Continuant son étude sur le syndicalisme commencée dans le dernier numéro, notre distingué collaborateur romain envisage ici tant du côté des principes que du côté des contingences historiques le problème que soulèvent les rapports entre le syndicat et la religion. Il définit ce que l'on entend par syndicat confessionnel et syndicat neutre et montre la différence qui existe entre les syndicats européens et les syndicats anglo-saxons. Enfin il analyse l'évolution qui est en train de s'accomplir chez les syndicats chrétiens d'Europe et y découvre une tendance vers la multiplicité dans l'organisation et l'unité dans l'action.
CATHOLIC TRADE UNIONS
Trade unionism reflects necessarily the thinking on social questions of those who were responsible for it. One must conclude that Catholics, in the light of logic, should establish Catholic unions. Moreover, such action corresponds to the frequently repeated teaching of the Church.
NON-SECTARIAN TRADE UNIONS
Nevertheless, there may be historical conditions in which the establishment of specifically Catholic trade unions is impossible and unwise. In this case, Catholics should affiliate with trade union organizations that, as such, do not profess any religious conviction; in other words, non-sectarian unions. This policy is to be found in the teachings of Pius XI and Pius XII. Such a general union should limit its activities strictly to the economic and professionnal, and in the event that it broadened its action beyond this, it would be endangering its own existence. In fact, the union would be split because today the workers do not profess the same religion nor the same political opinion.
NEUTRAL AND VERTICAL UNIONS
It is possible that a single union be established for each professional group. If the workers themselves dedice in favour of this policy (Great Britain and the United States) they are called general unions. If the State recognizes only one union, that is called a vertical union. Vertical unions, in spite of their drawbacks, should not be condemned everywhere and in all circumstances because it is possible that certain conditions may prevail which justify them. Catholics not only are permitted to belong but are urged to join them in order to vitalize them with their truth and sense of fraternity.
NEUTRAL ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTION
A trade union organization is neutral when it is not inspired by an existing religious sentiment. Neutrality in the organization does not imply religious or moral neutrality in trade union action. Modern parliaments under the democratic dispensation, are neutral, but it does not follow that the member of the parliament must act politically as though morality and religion did not exist. There are two reasons for this: the first factual. It is psychologically impossible for a man to perform any action, no matter how technical, without introducing into it his religious, moral and social sentiments. The second is based on principle: man, whatever may be the field of his action, is bound to seek inspiration in the moral principles that constitute his ideal. In practice there is no such thing as a morally indifferent action.
The moral and religious neutrality in the trade union organization demands a far greater moral and religious devotion in the action of its members.
THE PROBLEM IN ITS HISTORICAL EVOLUTION
Since the historical circumstances that have determined the development of trade unions are different, the interest of the workers has "Of been envisaged in the same way and different methods have been used to fulfill them.
Thus, in the Anglo-American world, the unions are devoted primarily to the achievement of immediate ends and are limited to strictly trade union purposes. On the continent of Europe, the unions have sought two ends at the same time: one immediate, that is to say, the specifically trade union objectives; the other more remote, that is, the establishment of a new economic and social order. In order to avoid a situation of inferiority with reference to the Marxists, Christian workers have founded trade unions whose programme is based on Christian social doctrine.
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHRISTIAN TRADE UNIONS
The unions organized by Christians display almost everywhere certain common features: democratic structure, slow evolution in method, independence of the political parties and autonomy with regard to the State. In this they are quite distinct from the communist unions which practice revolutionary methods, seek long range objectives and depend entirely on the Party.
DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS EMPHASES
The Christian trade unions, in addition to their economic and social objectives, also include certain moral and religious aims. Nevertheless, it would be inexact to assert that these objectives are similar in importance or assume the same form everywhere. Everything depends on the circumstances and environment of each country.
RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY AND BELIEF
In religion the general trade unions are necessarily neutral. If religion were to be the basis of organization, in view of the diversity of religious belief among workers, the result would inevitably be a multiplicity of unions. This does not mean that a neutral trade union ought, by definition, to be irreligious or unreligious. A trade union is neutral from the religious point of view, if, as such, it professes no religious belief and adheres to no single religious group in preference to all others. When it is non-sectarian, this does not mean that it cannot assume a positive attitude regarding religious values. Historically speaking, the most active neutral trade unions have been and are moved by a profond and often effective religious spirit.
MULTIPLICITY OF ORGANIZATION AND UNITY OF ACTION
During the past few decades, as a result of social turmoil, European Catholics have given considerable thought to the problem of whether it is wiser to establish sectarian or neutral trade unions. Historically the practical solutions have been different. The difficulty of finding a single formula or solution is rooted in two undeniable facts: First, the conflict of social ideas among the workers and secondly the character of their specific interests as a group in opposition to the employers and the political community.
If the emphasis is to be placed on the first, the inclination is to establish as many trade unions as there are essentially different social points of view. If the second point is emphasized, the existence of neutral trade unions would seem desirable, with specifically religious and moral organizations side by side.
Historically both solutions have been carried out but even yet it is impossible to reach definitive conclusions. There is a certain tendency to think that the natural evolution of the situation will lead the European countries to the following arrangement which would appear the most logical. Basically, a large number of trade union organizations corresponding to the fundamental ideas of the workers; at the top, unity of action in the pursuit of common interests, such unity being made possible by successive agreements between trade unions or by some institutional arrangement as in the Netherlands. The trade union movements, becoming more and more independent of political parties and concentrating their attention on the pursuit of economic and professional goals, would move, on the continent of Europe, toward the system of a united trade unionism of the Anglo-American type.
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PAVAN, MGR PIETRO, vice-président des Semaines Sociales de l'Italie, professeur aux Universités Angelicum, Gregorianum et Latran (Rome); membre de l'Union Internationale d'Etudes Sociales (Malines); auteur de Syndicalisme et Coopération (Presses Universitaires Laval) et de nombreux ouvrages publiés en Italie.