"What must one think of the exclusion of a worker from his job because he is not welcome to the union, of the forced stoppage of work for political ends, of the losing of oneself on many wrong paths, which lead far from the true well-being and from the invoked unity of the working class ? ", the Pope asked 30,000 Catholic workers on Tuesday when he received members of the Italian Catholic Workers' Association.
This reference to what might have been our own dock strike came in a passage of his speech reminding Catholic workers that the Trade Union organisation is not everything.
" But if the present form of union organisation comes to endanger the scope of the workers' movement, then the Association certainly would not fail to see the duty of vigilance and of action which the gravity of the situation would demand.
" It is concerned to-day with important reforms in the national economy, in the face of which a class struggle founded on enmity and hate would risk compromising the union ideal, if not driving it cornpletely to ruin. Therefore, you must see that Christianity prevails in the union, then it will prosper to the advantage of the workers.
" The future of the unions themselves," the Pope continued, "depends on the faith, or lack of it, in keeping to that goal, whenever these aim at the exclusive , domination in the State and in society.
" if they should attempt to exercise an absolute power over the worker, if they should reject the strict sense of justice and the sincere will to collaborate with other social classes, they would fail in the expectations and hopes that every honest and conscientious worker places in them."
DISCONTENT Earlier in his speech the Holy Father warned the workers of the danger of too exclusive a concentration on the question of monetary wages.
"Everywhere one notes a sense of ill-will and of discontent. The worker is not satisfied with his fate or with that of his family. He affirms that his gains are not proportionate to his needs. No one more than the
Church has supported and defends the just demands of the worker. " But are such alleged disproportions and insufficiencies due always, and only, to the smallness of the gain? Does not the increase of needs count for anything? Without doubt, there are necessities that must be urgently satisfied-education of children, the healthy refreshment of the spirit and body.
But we mean to refer those other exigencies, which show how the modern anti-Christian, immoderate desires of pleasure and thoughtlessness tend to penetrate even in the world of the worker.
" The difficult economic conditions during the war made it impossible to save, but even nowadays people have no longer the sense and the idea of it. And in such conditions of mind, how can they have a clear and upright sense of responsibility in the use and administration of public money for houses, social insurance, health services?
" How can they assume that collective responsibility in the direction of the entire economy of the country, to which the working classes aspire, above all now when we have the grave sore of unemployment which cannot be healed with demagogy but only with reasoning and
discipline; not with the expenditure of great sums to remedy only the immediate needs of the moment but wise and far-sighted provisions?
" From this follows the difficult,