existence;  and  the members, because
both philosophy and the Gospel concur  in  laying
down  that  the  object  of the government of the
State should be, not the advantage of the  ruler,
but  the benefit of those over whom he is placed.
As the power to rule comes from God, and  is,  as
it  were,  a participation in His, the highest of
all sovereignties, it should be exercised as  the
power  of  God  is  exercised  -- with a fatherly
solicitude which not only guides the  whole,  but
reaches also individuals.

36.   Whenever   the   general  interest  or  any
particular class suffers, or is  threatened  with
harm,  which  can  in  no  other  way  be  met or
prevented, the public authority must step  in  to
deal  with  it. Now, it is to the interest of the
community, as well as  of  the  individual,  that
peace  and  good order should be maintained; that
all things should be  carried  on  in  accordance
with  God's  laws  and  those of nature; that the
discipline of family life should be observed  and
that  religion  should  be  obeyed;  that  a high
standard of  morality  should  prevail,  both  in
public  and  private life; that justice should be
held sacred and that no one should injure another
with   impunity;   that   the   members   of  the
commonwealth  should  grow  up  to  man's  estate
strong  and  robust,  and capable, if need be, of
guarding and defending their  country.  If  by  a
strike  of  workers  or concerted interruption of
work  there  should   be   imminent   danger   of
disturbance   to   the   public   peace;   or  if
circumstances were such as that among the working
class  the  ties  of family life were relaxed; if
religion were found to suffer through the workers
not  having time and opportunity afforded them to
practice  its  duties;  if   in   workshops   and
factories there were danger to morals through the
mixing  of  the  sexes  or  from  other   harmful
occasions  of  evil; or if employers laid burdens
upon their workmen which were unjust, or degraded
them  with  conditions repugnant to their dignity
as  human  beings;  finally,   if   health   were
endangered   by   excessive  labor,  or  by  work
unsuited to sex or age -- in  such  cases,  there
can  be  no  question  but  that,  within certain
limits, it would be right to invoke the  aid  and
authority   of   the  law.  The  limits  must  be
determined by the nature of  the  occasion  which
calls for the law's interference -- the principle
being that the law must not undertake  more,  nor
proceed  further, than is required for the remedy
of the evil or the removal of the mischief.

37. Rights must be religiously respected wherever
they  exist,  and  it  is  the duty of the public
authority to prevent and to punish injury, and to
protect  every  one in the possession of his own.
Still, when there is question  of  defending  the
rights  of  individuals,  the  poor and badly off
have  a  claim  to  especial  consideration.  The
richer   class   have   many  ways  of  shielding
themselves, and stand less in need of  help  from
the  State;  whereas the mass of the poor have no
resources of their own to  fall  back  upon,  and
must  chiefly  depend  upon the assistance of the
State.  And  it   is   for   this   reason   that
wage-earners,  since  they  mostly  belong in the
mass of the needy, should be specially cared  for
and protected by the government.

38. Here, however, it is expedient to bring under
special notice certain matters of  moment.  First
of all, there is the duty of safeguarding private
property by legal enactment and protection.  Most
of  all  it  is  essential,  where the passion of
greed is so strong, to keep the  populace  within
the  line  of duty; for, if all may justly strive
to better their condition,  neither  justice  nor
the  common  good  allows any individual to seize
upon that which belongs to another, or, under the
futile  and  shallow  pretext of equality, to lay
violent hands on other people's possessions. Most
true  it  is  that  by far the larger part of the
workers prefer to  better  themselves  by  honest
labor  rather  than by doing any wrong to others.
But there are not a few who are imbued with  evil
principles  and  eager  for revolutionary change,
whose main purpose is to  stir  up  disorder  and
incite  their  fellows  to  acts of violence. The
authority of the  law  should  intervene  to  put
restraint  upon  such  firebrands,  to  save  the
working classes from being led  astray  by  their
maneuvers,  and  to  protect  lawful  owners from

39. When work people have recourse  to  a  strike
and  become  voluntarily  idle,  it is frequently
because the hours of labor are too long,  or  the
work  too  hard,  or  because they consider their
wages insufficient. The  grave  inconvenience  of
this  not  uncommon occurrence should be obviated
by public remedial measures; for such  paralyzing
of  labor  not only affects the masters and their
work people alike, but is extremely injurious  to
trade and to the general interests of the public;
moreover,  on  such   occasions,   violence   and
disorder  are generally not far distant, and thus
it frequently happens that the  public  peace  is
imperiled.  The laws should forestall and prevent
such troubles  from  arising;  they  should  lend
their  influence  and authority to the removal in
good time of the causes which lead  to  conflicts
between employers and employed.

