US Bishops Send Labor Day Message

Calls for Rebuilding Economy Guided by Ethical Principles

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 2, 2009 ( In a message for Labor Day on Monday, the U.S. bishops are underlining the need to retain hope and pray for those who have lost jobs during the economic recession.

This was affirmed in the message, «The Value of Work; The Dignity of the Human Person,» publicized today and signed by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York.

The prelate, who is chairman of the bishops’ conference Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, stated that this day is a time to celebrate «the value and dignity of work and the contribution and rights of the American worker.»

He acknowledged that currently, «we face a number of challenging problems,» such as the economic recession.

Despite this, the bishop said, «We have an abiding faith in the values that have shaped our nation and an ongoing commitment to work together to address the problems and build on the strengths of who we are.»

He underlined Benedict XVI’s encyclical, «Caritas in Veritate,» as «a major point of reference for us all as we give thanks to God for the meaning with which God has endowed work as a reflection of the dignity of every worker, a ‘co-creator’ with God in this world of human endeavor.»

Positive stepBishop Murphy underlined a «positive step» taken by the conference in respect for workers, leading to a statement titled «Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions.»

This project, he noted, resulted in a «set of principles, processes, and guidelines for a respectful and harmonious approach to let workers in Catholic health care facilities make free choices about unionization.»

In regard to the larger health care issue, concerning the proposed reforms currently under debate in the nation, the prelate urged Catholics to «join the bishops in advocating for health care reform that is truly universal and protects human life at every stage of development.»

Related to this, he also underlined the need for the reform of immigration laws, to protect both the country and the migrant workers.

The bishop stated: «On this Labor Day, let us remember those without work and without hope. Too often in our public discourse anger trumps wisdom, myth outweighs fact, and slogans replace solutions.

«We can work together and rebuild our economy on the moral principles and ethical values outlined by Pope Benedict in his new encyclical.»

He concluded, «We should also ask God’s help in living out the Church’s call to defend human life and dignity, to protect workers and their rights, and to stand with the poor and vulnerable in difficult economic times.»

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