Pope Francis shares a laugh with a young woman during the Eucharistic Youth Movement.


Pope Francis shares a laugh with a young woman during the Eucharistic Youth Movement.

August 31, 2015

Work is an important expression of human dignity and of caring for one's family, but today there is a "dangerous tendency" to consider a worker's family obligations as an obstacle to productivity and profit, Pope Francis said.

"But let's ask ourselves: What productivity? And for whom?" he said Aug. 19 at his weekly general audience.

"Work, in its thousand forms, beginning with housework, is about caring for the common good," providing for one's family and cooperating with God in creating goods and services that are useful to others, the pope said.

To say someone is a "hard worker," he said, is a compliment, just as saying someone "lives off" of another is a put down. St. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, tells Christians if they do not work, they should not eat. "It's a great recipe for losing weight, eh?" the pope said.

"Work - in all its forms - is human. It expresses the dignity of being created in the image of God, which is why it can be said that work is sacred," Pope Francis told the pilgrims.

Work is important for individual identity, he said. It enables people to support their families and contributes to the community.

Creating and organizing employment is a huge "human and social responsibility, which cannot be left in the hands of a few or pushed off onto a divinized market," he pope. "To cause the loss of jobs is to cause great social damage."


Work is part of the normal rhythm of life for individuals and for families, the pope said.

The family is sometimes seen as an obstacle to productivity, he said. When that attitude prevails, the workforce is judged only according to how much money it makes.

"The beauty of the earth and the dignity of work were made to go together," he said.

But when the family, the earth or labour are "hostage to the logic of profit," then everything is poisoned and the poorest families suffer most, explained the pope.

"The task isn't easy. Sometimes it seems that families are like David facing Goliath, but we know how that story ended."