4 thoughts on “Catholics and trade unions”

  1. This is a great article Dennis and a strong argument for the Ottawa School Board to stop censoring. I love reading your insightful pieces – keep it up!

    1. Thanks Ian. The funding of separate schools has been a hot issue, especially in Ontario. There is certainly a logic to the argument that a system that relies on public, ie: tax-funded support, should not have the right to impose its own values on all students, not to mention guest speakers. That said, if the system were privately funded, the shift in emphasis away from the Church’s worthwhile social teaching would still be occurring. In other words, I would be writing the same blog in that scenario.

  2. Like communism, predatory capitalism is incompatible with Christianity or simple decency. Unlike our current federal government, Catholic social teaching puts life before profit, stresses justice for all, and ought to be shouted from the rooftops. A little review of Catholic social teaching from Pope John Paul II and his predecessors illustrates the point:

    “There are needs and common goals that cannot be satisfied by the market system. It is the task of the state and of all society to defend them. An idolatry of the market alone cannot do all that should be done. It is right to struggle against an unjust economic system that does not uphold the priority of the human being over capital and land.”
    John Paul II, 1991

    “Among the actions and attitudes opposed to God’s will, two are very typical: greed and the thirst for power. One must denounce the economic, financial, and social mechanisms and structures that are manipulated by the rich and powerful for their own benefit at the expense of the poor.”
    John Paul II, 1987

    “Unions are indeed engaged in the struggle for social justice, but this is a struggle for the common good, and not against others. Workers’ rights cannot be deemed to be the mere result of economic systems aimed at maximum profits. The thing that must shape the whole economy is respect for the workers’ rights within each country and all through the world’s economy. But above all we must remember the priority of labor over capital.”
    John Paul II, 1981

    “Private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute or unconditional right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need when others lack necessities.”
    Paul VI, 1967

    “Excessive economic and social differences between the members of the one human family or population groups cause scandal, and militate against social justice. Economic development must not be left to the sole judgement of a few men or groups possessing excessive economic power, or of the political community alone, or of certain powerful nations. It is proper, on the contrary, that at every level the largest number of people have an active share in directing that development.”
    Vatican II, 1965

    “One may not take as the ultimate criteria in economic life the interests of individuals or organized groups, nor unregulated competition, nor excessive power on the part of the wealthy, nor the vain honour of the nation … nor anything of this sort. Rather, it is necessary that economic undertaking be governed by justice and charity as the principle laws of social life. The remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful. It must be determined in accordance with justice and equity. As for the State, its whole purpose is the realization of the common good.”
    John XXIII, 1961

    “The right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces. For from this source, as from a poisoned spring, have originated and spread all the errors of individualist economic teaching.
    Pius XI, 1931

    “In protecting the rights of private individuals, however, special consideration must be given to the weak and the poor… oppressed workers, above all, ought to be liberated from the savagery of greedy men, who inordinately use human beings as things for gain.”
    Leo XIII, 1891

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