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Daily Catholic Question

Is it OK for a company to lay off its employees?

When is a company justified in laying off its employees? Does a Catholic institution, such as a hospital, have more of a responsibility to ensure the job security of its employees and to avoid layoffs?

There are no hard-and-fast numbers that would justify laying off employees or reducing a work force. Situations could range from a business owned and administered by one person to a huge company with hundreds of employees and many investors or stockholders.

But surely the threat of going bankrupt would justify reducing a work force to the point where a business can survive and be profitable. To continue running a business at a loss means eventual collapse and ruin for everyone in the enterprise with damage to creditors.

Good and just management looks at the welfare of investors, employees and customers in its decisionmaking. The interests of all need to be balanced.

A Catholic institution, above all, should be aware of how the social encyclicals lay out its obligations to the institution's employees as well as to those it serves. Part of its concern should be managing its affairs to avoid large and sudden layoffs that disrupt the lives and welfare of workers.

If forced to reduce the institution's staff, management might do so by attrition. It should also provide severance pay and assist the employee in finding a new job.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Monday, March 4, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/3/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 3/5/2013


Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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