Social Doctrine of the Church – The Right to Work

The Second Vatican Council stated in Gaudium et Spes, and Pope John Paul II afterward affirmed, that work is a fundamental right and a good for humankind. It expresses and enhances the human dignity of the individual. The value of work is rooted not only the nature of the human person, but also in its necessity. Without it, the human family would suffer. Work is needed to maintain a family, to have a right to private property and to contribute to the common good.

Work must be made available to all who are capable of engaging in it. Because maintaining one’s work depends increasingly on one’s professional capabilities, educational systems must attend to both human and technological formation of the individual.

John Paul II said in his encyclical Laborem Exercens that work is “a foundation for the formation of family life, which is a natural right and something that man is called to do.” (Laborem Exercens 10: AAS 73)

Women have an indispensable role in the world of work. Their contribution is needed in all expressions of social life, including work. Work, then, must be structured in such a way that women do not have to pay for work advancement by abandoning that which is specific to them. In other words, the work of women must not be structured in such a way that penalizes them, demeans them, or relegates them to the margins of society.

For a more detailed discussion of this topic, refer to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, nos. 287-295

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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