If work for the dole were meant to be an ingenious attack on wages and decent conditions for the workers, the Church would undoubtely declare it unlawful. But such is not necessarily the case. If, in a period of depression there be not enough work available to absorb all workers, the state cannot let her unemployed citizens starve. If individual employers are unable to engage them, the state has the social duty to provide them with at least the necessities of life, and this must be done from the general revenue. The choice lies between an unconditional granting of relief, or the creation of certain community works which would not otherwise be undertaken, and which are created solely in favor of the unemployed men. This latter alternative would be lawful if the motive be that some occupation is healthier and less degrading from the workers’ point of view than idleness, or even that the contributions of the community were resulting in some community advantage. But if it were intended as the thin end of the wedge to lower normal wages and conditions below just standards in ordinary enterprise, it would be unjust and morally wrong.
Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty
The Case for Catholicism - Answers to Classic and Contemporary Protestant Objections
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