Brotherly Treatment Between Superiors and Subordinates Should Not Eliminate the Variety of Conditions and the Diversity of Social Classes

April 18, 2011

[From Benedict XV’s encyclical Ad beatissimi Apostolorum, of November 11, 1914]:


Painting by João Zeferino da Costa

“Human fraternity, indeed, will not remove the diversities of conditions and therefore of classes. This is not possible, just as it is not possible that in an organic body all the members should have one and the same function and the same dignity. But it will cause those in the highest places to incline toward the humblest and to treat them not only according to justice, as is necessary, but kindly, with affability and tolerance, and will cause the humblest to regard the highest with sympathy for their prosperity and with confidence in their support, in the same way as in one family the younger brothers rely on the help and defense of the elder ones.”

The Young Schoolmistress by Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin

American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. 39 (October 1914), pp. 673-674 in Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Documents V, p. 483.


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