"Labour and Justice: The Worker in Catholic Social Teaching is a valuable addition to the literature on the social teaching of the Church. Gavan Duffy places the reader in the centre of a dialogue about the presence of Christ and the mission of the Church in questions of social and political responsibility." Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
Gavan Duff's book is a first of its kind. It deals specifically with the development of Catholic social thought in its application to the rights and duties of labour.
Beginning with sacred Scripture, the book looks at biblical teaching on 'the worker' in both the Old and New Testaments, before examining the effect of the advent of Christianity on the Roman Empire.
Labour and Justicethen traces the evolution of slavery in the ancient world to serfdom during the early medieval period. It looks at the development of the 'guild system' in which the Church was a major participant, and at the impact of the Reformation and the advent of the Industrial Revolution - the consequences of which were to bring about the division of society into Capitalist and Proletarian classes.</>
Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, promulgated in 1891, was in many ways the Church's answer to The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels published in 1848. Beginning with Leo XIII, often called the 'worker's pope', the Church has built a body of teaching on labour and capital through the encyclicals and statements of successive popes, up to the present time. This body of teaching as been augmented by Gaudium et Spes, one of the documents of Vatican II, by Vatican submissions to international forums, and by the declarations of episcopal conferences. Gavan Duffy discusses the application and interpretation of the encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno by those notable men of letters, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Keith Chesterton, whose writings have had a profound effect on Catholic social thought since the late 1920s.
The author examines the antinomy between Catholic social thought in its application to the employee and many of the practices of what he terms 'neo-liberal capitalism', or, in its global application, the philosophy of 'Globalism', arguing that the ascendancy of the neo-liberal philosophy has resulted in a regression of employee rights, as many of the nineteenth-century attitudes to labour reappear. Once again, labour is increasingly regarded by capital and government, as merely one more factor in the processes of production.$50.00