Priest-Labor

Pope Francis:
“Not paying a just wage, not providing work, focusing exclusively on the balance books, on financial statements, only looking at making profit…That goes against God!”

Latest News


Pope vows to eliminate temp labor at Vatican

/ Catholic Labor Network

Every year, before the holidays, Pope Francis gathers the Vatican’s lay employees and their families to honor their service. He gives a short address praising their work and offering spiritual and temporal guidance for the year to come. This year, though, he also veered into a conversation about temporary workers. The Holy Father, who frequently preaches that workers deserve secure and dignified employment, had learned from one of the career employees that the Vatican itself employed temporary workers, and this concerned and alarmed him.

The Pope did not seem to be referring to temp workers in the American sense (i.e. workers obtained from temp agencies) but the Italian one. Under Italian law, workers who have passed a probation period have considerable employment security – and employers seeking to evade this obligation often choose to employ “temporary” workers on fixed, short-term contracts shorter than the probation period. Francis vowed to eliminate the practice in the Vatican as a matter of conscience.

The other day I had a meeting with Cardinal Marx, who is the President of the Council of the Economy, and with Monsignor Ferme, the Secretary, and I said: “I don’t want illegal work in the Vatican.” I apologize if this still exists…It’s a problem of conscience for me, because we can’t teach the Social Doctrine of the Church and then do these things that aren’t right.

Thank you, Francis, for affirming that employment is not just a matter of economics or even of law, but of conscience. You can read the Holy Father’s full remarks HERE.

Pope: For Christians, work is more than an occupation, it’s a mission

Pope Francis at the General Audience Oct. 11, 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
.- In a letter for the conclusion of a conference on labor on Friday, Pope Francis said work is about more than just doing something for money, but about cooperating with Christ’s work of redemption in how we care for others and the earth.

“According to Christian tradition, (work) is more than a mere doing; it is, above all, a mission,” the Pope said Nov. 24.

“We collaborate with the creative work of God when, through our work, we cultivate and preserve creation; we participate, in the Spirit of Jesus, in his redemptive mission, when by our activity we give sustenance to our families and respond to the needs of our neighbor.”

Jesus of Nazareth, who spent most of his life working as a carpenter, “invites us to follow in his footsteps through work,” he continued. This way, in the words of St. Ambrose, “every worker is the hand of Christ who continues to create and to do good.”

Pope Francis sent the letter for the conclusion of a Nov. 23-24 international conference at the Vatican on work and worker’s movements, and how these are at the heart of sustainable and integral human development.

At the same time that we consider the value of work, the Pope stressed the importance of not exaggerating the “mystical” side of work, as observed by Pope Paul VI. The person “is not just work,” Francis said. “There are other human needs that we must cultivate and consider, such as family, friends, and rest.”

This is why, he stated, it is important to remember that work must always serve the human person, and not the other way around. Therefore, “we must question the structures that damage or exploit people, families, the companies and our mother earth,” he said.

In the letter, the Pope decried the utilitarian attitude faced by many workers, who in their struggle for just work, have been forced to accept the presence of a utilitarian mentality which does not care if there is excess waste, “social and environmental degradation,” forced child labor, or pollution.

“Everything is justified by the money god,” Francis said, noting however that many of the people who participated in the conference have contributed to the fight against utilitarianism in the past and are “well positioned to correct it in the future.”

“Please address this difficult subject and show us, according to your prophetic and creative mission, that a culture of encounter and care is possible,” he said.

Drawing a connection between the three topics of time, work and technology, the Pope criticized the constant intensification of a rapid pace of both work and life, saying it is unfavorable for sustainable development.

Technology as well, which we receive many benefits and opportunities from, can also hinder sustainable development when “it is associated with a paradigm of power, dominance, and manipulation,” he said.

To talk about development in a fruitful way, we must start from what we have in common, he said, which is: our origin, our belonging and our destination. “On this basis, we can renew the universal solidarity of all people, including solidarity with the people of tomorrow.”

“We will also be able to find a way out of a marketplace and monetary economy that does not give work the value it is due, and move it towards another in which human activity is the center.”

Communion, not competition, is key to job growth, pope says

Communion, not competition, is key to job growth, pope says

In this file photo, Pope Francis smiles during an audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. (Credit: Claudio Peri/EPA via CNS.)

Pope Francis says the economy is part of human life, not some autonomous machine, and so it must be regulated either by governments or by input from people who know that making money is not the highest human value. “In the world of work, communion must be victorious over competition,” he said.

ROME – Working for economic growth based on increased consumption without concern for creating dignified jobs and protecting the environment “is a bit like riding a bicycle with a flat tire: It’s dangerous,” Pope Francis said.

The dignity of workers and the health of the environment “are mortified when workers are just a line on a balance sheet, when the cries of the discarded are ignored,” he said Oct. 26 in a video message.

Addressing participants at a week-long Italian conference on Catholic social teaching, Francis noted how many people in the Bible are defined by their work: Sowers, harvesters, vine dressers, fishers, shepherds and carpenters, like St. Joseph.

Work can give people dignity by allowing them to use their talents to support themselves and their families and contribute to society, the pope said. But “there are jobs that humiliate human dignity” like prostitution and child labor or “offend the worker’s dignity,” like jobs that pay under the table, offer only a series of temporary contracts or do not pay enough attention to worker safety.

“This is immoral,” the pope said. “This kills. It kills dignity, kills health, kills the family, kills society.”

Francis noted that Catholic social teaching formally began in 1891 with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum,” which he said was written to “defend workers” from exploitation and to combat child labor, 12-hour workdays and poor working conditions in factories.

The Church’s concern for workers continues today, he said, and extends to those without work, those who are so discouraged they have stopped looking for a job, those who are underemployed and those who live in fear of losing their jobs.

The economy is part of human life, not some autonomous machine, and so it must be regulated either by governments or by input from people who know that making money is not the highest human value, he said.

“In the world of work, communion must be victorious over competition,” he said. Owners have a responsibility to invest in their workers and workers have a responsibility to do their best to make that investment pay off.

And, he said, governments have a role to play as well. Using the example of taking bids for public works, Francis said governments cannot focus only on getting the lowest bid “without taking into account the dignity of labor as well as the environmental and fiscal responsibility of the company.”