CEBU City, Sept. 12, 2011— An envoy of Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged an active Church involvement in protecting and advancing the rights and welfare of the Filipino workers.
Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, stressed that primary to Church’s mission is for its leaders to be “involved actively in social transformation.”
The nuncio made the statement in his message for the participants of the National Conference of Church People and Workers which started today in Cebu City.
Organized by the Church People-Workers Solidarity, about 400 labor and church leaders have gathered for the five-day event which is also in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work).
The conference, organizers said, is very timely amid alarming conditions of the Filipino workers not just in the country but also those working abroad.
They cited for instance the globalization policies such as outsourcing and the labor export policy which have widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
“Since charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine and action, it is my prayer that the proceedings of this conference may truly be inspired by the Gospel of love and be enacted accordingly,” Archbishop Pinto said.
“May Our Lord Jesus, the Carpenter’s Son, truly prosper your efforts in promoting the dignity of the human person, especially of those who are in the labor sphere,” he added.
JP II’s document, published in September 1981, declared the Church’s commitment to be in solidarity with the workers and the marginalized.
It also emphasizes the dignity of work, the priority of labor over capital, and the promotion of workers’ rights over profit.
Archbishop Dr. Werner Thissen, chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference for MISEREOR and other international labor and Church organizations have also expressed solidarity to the conference.
“In view of the difficult situation in which Filipino workers find themselves both at home and abroad and in view of threat to and persecution to trade union members in the Philippines, the Church must show solidarity,” Thissen said in his letter.
Lynda Yanz of the Maquila Solidarity Network, a Canada-based international women and labor organization, hopes that the event will further strengthen the critical bond of the Church and the workers. [CBCPNews]