The encyclical issued in May 1991 by Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, drew a great deal of attention not only within the Catholic Church but outside it as well. One striking feature was the Pope's endorsement of capitalism, properly understood, as the economic system most compatible with human freedom and most efficient in meeting human needs. Notable as well were his comments on the fall of Communist regimes in 1989 and the role of the workers' movement in that struggle. A condensation of the encyclical, accompanied by the Pope's own reflections on it, starts off this stimulating collection. Then 23 persons-Catholics and non-Catholics, Americans and Europeans, political theorists, theologians, social scientists, lawyers, and journalists-comment on the encyclical from their varied perspectives. Among the distinguished contributors are Peter L. Berger, Rocco Buttiglione, Milton Friedman, Mary Ann Glendon, J. Bryan Hehir, Richard John Neuhaus, Michael Novak, Max L. Stackhouse, and Jozef Tischner.
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About the Author
George Weigel is President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.