Pope Francis receives participants in the Consultation Pope Francis receives participants in the Consultation  (Vatican Media)

Pope: Migration is the antidote to demographic decline

Pope Francis reflects on the need for new models of action for fair, just and dignified work for all people of our world and highlights the urgency of good policies for migrants.

By Vatican News

The need to ensure dignified and decent work in all sectors and for all workers was at the heart of Pope Francis’ remarks on Wednesday morning as he received participants in the Consultation “Care is Work, Work is Care” promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.


Expressing appreciation for the project “The Future of Work: Labour after Laudato sì”, he welcomed all those engaged including representatives of the International Labour Organization, Episcopal Conferences and Religious Congregations, Catholic and other denominational organizations, trade unions and other grassroots groups.

Care is Work, Work is Care

The Pope thanked them for having come up with innovative models of action “for fair, just and dignified work for all people” in the past six years and encouraged them to advance to the second phase of the project, propelled by the meeting “Care is Work, Work is Care”. Building a Global Transformative Community.  

“There is a real need to pool all our personal and institutional resources in order to attempt an adequate interpretation of the social context in which we move, seeking to grasp its potential while, at the same time, recognizing in advance those systemic ills that can become social plagues,” he said.

Dignified work and mining industries

The Holy Father went on to reflect on the five issues the working group identified, starting with dignified work and mining industries.  

He decried the fact that “the export of some raw materials for the sole purpose of satisfying the markets of the industrialized North has not been without consequences, some of them quite serious, including mercury or sulphur dioxide pollution in mines”. He said it is crucial that “working conditions and environmental impact be linked, with close attention to eventual consequences for the physical and mental health of those involved, as well as their safety.” 

Dignified work and food security

Focussing on the issue of dignified work and food security, the Pope lamented the high numbers of people worldwide suffering from high levels of acute food insecurity and requiring urgent relief efforts. 

“Nor do we need to mention that war-torn areas such as Gaza and Sudan are home to the greatest number of people facing famine,” he said, before highlighting the fact that natural disasters and extreme weather conditions intensified by climate change, are, “together with economic upheavals, further important drivers of food insecurity, which in turn are connected to structural vulnerabilities such as poverty, high dependence on food imports and poor infrastructure.”

Dignified work and migration

Tackling the third issue which is the relationship between dignified work and migration, Pope Francis noted that “many people emigrate in search of work, while others do so because they find themselves forced to flee their countries of origin, often rent by violence and poverty.”

He decried how often prejudices and inaccurate or ideological information lead to negative attitudes towards these people who “are often viewed as a problem and an economic burden”, while they contribute to the economic and social development of the host country by their work.

“Here I would like to emphasize the low birth rate,” he said, noting that migration helps to respond to the crisis caused by low birth rates.

Dignified work and social justice

Thus, the relationship between dignified work and social justice, the Pope said is a necessary focus to avoid the risk of  “passively accepting what is taking place all around us, either out of a certain indifference or simply because we are not in a position to frame the often complex issues and find adequate responses to them. “

This can lead, he added, to the increase of social inequalities and injustices, “also where labour relations and workers’ fundamental rights are involved.  And that is not good!”

Dignified work and a just ecological transition

Finally, reflecting on the aspect of dignified work and a just ecological transition, the Holy Father underscored the need to take into account the interdependence between work and the environment and “rethink the kinds of work that ought to be promoted for the sake of care for our common home, especially in terms of the sources of energy that they require.”

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08 May 2024, 13:26