TRADE UNION BAN DENOUNCED
Jesuit speaks to T.U.C. delegates
TIRADE union practices which deny a man the God-given I right to work were denounced by Fr. Charles Pridgeon, S.J., Principal of the Catholic Workers' College, in a sermon at Brighton on the eve of the openirig of the Trade Union Congress.
"Let the unions remember," he said, "that the right to work comes from God, not from them."
Fr. Pridgeon was preaching on Sunday evening at a special Solemn Benediction for the Catholic delegates in St. John the Baptist's Church.
More Catholics than ever before are among the delegates. Those known to be Catholics total nearly 70.
Fourteen of these hold national rank in the movement, including two members of the T.U.C. General Council.
"The deliberations of the T.U.C.," he said, "are not only vital to 9.000.000 workers, to 50,000,000 people of Britain, but they focus the attitude of Labour throughout the earth.
"They focus man the worker as God made him in a fundamental aspect.
'Till the earth'
"God gave man gifts of reason and free will. Man was to be set in a world of goods and riches. He gave us the earth and minerals and His primary command was: 'Till the earth.'
"Deep down in this is written God's own word—the obligation to work which is part of the very nature of us that He made.
"He has said that the fruits of the earth are for man's use for all men.
"By working we develop our talents and grow into the people that God wanted.
"Now, you delegates, have you ever seen an unemployed man? Have you ever sensed the frustration, the indignity of being cast aside?
"Man was born to work as a bird is to fly, and he has an inviolable fundamental right to work and to the means to work.
"That right was not created by trade unions. Unions are meant to give. not to take away.
"Yet, because a man who has tried to get work has no card, his fellowmen protest. They refuse to work alongside a non-unionist, refuse him sustenance for himself and his family.
"Of course, this can sometimes be valid, but not in all circumstances. In our modern world let the unions remember that the right to work comes from God, not from them.
"The tendency in industry, and in some unions, is to expel, to exclude, to bar, to humiliate men.
"A man ought to join a union but not against his free will. You must respect a man's free will. You must not penalise him."
Duty to work
Fr. Pridgeon then dealt with productivity, "a blessed thing."
"The urgent problem of the whole world is more and more output, more materials, not for selfish gain but to help the whole world.
"'Increase and multiply,' was the command. It doesn't matter whether
you, or you, have a lot or little, but all must have enough. Gross inequality of the needs of a man can be caused by unscrupulous individuals.
"Pope Leo XIII has reminded us that the differences in society arc a positive help to mankind, but they must be enough for a modest portion, which is every man's right by his own effort.
"None of you here wants to live on charity. on doles, do you? Surely to God you want to feel and say ; 'That is mine by my own sweat.'
"When we turn to outside help we feel ashamed.
"There must be a good 'family wage,' a wage to enable us to live a decent Christian life. Unfortunately, in some industries, we are miles from it.
"The young man in industry will need the inspiration of you older men. There must be no slackness, no deceit, only honesty—and that goes for both sides. "It is a Christian and sacred duty to work, not for greed, but to bring forth a sense of serving God.
"The whole seven days of the week, the whole 24 hours.of the day must be given to the service of God.
"Make your employer your friend. Share his problems, his doubts, his difficulties."
After Benediction, a reception was held for the delegates and Catholic aldermen and councillors and visiting British and overseas clergy, organised by the Brighton branch of Association of Catholic Trade Unionists and the Brighton Catholic Club.
Among those present at Benediction and at the reception were Mr. A. Okloma, president of the trade union movement in Uganda, Fr. T. Enright, S.J., from the U.S.A., Fr. Leo O'Hea, S.J., former Principal of the Catholic Women's College, Fr. G. Callies, S.J., who has written a thesis on British industry, Mr. George Woodcock, assistant general secretary of the T.U.C., Mr. J. O'Hagan and Mr. T. Walsh, of Middlesbrough, Mr. Tom O'Brien, Councillor R. Gillies, of Preston, Councillor F. Edge, of Durham, Mr. R. P. Walsh and Mr. A. Vitoria, of A.C.T.U., Mr. H. E. Mathews, of Epsom, Mr. A. Rawcliffe, J.P., of Preston, Mr. J. Conroy, of Sunderland, Mr. G. Dempsey, of Belfast, and Mr. W. R. Zahara, from Malta. Fr. A. P. Flanagan, parish priest, and Mr. Walsh received the guests.