The family – the basic building block of society (part two)

demographic decline

In the first part I wrote about the situation of families that do have children. However, have you thought recently about how old the population looks when you go out onto the street? This is not just because people are living longer. Where are the prams, pushchairs and babies? Pope Francis has talked about how we are moving towards a “demographic winter”.

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“Now, I’m a Union Man”? – Catholic social teaching and trade unions

Stikes

The band “The Strawbs”, perhaps most famous for “Now, I’m a Union Man”, was formed at St. Mary’s before it was a university (they were originally called “The Strawberry Hill Boys”). The lyrics of that song, don’t really accord with Catholic social teaching on unions (“I say what I think, that the company stinks”…”With a hell of a shout, it’s ‘Out brothers, out!’ And the rise of the factory’s fall”…“And I always get my way If I strike for higher pay”…), but it is a good song and forms an interesting preface to an article on Catholic social teaching and trade unions.

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The Call of Creation

October 4th was the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecologists and animals. The day brought to an end the season the Catholic Church describes as “The Season of Creation”. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales also chose that day to launch a considerably revised, new edition of its teaching document on the environment – The Call of Creation.

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Building global bridges rather than national walls

It can be argued that there should be a natural empathy amongst Catholics for globalisation. The Catholic Church desires to take the faith to the ends of the earth. Given this, why should commercial and cultural relationships not extend across borders too? Furthermore, it could be asked whether the hostility to foreigners or instinct for self-preservation (even if misguided) which often accompanies protectionism is a healthy way to conduct political, civil and economic relationships. Pope Francis, for example, has exhorted President Trump to build “bridges rather than walls”, referring to the former US president’s desire to reduce migration from Mexico using physical constraints.

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Social justice – is there a conflict between Hayek’s liberalism and Catholic social thought?

Hayek

The term “social justice” leads to a lot of sabre rattling in Catholic social teaching circles. Greater attention to its meaning, including to some of the ambiguities about its meaning, might be helpful in promoting more fruitful discussion. Debates are often clouded by bringing F. A. Hayek’s disdain for the whole idea of social justice into the discussion. Supporters of a free economy, in the spirit of Hayek’s work, are therefore pitted against supporters of social justice in Catholic social thought. Constructive dialogue is impeded.

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