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February 17, 1961     The Observer
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February 17, 1961

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PAGE 10 THE OBSERVi ,i FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1961 THEOLOGr FOR EVERY MAN at Is The fo[Iowfi~g commentary on the living wage was prepared at St. John's Seminary, Brighto~-~, Mass. It is reprinted from the Boston Pilot. Every American home from the White House to the shack of the migrant worker is concerned with the problems of a living wage. Some homes have the added burden of limiting luxuries to the bounds of good taste and a spirit of Christian mortifica- tion. Q. WHAT IS A LIVING WAGE? A. A well known definition of the living wage is that formu- lated by Pope Leo XIH: the amount necessary to support the worker in decent and frugal comfort. This definition leaves un- settled many particular difficulties which have been proposed in relation to the living wage. Several of these problems are pre~ented in the questions which follow. One of the points of Workers In The Vineyard By Lisa Ferris Catholic Charities Staff Our "Worker In The Vine- yard" today is a man who in a Gallup poll in the U.S. was se- lected as 7th on the list of 10 most admired Americans, Dr. Thomas Anthony Dooley, found- er and organizer of Medico in the Kingdom of Laos. Medico,'a private and volun- tary organization, was set up to establish hospitals and clin- ics in Laos and other medically impoverished lands. Beginning his spectacular medical work among refugees fleeing from Communist held N o r t h Viet- nam, Dr. Dooley's fame spread through the world as a deter- mined man and doctor, who was alleviating the suffering of the people of this land Served in Navy Upon graduation from medi- cal school Dr. Dooley joined the Navy. His assignments were routine positions at Naval bas- es. One day he was given tem- porary sea orders. Arriving at his destination Dr. Dooley encountered a situa- tion that was to become his per- sonal war. He found children with chopsticks driven through their ears and old women with collarbones shattered by rifle butts. They were the victims of Communism Scenes such as this spurred him to coming back after his naval discharge to organize medical help for the impoverished people of this re- mote land. Dr. Tom was a man born with the ability to win friend~. The world opened its heart to him and the name Medico and Laos became world famous. arit" Community Chest Agem:y nothing to treat 80 to 100 pa tients. Patients would come to be treated with diseases rang- ing from bad teeth, tuberculo- sis, dysentery to deafness With time Medico grew larger and volunteers, hearing of his work offered their services. Dr. Charles W. Mayo, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn upon presenting him the c o v e t e d Criss Award said that "he con- sidered Dr. Thomas Dooley's / unselfish work a truly remark- Only Doctor At one time, Tom Dooley was in charge of and was sole doc- tor at Medico hospital at Muong Sing in upper Laos, only five miles from the border of Red China. On rush days it was SHURTLEFF and CO "S/turtle/ Service Satis/ies" Lumber & Building Material SERVING ELGIN MARENGO HARTLAND CARPENTERSVILLE BARRINGTON able manifestation of one free man helping others less fortun- ate on a simple person to per- son basis. Tom Dooley's contri- bution isa shining example of international cooperation at its very best." Look to Future Time has i m p o s e d some amazing hardships on the Laos people. They are living in the past, struggling toward the fu- ture. For reasons such as these Medico's reason for existence was. simple and unique. The men who volunteered their serv- ices to share their knowledge with Dr. Dooley were willing to sacrifice comfortable practices at home in order to treat sick people in remote parts where no medical service existed. A bright side of the picture w e r e the children of Muong Sing who brought peace, tran- quility and renewed faith in hu- mankind. To Dr. Dooley,Laos was the land of little children. "Whenever I heard laughter," he wrote, "observed their grave politeness, or admired the forti- tude with which they bore sick- ness and pain, I would rejoice t h a t these wonderful children represented the true future of free Asia." "You will always have happi- [ness if you seek and find how t6 serve," wrote Dr. A 1 b e r~t Schweitzer to Dr. Tom. This he believed was ample reward. A lovely lingering thought written by Dr. Dooley was "the important thing is not how long we live but what we do in the days alloted to us." Plan Expansion PATERSON, N. J.