Quamquam pluries

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Leo XIII.

Quamquam pluries is an encyclical on Saint Joseph by Pope Leo XIII.[1] It was issued on August 15, 1889 in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

The Dignity of St. Joseph[edit]

The pope stated the challenges facing the Church and urged Catholics to pray to Saint Joseph, as the patron of the Church:

The special motives for which St. Joseph has been proclaimed Patron of the Church, and from which the Church looks for singular benefit from his patronage and protection, are that Joseph was the spouse of Mary and that he was reputed the Father of Jesus Christ. From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory. In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. ...Thus in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life's companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honour, but also, by virtue of the conjugal tie, a participator in her sublime dignity.[2]

Labor as a vocation[edit]

Leo was concerned with the industrial capitalism of the end of the nineteenth century and its treatment of workers. According to D. Stephen Long, Pope Leo "...viewed labor not as a mere commodity subject to free competition, but as a dignified vocation."[3] Referring to St.Joseph, Pope Leo wrote, "[h]e set himself to protect with a mighty love and a daily solicitude his spouse and the Divine Infant; regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing..."[2]

Pope Leo saw the family as the foundation of Christianity and society, therefore, a wage sufficient to support the family was essential.[4] Long explains that the Holy Family provides an example of the dignity of labor and the obligation of the employer to provide a living-wage. Leo opposes both capitalism's infringement on the family and socialism's call for common ownership.[3] It is a subject Leo will expand upon two years later in Rerum novarum.

The pope then prescribed that during October, a prayer to St. Joseph be added to the Rosary and granted an indulgence of seven years and seven Lents for each such act; the prayer remains enriched with a partial indulgence in the current Enchiridion Indulgentiarum.

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