The lack of substantial articles in the National Catholic Reporter concerning Labor Day this year stirred me up to get back to my blog.
The blog started last year after my month-long researched Labor Day article was rejected by the National Catholic Reporter. Editor Tom Fox asked me to do the article, but it was rejected because they said I was too close to the entities I was discussing. N.C.R. wanted journalistic objectivity which of course doesn’t really exist. No compensation was offered for my work. The work included many long distance phone calls, fascinating personal interviews with Catholic officials in San Francisco, a phone interview with one of the last of the “labor priests” in Pennsylvania, and being immersed in a controversy and resolution of the controversy between the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and the Milwaukee Immigrant Workers Center, Voces de la Frontera.
After the article was rejected and just before Labor Day 2009, Joanne and I traveled to London to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and one year old grandson. I was angry about the article being rejected, but taking care of our grandson Sean submerged my anger. I did discuss the article and rejection with my son Joel. He suggested putting the article on a blog and doing some writing on “Catholic Social Teaching.” I followed his advice and I have a blog. Not many read the blog, but it is a great outlet and I’ve learned a lot doing it.
Looking back I feel I shouldn’t have been so shocked at the N.C.R. rejecting my article. After all, what commitment does the N.C.R. have to Catholic Social teaching? I suspect the answer is NONE! Granted, with arguments based on Catholic Social Teaching, N.C.R. held Briggs & Stratton C.E.O. and professional R.C. John Shiely’s feet to the fire for moving thousands of jobs from Milwaukee in 1994. I promoted the article. Briggs responded with a ridiculous $30 million liable suit which was thrown out as soon as it went to court. Does the Briggs’ lawsuit mark the beginning of the quest for “objective journalism” by N.C.R.? If so, the law suit was not ridiculous – Briggs won!
Let us fast forward to Labor Day 2010. Harley Davidson, iconic Milwaukee manufacturer of motorcycles, blackmailed workers into accepting massive concessions. There were no complaints from the N.C.R. Late this summer Catholic Social teaching was cited as the reason for Marquette University reneging on a contract with a lesbian who was hired as a social studies Dean. Such bizarre reasoning could only be described as Orwellian. There was no challenge from N.C.R.
Catholic Social Teaching as once defined is gone. As I hope to show, the original Encyclical, Rerum Novarum presented by Leo XIII, had developed into a coherent rationale for social change. Some called it the Roman Catholic Church’s best kept secret, but now it is a deliberately suppressed secret.