“Excessive inequality” threatens cooperation among all people in society, said Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, in the US bishops’ annual Labour Day statement.
Bishop Dewane cited Pope Francis, who told factory workers in Genoa, Italy: “The entire social pact is built around work. This is the core of the problem. Because when you do not work, or you work badly, you work little or you work too much, it is democracy that enters into crisis, and the entire social pact.”
Bishop Dewane, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, pointed to a “twisted understanding of labour and labourers” that fosters deepening inequality.
“In Genoa, the Pope acknowledges that ‘merit’ is ‘a beautiful word’,” Bishop Dewane said, “but the modern world can often use it ‘ideologically’ which makes it ‘distorted and perverted’ when it is used for ‘ethically legitimising inequality’.”
He added that wages remain stagnant for most people, while a smaller percentage collect the new wealth generated, and that “economic stresses contribute to a decline in marriage rates, increases in births outside of two-parent households and child poverty”.
“When a parent working full time, or even working multiple jobs beyond standard working hours, cannot bring his or her family out of poverty, something is terribly wrong with how we value the work of a person.
“Pope Francis has said it is ‘inhumane’ that parents must spend so much time working that they cannot play with their children. Surely many wish for more time, but their working conditions do not allow it.”