Pope celebrates ‘culture of work’ in message to business summit

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ROME — In a video message to Argentina, Pope Francis stressed the importance of work and regretted having been misunderstood: “Some have made me say things that I do not support: That I propose a life without effort, or that I despise the culture of work.”

The annual Colloquium of IDEA Foundation brings together business, government and labor leaders to discuss “A Sustainable Argentina.”

In his message, Pope Francis reiterated the fundamental importance of work, assuring that “subsidies can only be a temporary help” and that “one cannot live on subsidies.”

“It is work that gives dignity. Those who do not have work feel that something is missing, that they lack the dignity that work gives; work anoints with dignity,” said the Argentine pontiff.

“It allows [a person] to develop his God-given capacities, it helps him to weave relationships of exchange and mutual help, it allows him to feel that he is God’s collaborator in taking care of this world and developing it, it makes him feel useful to society and in solidarity with his loved ones.”

The pope said it is for this reason that work, beyond the fatigue and difficulties it can generate, is the “path to maturity, to personal fulfilment, which gives wings to better dreams.”

“We cannot live on subsidies, because the great objective is to offer diversified sources of work that enable each person to build a future through effort and ingenuity,” the pontiff added.

Francis also said that, as a descendant of Piedmontese from northern Italy, who arrived in Argentina not with the desire to be “maintained” by the state but with an “enormous desire to roll up their sleeves to build a future for their families,” he can never be in favor of a life without sacrifices.

“Interestingly, they didn’t put their money in the bank, the migrants, but in bricks and soil. The house, first of all. They were looking ahead for the family. Family investments,” he said.

Francis also recalled that, since the beginning of his pontificate – in March 2013 – he has referred several times “noble vocation of the businessperson who seeks creatively to produce wealth and diversify production, while at the same time making it possible to create jobs.”

The pontiff also noted the participation of the Union of Workers of the Popular Economy (UTEP) in the event, celebrated the dialogue between the two sectors.

Francis has always supported popular economies, and on Saturday he will be part of the IV World Meeting of Popular Movements.  The pope also took part in the previous encounters held in in Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) in 2015 and in those of the Vatican in 2014 and 2016.

Follow Inés San Martín on Twitter: @inesanma

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