Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“Occupy Wall Street:” NYT Tuesday, October 18, 2011 [Front Page Above the Centerfold]. “Countless Grievances, One Thread: We’re Angry.

What is the True Thread?

The dignity of the working person. What is the problem? The presumption that the problem is in the structure, and that the solution is in the change of the structure.

The Catholic Church proposes that the problem is other: the respect for the human person whose ontological architecture is in the image of God – Who is a triple Relation, Father, Son and Spirit. For the person to achieve his sense of unique dignity as image of God, there must be relation to him and relation from him. The relation to him must be Love and love; the relation from him must be work as gift (love). The persistent misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the person’s fundamental structure is now – finally – emerging now across the boards. This could be the real beginning of the Third Millennium.

The Church teaches: Primacy of Persons Over Structures

“(S)he considers that the first thing to be done is to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the individual and to the permanent need for inner conversion, if one is to achieve the economic and social changes that will truly be at the service of man.

“The priority given to structures and technical organization over the person and the requirements of his dignity is the expression of a materialistic anthropology and is contrary to the construction of a just social order.

“On the other hand, the recognized priority of freedom and of conversion of heart in no way eliminates the need for unjust structures to be changes. It is therefore perfectly legitimate that those who suffer oppression on the part of the wealthy or the politically powerful should take action, through morally licit means, in order to secure structures and institutions in which their rights will be truly respected.

“It remains true however that structures established for people’s good are of themselves incapable of securing and guaranteeing that good. The corruption which in certain countries affects the leaders and the state bureaucracy, and which destroys all honest social life, is a proof of this. Moral integrity is a necessary condition for the health of society. It is therefore necessary to work simultaneously for the conversion of hearts and for the improvement of structures. For the sin which is at the root of unjust situations is, in a true and immediate sense, a voluntary act which has its source in the freedom of individuals. Only in a derived and secondary sense is it applicable to structures, and only in this sense can one speak of ‘social sin.’

(…) “Systematic recourse to violence put forward as the necessary path to liberation has to be condemned as a destructive illusion and one that opens the way to new forms of servitude. One must condemn with equal vigor violence exercised by the powerful against the poor, arbitrary action by the police, and any form of violence established as a system of government…. Nor can one accept the culpable passivity of the public powers in those democracies where the social situation of a large number of men and women is far from corresponding to the demands of constitutionally guaranteed individual and social rights…

“The culture which our age awaits will be marked by the full recognition of the dignity of human work, which appears in all its nobility and fruitfulness in the light of the mysteries of creation and redemption. Recognized as an expression of the person, work becomes a source of creative meaning and effort.

“Thus the solution of most of the serious problems related to poverty is to be found in the promotion of tr a true civilization of work. In a sense, work is the key to the whole social question. [See John Paul II’s “On Human Work” #6 where he explains that work is not only the creation of objective goods as object, but the development of the person of the worker as subject. The reason is that the worker must master and subdue himself in order to subdue and master the earth making it his as private property. But once his, the private property must enter into the dynamic of his metaphysical makeup (imaging the Relational God) as relation to others, and private property becomes gift (to be remunerated). Thus the person achieves his ontological dignity in the work process].

“A work culture such as this will necessarily presuppose and put into effect a certain number of essential values. It will acknowledge that the person of the worker is the principle, subject and purpose of work. It will affirm the priority of work over capital and the fact that material goods are meant for all. It will be animated by a sense of solidarity involving not only rights to be defended but also the duties to be performed. It will involve participation, aimed at promoting the national and international common good and not just defending individual or corporate interests. It will assimilate the methods of confrontation and of frank and vigorous dialogue.

(…) “A culture which recognizes the eminent dignity of the worker will emphasize the subjective dimension of work.

“The value of any human work does not depend on the king of work done; it is based on the fact that the one who does it is a person. There we have an ethical criterion whose implications cannot be overlooked….

“The priority of work over capital place an obligation oin justice upon employers to consider the welfare of the workers before the increase of profits. They have a moral obligation not to keep capital unproductive and, in making investments, to think first of the common good. The latter requires a prior effort to consolidate jobs or create new ones in the production of goods that are really useful.

“The right to private property is inconceivable without responsibilities oto the common good. It is subordinated to the higher principle which states that goods are meant of all.”[1]

[1] SCDF “Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation,” March 22, 1986, #75-87.

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