Pope Francis Discusses the Dignity of Work

In one of his morning homilies a few months ago, Pope Francis talked about societies that put company profits above human dignity, or even human life. “What point have we come to?” he asked.

This kind of talk disturbs cafeteria Christians on the right, just as the Church’s insistence on the fundamental right to life of all human beings and the sanctity of Holy Matrimony disturbs cafeteria Christians on the left.

Each “side” of the culture wars wants the Holy Father to affirm them and their half-Gospel as righteousness so that they can use what would amount to an amputated, phony Jesus to score “gotcha!” points off those on the other side of the various political debates.

But Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ, not the apologist for the false idols of various religious/political heresies.

Jesus was a worker. A carpenter. By doing that, He elevated work far above the animalistic fight for survival that those in power often try to make it into for working people.

Human beings are made in the image and likeness of Almighty God. As such, we each have a transcendent dignity that extends beyond this life and into eternity. The things we do here, including the work of our heads, hands and hearts, is an expression of that innate, God-given dignity.

All people are entitled to the privileges of owning private property and to have the labor of their lives respected. Part of that respect is a living wage and decent working conditions. When these values are compromised by a moneyed few who mis-use the powers of government to seize the treasure of a nation to satisfy their personal rapaciousness, then those who govern must oppose those actions.

Elected officials who do otherwise may profess Christ with their mouths, but they deny Him by what they do.

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  • RelapsedCatholic

    Wow mam, we have disagreed in the past but I have nothing but praise for this post. I suspect we may still disagree on specifics like unions, regulation, etc. But this was a powerful post.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Would you be surprised to find that I’m pro-union? And would expect Rebecca, being a middle class pro-life Democrat, to be both pro-union and pro-regulation?

      In fact, this last round of pro-life initiatives in the wake of Gosnell has all been pro-regulation.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Amen. Every time I feel that I could agree with the kind of people who, over here in Britain, are called Tories, I am reminded of their cruelty towards the poor and of their desire to punish and threaten the less “successful” part of society, merely on the grounds of not being “successful”.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    “This kind of talk disturbs cafeteria Christians on the right…”

    It doesn’t disturb me or most people on the right or most people who understand economics. Corporations give lots to charity. I’ve never seen the numbers but it would not surprise me if it exceeded personal donations. What most people don’t get is that there is a trade off between having a job that may not be perfect and not having a job at all. Society through their laws determines that. Obamacare is the perfect example. So if society constrains the rules for perfect benefits and conditions you have denied someone the dignity of work. Society decides the terms; business provide the means given the terms. They work within the boundaries.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      As a percentage of income, personal giving outdoes corporate giving 5:1. The reason is obvious- God requires a tithe, but the IRS only requires 2%.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        What exactly are you saying? Is that 5:1 based on 10% tithe to 2 % Corporate IRS? If so that doesn’t prove anything. How much do corporations give in charitable donations? 2% of billions of dollars may be much more than personal charitable giving, even if everyone gave 10%, which they don’t.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          You imagine that most of that “charity” does any good. When you have removed the tax write-offs, the charity with strings (you will, of course, buy our products), that intended to buy off opposition (I’m sure Monsanto and Halliburton are most generous givers) or to achieve political results, the individual vanity projects, and the support to abortion, population decrease, and assorted damaging fads, even that pathetic one per cent turns out to be a lot less than it sounds. Corpothieferations would do the world a lot more good by paying their taxes.


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