The dignity of work

Pope Francis’ message to the 57th Colloquium of the IDEA Foundation, the Istituto para el Desarrollo Empresarial de la Argentina, held in Buenos Aires at the Costa Salguero Center, from October 13-15, 2021, on the theme “Achieving a sustainable Argentina.”

I would like to welcome the space for dialogue that you, the Idea Foundation, and the Union of Workers in the Popular Economy have proposed. I sincerely hope it will be a moment of genuine exchange that can bring together the innovative contribution of entrepreneurs and workers who are fighting for their dignity and for their families.

Several times I have referred to the noble vocation of the businessperson who seeks creatively to produce wealth and diversify production, while at the same time making it possible to create jobs.

Because I will never tire of referring to the dignity of work. It is work that gives dignity. Those who do not have work feel that something is missing, that they lack the dignity that work gives; work anoints with dignity.

Some have implied I say things that I do not support: that I propose a life without effort or that I despise the culture of work. Think about whether you can say that about a descendant of Piedmontese people, who did not come to our country with the intention of being supported, but with a great desire to set to work, to build a future for their family. Interestingly, they didn’t put their money in the bank, the migrants, but in bricks and soil. The house, first of all. They were looking ahead for the family. Family investments.

Work expresses and nourishes the dignity of the human being, it allows him to develop his God-given capacities, it helps him to weave relationships of exchange and mutual help, it allows him to feel that he is God’s collaborator in taking care of this world and developing it, it makes him feel useful to society and in solidarity with his loved ones. For this reason, work, despite fatigue and difficulties, is the path to maturity, to personal fulfillment, which gives wings to better dreams.

It is therefore clear that subsidies can only be a temporary help. We cannot live on subsidies, because the great objective is to offer diversified sources of work that enable each person to build a future through effort and ingenuity. Insofar as they are diversified, they open the way for different people to find the most appropriate context for developing their gifts, since not everyone has the same abilities and predispositions.

Along this path, I believe that dialogue between entrepreneurs and workers is not only indispensable but also fruitful and promising. Thank you for this conversation, which has such a noble purpose.

May God bless you and please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.


Pope Francis: ‘It is Work That Gives Dignity (