Pope Francis poses for a photo with Argentine youths during his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 19. CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

Pope Francis: Unemployment ‘damages the spirit’

By  Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service
  • August 19, 2015

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis reflected on the “serious social damage” caused by unemployment and praised governments for their efforts to create jobs Aug. 19.

Speaking during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said one’s working life and spiritual life are closely linked: “The lack of work also damages the spirit, like a lack of prayer also damages practical activity.”

The pontiff focused on the dignity of work and the responsibility of employers.

“The management of employment is a great human and social responsibility, that cannot be left in the hands of the few,” he said.

Throughout his papacy Francis has criticized the global financial system and the negative impacts of profit-driven markets. Renewing his calls for a more human approach to the world of work, the pope said unemployment goes beyond the loss of a salary: “To cause job losses means to cause serious social damage.”

He criticized the modern approach to work that sometimes has “a dangerous tendency to consider the family as an obstacle, a weight, a liability, for the productivity of work.”

Children and the elderly are all too often seen as a burden, the pontiff told followers gathered in the square.

While Francis often urges governments to do more to help the downtrodden, on Wednesday he specifically praised politicians’ actions. “It makes me so happy when I see rulers going to great lengths to find job posts and aims for everyone to have a job.

“Work is sacred,” he said. “Work gives dignity to a family.”

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