We clearly see, and on this there is general agreement, that some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class.Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion. Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself.
Pope Francis Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum
Havning has a look at it, the rest of Rerum Novarum isn’t much better. Supporting labour unions, minimum wages, government regulation of business, state aid for the poor: sectons of it might as well be lifted directly from Das Capital. Shocking.
And, not unlike Papal condemnations of slavery, it’s dismissed as coming from a guy who doesn’t understand economic realities, and who should stick to “religion”.
When it comes to the economy and migration, the Church, while always being nuanced – though not wishy washy – is quite far ”to the left”. Following Jesus *and* basking in the glory of the unrestrained individual exercising its power over others, well that just doesn’t go together. This is true for the woman taking the life of her child, This is true for those who dump the elderly somewhere far from sight, and it is true for the capitalist who makes the employee wear a diaper for the benefit of the bottom line.
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ If we truly takes this seriously, I think we would shudder at the idea of first killing Christ in Mary’s womb, then depriving him of food and water at the Egyptian border as a child refugee, making him wear a diaper as an adult exploited carpenter and finally locking him away and euthanizing him. But then again, perhaps we don’t really believe what Jesus says …