--A $3.619,- 500 expansion program at St. Jo- seph Hospital here has been an- nounced by the Mbst Rev. James A. McNulty, Bishop of Paterson and Sister Anne Jean administrator of the state's larg- est private hospital. a n GARAGE DOORS --- OPERATORS --- RADIO CONTROLS ?D ItI 1 d greatest controversy is whether or not there is a difference be- tween the individual living wage and the family living wage. Catholic theologians have tended traditionally to make a dis- tinction between the two, and to hold that men, who are at least potentially the heads of families, should be paid a mini- mum wage which would enable them to provide adequately for their families as well as for themselves. THIS TEACHING HAS BEEN QUESTIONED in recent times by proponents of the so-called "equal pay for equal work" the- ory, according to which women should be paid according to the same scale as men when they do the same work. It is easy to see the reasons which support this argument when the problem is looked at merely 'from the point of view of the economic value of the work which is being done. Catholic theologians have al- ways taught, however, that determination of the wages of workingmen must take into account likewise their obligations !as human beings. It is wrong to regard human labor as noth- ing more than a commodity to be bartered in terms of its material value. A person's labor is the means by which he fulfills his duties as a member of society. Under our present eco- nomic system a person's chief claim on society for the material assistance which society is able to afford is the labor by which he can contribute to the welfare of his fellow men. It should be possible, therefore, for a man who has no means of subsis- ESTIMATION OF THE PRECISE AMOUNT of the family living wage will depend, therefore, on how the concept of "decent and frugal comfort" is translated into the terms of modernliving. We might suggest a figure between $80 and $100 weekly as an approximate estimate of the iamily living wage at the present time. It should be stressed, however, that it is impossible ~o present this figure as applicable to all circumstances, or as binding in' conscience regardless of other determining factors. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE PRINCIPLES according to which the family living wage may be arrived at indicate unmis- takably that those who employ others are bound in conscience to make every honest attempt to bring them into application. Fringe benefits, such as health and accident insurance and so- cial security payments will enter into the determination of the living wage, as will also any particular advantage of a work: man with his employer. Moreover. it" is morally wrong for an employer to refuse ~o take into account the factors which may indicate that more than the minimum living wage is due. A per- son's work should receive compensation proportionate to its economic value. Some systems of profit-sharing would seem, therefore, to be morally necessary as the earnings to which employees contribute become increasingly large. It would be wrong to regard a minimum wage, however it is estimated, as sufficient to discharge all obligations of justice of employers REEP R T . . . Home of K-L GAS g~mill~eat1 ,0rt B()tt Gas SerliceJ 00 N. Henderson Ave. -- Ph. ADams 3-1713 I J'tH" PATTERSON CO" I s aM'shed 1886 Telephone ADams 2-7132I Lumber and Building Material 324 East Stephenson St. [ Fuel, Paint and Hardware FREEPORT, ILLINOIS I I Across from the Courthouse FREEPORT, ILLINOIS GIFTS, HANDBAGS, CARDS PERSONAL LEATHER GOODS ~k DECORATIVE HOME FURNISHINGS lk LIJGGAGE large selection Fea~trins the Famous American Tourlster TRI.TAPER SERVICE BODY CO. "No ]ob Too Large Nor Too Small" Phone AD 2-3516 114 N. Walnut Freeport Funerals Weddings DEININGER'S "'" Flowers for All Occasions Plants Bouquets Corsages Arrangements I West Main Phone AD 2-6191 Freeport "es? tence other than his labor to derive therefrom not only the-hneans of supporting himself, but also the means of providing for those who are naturally dependent on him. FROM THESE CONSIDERATIONS THEOLOGIANS draw the conclusion that every working man is entitled not only to an in- dividual living wage, but to a family living wage, which will be adequate for the support of his wife and his children as well as himself Some theologians make the further distinction, from the point of view of the employer, between the obligation of pay- ing an individual living wage, which they say is one of strict justice, and the obligation of paying a family living wage, which they regard as One of social justice. The foi:mer obliga- tion arises immediately in the value of the work which is done; the latter, in the relation of the workingman to society as a whole PERHAPS WE MAY FIND IN THIS DISTINCTION a sug- gestion of how to meet the pi'oblem proposed by those who say that equal work should be worthy of equal pay. A person's work has a value measurable in terms of its objective contribution to the economic wealth of society. To this extent it deserves, in strict justice, whatever may be its economically measurable value in terrhs of wages. To the extent, however, that the one who performs the Work depends on it for discharging his per- sonal obligations to society, it demands whatever added com- pensation may be needed for this end. IT WOULD BE WRONG, IT WOULD SEEM, to determine the living wage exclusively from either of these two points of towards their employees. Q. HOW MUCH SUPPORT IS A FATHER OBLIGED TO PROVIDE FOR HIS FAMILY? HOW CAN NECESSITIES BE view. Again, it would seem that the obligation in social justice to pay a living family wage to those who are naturally destined to be heads of families is more urgent than the obligation of pom~ paying a wage that will be commensurate with the economic IQED! value of labor. Hence, it would seem, men should be paid. more R than women, at least up to the point at which they would re-i calve the minimum family wage. Beyond this point the value of the work, ~ather than the personal responsibilities of the work- er should be increasingly taken into consideration. Obviously these general principles will be difficult to carry into particular application. They do, however, afford a starting point from which determination of the living wage may be ar- rived at in accordance with both the demands of the strict jus- tice which governs exchanges of individual rights, and the less definable, but no less urgent demands of ,the justice of social relations. Q. IS THERE ANY APPROXIMATE FIGURE WHICH MIGHT BE CALLED A LIVING WAGE AT THE PRESENT TIME? A. In attempting to set a minimum figure which might be called a living wage theologians must recognize at once the economic factors which are basic to the application of the prin- ciples of justice. The conclusions of moral science must be hypothetical and provisional; they cannot be presented as having absolute validity. Account must be taken both of the circum- stances under which men live and of difficulties beyond their control which i~terfere with the application of moral princi- ples. Account must be taken likewise of the extent to which the individual worker must: assume rVsponsibility for others as well as himself. IT IS DIFFICULT, THEREFORE, TO DETERMINE a pre- cise figure at which the minimum family wage might be set. An easy solution would be to set up a scale of wages which would vary with the size of the worker's family. Since, how- ever, such a solution would be impracticable, theologians sug- gest that the family living wage should be estimated in rela- tion to what might be called the average family. If we accept the conclusion of sociologists that the number of children per family needed to maintain the population at its present level is between four and five, we might call this the average family, and say that the minimum family living wage would be that which would be required to support a famliy of this number in decent and frugal comfort. FREEP RT . . . |veryfhing Available At MERCK BOOKSTORE 214 W. Stephenson FREEPORT, ILL. FREEPORT BOTTLING/CO INCa ADams 2-5712 --- 641 E. Stephenson FRED J. KULL Religious Articles for The Catholic Home DONAHUE RAMBLER ,0 w. Excho Freeport IT'S CAPONESS FOR Pl/ Open Sunday 3 P.M. to: Midnight Stephenson Dial AD 5-5515 For Carry-Outs 108 necessities of life She should make every possible effort, how- ever, to provide compensation in other ways for the influence on the home which her continued presence therein would nor- mally afford. A SERIOUS SOCIAL PROBLEM ARISES in our present day because children and young people are neglected by par- ents who are both employed full time. Day nurseries and com- munity centers provide only partially and inadequaLely for a difficulty which should be approached from a more construc- tive point of view. No matter how well they are organized, so- cial agencies cannot provide an effective substitute for the in- fluence of the home. The programs of these agencies should not be planned, therefore, with a view of enabling mothers to surrender domestic responsibilities which they could and should assume. They should aim rather to provide temporary relief for a situation which is essentially undesirable and which re- quires more radical readjustment within the framework of the enffre community. Q. MAY SCHOOL CHILDREN TAKE PART-TIME JOBS OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL HOURS? A. It is both right and desirable for school children to have some sort of part-time employment which will be adaPted their capacities and which will not encroach unduly on time available for rest and relaxation and for the prel: of their classes. State laws which regulate the hours and the DISTINGUISHED FROM LUXURIES? bound quality of child-labor must be regarded as having been enacted A. In general it may be stated that a father is morally for a serious purpose and hence as binding in conscience. It is to provide the highest level of support for his family that hislnot wrong however, for parents to seek in the part-time am income will. permit. Distinction between luxuries and necessi-[ployment of their children means of supplementing the family ties is largerly a matter of personal opinion. To some extent it[income and of providing more adequately for the welfare of will depend on prevailing custom, and upon the acquired status the children themselves. of a family in the community. EVEN PARENTS WHO ARE COMFORTABLY situated THE MORAL OBLIGATIONS OF A FATHER in this matter should demand that their children assume responsibility "for are hard to determine in detail. A father should not be indif- ferent to the reasonable demands of his family. Nor-should he be neglectful of the possibilities of education which he is able to provide for his children Ian8 which they are able to profit by. The question proposed may present itself, however, in relation to the determination of the minimum family living wage. In our own day the concept of 'decent and frugal comfort' would include many items, such as a family car and a television set, which in former times might have been considered unneces- sary, or as pertaining to the category of luxuries. On the other hand, the minimum family wage would not include the cost of higher education beyond the point at which it is universally available and necessary. Nor would it include the cost of ex- pensive entertainment and vacations, or such things as photo- graphic equipment and athletic supplies. It would be impossible to go into detail, but common agreement will suggest the dif- ferences between what is required for support and for reason- able provision for unexpected needs, and what is from every ~oint of view completely unessential and unnecessary. Q. IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES IS IT RIGHT FOR A MAR- work around the home which they can conveniently perform. It is not desirable for a child to be free of all responsibility. When children work, they are being developed in a sense of appreciation for the advantages of their homes, and in a sense of loyalty and co-operation towards their parents. These qualities are indispensable in the formation of character, and they are more than likely to be undeveloped in children who are not required to make any contribution towards the mainte- nance of the home. Q. AT WHAT AGE MAY CHILDREN QUIT SCHOOL FOR FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT? A. State laws which regulate this matter must be completely observed. Beyond this point, however, it would seem unwise to keep children in school when they are unable or unwilling to make the effort needed for normal progress. Young people should be encouraged by their parents to remain in school as long as possible and to make the sacrifice of independence and leisure which will help them to fill useful and responsible posi- tions in later years. A young person who has talent and ambi- tion should be given every opportunity to continue his educa WOMAN TO WORK? A. As a general rule it is undesirable for a married woman to accept employment which will interfere with domestic duties which she is expected to fulfill and which cannot be otherw~ise provided for. A married woman, should think chiefly of her obligation to provide pleasant home surroundings for her hus- band and children. She should consider the need of her chil- dren not only during the years of their infancy ~nd childhood, but more especially during the period of their adolescence. Full time employment outside the home must necessarily be in con- flict with the complete discharge of these important domestic responsibilities. IT WOULD BE WRONG, THEREFORE, FOR A MARRIED woman to accept full time employment outside the home merely for. the purpose of getting more money for non-essential com- forts and luxuries. When the husband's income is insufficient for the essential needs of the family, a conflict arises between the wife's obli- gation to remain at home and the pressing need of addition funds for the support of her family. It is not wrong for a mother to work when otherwise her children would be deprived of the FREEP RT Service MURPHY & GUSTAFSON, INC. Phone AD 3-1216 Freeport GUSTAFSON &SCHINK, INC. Phone 136 Elizabeth tion beyotmd the level of the secondary school. Money is wasted, however, and much harm can result, when young people who have no interest in higher education and no capacity for as- similating its benefits are forced to continue in school and to risk failure in fields in which their more capable classmates are successful. EST. 1932 LEO J. LAUFF --- Real Estate DIAL MA. 5-0684 INCOME TAX SERVICE 204 East Third St. : Sterling, Ill. Want That New Home!! 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