40.  The working man, too, has interests in which
he should be protected by the State; and first of
all, there are the interests of his soul. Life on
earth, however good and desirable in  itself,  is
not  the  final purpose for which man is created;
it  is  only  the  way  and  the  means  to  that
attainment  of truth and that love of goodness in
which the full life of the soul consists.  It  is
the  soul  which  is  made  after  the  image and
likeness of God; it  is  in  the  soul  that  the
sovereignty  resides  in  virtue  whereof  man is
commanded to rule the creatures below him and  to
use  all  the  earth and the ocean for his profit
and advantage. "Fill the earth and subdue it; and
rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of
the air, and all living creatures that move  upon
the  earth."[29]  In  this  respect  all  men are
equal; there is here no difference  between  rich
and  poor,  master  and servant, ruler and ruled,
"for the same is Lord over all."[30] No  man  may
with  impunity  outrage  that human dignity which
God Himself  treats  with  great  reverence,  nor
stand in the way of that higher life which is the
preparation of the eternal life of  heaven.  Nay,
more;  no  man  has  in  this  matter  power over
himself. To consent to  any  treatment  which  is
calculated  to  defeat the end and purpose of his
being is beyond his right; he cannot give up  his
soul to servitude, for it is not man's own rights
which are here in question,  but  the  rights  of
God, the most sacred and inviolable of rights.

41.  From  this  follows  the  obligation  of the
cessation from work  and  labor  on  Sundays  and
certain  holy days. The rest from labor is not to
be understood as mere  giving  way  to  idleness;
much  less  must  it  be an occasion for spending
money and for vicious indulgence, as  many  would
have  it to be; but it should be rest from labor,
hallowed  by  religion.   Rest   (combined   with
religious observances) disposes man to forget for
a while the business of  his  everyday  life,  to
turn  his thoughts to things heavenly, and to the
worship which he so strictly owes to the  eternal
Godhead.  It  is  this,  above  all, which is the
reason  and  motive  of  Sunday  rest;   a   rest
sanctioned  by  God's  great  law  of the Ancient
Covenant -- "Remember thou keep holy the  Sabbath
day,''[31]  and  taught  to  the world by His own
mysterious "rest" after the creation of man:  "He
rested on the seventh day from all His work which
He had done."[32]

42.  If  we  turn  not  to  things  external  and
material,  the first thing of all to secure is to
save unfortunate working people from the  cruelty
of  men  of  greed,  who use human beings as mere
instruments for money-making. It is neither  just
nor  human  so  to  grind men down with excessive
labor as to stupefy  their  minds  and  wear  out
their  bodies.  Man's  powers,  like  his general
nature, are limited, and beyond these  limits  he
cannot   go.   His   strength  is  developed  and
increased  by  use  and  exercise,  but  only  on
condition  of  due  intermission and proper rest.
Daily labor, therefore, should be so regulated as
not  to  be  protracted  over  longer  hours than
strength  admits.  How  many  and  how  long  the
intervals  of  rest  should be must depend on the
nature of the work, on circumstances of time  and
place,  and  on  the  health  and strength of the
workman. Those who work in  mines  and  quarries,
and  extract  coal,  stone  and  metals  from the
bowels of the earth, should have shorter hours in
proportion  as  their  labor  is  more severe and
trying to health. Then, again, the season of  the
year  should  be  taken  into  account;  for  not
infrequently a kind of labor is easy at one  time
which  at  another  is intolerable or exceedingly
difficult. Finally, work which is quite  suitable
for  a strong man cannot rightly be required from
a woman or a child. And, in regard  to  children,
great  care  should be taken not to place them in
workshops and factories until  their  bodies  and
minds  are  sufficiently  developed. For, just as
very rough weather destroys the buds  of  spring,
so  does  too  early an experience of life's hard
toil  blight  the  young  promise  of  a  child's
faculties,   and   render   any   true  education
impossible. Women,  again,  are  not  suited  for
certain  occupations; a woman is by nature fitted
for home-work, and  it  is  that  which  is  best
adapted  at  once  to preserve her modesty and to
promote the good bringing up of children and  the
well-being  of the family. As a general principle
it may be laid down that a workman ought to  have
leisure  and  rest  proportionate to the wear and
tear of his strength, for waste of strength  must
be repaired by cessation from hard work.

