Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" (4/29/10 letter to the Times of Trenton)

Diana Groden, Letters Editor
The Times of TrentonTrenton, New Jersey

Dear Ms. Groden,

In her April 28th letter, Eileen Senn rightly points out that Catholic Social Teaching champions labor unions. Yet, she appears to insinuate that labor unions are therefore beyond criticism. The Vatican's "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" (which Ms. Senn herself cites) offers several specific cautions:
“unions may not misuse the tools of contention….
"they must overcome the temptation of believing that all workers should be union-members,
"they must be capable of self-regulation and be able to evaluate the consequences that their decisions will have on the common good….
"they should not be forced to submit to the decisions of political parties nor be too closely linked to them”

With regard to the the priorities of Catholic Social Teaching, I believe that Pope John Paul II explained it best:
The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination (Christifideles Laici, 1988)

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