Why organized labor is a Catholic cause

Catholic News Agency’s Kevin Jones talks with Fr. Sinclair Oubre of the Catholic Labor Network

As part of last month’s Labor Day coverage, CNA reporter Kevin Jones interviewed Catholic Labor Network spiritual moderator Fr. Sinclair Oubre about what makes labor unions a Catholic cause.

Fr. Oubre is himself a union member, a mariner who belongs to the Seafarers International Union and periodically still serves on ships in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. Besides serving as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orange, Texas, Oubre ministers to visiting seafarers in nearby Port Arthur as president of the Apostleship of the Sea. (An avid Harley fan, many also know him for the annual Blessing of the Bikes.)

Sinclair recalled how Catholic workers played no small role in creating the modern American labor movement in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. “They took to heart our Catholic social teaching, and tried to implement it in their workplace.” But today there seemed to be a disconnect between Catholics and organized labor.

Like in so many areas of our faith, the heresy of radical individualism, a lack of knowledge about why unions were formed, and a general ignorance of what options workers have, have led to many Catholics to either not realize that the Church has favored workers’ associations, or that the Church even has a teaching that has to do with the workplace.

Oubre urges Catholics who belong to labor unions to study that history and teaching, and to view unions as a site for evangelization. To read the full interview, “Why organized labor is (still) a Catholic cause,” CLICK HERE