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Catholic Social Teaching: An Historical Perspective by Roger Aubert

By Roger Aubert

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They were also exasperated by the more or less reactionary attitude of the provincial government, led by Mr. Duplessis. He had among other things and in the context of a ridiculous anticommunist struggle, tried to impose a labor code that was clearly from capitalist inspiration, hostile to the right of trade-unions. This explains why the workers undertook the strike without seeking recourse in governmental arbitration, in which they had no confidence. Despite the violent accusations of the directors of Johns-Manville, who tried to distort the meaning of the workers’ demands by presenting them as a communist-inspired assault on the rights of private property, and in spite of the hostile attitude of the government, which declared the strike illegal and did not hesitate to send in the police to support the strikebreakers, the ecclesiastical authorities supported the strikers, aware that their possible failure would have gravely compromised the labor organizations of Catholic workers, in their eyes the principal safeguard against the communist threat.

It is not possible to mention, even briefly, all the initiatives minutely examined by Mr. Duroselle: let us confine ourselves to pointing out again the social role of the Conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul, where militants were prepared for Catholic Workers societies, and the efforts of several Liberal Catholics, gathered around Ozanam, to establish bridges between conservative Social Catholics and Christian Democrats. Finally, it is important to notice the extent to which the clergy is absent from these first attempts at Social Catholicism.

Demain, Paris, 1949. 5 Chanoine Lionel Groulx, Aux tournants de l’histoire, in Relations, March 1950, p. 62. 6 A. Siegfried, op. , p. 55. 7 Cited in La Documentation catholique, May 7, 1950, col. 616. 8 Cited in The Tablet, March 18, 1950. 9 Relations, December 1949, p. 322. 10 One can find the text in La Documentation catholique, May 7 and 21, and June 1950. The Bellarmine Edition of Montreal has published also this text in a pamphlet of 80 pages. 11 Commonweal, April 21, 1950, p. 41, Vol. LII, No.

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