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Monday, March 28, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2011 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience participants in a pilgrimage from the Italian diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia, organised to mark the thirtieth anniversary of John Paul II's visit to the steel factories of Terni.

"Today we particularly wish to recall John Paul II for the love he showed towards the world of work", said Pope Benedict, going on to comment on the difficult situation the diocese is facing due to the crisis in the steel industry which is affecting the lives of thousands of people. "I know that the diocesan Church shares your concerns", he told his audience, "and feels her responsibility to remain at your side to communicate the hope of the Gospel and the strength to build a society that is more just and more worthy of man. She does this from the source, from the Eucharist", he said.

"Indeed it is from the Eucharist, in which Christ makes Himself present in His supreme act of love for us all, that we learn to live as Christians in society, so as to make it more welcoming, more united, richer in love, and more attentive to everyone's needs especially those of the weakest".

"The subject of work also comes into this context, a subject which concerns you today with its problems, especially that of unemployment. It is important always to bear in mind that work is a fundamental element for both human beings and society. Difficult or precarious working conditions make the conditions of society itself difficult and precarious, the conditions for ordered living in accordance with the needs of the common good", said the Holy Father. He also turned his attention to workplace safety, noting that "every effort must be made to interrupt the sequence of deaths and accidents. And what can we say about the precariousness of work, especially as concerns the young? This is a factor which does not fail to create anguish in many families!"

"Work", Pope Benedict explained, "helps us to come closer to God and to other people. Jesus Himself was a worker; indeed He spent a large part of His earthly life in Nazareth, in Joseph's workshop. ... His work, which was real physical effort, occupied most of His life on this earth and thus became part of the redemption of man and of the world.

"This fact", he added, "speaks to us of the dignity of work, indeed of the specific dignity of human work which becomes part of the mystery of redemption itself. It is important to see work in this Christian perspective. Often, however, it is seen merely as a means of earning money and even, in some situations in the world, as a means of exploitation and therefore of offence to the very dignity of the person. I would also like to mention the problem of working on Sundays. Unfortunately in our societies the rhythm of consumption risks stealing even the significance of the Sunday feast as a day for the Lord and the community".

Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by reiterating how the Church "supports, comforts and encourages all efforts that seek to guarantee safe, dignified and stable work for everyone", and expressed his closeness to the families of the diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia.
AC/ VIS 20110328 (560)

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