Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I found the following commentary on the site of Catholic Australia. It seems very appropriate this weekend, - and all weekends.

The body of work that was to become known as Catholic Social Teaching began with an Encyclical letter written by Pope Leo XII in 1891 called Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labor). Successive popes have added to this body of teaching by ad¬dressing topics from the concentration of wealth to setting out conditions for world peace.

In his first encyclical addressing social issues Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) Pope John Paul II revisited the topic of "work" first addressed by Leo XII 90 years before, and examined it at considerable depth. As a native of Poland John Paul II was a man who knew Marxism as both an economic theory and a concrete political regime. He was well aware of the popular political and social movements for change that were beginning to influence thinking throughout Eastern Europe in 1981. This context shaped both the proclamation and reception of this important Encyclical.

Through work man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family.

Work means any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself.

Taking the whole content of the Gospel message as its point of departure, especially the fact that the one who, while being God, became like us in all things, devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenter's bench. This circumstance constitutes in itself the most eloquent "Gospel of work", showing that the basis for determining the value of human work is not primarily the kind of work being done but the fact that the one who is doing it is a person. The sources of the dignity of work are to be sought primarily in the subjective dimension, not in the objective one.

Human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question, if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man's good. And if the solution - or rather the gradual solution - of the social question, which keeps coming up and becomes ever more complex, must be sought in the direction of "making life more human", then the key, namely human work, acquires fundamental and decisive importance. However true it may be that man is destined for work and called to it, in the first-place, work is "for man" and not man "for work". Everything that is at the service of work, everything that in the present state of technology constitutes its ever more highly perfected "instrument", is the result of work.

The error of economism [is] that of considering human labor solely according to its economic purpose. This fundamental error of thought can and must be called an error of materialism.

The Church believes it is our duty to speak out on work from the viewpoint of its human value and of the moral order to which it belongs. We see this as one of the important tasks within the service that the Church renders to the evangelical message as a whole.

At the same time the Church sees the necessity forming a spirituality of work which will help all people to come closer, through work, to God, the Creator and Redeemer; to participate in his salvific plan for mankind and the world; and to deepen its friendship with Christ in our lives by accepting, through faith, a living participation in his threefold mission as Priest, Prophet and King, as the Second Vatican Council so eloquently teaches.

Thanks to the thinkers from “down under.”
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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