Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Docker's Cardinal

from Idle Speculations
Banner of the Amalgamated Society of Watermen and Lightermen (Greenwich Branch no. 13).
National Maritime Museum, London

The Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen was established in 1872.
The banner shown belonged to a branch of the union from Greenwich and shows Cardinal Henry Manning (1808-92), Archbishop of Westminster.
The Cardinal was a supporter of the dockers during The Great Dock Strike of 1889. Manning was instrumental in settling the Strike.Manning supported social reform. He appealed for unemployment relief and protested against the Poor Law.Manning also campaigned for decent housing for the poor and supported the right of workers to join trade unions and go on strike.
These views are reflected in the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum issued by Leo XIII and on which Manning exercised great influence.Manning's involvement in the Dock Strike made a major impression on Hilaire Belloc, 19 years old at the time - who was to become a major speaker for the Catholic Church during the early Twentieth Century

1 comment:

Physiocrat said...

Belloc was an aquaintance of Wilfred Meynell, the Catholic intellectual and member of a Catholic family who still have a home at Pulborough. Wilfred Meynell was an associate of the American economist Henry George, and he arranged a meeting between George and Cardinal Manning.

George's proposals for land and tax reform were strongly advocated by some Catholics, including the Bishop of Meath. It is now thought that Manning was the author of Rerum Novarum, but if this is the case, and if he incorporated George's views into that document in his original draft, it is evident that somebody filleted them out before publication.

This resulted in an open letter to the Pope written by George, called "The Condition of Labour". Some Catholics continued to be vocal in support of George's reforms, and one, a Father McGlynn of New York, was suspended. It was some years before his case was fully investigated and he was then reinstated, the Georgist proposals then being acknowledged to be not contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

It is unfortunate that there was never a more positive endorsement. Instead, Catholic Social Teaching has contained a succession of fudge statements asserting the community dimension to property ownership, which leaves most people little the wiser.

The end result is that in the absence of a coherent and viable alternative, Marxism gained a fatal hold for much of the twentieth century, with Fascism arising as an opposition force. Sadly, Fascism had a widespread appeal to many Catholics on account of its anti-Communist stance.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...