(Vatican Radio) On May 1st the Church remembers Saint Joseph the worker, a day marked across the globe as International Labour Day.
Pope Francis’ thoughts in these days go especially towards young people as expressed in his May 1st tweet: “May Saint Joseph give young people the ability to dream, to take risks for big tasks, the things that God dreams for us,” many of whom are faced with unprecedented high rates of unemployment and socio-financial difficulties.
And in a message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that in these days is holding its Plenary Assembly in the Vatican (28 April-2 May), the Pope recalls the “hard battles” of workers during the 19th and 20th centuries which took place “in the name of solidarity and rights”.
He says these battles “are far from over” pointing to the “social exclusion and marginalization of millions of men and women today.”
“Today, solidarity is not sufficient, it is necessary to increase the parameters of the traditional concept of justice” he said.
In the current liberal and individualistic vision of the world, he continues, almost everything has become a “trade commodity”; in a “state-centric” vision everything is accomplished out of “duty”. These are two visions, the Pope says, that have not and will not solve the grave problems of economy and work.
In his message the Pope says it is “necessary to attempt new paths that are inspired by Christ’s message.”
He says the key word is fraternity and he highlights the content of Pope Pius XI’s social encyclical issued in 1931: “Quadragesimo Anno,” which he says, decries the egoism which is at the basis of injustice and is the opposite of fraternity. He points out that it also foresaw the affirmation of a “global economic dictatorship” that Pius XI called the “international imperialism of money”.
The solution, Pope Francis says, is a fraternal society in which work “before being conceived as a right, is recognized as a capacity and an inalienable need of each person”.
Only in a fraternal society, he says, can work be “just”, meaning that not only will it assure an equitable remuneration, but it will correspond to the vocation of the person and therefore be able to contribute to the development of his or her capacities and talents.
“This is the proposal of the Gospel – a proposal that is able to create a new humanism” the Pope says, and “a new energy that will generate freedom, justice, peace and dignity for all”.
Pope Francis concludes his message quoting from a speech to managers and workers of the Terni steel mill in 2014: “Dear brothers and sisters, never stop hoping for a better future. Fight for it, fight. Do not be trapped in the vortex of pessimism, please! If each one does his or her part, if everyone always places the human person — not money — with his dignity at the centre, if an attitude of solidarity and fraternal sharing inspired by the Gospel is strengthened, you will be able to leave behind the morass of a hard and difficult economic season of work”.