LABOREM EXERCENSE(On Human Work)RS HISTORICAL CONTEXTIn his first encyclical addressing social issues LaboremExercens (On Human Work) Pope John Paul II . Enciclica Laborem exercens. Main Author: Chiappetta, Luigi. Related Names: John Paul II Pope Language(s): Italian. Published: Napoli: Edizioni dehoniane, c Subjects. Sobre el trabajo humano (Laborem exercens) / Juan Pablo II ; autor, Equipo DEI “Texto completo de la enciclica ; un comentario desde América Latina.”.
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Work is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work.
Many practical problems arise at this point, as well as legal and economic ones; but the community, that is to say, the public authorities, associations and intermediate groups, business enterprises and the disabled themselves should pool their ideas and resources so as to attain this goal that must not be shirked: The human rights that flow from work are part of the broader context of those fundamental rights of the person.
Laborem exercens begins with a scriptural argument that work is more than just an activity or a commodity, but an encicclica part of human nature. Even though it bears the mark of a bonum arduum, in the terminology of Saint Thomas 18this does not take away the fact that, as such, it is a good thing for man.
Evidence of this are the many documents of the Magisterium issued by the Popes and by the Second Vatican Council, pronouncements by individual Episcopates, and the activity of the various centres of thought and of practical apostolic initiatives, both on the international level and at the level of the local Churches.
The opposite of a just and right situation in this field is unemployment, that is to say the lack of work for those who are capable of it. It is familiar to those doing physical work under sometimes exceptionally laborious conditions. When we consider the rights of workers in relation enciclixa the “indirect employer”, that is to say, all the agents at the national and international level that are responsible for the whole orientation of labour policy, we must first direct our attention to a fundamental issue: While one can say that, by reason of its subject, work is one single thing one and unrepeatable every timeyet when one takes into consideration its objective directions one is forced to admit that there exist many works, many different sorts of work.
The ancient world introduced its own typical differentiation of people into dasses according to the type of work done. Everything should be done-and certainly much is being done to this end-to prevent this material evil from causing greater moral harm; indeed every possible effort should be made to ensure that it may bring benefit to the emigrant’s personal, family and social life, both for the country to which he goes and the country which he leaves.
A labour system can be esercens, in the sense of being in conformity with the very essence of the issue, and in the sense of being intrinsically true and also morally legitimate, if in its very basis it overcomes the opposition between labour and capital through an effort at being shaped in accordance with the principle put forward above: If the biblical words “subdue the earth” addressed to man from the very beginning are understood in the context of the whole modern age, industrial and post-industrial, then they undoubtedly include also a relationship with technology, with the lablrem of machinery which is the fruit of the work of the human intellect and a historical confirmation of man’s dominion over nature.
The two cannot be separated now, but we can still find the uplifting and fulfilling aspect of work, which John Paul names industriousness. A way towards that goal could be found by associating labour with the ownership of capital, as far as possible, and by producing a wide range of intermediate bodies with economic, social and cultural purposes; they would be bodies enjoying rxercens autonomy with regard to the public powers, pursuing their specific aims in honest collaboration with each other and in subordination to the demands of the common good, and they would be living communities both in form and in substance, in the sense that the members of each body would be looked upon and treated as persons and encouraged to take an active part in the life of the body In a sense, unions go back to the mediaeval guilds of artisans, insofar as those organizations brought together people belonging to the same craft and thus on eenciclica basis of their work.
Nevertheless it is obvious that materialism, including its dialectical form, is incapable of providing sufficient and definitive bases for thinking about human work, in order that the primacy of exercwns over the capital instrument, the primacy of the person over things, may find in it adequate and irrefutable confirmation and support.
Laborem Exercens (14 September ) | John Paul II
It is not only good in the sense that it is useful or something to enjoy; it is also good as being something worthy, that is to say, something that corresponds to man’s dignity, that expresses this dignity and increases it.
These truths are decisive for man from the very beginning, and at the same time they trace out the main lines of his earthly existence, both in the state of original justice and also after the breaking, caused by sin, of the Creator’s original covenant with creation in man.
Since 15 May of the present year was the ninetieth anniversary of the publication by the great Pope of the “social question”, Leo XIII, of the decisively important Encyclical which begins with the words Rerum Novarum, I wish to devote this document to human work and, even more, to man in the vast context of the reality of work.
For when we speak of the obligation of work and of the rights of the worker that correspond to this obligation, we think in the first place of the relationship between the employer, direct or indirect, and the worker.
