Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
Tomorrow is Labor Day, a day in which we remember the great efforts of those who labor in this Country to help give us the infrastructure and privileges that we enjoy as Americans. We are also conscious of the many efforts over the past several decades and century to sow discord between the various social classes and races, which have often led to civil strife, disruption to our way of life; and, at worst, hatred for our fellow neighbors.
In thinking of the recent events in Charlottesville, and in considering the Labor Day holiday, I thought immediately of Pope Leo XIII. Although in his Encyclical, Rerum Novarum, he is specifically speaking of human labor, he addresses and condemns this social disruption where various forces seek to pit neighbor against neighbor. Yes, there are issues and those who seek to denigrate the dignity of man, each having been created in the image and likeness of God. These efforts must be resisted. However, for most of us, we can not allow these forces to reduce us to hatred and hostility for our neighbors. Our Lord has commanded us to love our neighbors. If you have never read Rerum Novarum, I encourage you to do so. It can be found on the Vatican’s web page. In the meantime, please find a selection from Pope Leo’s famous encyclical and mediate upon it this upcoming week, especially in light of recent events and various forces on the right and the left which seek to divide and force us to live in mutual conflict.
Have a blessed week ahead!
“In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently – who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment – they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.
The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth. Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital. Mutual agreement results in the beauty of good order, while perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and savage barbarity. Now, in preventing such strife as this, and in uprooting it, the efficacy of Christian institutions is marvellous and manifold. First of all, there is no intermediary more powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and the working class together, by reminding each of its duties to the other, and especially of the obligations of justice.” – Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII