Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More on CST and the Occupy Movement

Over at The Theology Salon, Fr. Thomas Massaro SJ, Professor of Moral Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, reflects on Labor and Work in Catholic Social Teaching and the Occupy Movement:
Pope John Paul II began his 1981 encyclical letter Laborem Exercens(On Human Work) with the stunning claim that “work as a human issue is at the very center of the ‘social question.’” This pope who had held some interesting jobs himself during his lifetime (factory hand, actor, mineworker) reminded his readers that “the Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to help to guide changes so as to ensure authentic progress by man [sic] and society.

”In many ways, the agenda of the Occupy movement reflects this same set of concerns. As diffuse and disputed as its agenda may be, the Occupy movement has called unprecedented attention to the great imbalances in power and material outcome experienced by Americans today. One could quibble with the movement’s tactics and demands or even with its math (that overly simplistic motif of the 99% and the 1%), but you would have to possess a very large blind spot indeed not to notice the ambient social inequities surrounding us today.

At the very root of many of these disparities and inequities is human work. One need not subscribe to a crass Marxism to recognize that work arrangements do indeed determine the life prospects for just about all of us. The way that labor is divided, distributed and remunerated makes a huge difference in promoting or frustrating the attainment of social justice.
The rest of the reflection is here.