Page 8, 8th May 1953

8th May 1953
Page 8
Page 8, 8th May 1953 — 'BROADEN OUTLOOK

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Locations: Strasbourg


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The Pope tells workers

From a Political Correspondent

I1' is a mistake to think that the workers' interests are served Codas' by the old methods of class warfare, the Pope told some 4,000 Italian workers last Friday on Labour Day.

The Holy Father turned their thoughts out to the opportunities of a United Europe.

The problem of unemployment now afflicting Italy and other Wes tern countries, he said, can best be solved within the framework of a United Europe.

But the Holy Father also warned that efforts to achieve economic unity, if they are to succeed, must not lose sight of the just rights of the worker and his family.

The Holy Father's hricf but pointed statement is a challenge not only to Governments, international bodies and established institutions like the European Coal and Steel Community, but to Catholic employers and trade unionists striving in their own respective spheres to "make the New Europe."

"Without any doubt," said the Pope, the advantages of a Europcan economy do not consist simply in a unified extended area in which the so-called mechanism of the market regulates production and consumption.

"lt is even more important to aim not only at the construction of a European economy, but also—within the limits of competition—at the stabilisation of a truly social life and the healthy development of the amity from one generation to an, ther.


"This is the sole way in which

peoples with an abundance of large

lamilies—as in Italy can bring to, the European economy the vital contribution of their wealth in manpower and their capacity as consumcrs.

"The efforts now being made to give unity to Europe--and it does rot matter what the method of unification may be provided if it is effective—also entail the setting up of new conditions for its economic development,"

In relating the chronic problem of labour and unemployment to the comparatively new and wider probIcm of European unity, the Holy Father once again brought the vague ,Ind often technical discussion of the planners right down to earth. For

though a high and encouraging pro portion of delegates to the various organs of a body like the "Schuman Plan" Community are ChristianDemocrats, their interest is still largely taken up with narrower difetiltles.


Among the many questions dealt with in the four years since the Counei1 of Europe was founded at Strasbourg -either as resolutions passed by delegates or as practical projects for joint-action by member-Governments—the question of unemploy ment is a notable omission.

This was partly due, of course, to the number of more pressing, interrelated problems demanding prompt consideration, especially in the sickly post-war condition of Europe's economy, And it is arguable that in planning to solve such key problems as Europe's adverse balance of trade and payments, the planners were paving the way for a cure of unemployment difficulties.

On the other hand, the establishment of the High Authority of the Coal and Steel Community brings closer the conditions m which national unemployment in these basic industries can be virtually eliminated, at least within the six natinns which belong to the Community.

For, as the President of the High Authority has insisted, the treaty which brought it into being is Europe's "first anti-trust law giving a mandate to dissolve cartels, forbi restrictive practices, andrevent excessive concentration of p economic powers."

By dissolving customs barriers, it also creates a great free-trading area which should provide continuous employment for the miners and steelworkers of Italy, France. Western Germany and the Benelux lands.

While the Coal and Steel Community is thus a blueprint which can be adapted to other industries (e.g., agriculture), many obstacles have to he overcome before even it is working smoothly. Hence the significance of the Holy Father's speech at this stage.

In another section of his address. the Pope said: "We very readily recognise the worth of numerous measures taken in rcccnt times on hehalf of the workers. But how mane more remain to he taken."


Referring to unemployment in Italy, the Holy Father spoke of his great sadness in thinking of the masses of people deprived of the means of a decent living, both the workless and casual labourers.

"Yet if Italy suffers grievously from unemployment, this evil afflicts other nations as well. All Europe is affected by it more or less. And it is clear to any detached onlooker that lack of work does not depend, at any rate in these days, merely on the bad will and abuse of power of those who shnuld provide it. It is a mistake to think that the workers' interests are served by the old methods of class warfare.

The problem of lal.our has become a broader problem in which the whole of Europe is involved. And the efforts now being made to unite Europe should also entail the est.ahlishment of new conditions for its economic development.

"What is certain is that the Church, now as always, takes the part of the worker when he suffers because of an unjust labour contract, or when collective labour agreements are not respected, or when his juridical. economic and social conditions can he bettered without injury to the rights of others."


The Pope finally gave a definition of the Christian meaning of Labour Day "It is." he said. "a day on which we venerate and adore more intensely the God-Man Who spent most of His lift working with his hands. It is a day of thanksgiving to God on the part of those who provide a tranquil, peaceful life for themselves and their fainiiies.

'it is a day on which is affirmed the will to overcome class warfare and hatred with the strength which is drawn from the realisation of social justice, mutual respect and fraternal charity for the love of Christ.

"It is, finally, a day on which believing mankind promises to create by the labour of men's minds and hands is culture that gives glory to God and brings man ever closer to Him."

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