On September 11, at the Vatican, the Pope met with members of the national organization for those who have been disabled at work or who have lost their ability to work in accidents. In a message given on the occasion, Pope made it clear that workplace safety is like the air we breathe.
C. Roubini Chinnapa9 CTC, Vatican News
The madness of war
1943 was a defining year for Italy in the Second World War, he said in his message to the Pope’s eightieth anniversary of the communion. The Pope recalled that it was in that context that the national organization for those who were maimed at work and lost the ability to work in accidents took its first steps. The Pope pointed out that every armed conflict still creates many mutilated individuals and reminds us that the civilian population suffers the dramatic consequences of the madness of war.
Noting that even when conflict ends, its remnants remain in the body and in the heart, the Pope emphasized in the message the need to rebuild peace day by day through the protection and promotion of life and its dignity, starting with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The importance of workplace safety
Today, the Pope said he wanted to express his heartfelt gratitude to all of them and thanked the organization for what it continues to do to protect and represent victims of workplace accidents, widows and those left destitute by the death of loved ones. The Pope also expressed his gratitude for maintaining a high level of attention to safety in the workplace, where so many deaths and tragedies still occur. The Pope expressed gratitude for the initiatives they promote to improve civil legislation on workplace accidents and the professional reintegration of people with disabilities.
The Pope shared that this is not only about ensuring proper assistance and social security for those suffering from disabilities, but also about providing new opportunities to individuals who can reintegrate them into society and demand full recognition of their dignity. Finally, the Pope recalled their efforts to raise public awareness of accident prevention and safety policies and expressed his gratitude to women and young people in particular.
Unfortunately, despite the availability of technology to create a safer environment, workplace tragedies and dramas continue. The Pope explained that sometimes we feel as if we are hearing the news of a war. Papa added that this happens when work dehumanizes itself and instead of being a way for a man to identify himself through his contribution to society, it becomes an exaggerated race for profit.
Reminding that disasters begin when productivity is not the target, the Pope said the educational and informative tasks that await them are still fundamental to workers, employers and society as a whole. Workplace safety is like the air we breathe: we only realize its importance when it tragically disappears, and it’s always too late! Papa explained.
Referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Pope said that the priest and the Levite did not pick up the wounded to avoid corruption and continued their journey with indifference. But it has been made clear that we cannot adapt to the dangers of the workplace and surrender ourselves to indifference to injuries.
We cannot accept the loss of human life. Deaths and injuries are a tragic social scourge that affects everyone, not just the companies or families involved. We must not tire of learning and revising the art of caring for the sake of our common humanity. In fact, the Pope made it clear in the message that safety is guaranteed not only by good legislation, but also by its implementation and the ability to live as brothers and sisters in the workplace.
Don’t trade life for any reason
If the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it means that we give glory to God by caring for its weaknesses. Therefore, mankind is a “temple” and care is the attitude in which we cooperate in the work of the Creator. Papa underlined.
Workplace safety is an integral part of caring for the individual. Moreover, for an employer, it is the primary duty and the first form of goodness. However, there are widespread practices that go in the opposite direction, which can be called in one word “carewashing”. Responsibility to workers is paramount: life should never be traded for any reason, especially when it is poor, dangerous and vulnerable, the Pope instructed. We are humans, not machines, unique individuals, not spare parts. Papa said in strong language.
To help society progress culturally, the Pope encouraged them to understand that man comes before economic interests, that each person is a gift to society and that mutilating or invalidating one injures the entire social fabric. The Pope entrusted them to the protection of St. Joseph, the Mediator of all workers, and prayed that God bless them and the Blessed Virgin Mary protect them. The Pope concluded his message with a plea not to forget to pray for him.
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