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Labor Day Statement Calls for Action at Time of Crisis and Opportunity

August 30, 2017

WASHINGTON—In his 2017 Labor Day statement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, calls for action based on a vision of work that supports the flourishing of the family, a clearer understanding on the nature of poverty, and solidarity with those on the margins of society.

Adopting Pope Francis' language of the "gaze of love" that God has for the worker, Bishop Dewane examines the state of work today, which, when healthy, "anoints" the worker with dignity and is essential for human growth and development. "'Brother work,' in Pope Francis' words, is formational and sustaining for every human life and community, and is essential to our faith."  

Drawing on the words of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Dewane notes that insufficient, poor, or excessive work can be corrosive to the person; whereas severe and increasing disparities in wealth coupled with stagnation of wages for the majority of people presents dangers for the social pact and civil harmony. "When unethical labor conditions weaken the social pact, society can become vulnerable to attempts to use fear, and our care and concern for one another can disintegrate into blame and suspicion."

Bishop Dewane suggests reflections and actions for Catholics and all people of good will, including: solidarity with neighbors, a renewed moral emphasis by leaders in business and government, a clearer understanding of the nature of poverty, focus on the vital role of unions, and the recovery of rest and a sense of the sacred in work.  

The full statement is available in English is at:  

A Spanish translation of the statement will soon be available at the same link.


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Labor Day, Labor Day statement, solidarity, work, labor, poverty, union, human dignity, Pope Francis, workers,

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