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THE WORKER IN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT

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					THE WORKER IN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT

                - An Historical Analysis




           Gavan James Duffy. MA, Barristers Board

                     Student No. S1834107




   Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of
                      Master of Philosophy
               Griffith University, Faculty of Arts
                       School of Theology


                        November 2006
                                        STATEMENT OF ORIGINALITY




I certify that this work has not previously been submitted for a degree or diploma in any
university. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the thesis contains no material
previously published or written by another person except where due reference is made
in the thesis itself.




.........................................................................
            Gavan James Duffy




........................................................................




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                                        SYNOPSIS



This thesis examines directly the development of Catholic social teaching in respect of
the rights and duties of the worker.


Beginning with the Old Testament, the thesis compares the attitude of the Hebrew
people as expressed in Scripture to those who performed the tasks associated with the
crafts or with labour. This shows how the attitude of the Hebrews to workers, in
comparison with the attitude of surrounding peoples, was ameliorated by their belief in
a just God who spoke to them in Scripture and through the prophets. In its examination
of the New Testament, the thesis extracts gospel references to the worker and extracts
from the Epistles, particularly from the Pauline texts, on the subject. The changes in
attitude to the worker as expressed in the New and Old Testaments are noted.


Next examined are the writings of the Church Fathers and their application to the
worker. It can be seen from this examination that the early Church Fathers, whilst not
directly developing a body of teaching in respect of the worker, developed a
philosophical platform for its later development. It will be shown how the teachings of
the Church Fathers, in their application of teaching of Jesus in the Gospels to the
prevailing attitudes of Roman society contributed to the further amelioration of the
condition of slaves in the later Empire. When speaking of the worker in Greco-Roman
society, one is in effect speaking about the institution of slavery.


The thesis then discusses the further changes in attitude to the worker that followed the
decline of imperial authority in the west. It examines the role of the Church and its
teaching regarding the dignity of the human person and the place of work in the scheme
of redemption, and how it had an ameliorating effect on the treatment of slaves in the
various Barbarian kingdoms which arose in the west following the extinguishing of
Roman authority.




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The thesis argues that it was the influence of Christianity which ultimately led to the
evolution of the condition of slavery as it was known in the Roman Empire and
Carolingian period, to that of the serfdom of the Middle Ages.


Next discussed is the ‘Guild System’ of regulating and controlling the crafts. The
Guilds were a society, in part co-operative but mainly composed of private owners of
capital whose corporation was self governing, and was designed to check competition
between its members in order to prevent the growth of one at the expense of the other.
The thesis examines how the Guilds functioned and explains why some Catholic writers
such as Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Keith Chesterton regarded the Guilds as an excellent
example of the practical application of Christian principles to work and economics.


The thesis then examines the effects of the Reformation and the rise of liberal capitalism
from the Guild system and how they both contributed to its decline. Following the
decline of the Guild system and the onset of liberal capitalism, society came to be
divided into two classes, the capitalist class, and the proletariat. This thesis examines
how this development occurred and the factors which contributed to it. It shows how
the division of society into capitalist and proletariat, haves and have-nots, resulted in the
development of a class war and the antagonism between capital and labour. The thesis
shows how under the liberal capitalist system, the conditions of the working class came
to resemble in the words of Leo XIII, “a yoke, almost of slavery”. 1


Next developed and analysed is the manner in which the antinomy between capital and
labour gave birth to the philosophy of Marxism in 1848 following the publication of the
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels. It shows how the
development of these two antagonistic classes was viewed by the Church as an
aberration or distortion of the social order and how in response to the rise of the
philosophy of Marxism, Leo XIII countered with his great social encyclical Rerum
Novarum, promulgated on the 15th May 1891, which was to earn him the title of “The
Workers’ Pope”.


