“We do not get dignity from power or money or culture. We get dignity from work.”
“Work is fundamental to the dignity of the person. Work, to use an image, ‘anoints’ with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God who has worked and still works, who always acts.”
On the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, the pope spoke about cultures that put the bottom line above the dignity, or even the life, of its workers.
“We do not get dignity from power or money or culture. We get dignity from work.” He added: “Work is fundamental to the dignity of the person. Work, to use an image, ‘anoints’ with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God who has worked and still works, who always acts.”
He concluded these remarks with a “strong appeal” for societies to protect the dignity and safety of the worker.
Pope Francis pulled no punches when he spoke directly to employers in a speech he delivered from the Vatican this past February. He made a point to mention that attending church, or donating to the church, does not make up for injustices against workers.
“Using God to cover injustice is a very grave sin,” he said. “If you go to Mass on Sunday and take communion, you should ask: What is the relationship with your employees? Do you pay them off the books? Do you pay them a fair salary? Do you pay the pension contributions?”
Saint John Paul II asserted the fundamental “priority of labor over capital” in 1981, and Pope Francis has had a lot to say on the same topic. He’s called on the faithful to fight for social benefits, including retirement, holidays, more time off, and the freedom to participate in trade unions. Under the heading of “social justice,” Pope Francis feels these benefits should be the norm for all workers, worldwide, and he encourages their pursuit.
“Not giving a job is not simply a question of not having the means to life: no. We can eat every day, we can go to Caritas, we can go to an association, a club, we can go there and they will give us something to eat. But this is not the problem. The problem is not being able to bring bread to the table at home: this is a serious problem, this takes away our dignity. And the most serious problem is not hunger, even though the problem exists. The most serious problem is that of dignity. For this reason we must work and defend the dignity that work gives us.”
— Mass during a pastoral visit to the Italian region of Molise, July 5, 2014
4. More time off will make you happier.
In an interview last year with the Argentine weekly Viva, Pope Francis presented 10 tips for living a happier life. He harkened back to his ideas about dignified work, adding that we should be creative about helping teenagers find meaningful work in order to protect them from following a dangerous path.
He also asserted that time off is essential for happiness. He maintained that Sundays should be holidays and that workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family.” He also commented on the importance of leisure time:
“Consumerism has brought us anxiety,” he said, adding that the stress causes people to lose a “healthy culture of leisure.” He emphasized that although parents work long hours, they should set aside time to play with their children. Even though work schedules make it “complicated, but you must do it.”
Source: Pope Francis on Work and Workers