For man, created to God's image, received a mandate to subject to himself the earth and all that it contains, and to govern the world with justice and holiness; a mandate to relate himself and the totality of things to him who was to be acknowledged as the Lord and Creator of all. For example, see the encyclical Redemption Hominis, no. The principle of respect for work demands that this right should undergo a constructive revision, both in theory and in practice. When we read in the first chapter of the Bible that man is to subdue the earth, we know that these words refer to all the resources contained in the visible world and placed at man's disposal. It is characteristic of work that it first and foremost unites people. We are familiar with the history of this conflict and with the demands of both sides. It was the reaction against the degradation of man as the subject of work, and against the unheard-of accompanying exploitation in the field of wages, working conditions and social security for the worker. Thus, merely converting the means of production into State property in the collectivist system is by no means equivalent to "socializing" that property. of Workers," and "Elements for a Spirituality of Work. When man works, using all the means of production, he also wishes the fruit of this work to be used by himself and others, and he wishes to be able to take part in the very work process as a sharer in responsibility and creativity at the workbench to which he applies himself. The work of BENCINI, De Literis Encyclicis Dissertatio (Turin, 1728), deals almost exclusively with the early church documents which were so styled; see, however, HILGENREINER in Kirchliches Handlexikon (Munich, 1907), I, 1310; and GOYAU, Le Vatican (Paris, 1898), p. 336; WYNNE, The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII (New York. question, if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man's It indicates that the social question must be dealt with in its whole complex dimension. Without this consideration it is impossible to understand the meaning of the virtue of industriousness, and more particularly it is impossible to understand why industriousness should be a virtue: for virtue, as a moral habit, is something whereby man becomes good as man19. But here it must be emphasized, in general terms, that the person who works desires not only due remuneration for his work; he also wishes that, within the production process, provision be made for him to be able to know that in his work, even on something that is owned in common, he is working "for himself". If the biblical words "subdue the earth" addressed to man from the very beginning are understood in the context of the whole modern age, industrial and post-industrial, then they undoubtedly include also a relationship with technology, with the world of machinery which is the fruit of the work of the human intellect and a historical confirmation of man's dominion over nature. Almost lost in this theologically rich encyclical letter is John Paul’s call for a social re-evaluation of the role of the mother, the work connected with it and the need children have for care, love and affection in order that they may develop, on every level, into stable persons (LE 19). Let the Christian who listens to the word of the living God, uniting work with prayer, know the place that his work has not only in earthly progress but also in the development ot the Kingdom of God, to which we are all called through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the word of the Gospel. These questions are particularly charged with content and tension of an ethical and an ethical and social character. It should also be noted that the justice of a socioeconomic system and, in each case, its just functioning, deserve in the final analysis to be evaluated by the way in which man's work is properly remunerated in the system. In view of this situation we must first of all recall a principle that has always been taught by the Church: the principle ot the priority of labour over capital. at a disadvantage in comparison with the other workers in that society in the From this spring certain specific rights of workers, corresponding to the obligation of work. condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to This method But hope remains if we act in honesty and love. satisfaction and the incentive to creativity and responsibility, when it Man is the image of God partly through the mandate received from his Creator to subdue, to dominate, the earth. It is not for the Church to analyze scientifically the consequences that these changes may have on human society. It is not the only means of checking, but it is a particularly important one and, in a sense, the key means. ", "I wish to devote this document," writes the Pope, "to human Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family means remuneration which will suffice for establishing and properly maintaining a family and for providing security for its future. If it is true that the many forms of toil that go with man's work are a small part of the Cross of Christ, what is the relationship of this new good to the Resurrection of Christ? However, if one studies the development of the question of social justice, one cannot fail to note that, whereas during the period between Rerum Novarum and Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno the Church's teaching concentrates mainly on the just solution of the "labour question" within individual nations, in the next period the Church's teaching widens its horizon to take in the whole world. This solidarity must