The thesis then deals sequentially with the social teachings and encyclicals of Popes
Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. All of these Popes, in some
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way, expanded upon and developed the social teaching of the Church regarding the
workers. In many ways it could be said that the later encyclicals have “fleshed out”
Rerum Novarum. During this period, numerous advances have been made in the fields
of technology and there has been a considerable improvement in the conditions and
wages of workers. In its consideration of the social encyclicals since Rerum Novarum,
this thesis discusses the way in which the Popes have developed and expanded Catholic
social teaching in respect of the workers as changes in technology and various structural
changes to the financial system threw up new and complex challenges to the creation of
a just social order in which the dignity and the rights of workers are fully respected.


It is shown how the Popes since Leo XIII have confronted the injustices associated with
these developments and detailed recommendations for action, some of which would be
viewed by many as quite radical.


Later in this thesis deleterious effects upon the rights of workers of global neo-liberal
capitalism are identified. It is demonstrated that in the early years of the twenty-first
century, there are already signs that some of the less desirable traits of laissez faire or
liberal capitalism, are once again rearing their heads. This is seen in such developments
as the ‘hollowing out’ of the middle class and the concentration of wealth in fewer
hands. It is also seen in the slow but sure erosion of the working conditions of workers
and in their level of remuneration. It is seen in developed countries, in the trend
towards longer working hours and the increasing casualisation of the workforce.


This thesis shows that in the context of the world economy, a gap continues to widen
between the developed and undeveloped nations, whilst inequitable trade agreements
tend to confine the developing nations to the status of providers of raw materials to the
industrialised world, an inequity, which, more often than not finds itself imposed upon
the working men and women of the developing nations in the form of long hours, low
wages and poor conditions.


It is a tenet of this thesis that the social teaching of the Church directly the challenges
and confronts the philosophy of neo-liberal capitalism and its associated philosophy of


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globalism in respect of the attaining of a just distribution of the world’s goods, the
dignity of work and the mutual dependence of capital and labour.




1
    Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII, St Paul Books & Media, Boston, 1942, para 6, p.7.




                                                                                         v
                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                    Page

            Statement of Originality     ...    ...    ...    ...   i
            Synopsis      ...     ...    ...    ...    ...    ...   ii
            Table of Contents     ...    ...    ...    ...    ...   vi

Chapter 1   In the Beginning       ...   ...    ...    ...    ...   1

Chapter 2   The Biblical Worker          ...   ...  ...       ...   5
            The Worker in the Old Testament ...     ...       ...   5
            The Psalms ...        ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   5
            Deuteronomy to Ecclesiastus        ...  ...       ...   6
            Trades and Crafts     ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   9
            The Prophetic Writings       ...   ...  ...       ...   11
            The Hebrew Concept of Social Justice    ...       ...   11
            The Social Security of Deuteronomy & Qumran       ...   13
            Change in Attitude to Work ...     ...  ...       ...   15
            Slavery in the Old Testament ...   ...  ...       ...   15
            The Gospels           ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   21
            Jesus and Work        ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   23
            Summary        ...    ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   27
            The Worker in the Epistles ...     ...  ...       ...   29
            Slavery in the New Testament       ...  ...       ...   32
            Summary        ...    ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   36

Chapter 3   The Worker in the Patristic Era ...        ...    ...   40
            The Social Teaching of the Early Fathers   ...    ...   40
            The Necessity of the Crafts ...     ...    ...    ...   42
            All Entitled to a Livelihood ...    ...    ...    ...   42
            Solidarity and Subsidiarity ...     ...    ...    ...   43
            Stewardship ...         ...  ...    ...    ...    ...   45
            A Variation on the Golden Rule      ...    ...    ...   48
            The Common Good ...          ...    ...    ...    ...   49
            Summary         ...     ...  ...    ...    ...    ...   51
            Slavery in the Patristic Era ...    ...    ...    ...   52
            Summary         ...     ...  ...    ...    ...    ...   56

Chapter 4   The Medieval Worker            ...     ...    ... ...   59
            The Decline of Slavery         ...     ...    ... ...   59
            The Influence of the Monks ...         ...    ... ...   59
            Slavery to Serfdom ...         ...     ...    ... ...   65
            A Philosophy of Work and the Evolution of the Guilds    68
            The Guilds     ...     ...     ...     ...    ... ...   71
            The Guilds in everyday practice        ...    ... ...   73
            The Doctrine of the ‘just price’ (justum pretium) ...   77
            Just Wage      ...     ...     ...     ...    ... ...   80
            Summary        ...     ...     ...     ...    ... ...   81


