Laudato Si 128: The Vocation of Work

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. People were made to work. Not to be enslaved, but to create, produce, and incarnate their inspiration.

128. We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment.

Assisting the needy is not a matter of making them productive, but permitting participation in a vocation of dignity:

Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. Yet the orientation of the economy has favored a kind of technological progress in which the costs of production are reduced by laying off workers and replacing them with machines. This is yet another way in which we can end up working against ourselves.

Pope Francis cites his predecessor:

The loss of jobs also has a negative impact on the economy “through the progressive erosion of social capital: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence”.[Caritas in Veritate 32] In other words, “human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs”.[Ibidem] To stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society.

Investing in people is the most valuable act. This is true for an employer, a volunteer manager, political states, corporations, and the economy as a whole. It is a massive blind spot for many powerful people in our society. The Church does not escape this blindness.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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