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Rome Reports

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Why Pope Francis asks Christians to pray for dignity of workers in October

In October, Pope Francis warns of the consequences of unemployment and asks Christians to pray for work opportunities and dignity and respect of workers in their places of employment.

If the recent rising unemployment rate in Europe is worrisome, the situation is even more dramatic in other parts of the world. This is also because children and women in poor countries are prey to traffickers and exploiters. 

Some examples include Africa, with Gambia having an unemployment rate of 26.69 percent and Lesotho 27 percent. Countries in Europe are close behind, such as Macedonia with a rate of 26.7 percent, Greece at almost 24 percent and Spain at 19.45 percent.

The pope used to denounce the lack of work because it deprives people of their dignity. However, when in Genoa, he denounced overworking, even if it pays well. He said it impedes the development of family life. 

“A paradox of our society is that a growing number of people would like to work and fail, and others work too much, and would like to work less, but can't because they've been 'bought' by their companies.”

Although it might surprise some, Pope Francis is not an enemy of the businessman. He denounces abuses that take place against them, while giving this advice to workers:

“One time an old managing worker told me, he'd been as honest as he could be. He died earning what he could; he never took advantage of anyone. 'Every time we had to sit down at the negotiation table, I knew I had to lose something for everyone to benefit.' How beautiful was the philosophy of this working man! When he negotiates, he always loses something, but everyone wins.”

Pope Francis frequently talks about balancing work and family life. He includes the personal dramas that lead to a the lack of work and increased exploitation, and their consequences for all of society. Above all, he denounces the economic model, more focused on the search for profit than the common good.