PopeWatch: Work

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VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

The Pope has always been concerned with high unemployment and last week at a ceremony celebrating the 130th anniversary of an Italian steelworks he made the following comments:

“It is necessary to reaffirm that employment is necessary for society, for families and for individuals”, said the Pope. “Its primary value is the good of the human person, as it allows the individual to be fully realised as such, with his or her attitudes and intellectual, creative and manual capacities. Therefore, it follows that work has not only the economic objective of profit, but above all a purpose that regards man and his dignity. And if there is no work, this dignity is wounded! Indeed, the unemployed and underemployed risk being relegated to the margins of society, becoming victims of social exclusion”.

“What can we say, when faced with the very serious problem of unemployment that affects various European countries?”, he asked. “It is the consequence of an economic system that is no longer able to create work, because it has placed at its centre the idol of money. Therefore, the various political, social and economic actors are called upon to promote a different approach, based on justice and solidarity, to ensure the possibility of dignified work for all. Work is an asset for all, and must be available to all. Phases of serious difficulties and unemployment must be faced with the tools of creativity and solidarity. The creativity of courageous businesspeople and craftspeople, who look to the future with trust and hope. And solidarity between all the elements of society, who all give something up, adopting a more sober lifestyle, to help those in need”.

PopeWatch believes that a fair amount of young people will end up making their own employment opportunities through self-employment in the years to come.   What the Great Recession may ultimately teach quite a few of the younger generation is that if you want  a job best to create one yourself rather than waiting for someone to hire you.  I know a young man locally who is making quite a decent living doing minor home repairs.  He does good work and is currently getting more word of mouth job referrals than he can handle.  A young mother has a dog walking business, along with taking animals to vets, and pet sitting, that she began as a lark and is now providing part time employment for herself, a sister and two friends.  Entrepreneurship and hard work can accomplish miracles in making careers in hard times.

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Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.

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9 Comments

  1. “And if there is no work…” the individual must create a job for himself, employ his creative talents and invent employment for himself and perhaps others. Entrepreneurs have been doing since man invented the wheel.
    .
    Who told the unemployed that they could not?

  2. The Pope has always been concerned with high unemployment…
    Yep, and this led to one of his not-so-well-worded comments last year that we may have already discussed here:
    “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crashed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family? Can you go on like this? This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.”
    .
    These are serious problems and they are urgent, but I am hopeful he does not spend his entire pontificate attempting to solve them for us. Evangelii Gaudium spoke to the issues of poverty and economic disparity (which are not synomous terms) and though I am happy Pope Francis is not content to simply leave the matters as a mere wish list, but there are more serious and more urgent evils that need his attention.

  3. Unemployment “is the consequence of an economic system that is no longer able to create work, because it has placed at its center the idol of money”. Economics 101 should be required for all Popes (and presidents and journalists). Worshiping the idol of money is wrong, no question about it. It goes against the first commandment. Unemployment, and youth unemployment, denies the dignity of man. It is impossible for man to be realized without being able to provide “by the sweat of his brow”. But the two wrongs are not connected in the negative way Pope Francis implies. They are connected in a positive way: the more profits I have the more people I can employ.
    When I work, and receive compensation for my work, is that not the “profit” of my work? So what the Pope is offering is for us to work for the dignity of it, instead of working for pay. Nonsense!

  4. “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”
    .
    St. Gaetan, Patron of the underemployed and unemployed, your life was dedicated to prayer and to the aid of the poor who wanted to become contributing parts of society.
    .
    St. Gaetan, Patron of job seekers and of good fortune, intercede for us. Ask the Lord to open the hearts of the young, that they may see elderly people not as baggage, nor as the lepers were seen, but as His children, too. Ask the Lord that young people would be given the grace of charity, the grace of generosity and above all, eyes that see their elders with the same love with which Christ saw everyone.
    .
    St. Gaetan, you held Baby Jesus in your arms, given to you by The Blessed Virgin Herself. Ask the Lord to put a spirit of opportunity into the hearts of the young, that they may serve and at the same time receive the wisdom that their elders will gleefully impart in exchange for company, laughter and companionship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  5. As a percentage of world population fewer people live at or below subsistence level than ever before in history. This is due more to capitalism than any other single cause. Yet, people think that poverty is on the rise because because the developed world is going through a reversal of the great compression that occurred through much of the 20th century. In other words poverty is no longer thought of as the lack of basic necessities, but as having too much less than others.

  6. Capitalist create jobs. I want to say capitalists instead of saying capitalism because we have learned that systems are only as good as the people who use them.
    George Washington taught the importance of a moral base for society. Good people leads to aggregate good . No matter what the laws or the system there are people who will make profit the centerpiece. Systems and laws have plusses and minuses IMO we need to have a truly Christian moral society underpinning our capitalism. Truly Christian capitalists.

  7. PF: “Therefore, the various political, social and economic actors are called upon to promote a different approach, based on justice and solidarity, to ensure the possibility of dignified work for all. Work is an asset for all, and must be available to all.”
    Hum, as Pooh would say. “Work is an asset for all and must be available to all.” Sounds like the same ol’ socialist idea that a job is an obligatory social program of a business enterprise.

    Perhaps like others who have commented above, I have owned and operated my own business, so I have a view point on this: “No man will work for your interest unless they are also his, ” as a friend is often fond of commenting to me.

    Sounds like once again, neither PF nor his ilk (nor Comrade Obama) have the slightest insight into the how and why of someone paying another individual to work for them. So guess what: many of us evil capitalists, both on the micro and macro scale, just eliminated the intramural social program. No more ‘trickle-down’ to castigate, mein lieber Herr Pontiff. And a lot fewer headaches.

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