In the mind of Saint Thomas Aquinas 25this is the principal reason in favour of private ownership of the means of production.
Catalog Record: Sobre el trabajo humano (Laborem exercens) | Hathi Trust Digital Library
Based upon this view, John Paul proposed a flexible and dynamic view of ownership and economics, and commended arrangements in which workers share in the ownership, such as shareholding by workers, joint ownershipand profit-sharing.
The criterion of full employment will only be achieved through planning and coordination among all the indirect employers, and a better coordination of education with employment.
Furthermore it must never be forgotten that, when essential community services are in question, they must in every case be ensured, if necessary by means of appropriate legislation. This solidarity must be present whenever it is called for by the social degrading of the subject of work, by exploitation of the workers, and by the growing areas of poverty and even hunger.
Whether the work is done in a system of private ownership of the means of production or in a system where ownership has undergone a certain “socialization”, the relationship between the employer first and foremost the direct employer and the worker is resolved on the basis of the wage, that is through just remuneration for work done. Hence, in every case, a just wage is the concrete means of verifying the justice of the whole socioeconomic system and, in any case, of checking that it is functioning justly.
However, this struggle should be seen as a normal endeavour “for” the just good: The disproportionate distribution of wealth and poverty and the existence of some countries and continents that are developed and of others that are not call for a levelling out and for a search for ways to ensure just development for all. Everybody knows that capitalism has a definite historical meaning as a system, an economic and social system, opposed to “socialism” or “communism”.
And this mark decides its interior characteristics; in a sense it constitutes its very nature. This reaction united the working world in a community marked by great solidarity. In this context it should be emphasized that, on a more general level, the whole labour process must be organized and adapted in such a way as to respect the requirements of the person and his or her forms of life, above all life in the home, taking into account the individual’s age and sex.
Throughout this period, which is by no means yet over, the issue of work has of course been posed on the basis of the great conflict that in the age of, and together with, industrial development emerged between “capital” and “labour”, that is to say between the small but highly influential group of entrepreneurs, owners or holders of the means of production, and the broader multitude of people who lacked these means and who shared in the process of production solely by their labour.
It is particularly painful when it especially affects young people, who after appropriate cultural, technical and professional preparation fail to find work, and see their sincere wish to work and their readiness to take on their own responsibility for the economic and social development of the community sadly frustrated.
And so this “dominion” spoken of in the biblical text being meditated upon here refers not only to the objective dimension of work but at the same time introduces us to an understanding of exerceens subjective dimension.
By broadening certain aspects that already belonged to the Old Testament, Christianity brought about a fundamental change of ideas in this field, taking the whole content of the Gospel message as its point of departure, especially the fact that the one who, while being God, became like us in all things 11 devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenter’s bench. This process is, exercdns the same time, universal: Obviously, this does not mean that only industrial workers can set up associations of this type.
Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium Laudato si’. They must also be more highly operative with regard enciclifa plans for action jointly decided on, that is to say, they must be more effective in carrying them out. Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. This is a vast sector of work on our planet, a sector not restricted to one or other continent, nor limited to the societies which exercdns already laboem a certain level of development and progress.
According to the principal ideologists and leaders of this broad international movement, the purpose of this programme of action is to achieve the social revolution and to introduce socialism and, finally, the communist system throughout the world. However, it can easily become an occasion for various forms of exploitation or injustice and as a result influence the labour policy of individual States; and finally it can influence the individual worker, who is the proper subject of labour.
If we follow the main line of development of the documents of the supreme Magisterium of the Church, we find in them an explicit confirmation of precisely such a statement of the question.
Natural resources must be acknowledged as gifts of God, belonging to all. Work is one of these aspects, a perennial and fundamental one, one that is always relevant and constantly demands renewed attention and decisive witness. The Encyclical Rerum Novarum, which has the social question as its theme, stresses this issue also, recalling and confirming the Church’s teaching on ownership, on the right to private property even when it is a question of the means of production.
The same error, which is now part of history, and which was connected with the period of primitive capitalism and liberalism, can nevertheless be repeated in other circumstances of time and place, if people’s thinking starts from the same theoretical or practical premises.
Laborem exercens – Wikipedia
As man, through his work, becomes more and more the master of the earth, and as he confirms his dominion over the visible world, again through his work, he nevertheless remains in every case and at every phase exedcens this process within the Creator’s original ordering.