In all agreements between masters and work people
there  is  always  the  condition  expressed   or
understood  that  there  should be allowed proper
rest for soul and body. To  agree  in  any  other
sense  would  be  against what is right and just;
for it can never be just or right to  require  on
the  one  side,  or  to promise on the other, the
giving up of those duties which a man owes to his
God and to himself.

43.   We   now   approach   a  subject  of  great
importance, and  one  in  respect  of  which,  if
extremes  are  to  be  avoided, right notions are
absolutely necessary. Wages, as we are told,  are
regulated  by  free  consent,  and  therefore the
employer, when he pays what was agreed upon,  has
done his part and seemingly is not called upon to
do anything beyond. The only way, it is said,  in
which  injustice  might  occur  would  be  if the
master refused to pay the whole of the wages,  or
if  the  workman  should  not  complete  the work
undertaken; in such cases  the  public  authority
should  intervene,  to  see that each obtains his
due, but not under any other circumstances.

44. To this kind of argument  a  fair-minded  man
will  not  easily  or  entirely assent; it is not
complete, for there are important  considerations
which  it  leaves  out  of account altogether. To
labor  is  to  exert  oneself  for  the  sake  of
procuring  what  is  necessary  for  the  various
purposes  of  life,  and   chief   of   all   for
self-preservation. "In the sweat of thy face thou
shalt  eat  bread."[33]  Hence,  a  man's   labor
necessarily  bears two notes or characters. First
of all, it is personal,  inasmuch  as  the  force
which  acts  is bound up with the personality and
is the exclusive property of him who  acts,  and,
further,  was  given  to  him  for his advantage.
Secondly, man's labor is necessary;  for  without
the  result  of  labor  a  man  cannot  live, and
self-preservation is a law of nature, which it is
wrong  to disobey. Now, were we to consider labor
merely in so far as it is personal, doubtless  it
would be within the workman's right to accept any
rate of wages whatsoever; for in the same way  as
he  is  free  to  work  or  not, so is he free to
accept a small wage or even none at all. But  our
conclusion  must  be  very different if, together
with the personal element in  a  man's  work,  we
consider the fact that work is also necessary for
him to live: these two aspects of  his  work  are
separable  in  thought,  but  not in reality. The
preservation of life is the bounden duty  of  one
and all, and to be wanting therein is a crime. It
necessarily follows that each one has  a  natural
right  to  procure  what  is required in order to
live, and the poor can procure that in  no  other
way  than  by  what  they  can earn through their

45. Let the working man  and  the  employer  make
free agreements, and in particular let them agree
freely  as  to  the  wages;  nevertheless,  there
underlies  a  dictate  of  natural  justice  more
imperious and ancient than  any  bargain  between
man  and  man, namely, that wages ought not to be
insufficient to support a frugal and well behaved
wage-earner.  If  through  necessity or fear of a
worse evil the workman accept  harder  conditions
because an employer or contractor will afford him
no better, he is made the  victim  of  force  and
injustice.   In   these  and  similar  questions,
however -- such as, for  example,  the  hours  of
labor   in   different   trades,   the   sanitary
precautions  to  be  observed  in  factories  and
workshops,  etc.  --  in order to supersede undue
interference on the part of the State, especially
as circumstances, times, and localities differ so
widely, it is advisable that recourse be  had  to
societies  or  boards  such  as  We shall mention
presently, or to some other mode of  safeguarding
the  interests  of  the  wage-earners;  the State
being appealed to, should circumstances  require,
for its sanction and protection.

46.  If a workman's wages be sufficient to enable
him comfortably to support himself, his wife, and
his  children,  he  will find it easy, if he be a
sensible man, to practice thrift, and he will not
fail,  by  cutting  down expenses, to put by some
little savings and thus secure a modest source of
income.  Nature itself would urge him to this. We
have seen that this great labor  question  cannot
be  solved  save  by assuming as a principle that
private  ownership  must  be  held   sacred   and
inviolable.  The  law,  therefore,  should  favor
ownership, and its policy should be to induce  as
many as possible of the people to become owners.

47. Many excellent results will follow from this;
and, first of all, property will certainly become
more  equitably divided. For, the result of civil
change and revolution has been to  divide  cities
into  two  classes  separated by a wide chasm. On
the one side there is the party which holds power
because  it  holds wealth; which has in its grasp
the whole of labor and trade;  which  manipulates
for  its own benefit and its own purposes all the
sources of  supply,  and  which  is  not  without
influence  even  in  the  administration  of  the
commonwealth. On the  other  side  there  is  the
needy  and  powerless multitude, sick and sore in
spirit and ever ready for disturbance. If working
people  can  be  encouraged  to  look  forward to
obtaining a share in the  land,  the  consequence
will  be  that  the  gulf between vast wealth and
sheer poverty  will  be  bridged  over,  and  the
respective  classes will be brought nearer to one
another. A further consequence will result in the
great  abundance  of the fruits of the earth. Men
always work harder and  more  readily  when  they
work  on  that  which  belongs to them; nay, they
learn to  love  the  very  soil  that  yields  in
response  to  the  labor of their hands, not only
food to eat, but an abundance of good things  for
themselves  and those that are dear to them. That
such a spirit of willing labor would add  to  the
produce  of  the  earth  and to the wealth of the
community is self-evident. And a third  advantage
would  spring  from  this: men would cling to the
country in which they were born, for no one would
exchange  his  country  for a foreign land if his
own afforded him the means of living a decent and
happy   life.  These  three  important  benefits,
however, can be reckoned on only provided that  a
man's  means  be  not  drained  and  exhausted by
excessive taxation. The right to possess  private
property  is  derived  from nature, not from man;
and the State has the right to control its use in
the interests of the public good alone, but by no
means to absorb it altogether.  The  State  would
therefore  be  unjust and cruel if under the name
of taxation it were to deprive the private  owner
of more than is fair.

48.  In the last place, employers and workmen may
of themselves effect much, in the matter  We  are
treating,  by  means  of  such  associations  and
organizations as afford opportune  aid  to  those
who  are  in  distress,  and  which  draw the two
classes more closely together. Among these may be
enumerated  societies  for  mutual  help; various
benevolent  foundations  established  by  private
persons  to  provide for the workman, and for his
widow or his orphans, in case of sudden calamity,
in  sickness,  and  in  the  event  of death; and
institutions for the welfare of boys  and  girls,
young people, and those more advanced in years.

49.  The  most  important of all are workingmen's
unions, for these virtually include all the rest.
History   attests  what  excellent  results  were
brought about by the artificers' guilds of  olden
times.  They were the means of affording not only
many advantages to the workmen, but in  no  small
degree  of  promoting  the advancement of art, as
numerous monuments remain to bear  witness.  Such
unions  should  be  suited to the requirements of
this our age -- an age  of  wider  education,  of
different   habits,  and  of  far  more  numerous
requirements in daily life. It is  gratifying  to
know  that  there are actually in existence not a
few  associations  of  this  nature,   consisting
either  of  workmen  alone,  or  of  workmen  and
employers together, but it  were  greatly  to  be
desired that they should become more numerous and
more efficient. We have spoken of them more  than
once,  yet  it  will  be well to explain here how
notably they are needed, to show that they  exist
of  their  own  right,  and  what should be their
organization and their mode of action.

50. The consciousness of his own  weakness  urges
man  to  call in aid from without. We read in the
pages of holy Writ: "It is better that two should
be together than one; for they have the advantage
of  their  society.  If  one  fall  he  shall  be
supported by the other. Woe to him that is alone,
for when he falleth he  hath  none  to  lift  him
up."[34]  And  further: "A brother that is helped
by his brother is like a strong city."[35] It  is
this  natural impulse which binds men together in
civil society; and  it  is  likewise  this  which
leads them to join together in associations which
are, it  is  true,  lesser  and  not  independent
societies, but, nevertheless, real societies.

51. These lesser societies and the larger society
differ in many respects, because their  immediate
purpose  and  aim  are  different.  Civil society
exists  for  the  common  good,  and   hence   is
concerned  with  the interests of all in general,
albeit with individual interests  also  in  their
due  place  and  degree. It is therefore called a
public society, because by  its  agency,  as  St.
Thomas  of Aquinas says, "Men establish relations
in common with one another in the setting up of a
commonwealth."[36] But societies which are formed
in the  bosom  of  the  commonwealth  are  styled
private,  and  rightly  so, since their immediate
purpose  is  the   private   advantage   of   the
associates.  "Now,  a  private society," says St.
Thomas again, "is one which  is  formed  for  the
purpose  of carrying out private objects; as when
two or three enter into partnership with the view
of  trading  in  common."[37]  Private societies,
then,  although  they  exist  within   the   body
politic,   and   are   severally   part   of  the
commonwealth, cannot nevertheless be  absolutely,
and as such, prohibited by public authority. For,
to enter into a "society" of  this  kind  is  the
natural  right  of man; and the State has for its
office to protect natural rights, not to  destroy
them;  and,  if  it  forbid  its citizens to form
associations, it contradicts the  very  principle
of  its own existence, for both they and it exist
in virtue of  the  like  principle,  namely,  the
natural tendency of man to dwell in society.

