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Pope says labor unions important in resolving financial crisis

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said labor unions have an important role to play in finding a way out of the global financial crisis and establishing a new culture of solidarity and responsibility in the marketplace.

“The great challenge and the great opportunity posed by today’s worrisome economic crisis is to find a new synthesis between the common good and the market, between capital and labor. And in this regard, union organizations can make a significant contribution,” the pope told directors of the Confederation of Italian Labor Unions Jan. 31.

The pope emphasized that the inalienable dignity of the worker has been a cornerstone of the church’s social teaching in the modern age, and said this teaching has helped the movement toward fair wages, improvement of working conditions and protection of vulnerable categories of employees.

Workers are facing particular risks in the current economic crisis, and unions must be part of the solution, he said.

“In order to overcome the economic and social crisis we’re experiencing, we know that a free and responsible effort on the part of everyone is required,” the pope said.

“In other words, it is necessary to overcome the interests of particular groups and sectors, in order to face together and in a united way the problems that are affecting every area of society, especially the world of labor,” he said.

“Never has this need been felt so urgently. The problems tormenting the world of labor push toward an effective and closer arrangement between the many and diverse components of society,” he said.

He noted that his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had underlined labor as the key component in social questions and had described the labor union as an indispensable element of social life in modern industrialized societies.

Pope Benedict has been working on his first social encyclical, tentatively titled “Caritas in Veritate” (“Love in Truth”), which is expected to be published sometime this year.

Filed under: Economic Policy, Market Place, Official Statements, Papal Teachings, Social Justice

Pope Benedict telegrams President Obama: work for peace and fight poverty

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 20 (UPI) — Pope Benedict XVI Tuesday sent U.S. President Barack Obama a telegram urging him to fight poverty and promote peace.  

“In our time, so many of our brothers and sisters around the world are longing to be freed from poverty, hunger and violence,'” the pope said in his telegram to the 44th U.S. president on his inauguration day.

The pope said he prayed that Obama would promote “cooperation and peace among nations,” reported ANSA, the Italian news agency.

The telegram also asked the United States to support a “free and fair society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of all its members, especially the poor, the marginalized and those without a voice.”


The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States of America

The White House

Washington, DC

On the occasion of your inauguration as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities. Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice. At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (Isaiah 25:6-7). Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace.

Benedictus PP.XVI


Filed under: Church-State, Culture, Economic Policy, Market Place, morals, Papal Teachings, Politics, Social Doctrine, Social Justice

HAPPY NEW YEAR: World Day of Peace

Read most recent World Day of Peace Message from Rome:

Filed under: Papal Teachings, Social Doctrine, Social Justice, Spirituality

Jan 1..World Day of Peace. How do you think peace and poverty are connected?

Each year, the Holy Father releases a statement on peace to celebrate the World Day of Peace. The connections between Poverty and Peace are the basis of this year’s statement for January 1, 2009.  The US Catholic Bishops have set up a website with ideas regarding peace and poverty.  Visit this website for links to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 World Day of Peace Statement and the US Bishops website to continue our work in poverty reduction and peace building.

What do you think are the connections between peace and poverty?  What ideas do you have to build peace?

Filed under: Culture, Economic Policy, Official Statements, Papal Teachings, Social Doctrine, Social Justice, Spirituality

Pope: Parties Can Be Organized, But Joy Is a Gift

ZE08122403 – 2008-12-24

Says It Has Been Given in Abundance


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 24, 2008 ( Benedict XVI says that joy is a gift, a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and that in this gift, all others are summed up.

This was one of the Pope’s reflections Monday when he met with the Roman Curia and other officials for the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings.

“A party is an integral part of joy,” the Holy Father acknowledged. “And a party can be organized, but joy cannot.

“It can only be offered as a gift; and, in fact, it has been given us in abundance. That’s why we feel grateful.”

The Pontiff recalled how St. Paul lists joy among the fruits of the Holy Spirit and in the same way, St. John unites the Spirit and joy.

“Joy is the gift in which all other gifts are summed up,” the Bishop of Rome affirmed, just a few days before Christmas. “It is the expression of happiness, of being in harmony with oneself, something that can only be derived from being in harmony with God and his creation.”

And, he continued, “part of the nature of joy is spreading itself, having to be communicated.”

The mission of the Church, the Pope explained, “is nothing more than the impulse to communicate the joy that has been given us. May it always be alive in us, and then, may it irradiate to the world in its tribulations: This is my wish for the end of this year.”


Filed under: consumerism, Culture, Papal Teachings