Page 12, 7th May 1937

7th May 1937
Page 12
Page 12, 7th May 1937 — " Divini Redernptoris"

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" Divini Redernptoris"

Summary of Sett:Eons 36-45 in the Cath.ofic Herald for April 30.

In this part of his Encyclical His Holiness is concerned with elaborating the means whereby Christ and Christian civilisation can be safeguarded against the Communist attack.

Communism's weapon is that of physical force, but the Church, depends on its spiritual resources. It is by a. spiritual renewal in Llictrisolves that the iaithi.111 vill be able to overthrow the enemy. Arid this renewal will be manifested in a changed ail itmle towards material things. The .Fricyelieal convgnently calls for a more .complete detachment. from this world's goods on the part of the rich, and the exhibition of a more generous charity towards the peer. From the less fortunate members Dr the community it asks for the patience that is based on faith.

Christian Charity

46, Still more important as a remedy for the evil we are considering, or certainly more directly calculated to cure it, is the precept of charity. We have in mind that Christian charity, " patient and kind," which avoids all semblance of demeaning paternalism, and all ostentation; that charity which from the very beginning of Christianity won to Christ the poorest of the poor, the slaves. And We are grateful to all those members of charitable associations, from the conferences of St. Vincent de Paul to the recent great relieforganisations, which are perseveringly practising the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The more the workingmen and the poor realise what the spirit of love animated by the virtue of Christ is doing for them, the more readily will they abandon the false persuasion that Christianity has lost its efficacy and that the Church stands on the side of the exploiters of their labour.

" The precept of charity."

The Church has this at least in common with ConinianiStra, that it recognises that the

regim6 oeoff mak Liberalism is unjust. 731,1 there the agree:neat ends. The Church does not regard itself as condentnell to impotence on acemint of the system; it can work within an evil system by exercising charity inanodifying its evil effects. Communism, en the other hand, refuses all but revolutionary action''Iiiiti is willing even to aceentuate the evils of 'Capitalism in order to inflame the workers' hatred of it. The Church .iinis at increasing charity, Communism rubes on haie. The fine worka from within, the other rejects all bot revolutionary methods.

47. But when on the one hand We see thousands of the needy, victims of real misery for various reasons beyond their control, and on the other so many round about them who spend huge sums of money O n useless things and frivolous amusement, We cannot fail to remark with sorrow not only that justice is poorly observed, but that the precept of charity also is not sufficiently appreciated, is not a vital thing in daily life. We desire therefore, Venerable Brethren, that thisadivine precept, this precious mark of identification left by Christ to His true disciples, be ever more fully explained by pen and word of mouth; this precept which teaches .us to see in those who suffeoChrist •Himself, and would have us love our brothers as OurDivine Saviour has loved us, that is, even at the sacriflee of ourselves, and, if need he, of our very life. Let all thenfrequently meditate-on those worth of the final sentence. so con soling yet so terrifying, which the Supreme Judge will pronounce on the day of the East Judgment : "Come, ye blessed of my Father . . . •for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gaye me to drink. . . . Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren you did it to me." And the reverse: " Depart from me, you ceased, into

everlasting fire . for I Was hungry and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. . . . Amen. I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me."

4S. To be sure of eternal life, therefore, and to be able to help the poor effectively, it is imperative to return to a more moderate way of life. to renounce the joys, offal, sinful, which the world today holds out in such abundance; to forget self for love of the neighbour. There is a divine regener ating force in this " new precept " (as Christ called it) of Christian charity. Its faithful observance will pour into the heart an inner peace which the world knows not, and will finally cure the ills which oppress humanity.

Duties of Strict Justice 49. But charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into.constant account. The Apostle teaches that " he that lovetla his neighbour hath fulfilled the law " and he gives the reason: "For, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal . . . and if there he any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." According to the Apostle, then, all the commandments, including those which are of strict justice, as those which forbid us to kill or to steal, may he reduced to the single precept of true charity. From this it follows that a "charity" which deprives the workingman of the salary to which he has a strict title in justice, is not charity at all, but only its empty name and hollow semblance. The wage-earner is not to receive as alms what is his due in justice. And let no one attempt with trifling charitable donations to exempt himself from the great duties imposed by justice. Both justice and charity often dictate obligations touching on the same subjectmatter, but under different aspects; and the very dignity of the workingman makes him justly and acutely sensitive to the duties of others in his regard.

" Charity will never be true eltarity Itt2irRN it takes justice into Constant account."

But though tho Church employs charity as a meats for ameliorating the evils of an unjust system, it does not regard this as euffident. Justice, too, is required.

Some are willing to take advantage of an evil system to do injustiee under a show or legality. 13iit the existence of laws permilting wrottg.doing is no excuse in the eyes or the easurch roe oppression. Though economic' advantaga of the workers' need Liberalism encourages the employeht: tio.out,apketi their acceptance of an inadequate wage, the catholic employer is warned that sin:11 legal " iltStiOe " iEi condemned. The robbery of the worker in this ii iv not atoned for hy giving hint :Is ohlis %%dolt lie ought to hate received as st:iges.

50. Therefore We turn again in a special way to you Christian employers and industrialists, whose _problem is often so difficult for the reason that. you are saddled with the heavy heritage of an unjust economic regime whose ruinous influence has been felt' through many generations. We bid you be mindful of your responsibility. It is unfortunately true that the manner of acting in certain Catholic circles has done rriueli to shake the faith of the workingclasses in the religion of Jesus Christ. These groups have refused to understand that Christian charity demands the recOgnilion of certain rights due to thc workingman, which the Church has explicitly acknowledged. What is to be thought of the action of those Catholic employers who in one place succeeded in preventing the reading of Our Encyclical Quadragesimo anno in their local churches? Or of those Catholic industrialists who even to this day have shown themselves hostile to a labour movement that We Ourselves recommended? Is it not deplorable that the right of private property defended by the Church should so often have been used as a weapon to defraud the workingman of his just salary ad his social rights?

" The manner of acting ,in certain Catholic Cl

Some Catholies have gone further than to avail themselves of an evil system; they have hindered the publication of truth intended to further the establishment of a just social order ev en when proclaimed by Catholic authority. There has been opposition on the part of Catholic employers. to the idea of occupational. groups advocated in papal Eneyclieals. An evil economic system creates difficulties for Chit 001-Ispientious employer, hut to prevent the diffusion of truth the acceptance of which would -remedy the evil is to cooperate with the enemies of God and His " The right of private property."

The Church upholds the right of private property against Communism and so has bean identified with a Capitalism which also insists on that right. It is important therefore to note that in this pa.ssage the Pope separates himself from economic Liberalism by asserting that this right applies not to a smell " propertied" class but to all sections of the community. it is not a class privilege but a universal human right.

". . . shake the faith of the working-classes in the religion of Jesus Christ."

The workers' criticism of Christians as allied with capitalistic exploitation of their class is showy( to be in some measure just1fied, and this has alienated great numbers from the Church. To those who are thus guilty surely apply those terrifying words of Christ : " He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe on Me, it were better for him that a Millstone should be hanged about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depths of the sea. (S, Matt -1,viii,

LTo be Continued.)

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