Tuesday, October 18, 2011



shema yisra’el Adonai ’elohenu Adonai ’ehad. Duet. 6:4
Hear, O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is one.

An opinion: elohenu is the God of nature, the philosophers – e.g. Aristotle’s uncaused cause, Stephen Hawking’s big bang and final crunch. elohenu retaliates with anger and requires sacrifice.

Adonai reveals a presence; Adonai is the Father – Mother of all; Abba of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets. Adonai supports the struggle for justice; advocates and acts for the poor. Adonai is truly only one.

The model, the documents and comments listed are based on notes taken at a seminar in the summer of 03 given by Dr. Christine Firer Hinze of Fordham University, formerly of Marquette University and recognized expert on the work of labor priest John Ryan. (1865-1945) The seminar was one of many graciously given by Dr. Hinze for interns and other labor associates of the Faith Community for Worker Justice in Milwaukee. Dr. Hinze also participated in the annual “Labor in the Pulpits Program.” The New Sanctuary Movement of Voces de la Frontera now sponsors “Predicatores de Justicia” for the May 1st Labor Day since the Faith Community for Worker Justice of the Milwaukee Labor Council folded.

Some additions and deletions were made to Dr. Hinze’s notes. As the discussion continues more changes will be made. Notable points are listed, but it is recognized that such an abbreviation does not really represent the richness and complexity of the Encyclicals.


1891  Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII, Workers’ right to organize.

1919  Program for Social Reconstruction, U.S. Bishops: Value international & interdenominational cooperation- also, equal pay for equal work for women.

1931  Quadragesimo Anno,  Pope Pius XI: Principle of subsidiarity.


194I –1952  Social Documents, of Pope Pius XII.
1941 Whitsuntide Message,  Pvt. property has social responsibilities.

1943  Xmas Message, Democracy & Peace,  “Corporate” democracy OK. Distrust of “masses.”

1949 To the Representatives of the International Union of Catholic Employers
Associations,  Reaffirm Q.A. Nationalization of assets, with limits, to
protect common good.

1950  To the International Congress of Social Studies, Balance of production with consumption a key issue - free mkt. not the answer. Workers ancient feudal bonds
similar to modern wage slavery.

1952  To the Italian Catholic Association of - Owner Managers: Principle of Solidarity.

1952  Letter to 39th “Social Week” Dijon, France,  Free market does not produce distributive justice.

1952  Radio Address to Austrian Catholics, Overcome class struggle by organic
coordination of employer & employee.

1952  Exul Familia,  Right to migrate.

1952  Xmas Message,  Unrestricted production is not the answer to unemployment.
Advocates international solidarity.

1952  Letter of Mons. Montini (future Pope Paul VI) to Catholic Social Week in Turin, Italy, : Addresses worker alienation. Advocates worker, employer solidarity.

1961 Mater et Magistra,  Pope John XXIII, Social duty of private property, Cf. Pius XII.
Part 1, 41-43. Values collective bargaining. Part 2, 91.

1963 Pacem in Terris,   Pope John XXIII, (John XXIII added, for the first time the salutation "and to all men of good will.")  Dignity of the person is the basis of human rights. Part 1, 8. Right to migrate reaffirmed. Part 1, 25

1963 – 1965 Council Fathers with Pope Paul VI

1964  Unitatis Redintegratio. (On Ecumenism), Advocates cooperation with “separated brethren” on social issues. C. II,12

1964  Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church), The Spirit dwells
in the people. C. I, 4

1965  Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church),: Labor right. to
organize & freely elect leaders. Right to strike. (vs. fascist Spain & Franco) #68

1965  Dignitatis Humanae, (Freedom of Conscience), In all activity man is bound to follow his own conscience. #3

1965  Nostra Aetate, (Relation to Non Christians), Although hostilities in past - make common cause for social justice. #2


1967  Populorum Progressio, (On the Development of Peoples), Paul VI: Neo-colonialism a concern. Free trade is fair only if it is subject to the demands of social justice. Part II, 52 – 58. Unjust political and economic structures denounced. Part I, #21.

1967   Medellin, Colombia Documents, Latin American Bishops: Foundation of Liberation Theology – Political and economic structural change advocated. Pope Paul VI's opening address supports change of oppressive systems and structures. "Comunidades de base" recognized. Task of "Concientizacion."

