Unhappy Labor Day; an economy that is ... 'broken'

Dateline: Mon 05 Sep 2011

 The following reflection is from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Before you say you'd never listen to a word those guys say, please give this a read....it cuts to the chase, with Bishop Stephen Blaire saying, "An economy that cannot provide employment, decent wages and benefits, and a sense of participation and ownership for its workers is broken in fundamental ways."

“This Labor Day, the economic facts are stark and the human costs are real: millions of our sisters and brothers are without work, raising children in poverty and haunted by fears about their economic security,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California in “Human Costs and Moral Challenges of a Broken Economy,” the annual Labor Day statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He added, “These are not just economic problems, but also human tragedies, moral challenges, and tests of our faith.”

"Bishop Blaire, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said this Labor Day comes at a time when nine percent of Americans are looking for work and cannot find it, while others live in fear of losing their jobs. He cited Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking encyclical Rerum Novarum as the inspiration for this year’s statement, and added, “We need to look beyond the economic indicators, stock market gyrations, and political conflicts and focus on the often invisible burdens of ordinary workers and their families, many of whom are hurting, discouraged, and left behind by this economy.” He further stated, “An economy that cannot provide employment, decent wages and benefits, and a sense of participation and ownership for its workers is broken in fundamental ways.”

"Bishop Blaire also emphasized the Church’s tradition of supporting the rights of workers to organize to protect their dignity and the dignity of work. “The Church’s relationship with the labor movement is both supportive and challenging. Our Church continues to teach that unions remain an effective instrument to protect the dignity of work and the rights of workers…Workers and their unions, as well as employers and their businesses, all have responsibility to seek the common good, not just their own economic, political, or institutional interests.”

Bishop Blaire concluded by outlining a Catholic response to the economy and joblessness, stating, “We are called to renew our commitment to the God-given task of defending human life and dignity, celebrating work, and defending workers with both hope and conviction. This is a time for prayer, reflection, and action.”


Wilson E. Allen [unverified] said:

Sadly, too many Bishops think their call for social action begins and ends with Right-To-Life photo-ops with reactionary politicians who rail against "entitlement programs" and "predatory unions"

2011-09-05 11:03:00

ruthholl [Member] said:

I think the bishops have a great tradition with American labor. Maybe it's just talk, but I know there was a bishop from Detroit who was very tough on the subject historically.
Overall, there are some Catholic groups within the church that lobby hard on behalf of the poor. I'm going to have to get some names; some of this has been emailed to me in the past, protests of cuts that were before Congress. I just cannot recall the name of the group and I can no longer find the email.

2011-09-05 11:47:29

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

That same California bishop has a dismal record on helping formerly-absued young male parishoners.


Selective indignation/solidarity. I guess it's better than NO indignation/solidarity.

2011-09-05 12:31:00

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

TTT, your point is well-taken.

But as a non-church-attending protestant whose theology aligns most closely with Quaker and modern Mennonite ("make peace, not war"), I am happy when any Christian spokesperson speaks out for the working classes and poor and downtrodden.

I don't go to church anymore because I got tired of attending protestant churches in my geographical area where I was overwhelmed with either right-wing extremism-mixed-with-toxic-religion or apathy on social justice issues.

So, good for the bishop. Preach on.

2011-09-05 14:31:27

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

A hard rain's gonna fall.

2011-09-05 18:50:08

hendy [Member] said:

I think Elmore James, via SRV said it most succinctly:

The sky is crying. Can't you hear the tears rolling down the street.

The bishop's words are great. Naive, but great.
They're a little too sweet, and a little too late.
The US economy has met its fate
And everyone's complaining, as is our trait.

2011-09-05 20:52:31

ruthholl [Member] said:

So this sense of impending death is not just me, eh? Gloom and loss, loss and gloom...Tom, is the bishop song your own?
Hard rain.

2011-09-06 08:25:15

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

And to make matters worse,
"A little-noticed provision of the National Defense Authorization Act would put all terror suspects into immediate military custody, a controversial change that would have significant legal repercussions for the ongoing war on terror."
This is John McCain's doing. It is wrong headed thinking and I would think violates Posse Comitatus.
The Marine Corps and Navy are not covered by Posse Comitatus-- only the Army and Air Force-- and could be activated for police duites here by executive order or even a Pentagon order.

What a slippery slope we might still find outselves on....

2011-09-06 09:04:20

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"So this sense of impending death is not just me, eh? Gloom and loss..."

Here's another way of looking at it, Ruth. From a poem by Cuban independence activist Jose Marti Perez (1853-1895):

"With the poor people of this Earth,
I want to share my lot.
The little streams of the mountains,
please me more than the sea."

2011-09-06 12:17:16

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