52.  There  are  occasions, doubtless, when it is
fitting that the law should intervene to  prevent
certain  associations,  as when men join together
for purposes which are evidently  bad,  unlawful,
or  dangerous to the State. In such cases, public
authority may justly forbid the formation of such
associations,  and  may  dissolve  them  if  they
already exist. But  every  precaution  should  be
taken  not  to  violate the rights of individuals
and not to impose unreasonable regulations  under
pretense  of  public  benefit. For laws only bind
when they are in accordance  with  right  reason,
and,  hence, with the eternal law of God.[38] 53.
And here we are reminded of the  confraternities,
societies, and religious orders which have arisen
by  the  Church's  authority  and  the  piety  of
Christian men. The annals of every nation down to
our own days  bear  witness  to  what  they  have
accomplished   for   the   human   race.   It  is
indisputable that on grounds of reason alone such
associations,  being perfectly blameless in their
objects, possess  the  sanction  of  the  law  of
nature.  In  their  religious  aspect  they claim
rightly to be responsible to  the  Church  alone.
The  rulers  of  the  State  accordingly  have no
rights over them, nor can they claim any share in
their control; on the contrary, it is the duty of
the State to respect and cherish  them,  and,  if
need  be,  to  defend  them  from  attack.  It is
notorious that a very different course  has  been
followed,  more  especially  in our own times. In
many  places  the  State  authorities  have  laid
violent hands on these communities, and committed
manifold injustice against them;  it  has  placed
them  under  control of the civil law, taken away
their rights as corporate bodies,  and  despoiled
them  of  their  property,  in  such property the
Church had her rights, each member  of  the  body
had  his  or  her rights, and there were also the
rights of those who had founded or endowed  these
communities   for   a   definite   purpose,  and,
furthermore,  of  those  for  whose  benefit  and
assistance  they  had  their  being. Therefore We
cannot   refrain   from   complaining   of   such
spoliation   as  unjust  and  fraught  with  evil
results; and with  all  the  more  reason  do  We
complain  because,  at the very time when the law
proclaims that association is free to all, We see
that  Catholic  societies,  however  peaceful and
useful, are hampered in every  way,  whereas  the
utmost  liberty  is conceded to individuals whose
purposes are at  once  hurtful  to  religion  and
dangerous to the commonwealth.

54.  Associations  of  every kind, and especially
those of working men, are  now  far  more  common
than  heretofore.  As regards many of these there
is no need at  present  to  inquire  whence  they
spring, what are their objects, or what the means
they imply. Now, there is a good deal of evidence
in  favor  of  the  opinion  that  many  of these
societies are in the hands of secret leaders, and
are  managed  on  principles  ill-according  with
Christianity and the public well-being; and  that
they  do  their  utmost to get within their grasp
the whole field of labor, and force  working  men
either  to  join  them  or to starve. Under these
circumstances Christian working men must  do  one
of  two things: either join associations in which
their religion will be exposed to peril, or  form
associations  among  themselves  and  unite their
forces so as to shake off courageously  the  yoke
of  so unrighteous and intolerable an oppression.
No one who does not wish to  expose  man's  chief
good  to  extreme risk will for a moment hesitate
to say that the second alternative should by  all
means be adopted.

