- May 28, 2020
The 1919 “Bishops’ Program for Social Reconstruction” was showcased in this year’s Labor Day statement to demonstrate how so many of the issues the bishops touched upon a century ago in the wake of World War I’s end still resonate in improving the conditions of workers today.
In the bishops’ annual Labor Day statement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, said the recent economic news may not “give an entirely accurate account of the daily lives and struggles of working people, those who are still without work, or the underemployed struggling with low wages.”
Within the Christian heritage, work is seen as a remedy to the consequences of our fall from grace. It’s a means to give order to our passions and structure to our lives. It calls us out of ourselves and our small world, gives us a relative schedule, disciplines our sloth, exposes other vices, and forces us to interact with others.
In a Labor Day message, Bishop Frank J. Dewane said unions must retain and recover their prophetic voice, when they speak on behalf of the poor, the immigrant, and the person returning from prison. The bishop, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, also said unions should “resist the temptation of becoming too similar to the institutions and powers that it should instead criticize.”
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami wrote in an annual Labor Day message that the U.S. bishops stand with the country’s families as they struggle with poverty, unemployment and drug abuse, and insisted that Christians must advocate for just wages and dignified working conditions.