be present whenever it is called for by the social degrading of the subject of work, by exploitation of the workers, and by the growing areas of poverty and even hunger. "Conflict Between Labor and Capital in the Present Phase of History," "Rights John Paul II, encyclical, Laborem exercens (On Human Work), 1981 11. THROUGH WORK man must earn his daily bread1 and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family. The key position, as regards the question of world peace, is that of John XXIII's Encyclical Pacem in Terris. It can be a question of general unemployment or of unemployment in certain sectors of work. If it is to be rational and fruitful, any socialization of the means of production must take this argument into consideration. The problems are big and urgent. For when we speak of the obligation of work and of the rights of the worker that correspond to this obligation, we think in the first place of the relationship between the employer, direct or indirect, and the worker. Thus, "the The Encyclical Rerum Novarum, which has the social question as its theme, stresses this issue also, recalling and confirming the Church's teaching on ownership, on the right to private property even when it is a question of the means of production. Thus agriculture constitutes through human work a primary field of economic activity and an indispensable factor of production. In order to achieve social justice in the various parts of the world, in the various countries, and in the relationships between them, there is a need for ever new movements of solidarity of the workers and with the workers. And so this "dominion" spoken of in the biblical text being meditated upon here refers not only to the objective dimension of work but at the same time introduces us to an understanding of its subjective dimension. In fact there is no doubt that human work has an ethical value of its own, which clearly and directly remain linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a person, a conscious and free subject, that is to say a subject that decides about himself. It is likewise familiar to those at an intellectual workbench; to scientists; to those who bear the burden of grave responsibility for decisions that will have a vast impact on society. And if the solution-or rather the gradual solution-of the social question, which keeps coming up and becomes ever more complex, must be sought in the direction of "making life more human"8, then the key, namely human work, acquires fundamental and decisive importance. The encyclical, which the Pope signed in Assisi on Saturday, was published today, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and followed the Angelus and a morning press conference on a Sunday. And really come to a reckoning that takes history seriously,” said Dávila, whose work focuses on immigration, racism, racial justice, class, and inequality. Since the concept of capital includes not only the natural resources placed at man's disposal but also the whole collection of means by which man appropriates natural resources and transforms them in accordance with his needs (and thus in a sense humanizes them), it must immediately be noted that all these means are the result of the historical heritage of human labour. ", Later, he recalls the principle of "the priority of labor over capital." This conflict, interpreted by some as a socioeconomic class conflict, found expression in the ideological conflict between liberalism, understood as the ideology of capitalism, and Marxism, understood as the ideology of scientiflc socialism and communism, which professes to act as the spokesman for the working class and the worldwide proletariat. In this analysis, work is seen as a great reality with a fundamental influence on the shaping in a human way of the world that the Creator has entrusted to man; it is a reality closely linked with man as the subject of work and with man's rational activity. Capacity for work-that is to say, for sharing efficiently in the modern production process-demands greater and greater preparation and, before all else, proper training. And if we do not find in his words a special command to work-but rather on one occasion a prohibition against too much anxiety about work and life42- at the same time the eloquence of the life of Christ is unequivocal: he belongs to the "working world", he has appreciation and respect for human work. by man and society. Obviously, two aspects of work in a sense come into play here: the one making family life and its upkeep possible, and the other making possible the achievement of the purposes of the family, especially education. publication on May 15, the date of the 90th anniversary of "Rerum Novarum," but Jesus This state of affairs was favoured by the liberal socio-political system, which, in accordance with its "economistic" premises, strengthened and safeguarded economic initiative by the possessors of capital alone, but did not pay sufficient attention to the rights of the workers, on the grounds that human work is solely an instrument of production, and that capital is the basis, efficient factor and purpose of production. In accordance with the principle of "the dictatorship of the proletariat", the groups that as political parties follow the guidance of Marxist ideology aim by the use of various kinds of influence, including revolutionary pressure, to win a monopoly of power in each society, in order to introduce the collectivist system into it by eliminating private ownership of the means of production. As a person, man is therefore the subject ot work. The most important thing is that the person