We finish off our short series on Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan’s 1886 pastoral letter by quoting Corrigan quoting Leo XIII. We realize that this could get a little complicated if somebody quotes us, and then somebody quotes somebody quoting us . . .
Anyway, Corrigan continued from where we left off by noting, “How wisely does our Holy Father Pope Leo XIII touch with a master-hand the dangerous theories against which we warn you! In his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, the Vicar of Christ says of those whose errors he condemns” and then quotes §§ 1, 9 of the encyclical directly:
|"[T]hey assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law"|
They assail the right of property, which is sanctioned by the natural law; and, by a stupendous crime, while they seem to provide for the wants of men and to satisfy their wishes, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by one’s own economy.
They do not, indeed, cease to repeat, as we have intimated, that all men are by nature equal one with another. According, on the contrary, to the teaching of the Gospel, the equality of men is this: that, having all of them received the same nature, they are all called to the same exalted dignity of the sons of God; as also that one and the same end being appointed to all, each is to be judged by the same law, receiving reward or punishment according to his desert. But inequality in authority and power flows from the very Author of nature, “of whom all paternity is named in Heaven and on earth.” . . . But Catholic wisdom, based on the precepts of natural and Divine law, provides most carefully for public and domestic tranquility by the principles which she holds and teaches regarding the right of ownership and the division of goods required for the needs and uses of life. For while Socialists traduce the law of property as a human invention repugnant to the natural equality of men, and, desiring a community of goods, hold that poverty should not be endured with a contented mind, the Church, much better and usefully, recognizes the inequality that exists among men, who differ by nature in strength of body and mind, as they do in worldly possessions, and commands that the right of property and ownership, derived from nature itself, be held intact by all and inviolate. . . . Yet not on that account does their loving Mother neglect the case of the poor, or cease to take thought for their necessities; nay, embracing them with maternal affection, and knowing well that they bear the likeness of Christ Himself, Who considers a kindness done to the least of His poor as done to Himself, holds them in great honor, assists them in every way she can, provides homes and hospitals in all parts of the earth for their reception, nourishment, and care, and takes them under her own loving guardianship. With the very strongest precepts she urges the rich to give of their superabundance to the poor, and holds over them the Divine judgment, that unless they succor the wants of the needy they shall be punished with everlasting tortures. Finally, she vehemently comforts and consoles the minds of the poor, whether by putting before them the example of Christ, Who, although He was rich, for our sake became poor; or by recalling His words in which He proclaimed the poor blessed, and bade them hope for the reward of eternal happiness.
|"The human race will fall back into slavery."|
Now, who does not see that this is the best way of settling this struggle of long standing between the poor and the rich? For, as the very evidence of thought and facts proves to demonstration, if this basis of settlement be set aside or rejected, one of two things must happen: either the greater part of the human race will fall back into the basest condition of slavery which long prevailed among the Pagans; or human society is to be shaken by continual disturbances, afflicted by thefts and robberies, such as we grieve to have occurred even in our own days.
Corrigan concludes his discussion of property by saying, “These luminous words of the Holy Father need no comment. Accept his supreme teaching, dear Brethren, with the loving docility that becomes dutiful children, and give no ear to those, whoever they may be, who preach a different Gospel.”
Now . . . exactly where did Corrigan say anything about oppressing the workers?