Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The modern organization of work sometimes shows a dangerous tendency to consider the family a burden, a weight, a liability for labor productivity" : This is just one of the sharp judgments that Pope Francis expressed today at the general audience dedicated to the theme of work. In his catechesis on the family, to which he returned after the summer break, the Pope today reflected on the world of work. Last week he spoke of rest and celebration and he also announced that he will address the subject of prayer in the family at a later date.
Echoing some of the themes present in his encyclical Laudato sì, the Pope focused on the contrast between the "modern organization of work" and the family. "The so-called 'smart city' - he said - is undoubtedly rich in services and organization. But, for example, it is often hostile to children and the elderly. Often those in charge are more interested in the management of the individual labor-force, to be put together used or discarded according to economic convenience. The family is a really big test. When the organization of work holds the family hostage, or even obstructs its path, then we can be sure that human society has begun to work against itself”.
In fact, work is a fundamental element of family life. First, because work "is needed to support one’s family, to raise children, to ensure loved ones a decent life." But then above all because "a laborious lifestyle ", which is not a burden on others, "is learnt in the family": "The family educates children to work with the example of parents: the father and mother who work for the good of family and society".
And because work is part "of God's creative design", there is no opposition between "work" and "life of the spirit": "Prayer and work can and should coexist in harmony, as taught by St. Benedict." Precisely for this reason, "lack of work also harms the spirit, such as lack of prayer also damages the practical activity" and it is said that "work is sacred."
"And so - he added – labor management is a great human and social responsibility, which cannot be left in the hands of a few or given over to a deified 'market'. To cause a loss of jobs is means causing serious social damage. I am sad when I see that there are people out of work, who cannot find work and do not have the dignity of earning their daily bread. And I rejoice so much when I see that governments make every effort to create jobs and make sure everyone has a job. Work is sacred, work gives dignity to a family. We must pray that no family lacks work ".
Pope Francis seems to suggest that the ecological crisis is rooted in the contemporary debasement of the sacredness of work and family: "When work is detached from the alliance between God and man and woman, when separated from their spiritual qualities, when it is hostage to the logic of profit and only despises the suffering of life, the degradation of the soul contaminates everything: even the air, water, grass, food ... Civil life is corrupt and the environment goes to waste. The consequences affect mainly the poor and the poorest families".
"Christian families - he concluded – at this time have both a great challenge and a great mission. They lead the field in the fundamentals of God's creation: the identity and the relationship of man and woman, the begetting of children, work that renders the earth fertile and the world hospitable. The loss of these fundamentals is a very serious matter, and there are already too many cracks in our shared home! The task is not an easy one. Sometimes it may seem to the associations of families that they are like David against Goliath ... but we know how that challenge ended! It takes faith and cunning. "
At the end of catechesis Francis dedicated a special greeting to the Taizé community, celebrating its 75th anniversary tomorrow. "Let me - he said - to address my greeting, accompanied by prayer, to the brother monks in memory of your beloved founder Brother Roger Schutz, the 10th anniversary of whose death we celebrated just three days ago. Safe journey to Taizé community”.
When it came to the greetings in different languages, he greeted pilgrims from Asia, in particular Japan and the Middle East.