Pope Francis addressed workers concerns over the lack of employment in the italian island of Sardinia during his Apostolic visit to Cagliari on Sunday.
Upon his arrival, the Holy Father was greeted not only by religious and civil authorities, but also by many people holding banners demanding work on account of many factories being closed on the island.
Prior to his address, the Holy Father heard from a young unemployed person, an entrepreneur and a union member. According to a communique by the Holy See, Pope Francis was so moved by their words that the set aside his prepared text and spoke off the cuff to those gathered.
“With this meeting,” the Pope said, “I wish above all to express my closeness, especially in situations of suffering: to many young unemployed, to those in receipt of employment insurance or in precarious employment, and to struggling small businesses.”
“It is a situation I know well from my experience in Argentina. I personally have not experienced this difficulty but my family has; my father, at a young age, went to Argentina full of illusions about ‘finding America’. And he suffered throughout the terrible depression of the 1930s. They lost everything! There was no work! And at home, during my childhood, I heard talk of this time, of this suffering.”
The Holy Father called on them to “have courage” while expressing his solidarity with them in their struggle to work.
“Where there is no work,” he said, “there is no dignity!”
“And this is not a problem solely in Sardinia … or only of Italy and certain countries in Europe, it is the consequence of a worldwide choice, an economic system that leads to this tragedy, an economic system that has at its center the idol of money.”
Men and women and not money should be at the center of the world. The Holy Father stayed that today’s economic system is devoid of ethics while become an idolater of “this money-god.”
Despite the current system, the Pope exhorted those employed and unemployed to not lose hope and to struggle together to restore men, women and the family at the center.
“’Do not be robbed of hope!’. But we must be clever, as the Lord says that the idols are more cunning than we are. The Lord invites us to have the cunning of the snake with the goodness of the dove. We must have this cunning, and call things by their proper name. In this moment, in our current economic system, in our proposed globalised system of life, there is an idol at the centre and this cannot be!,” he exclaimed.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis invited those gathered to pray with him in silence, asking God to save those who suffer from the idols that “try to rob us of dignity.”
“Lord, do not leave us alone. Help us to help ourselves; so that we leave our selfishness behind and feel in our hearts the ‘we’ of a people who wish to forge ahead. Lord Jesus, who did not lack work, give us work and teach us how to strive for work, and bless us all,” the Pope concluded.
— — —
On ZENIT’s webpage:
For the full text of the Pope’s address to laborers, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-laborers-in-cagliari