Labor Day was observed this week in the United States. Pope Francis gives us some practical advice on the value of labor in The Joy of the Gospel: “We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them. At our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire in saying to us: Give them something to eat. It is through free, creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour that human beings express and enhance the dignity of their lives. A just wage enables them to have adequate access to all the other goods which are destined for our common use.” Catholic social teaching emphasizes that the dignity of work is to be protected and the basic rights of workers must be respected: the right to productive work, decent and fair wages, the ability to form unions and bargain collectively, the ownership of private property, and economic initiative.
Thanks to all of you who participated this week in the demonstration for fast food workers to a just wage and a chance to form a union. I for one can say it was a purposeful action worth participating in. My heart went out to those who got arrested to make their point. I hope justice is served and one day they will be able to support their families through their labor. Pope Francis encourages us to “work to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs we encounter.”
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.