Solicitude for labor

We have insisted that, since it is the end of Society to make men better, the chief good that Society can be possessed of is virtue. Nevertheless, in all well-constituted States it is by no means unimportant matter to provide those bodily and external commodities, "the use of which is necessary to virtuous action." And in the provision of material well-being, the labor of the poor — the exercise of their skill and the employment of their strength in the culture of the land and the workshops to trade — is most efficacious and altogether indispensable. Indeed, their cooperation in this respect is so important that it may be truly said that it is only by the labor of the working man that States grow. Justice, therefore, demands that the interests of the poorer population 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 they create — that being housed, clothed, and enabled to support life, they may find their existence less hard and more endurable. It follows that whatever shall appear to be conducive to the well-being of those who work should receive favorable consideration. Let it not be feared that solicitude of this kind will injure any interests; on the contrary, it will be to the advantage of all; for it cannot but be good for the commonwealth to secure from misery those on whom it so largely depends. (POPE LEO XIII. Rerum Novarum. 1891)