Pope Francis: The person in front of you is not a Commodity

Pope Francis meets disabled workers

“Our world needs a burst of humanity, which leads to open our eyes and see that he who is before him is not a commodity, but a person and a brother in humanity,” said Pope Francis to members of the National Association of Disabled Workers (ANMIL), at the Vatican. “With the culture of work and security is at stake the very substance of democracy, which is based on respect and protection of one’s life,” he said.

Bringing together and supporting those who have suffered mutilations or disabilities at work, and striving to promote a health and safety culture and practice, National Association of Disabled Workers, achieves a very important social function, for which, in the name of the people of God, I show you esteem and gratitude.

Those who, at work, have been injured with permanent and disabling consequences, live in a situation of particular suffering, especially when the handicap they are holding prevents them from continuing to work and providing for themselves and their loved ones, as they did before. To all those, I express my closeness. God comforted him who suffered by having suffered Himself, and made himself near to all situations of indigence and humility. With his strength, everyone is called to an active engagement of solidarity and support vis-à-vis the one who is a victim of an accident at work; support that must extend to families who are also affected and in need of comfort.

The social teaching of the Church, from which I exhort you to always inspire you, constantly recalls this balance between solidarity and subsidiarity. It must be sought and constructed in every circumstance and every social domain, so that, on the one hand, solidarity never fails, and on the other, that it is not limited to it by who can still make an important contribution to the world of work,

That the subsidiary style, which I have recalled, helps the entire civilian community to overcome the fallacious and damaging equivalence between work and productivity, which leads to measuring the value of people on the basis of the quantity of goods or wealth that they produce, reducing them to the wheels of a system, and devaluing their peculiarity and their personal wealth. This sick look contains in him the seed of exploitation and enslavement and is rooted in a utilitarian conception of the human person.

That is why the ANMIL’s tireless work for the rights of workers, starting from the weakest and the least protected, among whom it is not rare to count the women, the oldest and the immigrants. , is precious. Our world needs a leap of humanity, which leads to opening our eyes and seeing that the one before us is not a commodity, but a person and a brother in humanity.

I can only rejoice, on this subject, with the commitment you are deepening in collaboration with civil institutions and, in particular, with the Ministry of Labor and with that of Education, University and Research. You have given life to many training projects, addressed to school students and workers, managers and business leaders, to increase awareness of the requirements of safety and health protection of schools. workers.  This constant attention to the legislation, in addition to the solidarity commitment, reveals from your part the awareness that the creation of a new work culture cannot be done without a more adapted legislative framework, which meets the real requirements of the workers. , in addition to a deeper social awareness of the problem of protecting health and safety, without which laws would remain a dead letter.

The detailed and valuable Health and Safety in the Workplaces Report, which you presented a few days ago, is aimed at perfecting the legislative plan, in addition to creating a culture that pays greater attention to occupational safety. It shows your dedication and your concrete action and reveals, to whoever has it in hand, that the battles you have been pursuing for 75 years with commitment and determination do not only concern the one who has been the victim of work or who carries out work dangerous and painful, but all citizens, because with the culture of work and security, is at stake the very substance of democracy, which is based on the respect and protection of everyone’s life.