Laudato Si 124: Protecting Employment

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. The second theme covered in Chapter Three’s third section is “The need to protect employment.” Pope Francis is speaking about more than simple “jobs.” Labor is a greater principle, involving the expression of a person’s God-given abilities to contribute to that “fabric” of existence. Perhaps our occasional dim view of “work” is due in part to the well-acknowledged excesses of corporate employers, not to mention a lack of personal discernment.

124. Any approach to an integral ecology, which by definition does not exclude human beings, needs to take account of the value of labor, as Saint John Paul II wisely noted in his Encyclical Laborem Exercens. According to the biblical account of creation, God placed man and woman in the garden he had created (cf. Gen 2:15) not only to preserve it (“keep”) but also to make it fruitful (“till”). Laborers and craftsmen thus “maintain the fabric of the world” (Sir 38:34). Developing the created world in a prudent way is the best way of caring for it, as this means that we ourselves become the instrument used by God to bring out the potential which he himself inscribed in things: “The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and a sensible (person) will not despise them” (Sir 38:4).

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Laudato Si 124: Protecting Employment

  1. Liam says:

    Unfortunately, it’s hardly limited to corporate employers, nor universal within the galaxy of corporate employers. The non-profit world (very much including Church People(TM)) can be just as depressingly utilitarian and consequentialist, even if 8-digit comp packages are not the attention.

    • Todd says:

      O yes. Too many employers of any size run a company like a Soviet state rather than conduct themselves with prudence and respect. No dissent, and certainly nothing of collaboration, much to say democracy.

      • Liam says:

        I would say that a good test of an organization is: how important is trust within in the organization, and how much emphasis does it place in its recruitment and training on maintaining a fit of people who are trusting and trustworthy? Without a strong culture of mutual trust, most organizations simply burn out or fail. The longer I work, the more I realize the fundamental importance of a culture of trust.

  2. Liam says:

    PS: I encourage portfolio managers and research analysts to consider that issue in their evaluation of issuers long-term prospects. They are usually intrigued to see the issue set forth so nakedly, as they typically address the issue as an incidental matter, but when I walk them through it, they (at least for a moment, even if only to humor me as a colleague) do appear fascinated by the idea of how fundamental it is (in my experience, the longer that people have worked, the more self-evident the observation becomes for them). I like to plant seeds like that.

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