Pope: Social Protection Systems Must Be Extended to Ensure Access to All Basic Needs

Photo by Ehteshamul Haque Adit on Unsplash

via the Vatican:

In our haste to return to greater economic activity, at the end of the Covid-19 threat, let us avoid the past fixations on profit, isolation and nationalism, blind consumerism and denial of the clear evidence that signals discrimination against our “throwaway” brothers and sisters in our society. On the contrary, let us look for solutions that will help us build a new future of work based on decent and dignified working conditions, that originate in collective negotiation, and that promote the common good, a phrase that will make work an essential component of our care for society and Creation….

we are called upon to prioritize our response to workers who find themselves on the margins of the labour market and who are still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic; low-skilled workers, day labourers, those who work in the informal sector, migrant and refugee workers, those who perform what are commonly referred to as “3Ds occupations”: dangerous, dirty and degrading, and the list could go on….

The lack of social protection measures in the face of the impact of Covid-19 has resulted in increased poverty, unemployment, underemployment, an increase of informal work, a delay in the inclusion of young people in the labour market, which is very serious, an increase in child labour, which is even more serious, vulnerability to human trafficking, food insecurity and increased exposure to infection among populations such as the sick and the elderly. In this regard, I am grateful for this opportunity to set out some key concerns and observations.

Firstly, it is the fundamental mission of the Church to appeal to everyone to work together, with governments, multilateral organizations and civil society, to serve and care for the common good and to ensure everyone’s participation in this task. No one should be left aside in a dialogue for the common good, the goal of which is, above all, to build and strengthen peace and trust among all. The most vulnerable — young people, migrants, indigenous communities, the poor — cannot be left aside in a dialogue that ought to also bring together governments, business people and workers. It is also essential that all confessions and religious communities work hard together….

Secondly, it is also essential to the mission of the Church to ensure that all obtain the protection they need according to their vulnerability: illness, age, disability, displacement, marginalization or dependency. Social protection systems, which in turn are facing major risks, must be supported and expanded to ensure access to health services, food and basic human needs….

We are all fragile and, at the same time, all of great value. Let us hope what is happening around us will shake us to our core. The time has come to eliminate inequalities, to cure the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family….

Sometimes, in speaking of private property we forget that it is a secondary right, which depends on this primary right, which is the universal destination of goods.