"Priests and Reconstruction - A Few Thoughts"
Only Father John M. Hayes could have written this document, since it required what only he brought to its conceptualization and execution. First, it demanded grounding in Catholic social teaching as well as knowledge of the contemporary economic situation. Second, it called for an intimate familiarity with the ways in which Catholic priests had been, and were, responding to the labor organizing of the previous decade. Third, it entailed a certain distance from the traditional ways in which the Church had thought about the relationship between the sacred and the secular. Finally, it required a sense of how the Church's altered situation in the United States opened up the possibility of a new response to old problems.
As you read this document, reflect on the following questions:
1. What connection does Hayes draw between what he calls the "institutional sphere" and "individual and mass immorality and ignorance"?
2. To whom were priests responsible? Why? How?