George Weigel notes the inadequately observed 20th anniversary of Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II’s most important encyclical, which has some important things to say about our political life and the concepts of social and economic justice. Weigel concludes:
The encyclical’s analysis of the collapse of communism is also relevant to contemporary debates. Denying God, communism had a false view of the human person, and that was ultimately its undoing: it could not build a humane culture, politics or economics. This truth has implications for a world without communism, too. Culture is the key to making free economies and free politics work well, and at the heart of culture was religious conviction, John Paul insisted. Thus religious freedom had to be defended, not only against the hard totalitarianism of communist systems, but against softer, but nonetheless aggressive, forms of political pressure: pressures summed up in Pope Benedict’s biting (and wholly accurate) phrase, the “dictatorship of relativism.” Governments that impose political correctness through coercive state power—as, say, Canadian human rights tribunals do when they fine pastors for preaching biblical morality—are violating both religious freedom and weakening the moral-cultural foundations of democracy.
The article is here.