Work, in fact, directly concerns the human person, his life, his freedom and his happiness. The primary value of work is the good of the human person since it fulfills him as such, with his inner talents and his intellectual, creative and physical abilities. Hence the scope of work is not only profit and economics; its purpose above all regards man and his dignity. – Pope Francis (Address to Terni Steel Mill Managers & Workers, March 20, 2014)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Labor Day 2014 statement reminds us:
Labor Day gives us the chance to see how work in America matches up to the lofty ideals of our Catholic tradition. This year, some Americans who have found stability and security are breathing a sigh of relief. Sporadic economic growth, a falling unemployment rate, and more consistent job creation suggest that the country may finally be healing economically after years of suffering and pain. For those men and women, and their children, this is good news.
Digging a little deeper, however, reveals enduring hardship for millions of workers and their families. The poverty rate remains high, as 46 million Americans struggle to make ends meet. The economy continues to fail in producing enough decent jobs for everyone who is able to work, despite the increasing numbers of retiring baby boomers. There are twice as many unemployed job seekers as there are available jobs, and that does not include the seven million part-time workers who want to work full-time. Millions more, especially the long-term unemployed, are discouraged and dejected. Read the rest of the statement here.
The Catholic bishops of the United States have long held that the most effective way to build a just economy is to make decent work at decent wages available for all those capable of working. When the economy fails to generate sufficient jobs, there is a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of unemployed and underemployed workers and their families.
This Labor Day weekend, let us pray for all workers.
Lord on this Labor Day,
we thank You for the blessing of work.
We ask for strength to complete each day.
We ask for rest when we are weary.
We ask Your guidance for everyone seeking employment,
and we ask that You be with those whose faces
we might never see but who work tirelessly each day
for the good of us all.
Credit: Our Sunday Visitor