Pope Francis meeting with members of INAIL in the Vatican Pope Francis meeting with members of INAIL in the Vatican  (Vatican Media)

Pope: Indifference is a sign of a desperate and mediocre society

Pope Francis addresses members of an association working for victims of accidents in the workplace and urges them to learn to recognise the various forms of disabilities, as well as the various struggles each worker faces.

By Francesca Merlo

On Thursday morning, Pope Francis met with representatives of INAIL, Italy’s Insurance Association for Industrial Accidents.

In his address, Pope Francis thanked them for their commitment to building a society in which nobody is left behind.

The Holy Father began by noting that often, unjustly, the burden of an accident is “placed on the shoulders of the family.”

The situation worsened with the arrival of the pandemic, noted the Pope, and in this regard he expressed his gratitude to the association “for the extra care you have put in place at the height of the health crisis, especially towards the most fragile categories of the population.”

“The last few months have also seen an increase in the number of female accident cases, reminding us that the full protection of women in the workplace has not yet been achieved,” added the Pope.

Life has no price

“Life has no price,” stressed the Pope, explaining that among the consequences of not investing in safety in the workplace is the increase in accidents. “A person's health cannot be exchanged for a few extra euros or someone's individual interest,” he said.

Pope Francis then went on to note that “the clear separation of family and work environments has had negative consequences not only on the family, but also on the work culture.” He explained that it has reinforced the idea that the family is the place of consumption and the enterprise the place of production. This strengthens the mindset that people are worth what they produced. But they are not, stressed the Pope.

Disabilities are not only physical

With this in mind, Pope Francis urged those present to “look into the face of all forms of disability that arise,” and not only the physical ones, “but also the psychological, cultural and spiritual ones.”

“There is no such thing as the 'injured person' but the name and face of the person who has suffered an injury,” stressed the Pope, and for this reason you must not give up compassion, because it is “the premise of sharing.”

Finally Pope Francis asked that everyone be close to one another, helping to bridge the gap, “placing oneself on the same plane of shared fragility.” “The more one feels that one is fragile, the more one deserves closeness,” stressed the Pope, explaining that “in this way, barriers are broken down to find a common plane of communication that is our humanity.”

Bringing his discourse to a close, Pope Francis asked that we allow ourselves to be challenged by the wounds of our sisters and brothers and “trace paths of fraternity.”

“Indifference is a sign of a desperate and mediocre society,” he concluded, before entrusting all those present to the protection of St Joseph, patron of all workers.

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09 March 2023, 12:21