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

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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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No-one is born a slave

What is modern slavery? The UK introduced the Modern Slavery Act into legislation in England and Wales in 2015, partly in response to the growing referrals of suspected cases into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The Act defines slavery as servitude and forced or compulsory labour. This incorporates a broad range of situations, including forced criminality; sexual exploitation; removal of organs; and securing services by force, threat or abuse, including from children and vulnerable people.

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The elderly – the roots of our society

Every year on the third Sunday of June, The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales invites people to celebrate a Day for Life. Its primary purpose, as outlined by St John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, is “to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church and in civil society a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition”. Building on last year’s theme of “care at the end of life”, this year, the bishops are inviting the faithful to reflect on protecting and valuing old age.

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Is there a right to die? Assisted suicide, assisted dying and changing the law

‘To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it’. These words from G.K. Chesterton’s A Short History of England are a salutary reminder to those who claim certain rights. And now, not for the first time, a new right has been proposed: the right to die. Over the last few years a number of bills advocating for a change in the law to allow for assisted dying or a right to die have been brought before Parliament. All have so far failed. Yet, the assisted suicide campaign continues.

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