Saying that the Catholic Social movement was not new, but went back to the time of Our Lord, Mgr. Marshall, Bishop of Salford. presiding at a meeting last Sunday in Blackburn Public Hall, organised by the L.C.W. in commemoration of Reran Novarum, went on: " Jesus Christ upheld the right of the Church to lay down principles for the guidance of her children in matters of justice, charity and truth. The workers of the world in the Middle Ages," he said, " were much happier. even though they had not the amenities which are at the disposal of the workers of to-day. They had security, enjoyed ownership, and their future was secure. Then came the reformation, anti-clericalism and materialism destroying our Christian life and giving us a paganism which has made the lives of the workers a misery."
Mr. Dick Stokes, one of the principal speakers at the rally, pointed out that he wished to stimulate thought on the practical problems of the day. " Life itself," he said, " becomes meaningless unless it is based on sound religious principles and it is the duty of the laity to carry out these principles in social life. The Catholic laity has not done enough but, whilst it is useless to indulge in recrimination, let us one and all be agreed that we have art opportunity of showing a lead to the world on the right foundations of the new society that is to be formed."
Speaking of the obstacles In the way of the reconstruction, he said that whilst people recognise that change is needed, they are very reluctant to do anything.
Protesting against the domination of the land by the wealthy few, he quoted Pope Leo.
" Man's needs .do not die out; but for ever recur; and he finds satisfaction solely in the earth and its fruits." Whilst not recommending confiscation of land, it is urgent to recognise the fundamental error, and to realise that we have been paying landowners for what has been given to us by God. Speaking of money he urged the people to agitate for the restoration to the state of its control.
Mr. Bert Cockett, C.S.G., L.C.W., spoke of the dignity of labour. He cited a case of a mining district just prior to the war where the pit machinery was kept well oiled and cleaned, the pit ponies given every attention, but the miners left to the tender
mercies of the Means Test. "There are those who argue," he said, " that the workers' rights are fully vindicated when they have been paid on a wage level that is established by the state of the labour market by supply and demand. New social theories proopunding that it is the state that matters can find no place for the fact that each worker has a personality that is sacred."
He showed how in pagan times society was based on slavery and contrasted this pagan philosophy with the teaching of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man by the Apostles.
" The social impact of Christianity on the pagan society resulted in the abolition of slavery, the recognition that labour was dignified because it could not be dissociated from the labourer. Then came evil days. Man in his arrogance decided that he could answer all life's problems. For God he substituted gold, and his neighbour became no longer dignified, being but a fit subject for exploitation."
FR. AGNELLUS RECOMMENDS Y.C.W.
Finally Fr. Agnellus, O.F.M., spoke of the Bishop's desire to impress young people with the importance of the social and reliigous problems which beset them. On considering the reason why people outside the Church think that the Church should not interfere in secular matters but should stick to uttering vague, pious, platitudes, he said it is because the ordinary people do not know the Church's teaching in its application to modern life.
He recommended the Y.C.W. movement with its programme of prayer, study and action, for young people, and the L.C.W. for married people with responsibilities.