By Fred Kammer, S.J.
With millions unemployed in this economy, it is important to understand how Catholic social thought considers unemployment. It is not just another “economic indicator.” Unemployment undermines a just society since work is at the heart of the social question.
The tradition of modern Catholic Social Teaching that begins with Rerum Novarum in 1891 focuses first on the situation of the worker, whom Pope John Paul II later called the sole “subject of work.” In John Paul’s writings, he makes it clear that, by their work, workers are continuing and perfecting the creative activity of God the Creator and thus deepening the reality of being made in God’s image.1 Unemployment assaults that profound spiritual identity.
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