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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


Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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