55.  Those  Catholics are worthy of all praise --
and they are not a few -- who, understanding what
the  times  require,  have  striven,  by  various
undertakings  and  endeavors,   to   better   the
condition of the working class by rightful means.
They have taken up the cause of the working  man,
and   have   spared  no  efforts  to  better  the
condition both of families  and  individuals;  to
infuse   a  spirit  of  equity  into  the  mutual
relations of  employers  and  employed;  to  keep
before  the  eyes of both classes the precepts of
duty and the laws of the Gospel  --  that  Gospel
which,  by  inculcating self-restraint, keeps men
within the bounds of  moderation,  and  tends  to
establish  harmony  among the divergent interests
and the various classes which  compose  the  body
politic. It is with such ends in view that we see
men of eminence, meeting together for discussion,
for  the  promotion  of concerted action, and for
practical work. Others, again,  strive  to  unite
working  men of various grades into associations,
help them with their advice and means, and enable
them to obtain fitting and profitable employment.
The bishops, on their part,  bestow  their  ready
goodwill and support; and with their approval and
guidance many members of the clergy, both secular
and  regular,  labor assiduously in behalf of the
spiritual  interest  of  the  members   of   such
associations. And there are not wanting Catholics
blessed with affluence, who  have,  as  it  were,
cast  in their lot with the wage-earners, and who
have spent large  sums  in  founding  and  widely
spreading  benefit  and  insurance  societies, by
means  of  which  the  working  man  may  without
difficulty  acquire  through  his  labor not only
many present advantages, but also  the  certainty
of honorable support in days to come. How greatly
such manifold and earnest activity has  benefited
the  community  at  large  is  too  well known to
require Us to dwell  upon  it.  We  find  therein
grounds  for  most  cheering  hope in the future,
provided always that  the  associations  We  have
described  continue  to  grow and spread, and are
well and wisely administered.  The  State  should
watch  over  these  societies  of citizens banded
together in accordance with their rights, but  it
should  not  thrust  itself  into  their peculiar
concerns and their organization, for things  move
and live by the spirit inspiring them, and may be
killed by the rough grasp of a hand from without.

56. In order that an association may  be  carried
on  with  unity of purpose and harmony of action,
its administration and government should be  firm
and  wise.  All  such  societies,  being  free to
exist, have the further right to adopt such rules
and  organization  as  may  best  conduce  to the
attainment of their respective objects. We do not
judge   it   possible   to   enter   into  minute
particulars touching the subject of organization;
this   must  depend  on  national  character,  on
practice and experience, on the nature and aim of
the  work to be done, on the scope of the various
trades   and   employments,    and    on    other
circumstances of fact and of time -- all of which
should be carefully considered.

57. To sum up, then, We may  lay  it  down  as  a
general   and  lasting  law  that  working  men's
associations should be so organized and  governed
as  to  furnish  the best and most suitable means
for attaining what is aimed at, that is  to  say,
for  helping each individual member to better his
condition  to  the  utmost  in  body,  soul,  and
property.  It is clear that they must pay special
and chief attention to the duties of religion and
morality,  and that social betterment should have
this chiefly in view; otherwise they  would  lose
wholly   their  special  character,  and  end  by
becoming little better than those societies which
take   no  account  whatever  of  religion.  What
advantage can it be to a working man to obtain by
means  of  a  society  material well-being, if he
endangers his soul for lack  of  spiritual  food?
"What  doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole
world and suffer the loss of his soul?"[39] This,
as  our  Lord  teaches,  is the mark or character
that  distinguishes  the   Christian   from   the
heathen.  "After  all these things do the heathen
seek . . . Seek ye first the Kingdom of  God  and
His  justice: and all these things shall be added
unto you."[40] Let our associations,  then,  look
first and before all things to God; let religious
instruction have therein the foremost place, each
one  being  carefully  taught what is his duty to
God, what he has to believe, what  to  hope  for,
and  how he is to work out his salvation; and let
all be warned and strengthened with special  care
against  wrong principles and false teaching. Let
the working man be urged and led to  the  worship
of God, to the earnest practice of religion, and,
among  other  things,  to  the  keeping  holy  of
Sundays and holy days. Let him learn to reverence
and love holy Church, the  common  Mother  of  us
all;  and  hence  to  obey  the  precepts  of the
Church, and to  frequent  the  sacraments,  since
they  are the means ordained by God for obtaining
forgiveness of sin and for leading a holy life.

58. The foundations  of  the  organization  being
thus  laid  in  religion, We next proceed to make
clear  the  relations  of  the  members  one   to
another,  in order that they may live together in
concord and go forward prosperously and with good
results.  The  offices and charges of the society
should be apportioned for the good of the society
itself,  and  in  such  mode  that  difference in
degree or  standing  should  not  interfere  with
unanimity  and  good-will.  It  is most important
that  office  bearers  be  appointed   with   due
prudence  and  discretion,  and each one's charge
carefully mapped out, in order  that  no  members
may   suffer  harm.  The  common  funds  must  be
administered with strict honesty, in such  a  way
that   a   member   may   receive  assistance  in
proportion to his  necessities.  The  rights  and
duties  of  the  employers,  as compared with the
rights and duties of the employed,  ought  to  be
the  subject  of careful consideration. Should it
happen that either a master or a workman believes
himself  injured, nothing would be more desirable
than  that  a  committee  should  be   appointed,
composed  of  reliable and capable members of the
association, whose  duty  would  be,  conformably
with  the rules of the association, to settle the
dispute. Among the several purposes of a society,
one  should be to try to arrange for a continuous
supply of work at all times and seasons; as  well
as  to create a fund out of which the members may
be effectually helped in their needs, not only in
the  cases of accident, but also in sickness, old
age, and distress.

