Tag - calls

Pope Francis calls for new social contract for labour

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged companies and businesses to bring more young people into the workplace saying it is both “foolish and short-sighted” to force workers to carry on working in old-age.

The Pope’s words came as he addressed representatives and members of Italy’s CISLConfederation of Trade Unions – whom he received in the Vatican.

Francis  described work as a “form of civil love” that allows men and women not only to earn their livings and flourish as persons, but also to keep the world going. 

But, he pointed out that work is not everything and no one must work all the time. He also said that there are people who must not work – like children – who must be safeguarded from child labour – sick people whose right it is not to work, and elderly people who have a right to a “just pension”.

And on the topic of pensions, the Pope denounced both the “golden retirements” given to some pensioners and the meager ones given to others and said that both are an offense to the dignity of work.

He also made a strong appeal to employers and policy-makers saying that “a society that forces its workers to work for too long, thus keeping an entire generation of young people from taking their places, is foolish and short-sighted”.

“There is an urgent need – the Pope said – for a new social contract for labour” in order to bring more young people into the workforce.

Highlighting the “epochal challenges” faced by trade unions at this time in history, he urged them to be the prophetic face of society, to continue to give voice to the voiceless and to defend the rights of the most fragile and vulnerable workers.

“In our advanced capitalistic societies, trade unions risk losing their prophetic nature and becoming too similar to the institutions and the powers they should be criticizing. With the passing of time Unions have ended up looking too much like political parties” he said.

The other fundamental challenge for Unions Pope Francis pinpointed is that of the capacity to be renewed and updated.

Not only, he explained, must Unions protect those who are within the system, it must also look to and protect those who have no rights, because those who are excluded from the world of work are deprived of their rights and excluded from democracy.

Pope Francis concluded his address with a reflection on how capitalism seems to have forgotten the social nature of economy.

“Let us think, he said, of the 40% of young people in Italy who have no work. That is the existential periphery where you have to take action.”

“And women, he said, are still considered second class workers; they earn less and they are more easily exploited” he said: “Do something!”

(from Vatican Radio)

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Pope calls Consistory to approve causes for canonization

(Vatican Radio) On 20 April 2017, Thursday of Easter Week, Pope Francis will hold an ordinary public Consistory for the vote of the Cardinals on several causes for canonization.

Five causes of canonization are set for approval by the Cardinals:

  • The Martyrs of Natal, Brazil: Andrea de Soveral, Ambrogio Francesco Ferro, diocesan priests, along with Matteo Moreira, a layman, and 27 companions, martyrs;
  • Cristóbal, Antonio, and Juan, of Mexico, young martyrs;
  • Faustino Míguez, Spanish Piarist priest, and founder of the Calasanzian Institute of the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess;
  • Angelo da Acri (in the world: Luca Antonio Falcone), Italian professed priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor – Capuchin;
  • The visionaries of Fatima, Francesco Marto and Jacinto Marto, children.

The vote of the Cardinals is the final formality after Pope Francis gave approval for the causes to move forward. Upon receiving the approval of the Cardinals in Consistory, the Church will set dates for the canonization of the Blesseds. 

(from Vatican Radio)

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Holy See calls for end to Syria violence

(Vatican Radio) A senior Vatican archbishop has urged all sides of the Syrian conflict to end violence and restore solidarity in the wake of a deadly chemical gas attack.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, called for increased funding from the international community for displaced people and refugees during an address at the European Union in Brussels.

The conference, called “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”, came just one day after 72 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in an chemical weapons attack in the north of the country.

Archbishop Gallagher said: “The Holy See invites all parties to the Syrian conflict to spare no effort to end the seemingly endless cycle of violence, to restore that sense of solidarity that is the basis of social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

“While the crisis has entered, regrettably and painfully, into its seventh year, the Holy See remains deeply concerned about the tremendous human suffering, affecting millions of innocent children and other civilians who remain deprived of essential humanitarian aid, medical facilities and education, and urges that international humanitarian law be fully respected, particularly with regard to the protection of civilian populations, guaranteeing them access to necessary medical assistance.

“Furthermore, the Holy See also expresses its concern for the conditions and treatment of prisoners and detainees.”

He spoke of the Holy See’s deep concern for the “vulnerable situation of Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, who suffer disproportionately the effects of war and social upheaval in the region, to such an extent that their very presence and existence are gravely threatened.”

The Archbishop’s words come as Pope Francis deplored the “carnage” of the gas attack in Idlib province during his Wednesday General Audience and appealed for a halt to the tragedy.

Archbishop Gallagher pledged a renewed humanitarian assistance by the Church in 2017, building on the $200 million of aid given by Catholic charities last year.

The conference brought together 70 countries  and international organisations from across the world and was chaired jointly by the European Union, the United Nations and several national governments.

It comes a year after a summit in London at which the international community pledged significant financial support for humanitarian assistance in Syria and promoted a political solution to the crisis.

(Richard Marsden)

(from Vatican Radio)

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