The second volume of Rodger Charles' two volume presentation of the Catholic Tradidition from Genesis to Centesimus Annus addresses the Modern Social Teaching of the Church from the reign of Pope Leo XIII. The encyclical Rerun Novarum(1891) was a response to the problems of liberal capitalism and the industrial revolution in the Western world. Leo's successors were largely concerned with the ongoing problems of that programme, though Pius XI (1922-39) and more markedly Pius XII (1939-58) were also concerned with international problems. The years following the end of the Second World War demanded even more attention to these. Meanwhile many Western intellectuals doubted the viability of capitalism and some liberation theologians from the 1970s used Marxist social analysis as an integral part of their search for justice. As it happened, the 1980s brought about the collapse of real socialism and the resurgence of liberal capitalism. From the time of John XXIII (1953-63), the pastors of the Church have been responding to these new needs and with the advent of John Paul II, the controversies over liberation theology and the collapse of socialism, the pace of that response has quickened. Rodger Charles, Lecturer and Tutor in Moral and Pastoral Theology at Campion Hall, Oxford, has spent over thirty years researching, lecturing and writing in London, Oxford and San Francisco on the social teaching of the Church and its application. His book provides a masterly and an unrivalled introduction to this topic.
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