26 May 2009

Working Together Part 2

Pro-Life Catholics are often accused of lacking concern for the "other social issues" and caring more for the unborn than for the living. While this is patently absurd it is important for the sake of clarity to set down some basic principles of what Catholic teaching is on the economic issues. In a similar vein as my previous post on "working together" it is important to highlight how we define terms in contrast to non-Catholics. Here are some general principles governing economic reform highlighted by Pope Pius X and taken from the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII:

1) Human society, as God established it, is composed of unequal elements, just as the members of the human body are unequal; to make them all equal is impossible, and would be the destruction of society itself (Quod Apostolici muneris).

2) Consequently, it is conformable to the order established by God that in human society there should be princes and subjects, masters and men, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, nobles and plebians, who, united by the bond of love, should help one another to attain their final end in Heaven, and the their material and moral well-being on earth [A key point here is the bond of love necessary to help each other attain Heaven ultimately and their material and moral well-being on Earth. Too frequently today are people only concerned with their material well-being. This is particularly true of our secular government] (Quod Apostolici muneris).

3) To calm the strife between rich and poor it is necessary to distinguish between justice and charity. Only when justice has been violated is there a right to make a claim. [Two very misunderstand terms, especially that of "justice" as defined by the Peace and Justice groups} (Rerum Novarum).

4) The obligations of the poor and of the workman are these: to perform wholly and faithfully the work which has been freely and equitably agreed upon; not to injure masters in their property or person; to abstain from acts of violence, even in defence of their own rights; and never to turn their demands into disturbances (Rerum Novarum).

5) The obligations of justice for capitalist and masters are as follows: to pay a just wage to workman; not to injure their lawful savings by violence, fraud, nor by open or hidden usury; not to expose them to corrupting allurements, nor to the danger of scandal; not to entice them from a love of their family, and from careful thrift; not to impose on them work unsuited to their strength, age, and sex (Rerum Novarum).

6) It is an obligation of charity for the rich and for those who have means, to help the poor and needy, according to the precept of the Gospel. This precept is of such binding force that, at the day of judgment, as our Lord Himself tells us, a special account of its fulfilment will be required (Rerum Novarum).

7) The poor, on their part, ought not to blush for their poverty, nor disdain the charity of the rich, above all when they think of Jesus, our Redeemer, Who, though He could have been born in wealth, made Himself poor to ennoble poverty and enrich it with incomparable merits of Heaven (Rerum Novarum).

8) Capitalists and workmen may themselves largely help towards the solution of the labor question, by institutions formed to give timely aid to those who are in need, as also to draw together and unite the two classes. Such are societies of mutual help, numerous private insurance societies, what are called 'patronages' for the young, and, above all, workingmen's unions. [Regarding this last point, St. Pius X stressed the need for Catholic associations, in order that a Catholic's economic life and action may be in harmony with his religious beliefs: (Rerum Novarum)

No comments:


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.