This July, the World Movement of Christian Workers – the international association of the faithful bringing together Catholic labor activists from every corner of the world – gathered in Avila for its International Seminar and General Assembly. Buoyed by a message from Pope Francis, the delegates reported how
During our meeting, we were able to welcome among us the main leaders of the Church and the trade union representatives of Spain, who encouraged us to continue building bridges between the world of the Church and the world of work…. We feel supported by Pope Francis in our task of evangelization. In his message to our Assembly, through the Bishop of Avila, the Pope invites us to « bring the Gospel closer to the world of work, so that the voice of workers continues to resonate within the Church; and to lead the struggle so that the whole world can live in dignity, with no one excluded from it. »
Nevertheless, they remain deeply concerned about the challenge of a global economy driven merely by profit.
We share our concerns about unemployment, the lack of decent jobs and the precarious labour relations around the world, and how these generate pain, suffering, death, lack of solidarity, despair, war, violence and migration. Profit is based on a model of labour relations which weakens labour law, collective bargaining, protection and social rights, as well as the representation and defense of workers. In one word, it is based on the impoverishment of life, dehumanization and inequality at work. These conditions affect the lives of millions of people and entire families irrespective of age, sex, race, irrespective of the place where they live. Young people, women and children (child labour) are also affected.
This suffering is the result of a system based on a culture of rejection that transforms people into goods. These characteristics are found in all countries, since we share a context of economic globalization which does not take into account solidarity and respect for the common good. We feel challenged. The pain of the whole family of workers is our pain. We want to be a sign of hope and show signals of hope, personally and collectively. We want to maintain an attitude that strengthens our presence among our working brothers and sisters, so as to listen, accompany, train and denounce situations. This depends on our personal commitment and is how we can bringing about processes of humanization and allow Jesus to be visible through us, as a gesture and sign of love towards others, in our close, precarious and poor spaces. This goes together with an explicit commitment to increase global solidarity, in line with the international dimension of our movements.
Meeting these challenges can be achieved by continuing the evangelization of the world of work and announcing the good news, in line with the humanization project that God is pursuing for all and which places the person, made in his image and likeness, at the centre of all concerns.
CLICK HERE to read the Final Statement of the International Seminar and General Assembly of WMCW – Ávila (Spain) 2017 in its entirety.