1971  Octogesimo Adveniens, (Eightieth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum,  Paul VI: Women have equal rights to participate in cultural, economic and political life. #13 Preferential Respect for poor.

1979  Puebla, Mexico Documents,  Latin American Bishops: Visiting Pope J.P. II endorses Liberation Theology. Preferential option for the poor.

1981  Laborem Exercens, (On Work), John Paul II: Labor is prior to capital, Labor Unions indispensible.

1986  Economic Justice for All,  U.S. R.C. Bishops: Use of sociological data.

1987  Solicitudo Rei Socialis, (On Social Concern). , John Paul II: In Solidarity, overcome structures of sin for true liberation. VII, 46

1991  Centesimus Annus, (One hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum),1991, John Paul II: The church values the democratic system in so far as it insures the participation of citizens in making political choices. Chapter 5, #46.


2004  Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice &; Peace, Church doctrine on homosexuality, contraception and abortion is part of the Church social doctrine.
2009  Caritas in Veritate, (Selfless Love in Truth),  Benedict XVI: "Trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating power of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome."
Section 25

2011  Towards Reforming The International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace. Creation of a world political authority to regulate financial markets that cause “inequalities and distortions of capitalist development.”


Paul Lafargue, Karl Marx’ son-in-law, was sentenced to a year in jail for participating in the May 1, 1891 demonstration in Lille, France that turned violent. While in jail Lafargue won an election to become a member of the Lille chamber of deputies. His inaugural speech “caused an uproar among leftist members who might have otherwise supported him by appearing to support the conservative Catholic Church’s ‘Christian socialism’ and question the rectitude of the left’s commitment to separation of church and state.” (Gabriel, Mary, Love and Capital, Little Brown and Company, New York, 2011, pp. 558 – 561.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This blog is an attempt to present Catholic Social Teaching as it developed from Rerum Novarum in 1891 to the present. Some references to current problems are made within the historical context of the documents being considered and the church leaders of the time. In some instances reference will be made to future documents and the radical shift provided by Vatican II.

The topic we are now discussing is: Democracy, Equality and the Simple Life as seen by Pius XII. The previous posting was on Democracy; now we will consider Equality.

Before the posting on Equality, there will be an article on a demonstration in Chicago concerning the Obama administrations “Secure Communities” program.

The next ‘aside’ will be a post listing the major Vatican pronouncements on Catholic Social Teaching since 1891 including Rerum Novarum along with key concepts from the documents.

Protesting "Secure Communities" (from Voces de la Frontera Newspaper, Sept. 2011).

By Bill Lange, New Sanctuary Movement of Voces de la Frontera

On August 18th, Voces members Jim Cusack, Ken Greening and I traveled to the Haymarket Monument in Chicago to attend a press conference held before an Advisory Task Force hearing on “Secure Communities.”

The Haymarket is the site of the 1886 demonstration for the eight-hour day led by immigrant workers. Mounted police attempted to break up that rally and several policemen and some workers were killed. Labor leaders were indicted and falsely accused of murder. Four were hanged, only one of them a native English speaker. They are called the “Haymarket Martyrs.”

But is it any better today? At the press conference, Father Brendan Curran, O.P. of St. Pius V parish in Chicago, lamented the breakup of families with the “Secure Communities” program under the Obama administration. In Milwaukee, Voces is swamped with families looking for loved ones who have been picked up by law enforcement.

The advisory task force hearing took place at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ hall located around the corner from the Haymarket Monument. The meeting started with controversy as some were not allowed into the hall because of capacity restrictions. Jim Cusack of Voces was the first speaker: “It’s outrageous to incarcerate our neighbors – to make them fearful of even going to church,” he said.

Several in the crowd had enough of talking and took to the street. They blocked Randolph Street; buses threatened them, but protesters refused to move. Many were sitting in the street. A group of musicians were drumming as other danced around police who attempted to remove them. Young people with t-shirts reading “Undocumented” shuffled onto the street despite the police and chanted, “We are not afraid, we are not afraid!” Some protesters were arrested, but there was no violent action by the demonstrators.

Jenny Dale of the Chicago New Sanctuary Movement commented, “We should all be inspired by these courageous young people who take to the street in the struggle for justice.”

The next day, President Obama announced major changes to US deportation policy. It remains to be seen if this will actually grant some relief to immigrant workers.

Check this link for article and photos: http://vdlf.org/userimages/pdfs/2011-09-newspaper.pdf