On Saturday, November 7, at St. Peter’s Square with employees of the Italian National Social Security Institute, Pope Francis acknowledged the organization’s commitment towards protecting the right of workers which form the foundation of the “transcendent dignity” of human nature.
This “right to rest,” Pope Francis said, above all refers to a “dimension of the human being which does not lack the spiritual roots and which, even you, for your part, are responsible.”
Pope Francis stressed the responsibility of the Italian National Social Security Institute members’ in promoting the true sense of rest. This is a particular challenge today owing to factors such as insufficient employment opportunities and lack of job security.
“And if we live like this, how can we rest?” the Pope asked.
He cited the Genesis creation account, in which God calls man to rest on the seventh day, concluding that “rest, in the language of faith, is therefore at once a human and divine dimension.”
Pope Francis stressed the importance of protecting the rights of women in the workplace as well. He added that it should be a priority to give particular attention to women workers, especially by offering support to mothers.
“Protect women, the work of women!” he said.
Leisure is not merely an “extension of fatigue and ordinary responsibilities, but an occasion to live one’s own creatureliness, elevated to filial dignity by God himself,” he continued.
Pope Francis went on to emphasize the importance of supporting the right to work, thereby “ensuring a dignified existence” for employees. The right to rest and the right to work are dependent on one another. “True rest comes from true work,” he said.
The Pope urged those present to ensure there is insurance for the elderly, the sick, and those suffering misfortunes in connection to their work. He also called for the protection of the right to pensions.