working away from his native land, whether as a permanent emigrant or as a seasonal worker, should not be placed at a disadvantage in comparison with the other workers in that society in the matter of working rights. After outlining the important role that concern for providing employment for all workers plays in safeguarding respect for the inalienable rights of man in view of his work, it is worthwhile taking a closer look at these rights, which in the final analysis are formed within the relationship between worker and direct employer. In this case, it is the loss of a subject of work, whose efforts of mind and body could contribute to the common good of his own country, but these efforts, this contribution, are instead offered to another society which in a sense has less right to them than the person's country of origin. The organization of human life in accordance with the many possibilities of labour should be matched by a suitable system of instruction and education, aimed first of all at developing mature human beings, but also aimed at preparing people specifically for assuming to good advantage an appropriate place in the vast and socially differentiated world of work. Understood in this case not as a capacity or aptitude for work, but rather as a whole set of instruments which man uses in his work, technology is undoubtedly man's ally. Nevertheless it is obvious that materialism, including its dialectical form, is incapable of providing sufficient and definitive bases for thinking about human work, in order that the primacy of man over the capital instrument, the primacy of the person over things, may find in it adequate and irrefutable confirmation and support. The pope has been clear that he doesn’t have the answer to every single local issue, said Lamb, but his encyclical provides the framework to begin solving problems. When we have to consider the moral rights, corresponding to this obligation, of every person with regard to work, we must always keep before our eyes the whole vast range of points of reference in which the labour of every working subject is manifested. The Holy Father highlights that the human rights that This question and the problems connected with it gave rise to a just social reaction and caused the impetuous emergence of a great burst of solidarity between workers, first and foremost industrial workers. "One method used by unions in pursuing For it is the State that must conduct a just labour policy. ", "Human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social revision, both in theory and in practice." Each community will be able to set up suitable structures for finding or creating jobs for such people both in the usual public or private enterprises, by offering them ordinary or suitably adapted jobs, and in what are called "protected" enterprises and surroundings. These rights must be examined in the broad context of human rights as a whole, which are connatural with man, and many of which are proclaimed by various international organizations and increasingly guaranteed by the individual States for their citizens Respect for this broad range of human rights constitutes the fundamental condition for peace in the modern world: peace both within individual countries and societies and in international relations, as the Church's Magisterium has several times noted, especially since the Encyclical Pacem in Terris. The only chance there seems to be for radically overcoming this error is through adequate changes both in theory and in practice, changes in line with the definite conviction of the primacy of the person over things, and of human labour over capital as a whole collection of means of production. socio-economic, technological and productive processes, that must be Work and industriousness also influence the whole process of education in the family, for the very reason that everyone "becomes a human being" through, among other things, work, and becoming a human being is precisely the main purpose of the whole process of education. When dealing with human work in the fundamental dimension of its subject, that is to say, the human person doing the work, one must make at least a summary evaluation of developments during the ninety years since Rerum Novarum in relation to the subjective dimension of work. However, the role of unions is not to "play politics" in the sense that the expression is commonly understood today. Emigration in search of work must in no way become an opportunity for financial or social exploitation. These two spheres of values-one linked to work and the other consequent on the family nature of human life-must be properly united and must properly permeate each other. According to the principal ideologists and leaders of this broad international movement, the purpose of this programme of action is to achieve the social revolution and to introduce socialism and, finally, the communist system throughout the world. We must emphasize and give prominence to the primacy of man in the production process, the primacy of man over things. A way towards that goal could be found by associating labour with the ownership of capital, as far as possible, and by producing a wide range of intermediate bodies with economic, social and cultural purposes; they would be bodies enjoying real autonomy with regard to the public powers, pursuing their specific aims in honest collaboration with each other and in subordination to the demands of the common good, and they would be living communities both in form and in substance, in the sense that the members of each body would be looked upon and treated as persons and