In the American Prospect this October, John Gehring presents the argument that Pope Francis, by elevating Catholic teaching on social and economic justice, is breathing new life into an old alliance: the Catholic Church and organized labor. As I described in a Commonweal article this month, early 2017 saw several notable instances where Bishops and Catholic Conferences joined with labor to defend immigrants, the right to organize, and other worker justice causes in the state legislatures. In Francis Revives the Workers’ Church, Gehring paints a larger picture of the Church under Francis re-engaging with the labor movement in the United States. Catholic Labor Network board members Fr. Clete Kiley of UNITE HERE and Prof. Joe McCartin of Georgetown University make appearances explaining what this moment means in the life of the Church and organized labor. Check it out!
Of course, it’s not just in America that Pope Francis is reviving “the workers’ church.” On October 26 the Holy Father sent a video message to Italian Catholic social activists gathered in Sardinia. As Crux reported,
Working for economic growth based on increased consumption without concern for creating dignified jobs and protecting the environment “is a bit like riding a bicycle with a flat tire: It’s dangerous,” Pope Francis said. The dignity of workers and the health of the environment “are mortified when workers are just a line on a balance sheet, when the cries of the discarded are ignored.”
For details, see coverage in Crux: Communion, not competition, is key to job growth, pope says.