In the concluding paragraph of Rerum Novarum, number sixty-three, Leo XIII commits the Roman Catholic Church to the pursuit of social justice:
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.
Furthermore, he enjoined his priests to throw themselves into the fray with what may be viewed as a word of caution to public officials:
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.
In this way, Leo XIII invoked in a modern setting the words of Jesus at Nazareth as he began his public ministry by quoting the prophet Isaiah: “to bring glad tidings to the poor…to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Lk 4:16-19).
Submitted by: N. Rademacher, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies