Statement of the Catholic Hierarchy
of the Philippines on the U.S.T. Strike
To our dearly beloved brethren in Christ,
It is with great sadness in Our hearts that We feel obliged to refer publicly to a certain strike now existing in Our Pontifical University of Santo Tomas.
You already know, beloved brethren, Our constant pastoral solicitude for even the smallest among our flock. We have expounded before you in a Pastoral Letter the teachings of Our Holy Father for a just correction of the social evils affecting our modern society, in accordance with the principles of Christian moral law. The Church recognizes the right of the worker to associate freely with his co-workers for the defense of their rights and for the promotion of their mutual interests. And among the means at their disposal to achieve this end, the right even to strike is admitted as justifiable under certain conditions.
We promoted furthermore the establishment of institutes of training for labor leaders, We encouraged the formation of labor unions, giving them Our moral, and even Our financial support.
All Our actuations We reaffirm and We maintain.
But while affirming and defending the rights of the workers, dearly beloved brethren, We have also taught that as workers, they have corresponding duties.
First of all, the defense of his rights, the worker has the moral obligation to respect not only the physical property of his employer but also his reputation. Under no circumstances could personal offensive attacks, be morally justified. It is with great sadness that We have seen under attack during these past weeks even the sacred character of religious men to whom our Catholic Philippines owes such a debt of gratitude, of men whose actuations certainly do not warrant witnessed. And lest our silence be interpreted either as weakness or tacit approval, We feel it Our duty to protest openly.
Furthermore, after hearing the parties in cause, together with other persons, well informed of the origins of the dispute, and without entering now into the many moral principles involved, or the economic side of the case, We wish to call your attention, dearly beloved brethren, to the following point:
We have always taught you that the right to strike is one to be exercised with great prudence and as a measure of last resort, when it is clearly evident that no other means of defense remains to the worker for the protection of his rights. Only then could a strike be morally justified.
In this particular instance, We have found out that not all the means had been exhausted for a just settlement of the dispute, especially since the suggested recourse to higher ecclesiastical authority had been disregarded.
Again We say, it was with sadness in our hearts that We had to say these things, beloved brethren. But it is also with a great hope and desire that the saying of them may bring about a just and peaceful solution of a dispute which had been a scandal to many and sorrow to all.
Given in Manila on the 13th day of March in the year of Our Lord 1956.
For the Catholic Hierarchy:
(Sgd.)+RUFINO J. SANTOS, D.D.
Archbishop of Manila
President, Administrative Council
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines
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Statement of the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines on the U.S.T. Strike