Faith & the Public Order: September 2011 Archives

"The government of Ireland also welcomed the Holy See's apology to the families and the shame the Vatican has felt. The Irish government concluded by saying that lessons had been learned and looks forward to a new dialogue." 

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This morning Pope Benedict XVI received the new Ambassador of Great Britain to the Holy See, Nigel Marcus Baker in an audeince where the new ambassador presented his credentials to the Pope.

Ambassador Nigel Marcus Baker, 45, succeeds Francis Campbell who moved after a term of service to the Holy See to another post. The new ambassador has worked with his country's diplomatic service in Central Europe and in South America; recently he was in Bolivia. Baker has worked in the Private Office of Prince Charles and for two years lived and studied in Italy. He's married  and has one son.

Today's address is basically diplo-speak, but there are a few points made by Benedict which are worth thinking about today. I am especially focussing on the Pope's mention of charity, values, relativism, ecomony, and education. In part, the Pope spoke of the UK stituation of government but what he said has implications in the US:

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John Paul II's Laborem exercens (On Human Work; September 14, 1981), celebrates 30 years next week. Itself was a document written on the 90th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's landmark work Rerum Novarum. I think we ought to give more attention to the meaning of work and its connection with the work of the Creator. Too often we disparage work and its place in the daily experience of men and women. This morning at Lauds, by Providence, I read from the Apostle's work that a person who doesn't work, doesn't eat. I could help thinking about the implication of this teaching. THence, today, is an appropriate to think about work and it's meaning. 

Some paragraphs from LE:

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Through work man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself. Man is made to be in the visible universe an image and likeness of God himself, and he is placed in it in order to subdue the earth. From the beginning therefore he is called to work. Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. Thus work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of a person operating within a community of persons. And this mark decides its interior characteristics; in a sense it constitutes its very nature.

Pope Leo XIII small pic.jpgWhen Pope XIII published Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labour) in 1892, it was considered a brilliant piece of  thinking on the Church walking closely with the average man and woman because it demonstrated that in reality, once again, the Church situated herself in the reality of human existence: in the social, political and economic spheres with a keen recognition of human dignity; the protection of basic economic and political rights, including the right to a just wage and to organize associations or unions to defend just claims; the right to private property; the rights of labor over capital; the just organizations of society for the common good.


Pope Leo rejected not only a communistic philosophy but he did not ignore the basis of its appeal to workers and condemned the exploitative nature of the liberal-capitalist alternative. He wanted the Church on all levels to be engaged with the social order which slowly took shape in the later years of the 19th century and then in the 20th and 21st centuries.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Faith & the Public Order category from September 2011.

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