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                                                                    Page

Chapter 5   The Rise of the Proletariat ...    ...    ...    ...    84
            The Reformation      ...     ...   ...    ...    ...    84
            Dissolution of the Monasteries     ...    ...    ...    88
            The Catholic Social Movement and the Proletariat ...    92
            The Catholic Social Movement in Germany & France        92
            The Fribourg Union ...       ...   ...    ...    ...    98
            The Catholic Social Movement in England and the
                   United States         ...   ...    ...    ...    100
            Conclusion ...       ...     ...   ...    ...    ...    102

Chapter 6   Rerum Novarum – The Magna Carta of the
            Social Order          ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   104
            The Decade before 1891       ...   ...  ...       ...   104
            Leo XIII       ...     ...   ...   ...  ...       ...   106
            On the Condition of the Working Classes ...       ...   106
            Labour and Capital ...       ...   ...  ...       ...   107
            Solidarity     ...     ...   ...   ...  ...       ...   109
            Trade Unions           ...   ...   ...  ...       ...   110
            A Living Wage         ...    ...   ...  ...       ...   111
            Working Conditions ...       ...   ...  ...       ...   113
            Private Property and the Worker    ...  ...       ...   114
            The Worker and the State     ...   ...  ...       ...   114
            Biblical References ...      ...   ...  ...       ...   116
            The Legacy ...         ...   ...   ...  ...       ...   117

Chapter 7   The Chesterbelloc Era         ...     ...   ...   ...   123
            Background ...        ...     ...     ...   ...   ...   123
            Capitalism     ...    ...     ...     ...   ...   ...   123
            The Proletariat and The Servile State       ...   ...   127
            Distributism, Property & The Worker         ...   ...   131
            The Worker Priests ...        ...     ...   ...   ...   135

Chapter 8   Pius XI – Quadragessimo Anno        ...    ...    ...   139
            Background ...       ...    ...     ...    ...    ...   139
            Pius XI       ...    ...    ...     ...    ...    ...   140
            The Encyclical       ...    ...     ...    ...    ...   142
            Labour and Capital ...      ...     ...    ...    ...   142
            Trade Unions         ...    ...     ...    ...    ...   144
            The Individual and Social Character of Labour –
                   Worker participation ...     ...    ...    ...   146
            Wage Determination ...      ...     ...    ...    ...   147
            Evolution of Labour Law     ...     ...    ...    ...   151
            The Worker and Property     ...     ...    ...    ...   152
            Vocational Groups ...       ...     ...    ...    ...   152
            Conclusion ...       ...    ...     ...    ...    ...   155

Chapter 9   Pius XII and the National Episcopal Conference ...      158
            Background ...       ...   ...    ...    ...   ...      158

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                                                                         Page

             The Community & The Natural Law ...          ...   ...      159
             The Dignity of Labour        ...     ...     ...   ...      160
             A Community of Work          ...     ...     ...   ...      161
             Worker Participation         ...     ...     ...   ...      161
             The Class Struggle ...       ...     ...     ...   ...      162
             Capitalism     ...    ...    ...     ...     ...   ...      163
             Wages          ...    ...    ...     ...     ...   ...      164
             The Worker and Property      ...     ...     ...   ...      165
             National Episcopal Conferences       ...     ...   ...      165
             United States Catholic Bishops       ...     ...   ...      165
             Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 1943   167
             Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 1947   169
             Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 1948   170
             Hierarchy of Quebec ...      ...     ...     ...   ...      172
             Statement of Bishops of Ohio         ...     ...   ...      172

