It was signed on September 14, feast of the Holy Cross. Work is one of these aspects, a perennial and fundamental one, one that is always relevant and constantly demands renewed attention and decisive witness. The proper subject of work continues to be man," and the finality of work "is always man himself. The principle of respect for work demands that this right should undergo a constructive revision, both in theory and in practice.
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Context[ edit ] It had become customary for popes to publish new writings on social issues at ten-year intervals since Rerum novarum, in order to keep the teachings relevant to the current times. Laborem exercens was written in honor of the 90th anniversary, and makes reference to Rerum novarum and to several of the subsequent writings. The pope was not able to issue the document on the May 15 anniversary because of the assassination attempt two days earlier.
Some of the trends mentioned by John Paul within the encyclical are: Increased use of technology, especially information technology, which John Paul predicted would bring changes comparable to the industrial revolution of the previous century. Environmental issues. The pope noted that some resources, particularly oil, were becoming scarce.
Also, the need to protect the environment was becoming apparent. People in the developing world wanted to be more involved in the global economy. John Paul welcomed this trend, but feared it would bring unemployment for many skilled workers as work was distributed more widely.
The Church finds in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis the source of her conviction that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth When man, who had been created "in the image of God John Paul draws from this passage the conclusion that work is essential to human nature, and that "man is the subject of work. As a person, man is therefore the subject of work. Work is an integral part of human nature; while toil, according to Genesis, was a consequence of sin.
The two cannot be separated now, but we can still find the uplifting and fulfilling aspect of work, which John Paul names industriousness.
Gen , was not withdrawn or cancelled out even when man, having broken the original covenant with God, heard the words: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" Gen These words refer to the sometimes heavy toil that from then onwards has accompanied human work And yet, in spite of all this toil—perhaps, in a sense, because of it—work is a good thing for man John Paul called these "threats to the right order of values. However, technology also presents some risks.
It facilitates his work, perfects, accelerates and augments it. It leads to an increase in the quantity of things produced by work, and in many cases improves their quality. People are more important than things. Materialism subordinates people to property; while economism regards the value of human labour only according to its economic purpose. John Paul recommends instead a philosophy of personalism. 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".
This awareness is extinguished within him in a system of excessive bureaucratic centralization, which makes the worker feel that he is just a cog in a huge machine moved from above Natural resources must be acknowledged as gifts of God, belonging to all. Any tools or technology used builds on prior work by countless generations, and continue to be influenced by those who use them in the present day. If it is true that capital, as the whole of the means of production, is at the same time the product of the work of generations, it is equally true that capital is being unceasingly created through the work done with the help of all these means of production, and these means can be seen as a great workbench at which the present generation of workers is working day after day.
The indirect employer[ edit ] John Paul examined the rights of workers in the context of a broader picture including both direct and indirect employers. Indirect employers are other persons, groups and structures that affect or constrain the direct employer. The concept of indirect employer includes both persons and institutions of various kinds, and also collective labour contracts and the principles of conduct which are laid down by these persons and institutions and which determine the whole socioeconomic system or are its result The indirect employer substantially determines one or other facet of the labour relationship.
If the purchasers insist on the lowest possible prices, the workers in another part of the world are indirectly affected. To create labor policies that ensure justice for every worker, it is necessary not only to work with the direct employers, but also to identify and coordinate the indirect employers. John Paul suggests that this work properly belongs to governments as well as to international organizations such as the United Nations and International Labour Organization.
Rights of workers[ edit ] Full employment[ edit ] "We must first direct our attention to a fundamental issue: the question of finding work, or, in other words, the issue of suitable employment for all who are capable of it. The criterion of full employment will only be achieved through planning and coordination among all the indirect employers, and a better coordination of education with employment. Women with children have a right either to stay home, or to work outside the home with accommodation for their family responsibility.
He also recommended benefits including health insurance, pensions, accident insurance, weekends and vacations as part of a "correct relationship between worker and employer. This right is not limited to industrial workers, but belongs to every class and profession. He urges unions to view their struggle as a positive struggle for social justice, rather than a struggle against an opponent.
He affirmed the right of unions to strike —"This method is recognized by Catholic social teaching as legitimate in the proper conditions and within just limits" — but "the strike weapon" is an extreme means that should rarely be used. These include greater isolation; hard physical toil; inadequate wages, benefits, and training; and oppression of those who actually cultivate the soil by wealthy landowners.
Cultural adjustment is often difficult. People working away from their country of origin may be vulnerable to exploitation. Spirituality of work[ edit ] Laborem exercens concludes with a section regarding the importance of work to Christian spirituality.
John Paul encouraged the Church to develop and teach a spirituality of work. Many other examples of various occupations are given in the Old and New Testaments.
Laborem Exercens (On Human Work)
In those ninety years issues surrounding employment and labor have not ceased to remain of importance to the Church. Work has changed considerably since the industrial revolution and technological and innovative advances are accelerating that change. In this encyclical His Holiness focuses on the dignity of human work in the contemporary world. It is not the role of the Church to scientifically analyze the consequences of these changes on society, but instead to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work and to help guide society to authentic progress. Since the beginning, as revealed in Genesis work has been a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth. Many of the earlier injustices against workers have ended as a result of worker solidarity, yet some flagrant injustices persist. It is the duty of the Church to help the poor and weak, especially those whose dignity has been violated.
Context[ edit ] It had become customary for popes to publish new writings on social issues at ten-year intervals since Rerum novarum, in order to keep the teachings relevant to the current times. Laborem exercens was written in honor of the 90th anniversary, and makes reference to Rerum novarum and to several of the subsequent writings. The pope was not able to issue the document on the May 15 anniversary because of the assassination attempt two days earlier. Some of the trends mentioned by John Paul within the encyclical are: Increased use of technology, especially information technology, which John Paul predicted would bring changes comparable to the industrial revolution of the previous century.
Laborem exercens was written in honor of the 90th anniversary, and makes reference to Rerum novarum and to several of the subsequent writings. The Pope was not able to issue the document in time for the May 15 anniversary because of the assassination attempt two days earlier. Some of the trends mentioned by John Paul within the encyclical are: Increased use of technology, especially information technology, which John Paul predicted would bring changes comparable to the industrial revolution of the previous century. Environmental issues.