The scourge of unemployment - a wound to human dignity The scourge of unemployment - a wound to human dignity  (ANSA)

Pope: Unemployment is a wound to human dignity

In a message to participants of the second edition of "LaborDì: A Workshop for Generating Employment," promoted by Christian Associations of Italian Workers, Pope Francis reflects on challenges faced, especially by new generations, in the job market.

By Linda Bordoni

Likening the world of work to a bustling construction site, Pope Francis said it represents both the potential for growth and progress and the looming challenges that young people face.

On the one hand, he said in a message to a workshop organized by the Rome-based ACLIs – Christian Associations of Italian Workers – it gives a sense of the pursuit of success, on the other, the emptiness experienced when unemployment or job instability prevails.

The emptiness of unemployment

The Pope decried what he called a "void of work" that plagues the lives of so many, especially young people, and said the absence of employment constitutes a wound to human dignity.

He also reflected on the destabilizing effect of precarious employment, where individuals find themselves on unstable ground, balancing between internships, temporary positions, and part-time jobs.

Inviting society to recognize the detrimental impact of such uncertainties on young people, leading many to give up or seek opportunities elsewhere, he said that at the essence of work is “a unique and irreplaceable vocation for hope.”

Dignity and stability

In his message, the Holy Father mentions the struggles faced by young people, compelled to fight for their rights even before entering the workforce.

He questioned the feasibility of entering the "construction site of work" with dignity when the journey through education and specialization demands a constant battle for basic necessities.

He also lamented the sense of emptiness that discourages many from pursuing their dreams and emphasized the need for supportive guidance to navigate the uncertainties of the job market.

“Dear young people, someone needs to take you by hand and help you overcome this precariousness and sense of emptiness, saving you from the quicksands of insecurity,” he said, expressing support for the “LaborDì” initiative.


The Pope did not neglect to reflect on another extreme situation pertaining to the world of work: the overwhelming pressure and stress associated with today's fast-paced work environments.

He decried the commodification of labour, where constant pressure, forced rhythms, and the pursuit of profit at any cost become commonplace, and he highlighted the dangers of an increasingly dehumanized work environment, threatened by the encroachment of modern technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics.


Despite the challenges, Pope Francis encouraged the "LaborDì" participants not to lose hope and commended their project for fostering a “generative vision” and promoting concrete support to help young people understand the job market, seize opportunities, and acquire the necessary skills.

He also emphasized the role of the Church that collaborates with educational institutions, governmental bodies, the third sector, trade unions, associations, entrepreneurs, and companies – to create a stable fabric and establish lasting connections.

“May you open construction sites of hope and enable many young people to embrace the beauty of dignified work," he concluded.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

13 December 2023, 13:52