(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in a gathering of Italy’s Christian Workers Movement on Saturday, together with representatives from other Christian labor organizations from Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
Italy’s Movimento Cristiano Lavoratori was created in 1972, with the union of two major workers’ organizations committed to building a “capitalism with a human face” as the Movement explains, “in the profound conviction that market freedom, solidarity and subsidiarity are complementary components to any sane liberalism.”
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In his prepared remarks to the participants, Pope Francis focused on three key words: education, sharing, witness.
“To educate,” said Pope Francis, “means ‘to draw out’: it is the capacity to extract the best from one’s heart – it is not only instruction in this or that technique, nor is it imparting a particular set of notions, but rather it means making ourselves and the reality that surrounds us both more human.” The Holy Father went on to say, “this is particularly valid as far as the world of work is concerned: it is necessary to form people for ‘a new humanism of work’ in which man, and not profit, is at the center; in which the economy serves man, and does not simply make use of him.”
Nor is education therefore merely theoretical. It also helps people to resist the falsehood according to which work, daily effort, giving of self and serious study have no intrinsic value. “Today,” said Pope Francis, “it is urgently necessary to teach people how to take the way – luminous as it is challenging – of honesty – avoiding the shortcuts of favoritism and “old boys’ networks (It. raccomandazioni).” The Holy Father also condemned corruption and lawlessness in the world of work as being like a giant, tentacled sea creature that ensnares and poisons its victims and drags them into the unseen depths from which it strikes.
About sharing, Pope Francis praised the civil service projects initiative of the movement particularly, and encouraged the members of the Movement to continue to recognize the hours of the working day as an opportunity to foster unity among colleagues and co-workers.
Under the rubric of witness, Pope Francis recalled the plight of the great many people – especially young people – who desire to work and have good training, but cannot find appropriate employment. “Human justice requires that everyone have access to work,” he said. “High-sounding words will not avail,” he added, “what is needed is rather to communicate hope, to comfort with presence, to sustain with concrete help,” those who would work and can find none.
“I encourage you to bear witness starting with your personal lifestyle and in that of your association – witness of the free gift of self, of a spirit of service,” Pope Francis said. “The disciple of Christ, when he is transparent in his heart and sensible in life, brings the light of Christ into the places where he lives and works.”