1st May St. Joseph the Worker

The right to work and the dignity that gives human beings has been, and is, a fundamental part of Catholic Social Teaching. At the end of the 19th century Pope Leo XIII, contrary to much of what was happening in the industrial world at that time, demanded that workers be protected and have the right to form unions. Pope John XXIII in the 60s said that the state had a duty to protect the weak (very significant now) including workers. John Paul II wrote a whole letter about the right to work and that Jesus himself was a working man for most of his life. In the readings for the feast today in the Breviary it says: ‘when men and women provide for themselves and their families in such a way as to be of service to the community as well they can rightly look upon their work as a continuation of the work of the Creator.’

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