A Speech To The Pontifical Council For Justice and Peace – John J. Sweeney

A Speech To The Pontifical Council For Justice and Peace John J. Sweeney President, AFL-CIO Meeting of Trade Union Leaders Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace December 2-3, 1996

I. The principal problems for the world of work resulting from the process of globalization of the economy.
I want to thank Cardinal Etchegaray and the Pontifical Council for the great honor of participating in this meeting.
I am here as president of the AFL-CIO, the more than 13 million-member labor federation of the United States. As we do in our work every day, I will try to speak for the values and the interests of working Americans — people of every faith and viewpoint, union and non-union. And I will speak out of a deep belief that we share those concerns with our sisters and brothers throughout the world.
Cardinal Etchegaray has set the tone for this discussion in his article calling upon us all to “re-establish the concepts of solidarity and common responsibility as essential principles of the human endeavor.” As he writes, “These principles must be placed not just at the center of international development policy, but so much more so in the hearts of citizens and of societies, especially in the wealthier countries.” Continue reading “A Speech To The Pontifical Council For Justice and Peace – John J. Sweeney”

Thoughts from a Working Person’s Pope

Faith and Work in Cyberspace–April 18, 2005

Thoughts from a Working Person’s Pope

(from Initiatives special edition number 148)

Greg Pierce – National Center for the Laity and ACTA Publishing 

Lost amid the accolades about Pope John Paul II might be his greatest legacy: his theology and spirituality of work. Below are 10 great quotes from JPII that show the depth and breadth of his understanding of work. In my opinion, this will be his greatest legacy.  

These quotes are from the special issue of the Initiatives newsletter put out by cyberspacer Bill Droel for the National Center for the Laity. If you want to receive a copy of that newsletter, either electronically or in hard copy, please send me an e-mail and I will have it forwarded to you. (Any cyberspacer worth his or her salt already subscribes to Initiatives, of course.)

Here are my favorite quotes from Pope John Paul II on work:  Continue reading “Thoughts from a Working Person’s Pope”

Spirituality of Work – William L. Droel and Gregory F. Augustine Pierce (1987)

Spirituality of Work

(A chapter from the book, Confident and Competent – A Challenge for the Lay Church, William L. Droel and Gregory F. Augustine Pierce, 1987. Reprinted with permission from ACTA Publications, Chicago, Illinois)

So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control.” – Genesis 1:27-28

Laypeople must realize that their daily work is the primary means by which they help bring about the kingdom of God. Any spirituality which detracts or distracts from work is therefore counterproductive.

In the final sentences of his encyclical On Human Work, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Let the Christian who listens to the living word of God, uniting work with prayer, know the place work has not only in earthly progress but also in the development of the kingdom of God, to which we are called through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the word of the gospel.”1 Continue reading “Spirituality of Work – William L. Droel and Gregory F. Augustine Pierce (1987)”

Laborem Exercens – Summary

Laborem Exercens – Summary

(SEPTEMBER 14, 1981)

VATICAN CITY, DEC 4, 1997 (VIS) – John Paul II wrote the Encyclical “Laborem Exercens” in 1981, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Rerum Novarum” on the question of labor. It was signed on September 14, feast of the Holy Cross.

In it he develops the concept of man’s dignity in work, structuring it in four points: the subordination of work to man; the primacy of the worker over the whole of instruments and conditioning that historically constitute the world of labor; the rights of the human person as the determining factor of all socio-economic, technological and productive processes, that must be recognized; and some elements that can help all men identify with Christ through their own work.

The Encyclical has an introduction and four chapters: “Work and Man,” “Conflict Between Labor and Capital in the Present Phase of History,” “Rights of Workers,” and “Elements for a Spirituality of Work.” Continue reading “Laborem Exercens – Summary”



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Hall of Popes
Monday, December 2, 1996

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I extend to you a heartfelt welcome and thank you for having accepted the invitation of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to take part in this meeting which is reflecting on the reality of the economy and the role of labour associations and unions in the defence and promotion of the dignity of workers.  I am grateful to Cardinal Roger Etchegaray and his staff for the generous willingness with which they follow the complex social and economic questions of our day. This meeting with you, distinguished union representatives from many parts of the world, gives me the opportunity to encourage you in your commitment, with the conviction that “work is a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth” (John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, 4). Continue reading “ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II TO AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR REPRESENTATIVES OF TRADE UNIONS”