Centeimus Annus Twenty Years Later

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Arts and Humanities | Ethics in Religion | Religion


“This year (2011) marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Centesimus Annus by the late Pope John Paul II. Its initial reception sparked significant debate in the American context, specifically concerning John Paul II’s comments regarding whether or not capitalism is the “victorious social system” after the failure of communism in Eastern Europe. This essay pursues a different line of thought. I contend that in order to correctly envisage and pursue an authentic vision of human creativity that honors the human person’s God-given dignity as outlined in Centesimus Annus, persons need practices that nurture their moral imaginations, assist them in making lifestyle changes, and educate them when it comes to making decisions regarding consumers’ choices, savings, and investments in one productive sector rather than another. To set the stage for this exploration, Part One will provide a brief overview of the encyclical’s important themes relevant to the central argument of this essay, followed by a short discussion of the significance of practices in the development of a Christian’s moral character. Part Two presents two practices I argue witness to John Paul II’s vision of authentic human creativity as outlined in Centesimus Annus, shopping at one’s local farmers’ market and the production practices of one U.S. based business corporation, Patagonia, Inc. Part Three offers some concluding reflections.” –Page 151-152


DOI: 10.5840/jcathsoc20129110