May Day, which since Pope Pius XII’s General Roman Calendar of 1955 has been celebrated as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, is a good time to honour Cardinal Manning.
The legendary English Cardinal of Westminster was instrumental in collaborating with Pope Leo XIII in issuing the seminal encyclical of Catholic social teaching, ‘Rerum novarum’, which is also known as ‘The Workers’ Charter’.
Two years previously Cardinal Manning had acted as mediator during the London Dock Strike of 1889, famously winning better pay and conditions for the striking workers.
Had Catholics paid more attention to the Church’s social doctrines, and acted upon them, the evils of Capitalism may well have been overcome and Communism, the brutal reaction to it, may never have managed to establish itself to the extent that it did.
Both then and now, to defeat atheistic materialism, whether Capitalist or Communist, Liberal or Socialist, Right or Left, the social doctrines of Christianity are the only solution.
“On 20th August, 1959, Bishop de Castro Mayer responded to Cardinal Tardini’s preparatory questionnaire for Vatican II. What he wrote at that time applies even more urgently to ours, especially in its ideal formation of the clergy. In effect he wrote:
‘The formation of clergy should, in the first place, aim to produce priests to fight against the anti-Christian conspiracy that reigns in the world and which turns souls upside down. If this is not done it is to be feared that priests themselves will be infected with the maxims of the world and will end up being useless for the edification of the Christian City’.”