Chapter 10   Mater et Magistra     ...    ...    ...    ...    ...       175
             Background ...        ...    ...    ...    ...    ...       175
             Wage Justice          ...    ...    ...    ...    ...       176
             Worker Participation         ...    ...    ...    ...       179
             International Labour Organisation   ...    ...    ...       182
             Trade Unions          ...    ...    ...    ...    ...       183
             Worker Co-operatives         ...    ...    ...    ...       183
             State Intervention    ...    ...    ...    ...    ...       185
             Summary        ...    ...    ...    ...    ...    ...       186

Chapter 11   Gaudium et Spes      ...    ...    ...     ...    ...       188
             Background ...       ...    ...    ...     ...    ...       188
             Unjust Economic Structures ...     ...     ...    ...       189
             The Worker ...       ...    ...    ...     ...    ...       190
             Wages         ...    ...    ...    ...     ...    ...       192
             Trade Unions and Strike Action     ...     ...    ...       193
             Working Conditions & Structures ...        ...    ...       193
             Worker Participation & Co-determination    ...    ...       194
             Summary       ...    ...    ...    ...     ...    ...       196

Chapter 12   The Social Encyclicals of Paul VI   ...    ...    ...       198
             Background ...        ...     ...   ...    ...    ...       198
             Populorum Progressio          ...   ...    ...    ...       198
             Work          ...     ...     ...   ...    ...    ...       198
             Worker Participation ...      ...   ...    ...    ...       199
             Trade Unions          ...     ...   ...    ...    ...       199
             Octogesima Adveniens          ...   ...    ...    ...       199
             Urban Proletariat     ...     ...   ...    ...    ...       199
             Wages         ...     ...     ...   ...    ...    ...       200
             Trade Unions – Political Strikes    ...    ...    ...       200
             Worker Participation ...      ...   ...    ...    ...       200
             Synod of Bishops 1971         ...   ...    ...    ...       201

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                                                                        Page

             Summary        ...    ...     ...     ...    ...     ...   201

Chapter 13   John Paul II ...      ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   203
             Background ...        ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   203
             Laborem Exercens ...         ...     ...     ...     ...   205
             Theology of Work      ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   205
             Solidarity and the Worker Question ...       ...     ...   207
             Labour and Capital in Conflict – The priority of labour    208
             Worker Participation ...     ...     ...     ...     ...   210
             Materialistic Economism      ...     ...     ...     ...   215
             Indirect Employer     ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   217
             Wages          ...    ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   218
             Trade Unions ...      ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   220
             Centesimus Annus      ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   221
             Alienation     ...    ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   221
             Worker Participation ...     ...     ...     ...     ...   224
             Capitalism – Yes or No?      ...     ...     ...     ...   224
             Summary        ...    ...    ...     ...     ...     ...   225

Chapter 14   The Statements of National Episcopal Conferences
             & Other Church Documents              ...   ...     ...    228
             United States Catholic Bishops        ...   ...     ...    228
             Worker Participation          ...     ...   ...     ...    229
             Trade Unions ...      ...     ...     ...   ...     ...    230
             Wages          ...    ...     ...     ...   ...     ...    231
             Employment            ...     ...    ...    ...     ...    231
             Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith –
                    instruction on Christian freedom and liberation     233
             The Canadian Catholic Bishops         ...   ...     ...    234
             Australian Catholic Bishops Conferences ...         ...    236
             Summary        ...    ...     ...    ...    ...     ...    239

Chapter 15   Conclusion – Catholic Social Teaching and the
             Worker in the Neo-Liberal Capitalist Era         ...       241
             Globalisation and Globalism ...       ...    ... ...       241
             Injurious Policies of the Indirect Employer ...  ...       242
             Laissez-faire and Neo-Liberal Capitalism Compared...       242
             Employment & Wages             ...    ...    ... ...       245
             Trade Unions            ...     ...   ...    ... ...       251
             Worker Participation – A Move Towards More Just
                     Work Structures         ...   ...    ... ...       257
             Reform of the Institution of the Corporation ... ...       259
             Worker Co-operatives            ...   ...    ... ...       261
             Epilogue       ...      ...     ...   ...    ... ...       262

             BIBLIOGRAPHY          ...     ...     ...    ...     ...   267



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