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Think before writing

Katie Washington | Thursday, February 25, 2010

“A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. In determining fair pay, both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. Remuneration for work should guarantee humans the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for themselves and their family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good (Gaudium et Spes, #67). Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.”
I’m not Catholic, but the above passage is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2434. Plain and simple, the idea of a morally acceptable living wage being paid to all workers has been one of the cornerstones of modern Catholic Social Teaching since Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891).
Beyond that, I’m asking each and all members of the Notre Dame community to do some very careful introspection before we lift our fingers to write another Viewpoint. Are we seeing the world from the eyes of the people for or about whom we are speaking and writing? Or are we speaking as if we are the main characters in our own movie and everyone else just has supporting roles?
Too often, we caricature one another in light of our own views and perspectives rather than giving the people we come in contact with the space and freedom to explore the fullness of their humanity with us. In doing so, we alienate and ostracize people who are different from us, leaving them on the fringes and margins of society. This is counter to the goals of integral human development as outlined by CST, and so beautifully discussed by Jeremy Tamargo in “Putting people first” (Feb 24). If we ever want to live up to our Catholic identity, we have to do better.

Katie Washington
off campus
Feb. 25