59. Such  rules  and  regulations,  if  willingly
obeyed  by  all,  will  sufficiently  ensure  the
well-being of the less  well-to-do;  whilst  such
mutual  associations  among Catholics are certain
to be productive in no small degree of prosperity
to  the  State.  Is it not rash to conjecture the
future from the past. Age gives way to  age,  but
the  events  of  one century are wonderfully like
those of another, for they are  directed  by  the
providence  of  God,  who overrules the course of
history  in  accordance  with  His  purposes   in
creating the race of man. We are told that it was
cast as a reproach on the Christians in the early
ages  of the Church that the greater number among
them had to live by begging  or  by  labor.  Yet,
destitute   though   they   were  of  wealth  and
influence, they ended by winning  over  to  their
side  the  favor of the rich and the good-will of
the powerful. They showed themselves industrious,
hard-working,  assiduous,  and peaceful, ruled by
justice,  and,  above  all,  bound  together   in
brotherly  love. In presence of such mode of life
and such example, prejudice gave way, the  tongue
of   malevolence  was  silenced,  and  the  lying
legends of ancient superstition little by  little
yielded to Christian truth.

60.  At  the  time  being,  the  condition of the
working classes is the pressing question  of  the
hour,  and  nothing  can be of higher interest to
all classes of the State than that it  should  be
rightly  and  reasonably  settled. But it will be
easy for Christian working men to solve it aright
if  they  will  form  associations,  choose  wise
guides, and follow on the path which with so much
advantage  to  themselves and the common weal was
trodden by their fathers before them.  Prejudice,
it  is  true,  is  mighty, and so is the greed of
money; but if the  sense  of  what  is  just  and
rightful   be  not  deliberately  stifled,  their
.fellow citizens are sure to be  won  over  to  a
kindly feeling towards men whom they see to be in
earnest as regards their work and who  prefer  so
unmistakably right dealing to mere lucre, and the
sacredness of duty to every other consideration.

61. And further great advantage would result from
the  state  of  things  We  are describing; there
would exist so much more  ground  for  hope,  and
likelihood,  even,  of  recalling  to  a sense of
their duty those  working  men  who  have  either
given  up  their faith altogether, or whose lives
are at variance with its precepts. Such men  feel
in most cases that they have been fooled by empty
promises and deceived  by  false  pretexts.  They
cannot but perceive that their grasping employers
too often treat them with  great  inhumanity  and
hardly  care  for  them  outside the profit their
labor brings; and if they belong to any union, it
is probably one in which there exists, instead of
charity and love,  that  intestine  strife  which
ever  accompanies  poverty  when  unresigned  and
unsustained by religion.  Broken  in  spirit  and
worn  down in body, how many of them would gladly
free themselves from such  galling  bondage!  But
human  respect, or the dread of starvation, makes
them tremble to take the step. To such  as  these
Catholic   associations   are   of   incalculable
service,   by   helping   them   out   of   their
difficulties,  inviting them to companionship and
receiving the  returning  wanderers  to  a  haven
where they may securely find repose.

62.  We  have  now  laid  before  you,  venerable
brethren, both who are the persons and  what  are
the means whereby this most arduous question must
be solved. Every one should put his hand  to  the
work  which  falls to his share, and that at once
and straightway, lest the evil which  is  already
so  great  become through delay absolutely beyond
remedy. Those who rule the  commonwealths  should
avail  themselves of the laws and institutions of
the country; masters and wealthy owners  must  be
mindful  of  their duty; the working class, whose
interests are at stake, should make every  lawful
and  proper  effort; and since religion alone, as
We said at the beginning, can  avail  to  destroy
the  evil  at  its  root,  all  men  should  rest
persuaded that that  main  thing  needful  is  to
re-establish  Christian  morals, apart from which
all the plans and  devices  of  the  wisest  will
prove of little avail.

