St. Stephen Cathedral Mass
Blessed Sacrament Chapel Mass
Published on April 1st, 2011
I am at Mount St. Joseph this week-end, working on an Engaged Encounter. This is a wonderful retreat experience that helps engaged couples to prepare for their marriage. In this day and time, when there are so many forces attacking the sanctity of marriage, it is imperative that the Church provide all we can to support couples who answer the call to this sacramental vocation. Please pray for those men and women who are with me this weekend and for all those preparing for marriage.
In recent weeks there has been much in the news, at least before the crisis in Japan, about the move in Wisconsin and other states to disband some of the unions in those states or to limit workers’ rights to collective bargaining. Although I have not followed all the arguments closely, nor do I have an appreciation for the fiscal challenges confronting those states, I do want to say something about unions. One of the major elements of Catholic social teaching, ever since 1891 and the publication of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (“Of New Realities”), has been support of workers to form labor unions. That right has been endorsed most recently by the current pope, Benedict XVI, in his own 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate (“Love in truth”). In that document, Pope Benedict spoke of the “repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights.”
These associations or unions “must therefore be honored today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.” However, that fundamental right of workers to bargain collectively with their employers has been under direct attack from a variety of fronts. My comments should not be taken as an endorsement of every stance taken by a particular union, nor to imply that union members should not be wiling to compromise and sacrifice for the sake of the common good, but, as Catholics, we need to know what our church teaches and we must support the right of workers to collective bargaining.
Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of our annual Fish Fry on the 25th. Everyone had a wonderful evening. Check out the pictures on our webpage.
Love, Fr. John