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Whir is the Soria? Policy of the C.atholk Church? (Cpl., R.A.F.)
The answer must take the form of explaining in its broadest outlines what the Holy See has issued on the fundamental social problems.
The Pope's proposals form a remedy which can be worked under any political system whatever—except one whose very principles contradict the natural law, as Communism or State Absolutism. They are simply proposals with which anyone having a true idea of the right constitution of Society must agree. We must point out, too, that names which are often given by various commentators on the encyclical Quadragestmo Anno (the document in which the doctrine is much iniisted upon) to the proposals of His Holiness are often very misleading to the casual reader and that such terms as " Corporativism," " the Corporate State " or " Organic Society " imply tendency whatever to any kind of State Absolutism as opposed to Democracy.
WHAT THE HOLY SEE PROPOSES The practical remedy for social evils proposed is this: that each trade or profession should be so organised that there should exist in it a representative body composed of both employers and employed—these organisations the Pope calls " Groups " or " Corporations " (the name does not matter), and their nearest term 01 comparison is the ancient medieval " Guild." • Thus the present apparently unbridgeable gap between the employers and the employed in their Trade Unions, would be closed by other organisations In which both would be represented.
And the second stage in the remedy — which follows from the first—is this: that there should be a unity between these Corporations which could be connected by representatives from each of them being sent to a National body set up to overlook them all. The chief reason for such an organisation Is that Society—like the human body — is a thing composed of parts which work for the good of the whole; and that just as io the human body the hands, eyes, ears, etc., are necessary to its working well and each has its part to fullil, so in society the various industrial corporations are parts whose good working and whose inter-connection is necessary for the good of the whole of industrial society.
Thus it will be seen that there is offered a solution which avoids the errors of Fascism, Communism, and (what has largely led to them) Individualism or Industrial Liberalism. Communism — besides its attitude to religion—takes away private property. rho Pope's solution retains it but makes it more possible for it to be
used for the good of all. Fascism makes the State the ruler of Man's life; the Pope's remedy makes the State do its proper work of " direct
ing, watching, stimulating, restraining." Present day Capitalism seems to make the workei a mere cog in a machine and to rob him of any personal interest in the trade in which he
6 engaged; corporativism is intended
so to give him an interest in his trade as to give to his work the character and dignity of a vocation, i.e., it is linked up with his life s interests ; and thus these corporations are nut ineptly called " vocational groups," A DEFINITION AND ITS EXPLANATION
We may make the matter clearer by analysing a definition of one of these groups given by a weil-known writer on this subject. " It may be defined," he says, " as a public institution, intermediary between private industry and the State, wnich exists for the purpose of promoting the common good of a profession and of those engsged in the profession " ; that is they are public institutions composed of employers and employees of some particular trade or prolession working together for the common good of the profession, i.e., arranging wages, conditions of work, superannuation, etc. They are " intermediary between the private industry and the State," which does not mean that they abolish private industry, but rather con tiol it for the common good as the medieval guilds endeavour to control private industry for the common good. There is no need for them to abolish existing institutions; they do not abolish the wage-contract, but they see that it is a just one. They do not remove Trade Unions or Associations of Employers but they supply a common ground on which conflicting claims may be de bated. Again, they are " intermediate between private industry and the State," ensuring the freedom of their _members from absolute State control and are themselves independent of State control in their own immediate operations.
They can exist under any form of government—except a totalitarian one, under which their freedom would be restricted, as seems to be the case in Italy, where the State entirety controls them; whereas they seem to flourish to a great extent in the apparently less
totalitarian State of Portugal. They are Corporations in themselves and form one large corporation through members of each proffssion being represented on one national body. They are meant, too, to help members in their private lives very much as the Guilds helped those who belonged to them—and if we are to trust the historian Ashley, " the Guild system, so far and so long as it was true to its ideals, solved the labour question."
But they are not to be, in construction, as inflexible and unadaptable as the ancient guilds made themselves. We in this age cannot be dri.en back to the same ancient order. The Pope speaks of these institutions as " what used to be called Guilds," but these words are preceded by " under forms adapted to different places and circumstances."
Thus it may be seen that there are two important principles stressed by the Pope. The first is called the principle of " Subsidiar ity," the State should not take over what can be managed by the groups which compose it. The second is the principle of " Organic Society" which views Society as a real organism in which every part works for the good of the whole and the good of each other.