Daily Series on the Catechism

PART  III:  LIFE IN CHRIST

Section Two:  The Ten Commandments

Chapter 2:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

Article 7,  The Seventh Commandment

IV.  Economic Activity and Social Justice (cont’d)

§ 2434  A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice (cf. Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14-15; James 5:4). In determining fair pay, both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account.

“Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural, and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good” (GS 67 § 2). Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.

§ 2435  Recourse to a strike is morally legitimate when it cannot be avoided, or at least when it is necessary to obtain a proportionate benefit. It becomes morally unacceptable when accompanied by violence, or when objectives are included that are not directly linked to working conditions or are contrary to the common good.

§ 2436  It is unjust not to pay the social security contributions required by legitimate authority.

Unemployment almost always wounds its victim’s dignity and threatens the equilibrium of his life. Besides the harm done to him personally, it entails many risks for his family (cf. LE 18).

V.  Justice and Solidarity Among Nations

§ 2437  On the international level, inequality of resources and economic capability is such that it creates a real “gap” between nations (cf. SRS 14). On the one side, there are those nations possessing and developing the means of growth and, on the other, those accumulating debts.

§ 2438  Various causes of a religious, political, economic, and financial nature today give “the social question a worldwide dimension” (SRS 9). There must be solidarity among nations which are already politically interdependent. It is even more essential when it is a question of dismantling the “perverse mechanisms” that impede the development of the less advanced countries (cf. SRS 17; 45).

In place of abusive if not usurious financial systems, iniquitous [immoral] commercial relations among nations, and the arms race, there must be substituted a common effort to mobilize resources toward objectives of moral, cultural, and economic development, “redefining the priorities and hierarchies of values” (CA 28; cf. CA 35).

Tomorrow – Justice and Solidarity Among Nations (to be continued)

(Part III, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7 – to be continued)

[Editor’s Note:  The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]

  • “CA” – Pope St. John Paul II (May 1991), “Centesimus Annus [Hundredth Year Anniversary of ‘Rerum Novarum’ (Of Revolutionary Change)]”
  • “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
  • “GS” – “Gaudium et Spes [Joy and Hope]”, Vatican Council II
  • “LE” – Pope St. John Paul II (Sept 1981), “Laborem Exercens [The Exercise of Work]”
  • “SRS” – Pope St. John Paul II (Dec 1987), “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis [The Care of the Social Needs]”
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