"Organized Social Justice"


Members of the Unemployed Union march in Camden, New Jersey, circa 1931

Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York


Unemployment had risen to about 20 percent and the National Recovery Act ruled unconstitutional when Father Raymond McGowan drafted this pamphlet. After Monsignor John A. Ryan's revisions, SAD circulated it to Catholic laity and clerics for signing. (The names of two bishops - Robert E. Lucey, Amarillo, Texas, and Aloisius J. Muench, Fargo, North Dakota - were "blacked out," according to Francis A. Broderick, "to avoid embarrassment to them or to many other bishops who were not asked to sign"). The first half of Organized Social Justice laid out what many readers would have known to be SAD's basic principles concerning working people and "social justice," but the second half broke new ground in its preliminary outline of "a right social order": "Organization by Occupational Groups."





As you read this document, reflect on the following questions:

1. Why was “social justice” so important?

2. How would a “right economic order” help humankind do what they ought to do?

3. What role was the federal government to play in the creation of a “right economic order”?