God on Monday

‘God on Monday’ was written in 1966 by the Reverend Simon Phipps, when he was industrial chaplain in Coventry. A holder of the Military Cross, he became an Anglican clergyman convinced of the need to engage with the world, to be involved with the issues of everyday life. For him religion did not end with Sunday, but daily the Church had to give a Christ inspired view on urban and industrial situations. He discussed issues of social responsibility with trade unionists and employers, seeking a just solution to social problems.
Much earlier, in 1891, Pope Leo XIII published his encycyclical ‘Rerum Novarum’ (‘of revolutionary change’). This supported the right of workers to form unions, and rejected both communism and unrestricted capitalism, yet, affirming the right to private property. He stressed the need for a living wage.
Succeeding popes reiterated these views. A century after ‘Rerum Novarum’ St John Paul II published ‘Centesimus Annus’. Drawing on the encyclicals of his predecessors, the Pope stressed that the State must ensure adequate family wages that enable savings to be accumulated, encourage job creation and provide a solid system of social security and support for particularly vulnerable groups, including refugees, immigrants, the elderly, and the sick.
In spite of these Christian demands, we are still in the situation where workers struggle to obtain a living wage, where in work benefits cost the taxpayer £28 billion a year, and people rely on food banks to tide them over.
John Cairns, King’s Lynn Catholic Church

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