Labor Day: A call to Justice
Labor Day – ”a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
There is a powerful poignancy about its celebration this year when so many are out of work not only in the US but around the world. But long before the US began celebrating Labor Day (1882), many holy people including St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and Frederic Ozanam spoke out for the rights of workers. From Leo XIII through John XXIII to Benedict XVI the Popes have been reminding us of the dignity of labor and its implications.
This Labor Day weekend you may want to take time to reflect on some of the Catholic Social teachings. Below is an Examination Of Conscience In Light Of Catholic Social Teaching found on the Website of the US Bishops Conference. I have reordered and placed the ones related to work on the top of the list.
- As a worker, do I give my employer a fair day’s work for my wages? As an owner, do I treat workers fairly?
- Do I treat all workers with whom I interact with respect, no matter their position or class?
- Do my purchasing choices take into account the hands involved in the production of what I buy? When possible, do I buy products produced by workers whose rights and dignity were respected?
- Do I support the rights of all workers to adequate wages, health insurance, vacation and sick leave? Do I affirm their right to form or join unions or worker associations?
- Am I aware of problems facing my local community and involved in efforts to find solutions? Do I stay informed and make my voice heard when needed?
- Do I support the efforts of poor persons to work for change in their neighborhoods and communities? Do my attitudes and interactions empower or disempower others?
- Do I recognize and respect the economic, social, political, and cultural rights of others?
- Do I live in material comfort and excess while remaining insensitive to the needs of others whose rights are unfulfilled?
- Do I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that the rights of persons in need are realized?
- Do I urge those in power to implement programs and policies that give priority to the human dignity and rights of all, especially the vulnerable?
- Do I recognize the face of Christ reflected in all others around me whatever their race, class, age, or abilities?
- Do I work to protect the dignity of others when it is being threatened?
- Do I respect the life and dignity of every human person from conception through natural death?
- Am I committed to both protecting human life and to ensuring that every human being is able to live in dignity?
- Do I try to make positive contributions in my family and in my community?Are my beliefs, attitudes, and choices such that they strengthen or undermine the institution of the family?
- Do I give special attention to the needs of the poor and vulnerable in my community and in the world?Am I disproportionately concerned for my own good at the expense of others?
- Do I engage in service and advocacy work that protects the dignity of poor and vulnerable persons?
- Does the way I spend my time reflect a genuine concern for others?
- Is solidarity incorporated into my prayer and spirituality? Do I lift up vulnerable people throughout the world in my prayer, or is it reserved for only my personal concerns?
- Am I attentive only to my local neighbors or also those across the globe?
- Do I see all members of the human family as my brothers and sisters?
- Do I live out my responsibility to care for God’s creation?
- Do I see my care for creation as connected to my concern for poor persons, who are most at risk from environmental problems?
- Do I litter? Live wastefully? Use energy too freely? Are there ways I could reduce consumption in my life?
- Are there ways I could change my daily practices and those of my family, school, workplace, or community to better conserve the earth’s resources for future generations?
- Bishops’ Labor Day letter laments ‘broken’ economy (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)
- Labor Day: not just another day off (vivianpaige.com)
- The true meaning of Labor Day (wheneverwhereeverwhatever.wordpress.com)