Pope Francis on Work, Unemployment, Mass Migration, and Solidarity

Last week, Pope Francis delivered a message to the International Labour Conference (ILO). Here are some highlights:

The dignity of work

“At the dawn of creation, God made man the steward of his handiwork and charged him to cultivate and protect it.  Human labour is part of that creation and continues God’s creative work.  This truth leads us to consider work as both a gift and a duty.  Indeed, labour is not a mere commodity but has its own inherent dignity and worth.”

Unemployment and alienation

“Unemployment is tragically expanding the frontiers of poverty (cf. Address to the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, 25 May 2013). This is particularly disheartening for unemployed young people who can all too easily become demoralized, losing their sense of worth, feeling alienated from society.  In working for greater opportunities for employment, we affirm the conviction that it is only “through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive work that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their life” (Evangelii Gaudium, 192).”

Mass migration and human trafficking

“The sheer numbers of men and women forced to seek work away from their homelands is a cause for concern.  Despite their hopes for a better future, they frequently encounter mistrust and exclusion, to say nothing of experiencing tragedies and disasters.  Having made such sacrifices, these men and women often fail to find dignified work and fall victim to a certain “globalization of indifference”.  Their situation exposes them to further dangers such as the horror of human trafficking, forced labour and enslavement.  It is unacceptable that, in our world, slave labour has become common coin (cf. Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 24 September 2013).  This cannot continue!   Human trafficking is a scourge, a crime against the whole of humanity.   It is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all of us, from individual families to the worldwide community (cf. Address to the New Ambassadors Accredited to the Holy See, 12 December 2013).”

Ways to expand solidarity

“A renewed insistence on the dignity of every person; a more determined implementation of international labour standards; planning for a focused development on the human person as its central actor and primary beneficiary; a re-evaluation of the responsibilities of international corporations in the countries where they operate, including the areas of profit and investment management; and a concerted  effort to encourage governments to facilitate the movement of migrants for the benefit of all, thus eliminating human trafficking and perilous travel conditions.”