VATICAN CITY – The working world must not just be about competition and productivity; today’s workers must also make room for charity and defending human dignity, said Pope Benedict XVI.
“Today more than ever it’s urgent and necessary” to live as Christians in the workplace and to become “apostles among workers,” the pope said.
“Becoming more competitive and productive is not the only thing that matters,” he said in a message to young people. “Paying charitable witness” in the workplace and elsewhere is necessary, he said.
The pope’s message was read to participants gathered for the ninth International Youth Forum March 28-31 in the town of Rocca di Papa, south of Rome.
If work is to become a Christian vocation and “a true mission,” young people also need support found in parishes or lay communities, he said.
Recent changes to the global economy and labor markets not only have created new opportunities for today’s workers, but new dangers also have appeared, the pope said.
He said some workers find themselves in worrying conditions such as exploitation and alienation.
But the pope also highlighted more common hardships experienced by young workers today: the difficulty of finding work related to one’s studies or training, the need to travel far from home to find work and growing job insecurity.
These latter two situations often have serious repercussions, he said, leading many young people to doubt they will ever be able to plan for the future, get married and build a family.
These “complex and delicate problems must be tackled” where and when possible, using church social doctrine as a guide, Pope Benedict said.
The Christian “gospel of work” promotes the growth of the individual and the community in a way that taps into a person’s talents and uses them for the common good “in a spirit of justice and solidarity,” he said.
Workers must not forget to stay united with Christ through prayer and the sacraments, he said, adding that workers must remember Sunday is a day to put work aside and dedicate to the Lord.