Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

Apr 3rd, 2015

Caring for God’s Creation & the Poor

“The amount a worker receives must be sufficient to allow the worker and their family a standard of living consistent with human dignity.”  

~Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris

Stewardship Tip: A Pathway to Peace

Weekly in our Lenten Series we use scripture and Pope Encyclicals to reflect on and discuss the major Catholic Social Teachings.

 In Week 5 we reflected on the Gospel of Matthew 20: 1–16, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, where those who worked the least hours were paid the same amount as those who had worked all day.  

“In our day we tend to define ourselves by what we do and judge a person’s worth on what type of work they do.  When we ask another, ‘What do you do?’ we are really asking them about their profession.  We feel it is right and fair that some professions are highly paid and others less.  This is acceptable as long as all who depend on work for their livelihood and the good of their families earn enough to support their needs.  In this parable, Jesus shows us that those that come late to work (through no fault of their own) are like the least skilled workers in today’s society.  And Jesus shows us a just landowner who gives those workers enough to support themselves and their families.  Many people in our country cannot earn a living wage because they are limited by education, child care, language barriers, mental and physical disabilities.  If they are able to work, Catholic social teaching tells us that they have the right to earn a wage that sustains them.  God calls us to see the working person as one who deserves a decent wage.  All work contributes to the building up of God’s reign in our time and reflects the intrinsic worth of the individual doing the work.”   

(Peterson, Christine & Linda Bennet-Graves, “A Pathway to Peace.”)  Peace & Justice Committee