Pope John Paul II wrote Laborem Exercens (Through Work)) in 1981 for the ninetieth anniversary of the famous encyclical Rerum Novarum of Leo III on the question of labor in modern economies. Laborem Exercens makes an important contribution to Catholic social doctrine. Rooted in the pontiff's characteristic personalism, the letter seeks to expound a concept of labor that is consistent with the dignity of the human person. This involves the total subordination of all aspects of the economy and production to the worker's status as a human person. It also explores the dignity inherent in labor. The letter has four sections: “Work and Man,” “Conflict between Labor and Capital in the Present Phase of History,” “Rights of the Workers," and "Elements for a Spirituality of Work.”
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