Tuesday, August 30, 2005
With Labor Day one week away, the current issue of America includes an article entitled, "Do Catholics Still Care About Labor? The article concludes they do, giving examples of some grass roots efforts to support workers. I'm not sure that is enough to give a full answer to the question and it is a question worth asking.
Catholic Social Teaching on labor is quite clear and strong, yet the teaching gets remarkably little emphasis. In 1891 Pope Leo XII wrote in Rerum Novarum that "some opportune remedy... [must] be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so justly on the majority of the working class." In 2005, companies in the U.S. still engage in violation of child labor laws and actively oppose unionization efforts, most new jobs being created are paying poverty level wages, and day laborers and undocumented workers are abused in a myriad of ways (just to provide a few examples in the U.S. - not even reaching the issue of workers in foreign countries). Shouldn't we be hearing a louder Catholic outcry and demand that "some opportune remedy...be found quickly"?