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Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni
Chapter 6: Catholic social teaching
Just as new academic disciplines started forming in the 19th century, such as sociology, anthropology and psychology, so the Catholic Church began developing a specific body of thought in relation to the social, economic and political changes taking place at that time, even though it had antecedents in moral philosophy and theology for centuries before this. The scale of the social upheavals created by industrialisation, as well as the development of new socio-economic theories such as those of Marx, were changing the cultural presuppositions held by many and presented new situations that called for critical ethical evaluation and practical responses on the part of the Church. Not surprisingly, the first signs of this reaction often emerged among educated lay people directly in contact with these developments, such as Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) and Armand de Melun (1807–1877) in France, but in some countries priests were among the first to respond, such as Adolf Kolping (1813–1865) in Germany and Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio (1793–1862) in Italy. One of the first really influential ecclesiastical voices raised around 1850 was that of the Bishop of Mainz, Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler (1811–1877), whose Die Arbeiterfrage und das Christentum (1864) is often regarded as a precursor to the later papal social teaching.
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