element of working-class organisation, even if individual capitalists and some governments opposed them.22
A more serious problem arose with the question of a just wage. In his first draft Liberatore said that it had to be sufficient to meet the simple needs of a worker and his family. The text was reworked by the Dominican theologian Cardinal Zigliara, who refused to go so far because a just wage had to be paid principally for work done, without reference to the social status of the worker. In the event the question remained clouded, because the encyclical also stated that 'a wage ought to be sufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved worker' and further spoke of the worker receiving 'a wage sufficient to support himself and his wife and children in moderate comfort'. After the publication of Rerum Novarum, Cardinal Goosens, archbishop of Malines, put the question to Rome as to whether natural justice was violated if an employer did not pay a family wage. The carefully elaborated answer, vetted by Leo, said that in a just wage there was an inherent and exact balance between the wage paid and the work done. This ruled out the inclusion of the family on the grounds of justice, leaving it to the charity of employers, or to state intervention, to include the needs of the family in the wage.23 Few idealists, and certainly not Liberatore, would have imagined that employers would feel obliged to pay a family wage as a matter of charity.
The elaboration of the concept of social justice was, of necessity, merely foreshadowed in the pages of Rerum Novarum, and its further development awaited the twentieth century. Indeed in one country, Australia, the ferment created by the encyclical was already reflected in legislation by 1907 where a 'fair and reasonable' wage was judged to be one that provided for a man, his wife and his children so that they might live in 'a condition of frugal comfort estimated by current human standards'.24 That the words used by Leo became part of the ethos of some legislators indicates the widespread influence of the encyclical in the decades after its publication. In parts of Europe there was considerable opposition among large industrialists, including Catholics, to those sections of Rerum Novarum that set down the proper relations between capital and labour. This does not mean that the encyclical was premature but, given the widespread opposition, the true wonder is that it was not stillborn. Although Leo was not formally its author, Rerum Novarum could never have been written and published without his steely determination.
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