By Lydia O’Kane
The online event entitled, “Care is Work, Work is Care: From a project to a journey,” heard from a range of participants, including opening remarks from Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The aim of the project is to provide Catholic-inspired and other faith-based organizations with the capacity “to contribute jointly to the promotion and implementation of [the Pope’s encyclical] Laudato Sì in areas related to work and to dialogue with employers and workers’ organizations on this issue.”
The report also brings together organizations such as the International Catholic Migration Commission, Christian business associations, international movements, local communities, Bishops Conferences, and organizations from other religious traditions.
The project involved six areas of research on the future of work. It also built on research carried out by the International Labour Organization (ILO) for its centenary in 2019.
Paolo Foglizzo works as an editor with Milan based Jesuit publication Aggiornamenti Sociali, and was involved in the project in two capacities. The first was in the field of research, which looked at the role of faith based organizations and employment. He was also part of the editorial board which prepared the final report.
Integral idea of work
Describing the report as a “complex entity,” Mr Foglizzo said the basic idea of the project was to look at the major challenges facing the world of work today. “On the other hand”, he added, “and especially within the Church, Laudato Si had recently been released, so the idea we had, together with our international partners, was to imagine the challenges of the future of work within the paradigm of integral ecology that Laudato Si proposes.”
The idea, he explained, is that “care is work, work is care”. “There can be no care without work, and on the other hand, work needs to incorporate the dimension of care,” he said.
Work and the pandemic
Asked how the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected in the findings, Mr Foglizzo pointed out that the base research had already been finished when the health crisis emerged. He noted, however, that the really challenging part was writing the final report while the Coronavirus was developing. While the world of work, he said, was already changing a lot, it has really accelerated now as a result of the pandemic.
Mr Foglizzo emphasized that the findings also show that “inequality is becoming wider." “There are a number of workers who enjoy full protection, especially in rich countries…On the other hand, there are a number of groups which were already weaker in the previous world of work, which have become weaker and weaker in this new world of work after COVID.”
Looking to the future
With changing work habits and the economic fallout as a result of the pandemic, can we be confident about the future of work?
Responding to this question, Mr Foglizzo expressed hope for the future: “Around the world there are interesting experiences of changing the idea of work; of making work more open to cope will people’s needs.” He noted that during the research they found vibrant civil society organizations, especially those involving young people and those coming from the Catholic tradition.
However, he stressed, there will be “a conflict around the change of the world of work,” but despite that, history tells us that there is a way forward “for the benefit of the world and for humanity.”