Catholic Social Doctrine: The Right to Work and the Dignity of the Human Person
organizations and labor unions also "must strive first of all to create an ever more tightly knit fabric of juridical norms that protect the work of men, women, and youth, ensuring its proper remuneration." (Compendium, No. 292) Whether chronic unemployment is in Yuma, Arizona, or in Harare, Zimbabwe, or in Madrid, Spain, all of us are in some manner hurt.
Again, the principle of subsidiarity and the preference for private initiative is as applicable to international organizations and labor unions as it is upon national governments.
The Church recognizes that there is an intrinsic connection between work and family life. Indeed, the Church sees that work is "a foundation for the formation of family life." (Compendium, No. 294) (quoting JP II, Laborem exercens) This is one reason why the Church is so concerned in assuring employment. Work allows marriage and family to flourish. It is needed to sustain the family and to allow for its principle end: the raising and education of children.
It is this intrinsic connection between work and family life that ought to cause a re-appraisal of the relationship between employer and employee. The employment relationship cannot only be thought of only in economic terms or in terms of a private contract, though it has those dimensions. Every employment decision has a familial dimension that ought not to be neglected.
So the Church asks everyone involved in the employment process, "businesses, professional organizations, labor unions, and the State," to "promote policies that, from an employment point of view, do not penalize but rather support the family nucleus." (Compendium, No. 294)
The Compendium also addresses the issue of agricultural labor, which requires a specialized or individualized treatment. In many countries, agricultural labor is particularly important to the national economy. In some countries, particularly in Latin America, land ownership is excessively centralized in what are known as latifundia or huge landed estates. The latifundia system is an inefficient, unproductive, unjust system, repeatedly condemned by the Church as immoral. It is closed to the free market, to wide-spread ownership of private property, and to the ready alienation of property. It might even be likened to a form of private socialism or communism. It requires attention and, in some countries, "a redistribution of land as part of sound policies of agrarian reform" is a moral imperative. (Compendium, No. 300) Of course, there must be respect of private property, but this respect does not reduce the urgency of such reform.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: work, justice, labor, social doctrine, Andrew M Greenwell, Esq.Compendium, profits, persons, dignity
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- Receiving the Eucharist: I Have Decided to Kneel For Jesus
- The Holy Spirit: Sanctifier and Giver of Life, Love and Truth
- Pope Francis tweets his prayers following devastation in Moore
- The Paraclete: The Counselor Who Helps Us Fulfill Our Calling
- Pope Francis calls for change within the Church
- Atheists to have their books placed atop Gideon Bibles
- Killer whale with missing fins cared for by its pod family
- C-section leaves mom fighting for life over dreaded flesh-eating virus
- Pope Francis tells world's leaders to abandon 'cult of money'
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?