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EMPHASIS ON PERSON NOT PROFIT TO OVERCOME UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS
Letter of John Paul II to Faithful of Diocese of Rome
VATICAN CITY, DEC 7 (ZENIT).- "Justice and solidarity demand we face the
grave problem of unemployment and the inability to find a first job." This
is one of the burning issues in John Paul II's letter on work, directed in
particular to Romans, who are in the third phase of their "Urban Mission" in
preparation for the Jubilee of 2000.
This document, which the Pope referred to on November 30 when he proclaimed
the bull convoking the holy year, emphasizes that the dignity of the worker
requires "an adequate adaptation to professional responsibilities and family
obligations; the production of quality goods and services; justice in
compensation, and solidarity."
During the last eight years, Rome has been living through very difficult
times. The Italian political crisis has been felt especially in the capital
city, which depends to a great extent on political institutions. With the
exception of projects in preparation for the Jubilee, public structures in
Rome are virtually paralyzed since the beginning of the 90s. The Pope
described the situation as a "crisis in the job market coupled with new
forms of poverty which every day affects more families, the elderly, the
handicapped and immigrants. Simultaneously, important aspects of life, such
as public health, schools, homes, social services are going through hard
times, not entirely due to the economic order."
Work Must Emphasize Human Dimension
More than anything, Rome is undergoing a crisis of hope. "In the ebb and
flow of work, conditioned by the emphasis on efficiency and profit, the
complexities of economic activity are often turned into absolutes, in
detriment of the human dimension of work and the primary rights of the
person. It is precisely for these reasons that work is regarded as a burden
and a necessity for survival, as opposed to fulfillment of the person and of
the will of God," the Pope said.
In order to resolve these problems, the Holy Father appeals to all social
leaders -- public, private and religious --, to joint efforts so that "the
crisis of hope which seems to be paralyzing so many Romans will not become a
permanent situation." Specifically, he advocates a change which will
"promote a mentality of confidence and creativity."
"A correct approach in the workplace is an attitude of justice. To achieve
this, the labor unions and associations must have not only just compensation
as their objective, but respect for the rights and duties of persons and the
harmonious development of the relationship between the professional sector
John Paul II invited the Christian community to be conscious of "its
spiritual and civil mission, of its human patrimony and culture of faith,
so that Rome will promote civil and economic development for the benefit of
the whole Italian nation and of the world."
The third phase of the mission of the city of Rome has as its objective the
evangelization of professional circles. With this in mind, the Holy Father
exhorted the faithful of the Roman archdiocese to "not be afraid to
introduce Christ to your colleagues or to hang a cross in the place where
you work and in your homes. It will be a reminder to everyone of the gift of
love of the Son of God who redeemed the world and rescued every aspect of
life and of work from sin."
John Paul II is not only head of the Catholic Church, but also Bishop of
the city of Rome, a responsibility he has exercised with great diligence
beginning of his pontificate. Proof are his pastoral visits to virtually all
the parishes of the Eternal City in the last twenty years -- to date, 277.
Every week he meets with the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Camillo Ruini, and
analyzes pastoral strategies, the development of vocations to the priesthood
and consecrated life, the difficulties of Catholic schools, etc. The Pope,
himself, launched the mission of the citizenry of Rome three years ago,
which involves "missionaries" from Roman parishes visiting faithful in their