21 January 2012


Italian Jesuit priest Luigi Tapparelli d’Azeglio, (1793-1862) is generally acknowledged as the person with whom the concept of social justice originated.

Taparelli wrote frequently about social problems arising from the Industrial Revolution seeking a middle path between laissez faire capitalism and extreme forms of socialism, and his influence was significant. Pope Leo XIII’s social encyclical Rerum Novarum, published in 1891 and recognized as the foundation for the social doctrine of the Catholic church, drew on insights from his former teacher, Taparelli.

Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being.

The United Nations General Assembly has decided to observe 20 February annually, starting in 2009, as the World Day of Social Justice a day recognizing the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.

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