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The Pope and the Party

ALBERTA – As the twentieth century neared, Pope Leo XIII, grieving for humanity’s choice between atheistic socialism and venal liberalism, commissioned Catholic intellectuals to devise a better solution. Named Corporatism and set forth in the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, Leo’s interwar successor, Pius XI, recounted that it “laid down for all mankind the surest rules to solve aright that difficult problem of human relations called ‘the social question.’”

Corporatism (which should be distinguished from the tripartite bargaining structures that emerged in many countries in the 1970’s under the name “neo-corporatism”)became the most influential ethically motivated intervention into economics in modern history. As Catholic social doctrine until the late twentieth century, Corporatism still shapes constitutions, laws, and attitudes throughout the world. It can be distilled into four tenets: