Father Tony Doesn’t Forget He Is Son of Union Members

Father Tony Doesn’t Forget He Is Son of Union Members

04/10/2011 Berry Craig

Father Tony Shonis includes the  the local central labor council on his pastoral rounds wherever the church sends him. Says Shonis:

“I come from a union family. Both of my parents retired with a pension from the union. My father was in the Bakery and Confectionery [Tobacco] Workers [and Grain Millers] union and my mother was in the old ILGWU [International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, now UNITEHERE!]. From them, I learned what the union means to a working family and how civic minded union members are.”

A Pennsylvania native, Shonis is associate pastor at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson, Ky., an old Ohio River town in the western end of the Bluegrass State. The Tri-County Labor Council meets in Henderson. Read more

Catholics must take a stand in support of Walmart employees

Catholics must take a stand in support of Walmart employees

Guest blog

It would be hard to compete with Pharaoh in the realm of obduracy, but Walmart is giving the old man a run for his money. Like the Israelite brick makers of Exodus Chapters 5-11 Walmart workers, organized as OUR Walmart, are asking for respect—specifically, increasing the flexibility of working hours, moving up to full-time work when possible, and increasing pay to a minimum of $25,000 annually.

In addition they are calling for an end to retaliation against associates involved in OUR Walmart and its mini-strikes, like last year’s Black Friday. More than 100 alleged Walmart retaliation cases are pending at the National Labor Relations Board.

Since Memorial Day, hundreds of courageous Walmart associates have walked off the job and are now caravanning together to bring their concerns to Walmart’s June 7 shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas. They will demand an end to retaliation against associates who organize and hope to begin a dialogue on scheduling and wages at a time when Walmart CEO Mike Duke makes $20.7 million per year—more than 1,000 times the wages of the average Walmart associate. Read more



Vatican City, 25 May 2013 (VIS) – Members of the “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontefice” Foundation, which was established 20 years ago by Blessed John Paul II, were received this afternoon by Pope Francis during their annual international conference. This year’s theme is “Rethinking Solidarity for Work: Challenges of the 21st Century”.

In his address to them, the Bishop of Rome noted that the foundation bears the same name as an encyclical published by John Paul II on the centenary anniversary of “Rerum Novarum” and has, therefore, the Church’s social doctrine as the scope of its analysis and action. “Rethinking solidarity,” he said, “doesn’t mean questioning the recent Magisterium that, in fact, demonstrates ever more its vision and its relevance. Rather, ‘rethinking’ seems to me to mean two things: first of all combining the Magisterium with socio-economic development that, being constant and quick, always presents new aspects and second, ‘rethinking’ means going more in depth, reflecting further, to make all of a value’s worth emerge—solidarity in this case—which draws upon the Gospel profoundly, that is, upon Jesus Christ and thus contains inexhaustible potential.” Read more

Pope Benedict XIV – An appreciation

Pope Benedict XIV – An appreciation

Clayton Sinyai

When Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger became Benedict XVI, a number of “conservative” American Catholics seemed to nurse hopes that the new pope would distance the Church from its familiar social teaching on worker justice, labor unions and the regulation of the economy for the common good.

Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate proved deeply disappointing for such as these. “The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must… be honoured today even more than in the past,” the Pope instructed. Read more

Laborem Exercens – Summary

Laborem Exercens – Summary

(SEPTEMBER 14, 1981)

VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 1997 (VIS) – John Paul II wrote the Encyclical “Laborem Exercens” in 1981, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Rerum Novarum” on the question of labor. It was signed on September 14, feast of the Holy Cross.

In it he develops the concept of man’s dignity in work, structuring it in four points: the subordination of work to man; the primacy of the worker over the whole of instruments and conditioning that historically constitute the world of labor; the rights of the human person as the determining factor of all socio-economic, technological and productive processes, that must be recognized; and some elements that can help all men identify with Christ through their own work.

The Encyclical has an introduction and four chapters: “Work and Man,” “Conflict Between Labor and Capital in the Present Phase of History,” “Rights of Workers,” and “Elements for a Spirituality of Work.” Read more