“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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Listening to faith communities – lessons for Labour

Interfaith

Listening to the Archbishop of Canterbury speak on ‘reconciliation’ the other day at Digby Stuart College, I was reminded of my time working as the first ever faith advisor appointed at Cabinet level in the UK. While the current Archbishop had worked out a series of steps by which to address reconciliation in a variety of contexts, back then the argument was who best, and how best, for faith voices to be heard or engaged by government as a prelude to building up social harmony and collaboration in UK society. The whole approach was, for a while, qualified by long lists of ‘who not to talk to’ even if they were going to be key to the future.

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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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Research in Service of Catholic Education – Part II: Interviews with Friends and Colleagues of Professor Grace

In the interview with Professor Grace mentioned in Part I of this post, I asked him about the areas where he believed more research was needed. He suggested three main areas: (i) Catholic Education and service for the Poor; (ii) the effectiveness of the spiritual, moral and social cultures of Catholic schools; (iii) the education and formation of Catholic school leaders and teachers. These themes are echoed by his friends and colleagues in interviews conducted over the last six months that are available in a compilation from the Global Catholic Education project. The interviews are organized around the following questions:

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Service learning and social justice – a new innovation at St. Mary’s University

St. Mary’s University is launching a new degree programme. It is coming to the end of its validation process and will be formally “on the books” from February. Students will be able to join the programme from September 2022, but they can apply now. For the next month, we are currently advertising it “subject to validation” as the regulations require. The programme is probably unique in the UK. It will be called: “MA in Social Justice and Public Service”. 

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