For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Human work in Catholic social thought"

by Finn, D (2012)


In Catholic Social Thought, work is at the center of issues related to morality and economic life. It is simultaneously objective and subjective. Workers are the real agents of production, and therefore labor should have priority over capital. The able-bodied have a moral obligation to work to obtain the things they need, but everyone has a claim on the basic necessities of life. Hence the property claims of the well-to-do are not to exclude the poor from what they need. The property-right claim of stockholders depends on the firm serving work and the interests of workers. In unions, workers’ natural right to form associations aligns with the right to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Numerous groups and organizations have some degree of complicity in workplace injustice and some degree of responsibility to address it.

Key Passage

Theologically, Catholics hold a “sacramental” view of the material world—convinced that material things can be “translucent to the divine light”—a conviction that forms the basis not only for the seven sacraments but also for religious art and beautiful churches. For economic life, the meaning of the goodness of creation is that our work—whether growing wheat, doing laundry, or managing a business—has religious significance. It is religiously important, another reason for our reminding ourselves of the dignity of work, even menial work. (p.878)


Property Rights, Catholic, Religious Views On Work, Theology, Catholic Social Thought, Duty To Work


Catholicism, Religious Views on Work

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