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*Image: Saint Joseph the Worker by Pietro Annigoni, 1964 [Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy]

By Stephen P. White, The Catholic Thing, May 4, 2023

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Earlier this week, on the first of May, the Church celebrated the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker. The feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1955 as a counterpoint to the Communist celebration of May Day. What better counterpoint to an ideology of power and conflict than humble Joseph? What better antidote to individualism than the solidarity of the Holy Family? What better example of the dignity and goodness of human labor than the man into whose care God entrusted both Jesus and Mary?

Pope Pius was not the first pope to recognize that the Church’s legitimate concern for workers and the dignity of work was contested by both Marxist and liberal ideologies. Nor was he the first to point to St. Joseph as an example of the alternative proposed by a Christian life. …