Church and Labour
By Neilan D’souza
Dear Readers, during this month of September as we are making preparations for the feast of Nativity of Mother Mary, Asian Lay Leaders Forum wishes you a very happy feast!
In this months’ issue of the E-Newsletter we dive in once again into the teachings of
Quadragesimo Anno and focus particularly on issues pertaining labour. The Church for a long time has encouraged and supported the idea that labourers and workers must must be taken care and compensated well by the Employers; but the Industrial Era resulted in less freedom at the individual and communal levels, because numerous free social entities got absorbed by larger ones, which we continue to see even today. And in order to strengthen the voice of the labourers the Church supported the idea of Labour Unions as it created space for labourers to demand fair wages from their employers and come to mutual agreements on numerous work related problems.
Pope Pius XI in his encyclical developed a mandate stating three elements which determine a fair wage for the labourers: 1)The worker’s family responsibilities, 2) The economic condition of the enterprise and 3) The economy as a whole. He emphasised that “The family has an innate right to development, but this is only possible within the framework of a functioning economy and sound enterprises.” Looking at the growing wage gap, class divide, oppression and violent uprisings Pope Pius XI concluded that “Solidarity, not conflict, is a necessary condition given the mutual interdependence of the parties involved.”
Witnessing the drastic political developments and problematic ideological dilemmas of the time Pope Pius XI condemned Capitalism, Communism and Socialism; and firmly stats that “Dignity and human freedom are ethical considerations, which cannot be solved by a hostile class confrontation. Ethics are based on religion and this is the realm where the Church meets industrial society.”
On this note we invite you, Our Readers to reflect on how Ethical Implications can bring about drastic change in this world, although keeping in mind the multifacetedness of Culture, Religion, Gender, Value and Belief systems.