Less than two months after the Holy Father traveled to the Italian Island of Sardinia, the first fruits can be seen of his visit. During the last meeting of the regional episcopal conference, the bishops decided to create a Regional Observatory on Employment.
One of the meetings that Francis held in Cagliari was with employees. In his address the Pope said that “with this meeting I want above all to express my closeness to you, especially to the situations of suffering: to the many young people out of work, to people on unemployment benefits, or on a temporary basis, to business and tradespeople who find it hard to keep going.”
Moreover, he added, “I must say to you: ‘Courage!’ Nevertheless I am also aware that for own my part I must do everything to ensure that this term ‘courage’ is not a beautiful word spoken in passing! May it not be merely the smile of a courteous employee, a Church employee who comes and says ‘be brave!’ No! I don’t want this! I want courage to come from within me and to impel me to do everything as a pastor, as a man. We must all face this challenge with solidarity, among you — also among us — we must all face with solidarity and intelligence this historic struggle.”
According to a note from Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti of Tempio, secretary of the Sardinian Bishops’ Conference, published in the local newspaper “La Nuova Sardegna,” the intention is that this new organization investigate employment, “the loss of opportunities, the obstacles to maintain it and create something new, the potentialities that can be taken advantage of and eventual concrete proposals to advance in a future that must be very close.”
The observatory will function under the direction of the Sardinian Episcopal Conference, who will staff it with “expert and qualified persons also of different cultural extraction, but willing to make a serious, purposeful and realistic contribution.”
In the text Bishop Sanguinetti adds that it is necessary to pass from expressions of protest to a responsible assumption of the responsibility of all the social and institutional forces. The Bishops noted in the message that the Pope left messages to the Sardinian Churches that cannot be eluded.
Three subjects are especially highlighted: the area of work, of young people and the world of culture.
The Observatory’s programs, objectives and operations will be detailed in a future letter from the bishops to the whole Sardinian Church, which will launch “in terms of reflection and concrete pastoral courses, the message of Pope Francis and of the rich ecclesial teaching, in the light of the Social Doctrine of the Church.”