encouraged to take an active part in the life of the body24. But, by a kind of paradox, it is in doing our work here well that we can attain that eternal life which, as human persons, God Himself invites us to share. He compares the apostolate to the manual work of harvesters68 or fishermen69. Encyclical, pastoral letter written by the pope for the whole Roman Catholic church on matters of doctrine, morals, or discipline.Although formal papal letters for the entire church were issued from the earliest days of the church, the first commonly called an encyclical was Ubi primum, dealing with episcopal duties, published by Benedict XIV in 1740. We are celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum on the eve of new developments in technological, economic and political conditions which, according to many experts, will influence the world of work and production no less than the industrial revolution of the last century. Long days of hard physical work are paid miserably. On Human Work(Laborem Exercens) Written on the ninetieth anniversary of the very first social encyclical, Rerum Novarum, Pope John Paul II presents work as a fundamental dimension of human existence through which the person achieves fulfillment as a human being. Hence his instructions, in the form of exhortation and command, on the subject of work: "Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living", he writes to the Thessalonians74. Back to text. 31. It is also true in countries where the main working milieu continues to be agriculture or other similar occupations. All this pleads in favour of the moral obligation to link industriousness as a virtue with the social order of work, which will enable man to become, in work, "more a human being" and not be degraded by it not only because of the wearing out of his physical strength (which, at least up to a certain point, is inevitable), but especially through damage to the dignity and subjectivity that are proper to him. It needs to be specified further from another point of view. In fact, in such a situation they easily lose contact with their specific role, which is to secure the just rights of workers within the £ramework of the common good of the whole of society; instead they become an instrument used for other purposes. The progress in question must be made through man and for man and it must produce its fruit in man. Therefore this was also "the gospel of work", because he who proclaimed it was himself a man of work, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth41. recognized; and some elements that can help all men identify with Christ Given this way of understanding things, and presupposing that different sorts of work that people do can have greater or lesser objective value, let us try nevertheless to show that each sort is judged above all by the measure of the dignity of the subject of work, that is to say the person, the individual who carries it out. It is precisely these fundamental affirmations about work that always emerged from the wealth of Christian truth, especially from the very message of the "Gospel of work", thus creating the basis for a new way of thinking, judging and acting. the position that defends the exclusive right to private ownership of the means Menu. On the contrary, it is respect for the objective rights of the worker-every kind of worker: manual or intellectual, industrial or agricultural, etc.-that must constitute the adequate and fundamental criterion for shaping the whole economy, both on the level of the individual society and State and within the whole of the world economic policy and of the systems of international relationships that derive from it. directly remains linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a In this connection workers should be assured the right to strike, without being subjected to personal penal sanctions for taking part in a strike. All work, whether manual or intellectual, is inevitably linked with toil. elements that help give labor the meaning that it has in God's eyes. Pope Francis has published a new encyclical, urging the world to work together to rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic. Such a concept practically does away with the very basis of the ancient differentiation of people into classes according to the kind of work done. the whole of instruments and conditioning that historically constitute the Historically speaking, this, taken as a whole, has caused great changes in civilization, from the beginning of the "industrial era" to the successive phases of development through new technologies, such as the electronics and the microprocessor technology in recent years. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. They cannot be possessed against labour, they cannot even be possessed for possession's sake, because the only legitimate title to their possession- whether in the form of private ownerhip or in the form of public or collective ownership-is that they should serve labour, and thus, by serving labour, that they should make possible the achievement of the first principle of this order, namely, the universal destination of goods and the right to common use of them. Man must work out of regard for others, especially his own family, but also for the society he belongs to, the country of which he is a child, and the whole human family of which he is a member, since he is the heir to the work of generations and at the same time a sharer in building the future of those who will come after him in the succession of history. workers and with the workers. 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