Thursday, 19 May 2016

I thought I had written my main blog enough this day after the Pentecost Octave wishes

and I did write on another blog (btw, if I write on some blog of mine nearly every day, it is not always this main one, some are other languages and some are thematic).

Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Four Rivers

But, I was wrong.

The following theological fault was for this main blog:

Pope: Exploiting workers for profit is a mortal sin

The problem is not "exploiting" but over-exploiting. The problem is not making a profit, but leaving too little for worker to live on, whether in money or - apt theme for France now! - in free time.

Pope Francis

In other words, Bergoglio.

says employers who exploit their workers for their own profit are committing a mortal sin. During his morning homily Thursday, Francis said such labor exploitation is a modern-day form of slavery. He said those who exploit workers are no different than the human traffickers of the past who enslaved Africans and sold them in the Americas.

So nearly right and so utterly wrong.

For one thing, some people will take the real human traffickers of the Western World - the shrinks, the psychiatrists, and also much of the time child welfare - and compare them to "masters". You know, Bible says owning slaves or keeping servants is not enough to get damned by.* But stealing free men to make them slaves is.**

Bergoglio makes opposite error. He is comparing people who are basically "masters" - in modern terms employers - to menstealers, trafickers.

Sometimes the employers do somwhat behave that way, sometimes employers of such endorse menstealers of such others, but that is not inherent in the role as such. Nor in the fact of making a profit of someone else's work.

The problem is when the profit becomes in any way excessive - at the cost of customers, competitors or, most relevant for this case, the employees.

And that is not automatically the case every time a man who owns a company and sells 100 items of merchandise takes more for himself than for each of his employees, after taking some for new raw materials or upkeep of production equipment.

It becomes the case if, for instance, his remuneration of them is so poor they no longer have a hope of by good work becoming proprietors themselves, or that they cannot afford to use marriage in a natural way, without resorting to either "NFP" or hideous sins, or when the free time he gives them is not sufficient for religious duties, duties at home and ideally also starting a new company in some other line of business, if so wanting too. Or if they work so long hours that exhaustion makes for excessive risks of accidents.

Better to hire someone for shorter hours and if needing more hours to be done in your factory, hire someone else too. But the mere fact of making a profit, as such, is not a mortal sin.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Thursday in Pentecost Octave

* Ephesians 6 [verses 5 to 8 adresses duties of servants - applicable to employees - and verse 9 those of masters, applicable to employers]. ** See "menstealers" in 1 Timothy 1 [verses 9 to 10].


  1. Here is an exact quote:

    According to a Vatican Radio transcript of his homily, Francis said: "Living off the blood of people, this is a mortal sin! A mortal sin. And it requires so much penance, so much restitution to be absolved of this sin."

    According to Chesterton, it simply requires starting to do the right thing.

    Like when Irish (Anglo-Irish ascendancy) started to do the right thing by selling parcels of land to smaller farmers (real Irish, this time).

    You know, Zacchaeus and St Matthew were not required to fast forty days, they were absolved by restoring four times what they had taken unjustly (as I intend to do with my debt to railways, when I start getting money for my writings).

  2. Previous comment got three consecutive 6:es. Because of Bergoglio's words - or mine? You decide.