WASHINGTON—Creating sufficient, decent work that honors the dignity of families is a necessary component of the challenge facing all Catholics, and it is the Catholic way, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
Archbishop Wenski cited the importance of work in supporting families in the 2015 Labor Day statement, which drew on Pope Francis’ June encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’.
“We must not resign ourselves to a ‘new normal’ with an economy that does not provide stable work at a living wage for too many men and women,” Archbishop Wenski said. “We are in need of a profound conversion of heart at all levels of our lives.”
Archbishop Wenski challenged Catholics to “recommit ourselves to our brothers and sisters around the world in the human family, and build systems and structures that nurture family formation and stability in our own homes and neighborhoods.”
Archbishop Wenski noted that even though work is meant for the sake of family, “Wage stagnation has increased pressures on families, as the costs of food, housing, transportation, and education continue to pile up.” He added that “the violation of human dignity is evident in exploited workers, trafficked women and children, and a broken immigration system that fails people and families desperate for decent work and a better life.”
Archbishop Wenski said that, in Laudato Si’, Pope Francis challenges people to see the connections between human labor, care for creation, and honoring the dignity of the “universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect.”
Labor Day will be celebrated this year on Sept. 7.