“It is necessary to reaffirm that employment is necessary for society, for families and for individuals.”
These were the words of Pope Francis during an audience with steelworkers from the “Acciaierie di Terni”, along with their families. The group, which was accompanied by the bishop of their diocese, were in Rome to celebrate the 130th anniversary of their founding.
During his address, the Holy Father emphasized the importance of employment as well as solidarity, especially in this time of economic crisis. The primary value of work, he told the employees and managers, “is the good of the human person, as it allows the individual to be fully realized as such, with his or her attitudes and intellectual, creative and manual capacities.”
“Therefore, it follows that work has not only the economic objective of profit, but above all a purpose that regards man and his dignity. And if there is no work, this dignity is wounded! Indeed, the unemployed and underemployed risk being relegated to the margins of society, becoming victims of social exclusion.”
Reiterating the address he made during his visit last year to the Sardinian capital of Cagliari, the Holy Father said the problem of unemployment is due to an economic system that has placed “the idol of money” at its center. The Pope called on those in the world of politics and the economy to seeks a solution based on “justice and solidarity” that ensures “the possibility of dignified work for all.”
“Work is an asset for all, and must be available to all,” he said. “Phases of serious difficulties and unemployment must be faced with the tools of creativity and solidarity. The creativity of courageous businesspeople and craftspeople, who look to the future with trust and hope. And solidarity between all the elements of society, who all give something up, adopting a more sober lifestyle, to help those in need.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis stressed the need for the Christian community to instill faith and hope of a better future.
“This is the inspiring principle in the choices of a Christian: faith. Faith moves mountains!” he exclaimed. “Christian faith is able to enrich society through the concrete element of brotherhood it embodies. Never cease to hope for a better future!” (J.A.E.)