At the conclusion of World War I, the nation was beset by labor strife. Few bishops were as engaged in the debates over social justice in the industrial age as was Archbishop Edward Hanna of San Francisco. An active collaborator with Father John A. Ryan at the National Catholic Welfare Conference, predecessor of the USCCB, Archbishop Hanna was frequently called upon to arbitrate labor disputes. This episode, recorded in his biography “An Archbishop for the People,” by Richard Gribble, CSC, details the force of his opinions and the foundation of Catholic social teaching. His remarks should earn him a spot on Glenn Beck’s chalkboard.
“In a sermon delivered at St. Mary’s Cathedral Archbishop Hanna also voiced disappointment in the local labor situation. Referencing Rerum Novarum, Hanna said, ‘The industrial question in the opinion of some is merely an economic question, whereas in point of fact it is, first of all, a moral and religious matter and for that reason its settlement is to be sought mainly in the moral law and in the pronouncement of religion.’”