63. In regard to the Church, her cooperation will
never be  found  lacking,  be  the  time  or  the
occasion what it may; and she will intervene with
all the  greater  effect  in  proportion  as  her
liberty  of  action  is  the more unfettered. Let
this be carefully taken to heart by  those  whose
office  it  is  to  safeguard the public welfare.
Every minister of holy religion must bring to the
struggle  the full energy of his mind and all his
power of  endurance.  Moved  by  your  authority,
venerable   brethren,   and   quickened  by  your
example, they should never cease to urge upon men
of  every  class, upon the high-placed as well as
the lowly,  the  Gospel  doctrines  of  Christian
life;  by  every  means  in their power they must
strive to secure the  good  of  the  people;  and
above  all  must earnestly cherish in themselves,
and  try  to  arouse  in  others,  charity,   the
mistress and the queen of virtues. For, the happy
results we all long for must be  chiefly  brought
about  by the plenteous outpouring of charity; of
that  true  Christian  charity   which   is   the
fulfilling  of  the  whole  Gospel  law, which is
always ready  to  sacrifice  itself  for  others'
sake,   and  is  man's  surest  antidote  against
worldly pride and immoderate love of  self;  that
charity  whose  office  is  described  and  whose
Godlike features are outlined by the Apostle  St.
Paul  in  these  words:  "Charity  is patient, is
kind, . . . seeketh not her own, . . .  suffereth
all things, . . . endureth all things.''[41]

64.  On  each  of you, venerable brethren, and on
your clergy and people, as an  earnest  of  God's
mercy and a mark of Our affection, we lovingly in
the Lord bestow the apostolic benediction.

Given at St. Peter's in Rome, the  fifteenth  day
of   May,   1891,  the  fourteenth  year  of  Our
pontificate .


*  1.  The  title   sometimes   given   to   this
encyclical,  On  the  Condition  of  the  Working
Classes, is therefore perfectly justified. A  few
lines  after this sentence, the Pope gives a more
comprehensive definition of the subject of  Rerum
novarum. We are using it as a title.

* 2. Deut. 5:21.

* 3. Gen. 1:28. 4. Summa theologiae, lla-llae, q.
x, art. 12, Answer.

* 5. Gen. 3:17.

* 6. James 5:4.

* 7. 2 Tim. 2:12.

* 8. 2 Cor. 4:17.

* 9. Matt. 19:23-24.

* 10. Luke 6:24-25.

* 11. Summa theologiae, lla-llae, q.  Ixvi,  art.
2, Answer. * 12. Ibid.

* 13. Ibid., q. xxxii, a. 6, Answer.

* 14. Luke 11:41.

* 15. Acts 20:35.

* 16. Matt. 25:40.

* 17. Hom. in Evang., 9, n. 7 (PL 76, 1109B).

* 18. 2 Cor. 8:9.

* 19. Mark 6:3.

* 20. Matt. 5:3.

* 21. Matt. 11:28.

* 22. Rom. 8:17.

* 23. I Tim. 6:10.

* 24. Acts 4:34.

*  25.  Apologia secunda, 39, (Apologeticus, cap.
39; PLI, 533A). * 26. See above, pp. 161-184.

* 27. Summa theologiae, lla-llae, q. Ixi, art. 1,
ad 2m. * 28. Thomas Aquinas, On the Governance of
Rulers, 1, 15 (Opera omnia, ed. Vives,  Vol.  27,
p. 356).

* 29. Gen. 1:28.

* 30. Rom. 10:12.

* 31. Exod. 20:8.

* 32. Gen. 2:2.

* 33. Gen. 3:19.

* 34. Eccle. 4:9-10.

* 35. Prov. 18:19.

*   36.   Contra   impugnantes   Dei   cultum  et
religionem, Part 2, ch. 8

* (Opera omnia, ed. Vives, Vol. 29, p. 16).

* 37. Ibid.

* 38. "Human law is law only  by  virtue  of  its
accordance  with  right  reason;  and  thus it is
manifest that it flows from the eternal law.  And
in  so far as it deviates from right reason it is
called an unjust law; in such case it is  no  law
at all, but rather a species of violence." Thomas
Aquinas, Summa  theologiae,  la-llae,  q.  xciii,
art. 3, ad 2m.

* 39. Matt. 16:26.

* 40. Matt. 6:32-33.

* 41. I Cor. 13:4-7.

Freemasonry must die, or liberty must die." -- Charles G. Finney


"Those who sin are slaves, and slaves have no rights." -- Jesus Christ, John 8:34

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