May 1, 2020

Posted by ICTC on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 3:46 AM PDT

Sign of the Times

May 2020: The Dignity of Work in the COVID-19 Crisis

In recognition of May Day, we chose to highlight that labor rights and the dignity of work, more formally known as The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers, is a key component of Catholic Social Teaching, and began with the publication of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum – Rights and Duties of Capital Labor on May 15, 1891. The roots of Rerum Novarum are found in the sermons and writings of a parish priest - Father Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, who spoke out and analyzed the poverty and subsistence wages of his community. Ketteler was the forerunner and inspiration of the German Catholic social movement. Economic, political, cultural, and social life in the United States has changed drastically since the days of Ketteler and the writing of Rerum Novarum. Many of the same moral issues confront us today even though the context may be different. We still wrestle with the meaning of justice and charity in our communities. Here are the links to some key Church documents:

These documents takes on special significance in the public discourse on which people are designated as “essential workers” are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis response. Here are some recent news stories related to labor and the dignity of work:

Want to learn more?

Save the date for The Future of Work: Human Dignity in an Era of Globalization and Autonomous Technology – a live webinar featuring Cardinal Turkson, Jose Barroso of Goldman Sachs and Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor James Heckman on June 25 hosted by the University of St. Thomas.

Read the full post.