Labor Unionists, the Church and Their Symbiosis

Workers Shouldn’t Ignore Christian Identity, Says Professor

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ROME, JAN. 29, 2003 ( What role do believers play in labor unions? And what can the Church’s social doctrine contribute to trade unionism?

These topics were the focus of a work seminar Tuesday on «Trade Unionists Who Are Believers,» organized by the Italian bishops’ National Office for Social Problems and Work.

Mario Toso, professor of social philosophy, said, «Trade unionists can have expectations of the Church, and the latter can respond better to their needs if a virtuous circle is established between labor unions and the Church.»

«The Gospel is a renewing and transforming force that makes a new culture grow and calls for innovative answers,» Toso added.

He encouraged Christian trade unionists not to renounce their human-Christian identity, because with it they can bring to labor unions «a torrent of energy necessary to reinforce the ethical goodness of social action.»

Toso, professor at the Salesian University and the Lateran University, contended that «if committed lay faithful in labor unions do not help the Church, the latter will have an outdated idea of a labor union.»

What is important, Toso told ZENIT, is that the «Church and unions enlighten one another mutually, and that both learn to give and to receive.»

The social doctrine of the Church makes an ethical-cultural contribution to labor unions, especially by inviting them to discover the roots of universal and common values, particularly of the good, and also by «opting for the poorest, investing and trusting in their human and cultural potential,» Toso added.

«The believer and the Christian trade unionist, engaged in formative and apostolic activities, are called to participate in the maturing of the Church,» he emphasized.

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