The Family Wage and Domestic Work in Roman Catholic Discourse

From Rerum Novarum to Amoris Laetitia Every Roman Catholic magisterial document that confronts the key social issues of our contemporary culture should be compulsory reading for many, but especially for those researchers who reflect on the centrality of the family in the lives of every human being and of society at large. The great ideologies that emerged from the liberalmovement, mainly capitalismand socialism, have flooded our current perception of who we are and who we want to become, not without being questioned by some of the brightest minds of our time—such as Karol Wojtyła—who identified their common weakness: Both tend to “instrumentalize” the human person. Capitalism and socialism see individuals as simple “means” to an end, not as “ends” in and of themselves.[1]At the same time, a considerable number of magisterial documents of the Catholic Church—both encyclicals and apostolic exhortations—pinpointed the moral obligation of every political order to serve and protect the human family in all its fullness, both in the spiritual and the material realms. Even more specifically, they are eager to clarify the obvious: When a man and woman freely choose to marry and, eventually, become a family with children, they need to be part of a fair economic system that guaranties their well-being, respecting their dignity and their God-given mission. In that sense, many thinkers, both academics and protagonists of the political realm, have discussed what is known today as the work-family dilemma, providing practical knowledge with its correspondent theoretical base.[2] There is much to go through, both in books and academic studies, if one is to fully grasp the social implications of the contemporary work-familyrelationship.[3] There are a growing number of research centers and political institutions that have contributed to expanding the relevance of such a topic in the lives of real people.[4] In this regard, the social teachings of the Cathol
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