Vatican City, May 6, 2020 / 04:30 am America/Denver (CNA).
The coronavirus crisis can be an opportunity to recenter work on the dignity of each person, Pope Francis said in an appeal at the end of his general audience broadcast on Wednesday.
“On May 1, I received several messages about the world of work and its problems. I was particularly struck by that of the agricultural workers, among them many migrants, who work in the Italian countryside. Unfortunately, many are very harshly exploited,” Pope Francis said May 6.
“It is true that the current crisis affects everyone, but people's dignity must always be respected. That is why I add my voice to the appeal of these workers and of all exploited workers. May the crisis give us the opportunity to make the dignity of the person and of work the center of our concern,” he said.
Amid fears of a food shortage, the Italian government is currently discussing whether to legalize some undocumented migrant workers. These workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation with illegal contracts that can pay less than half of Italy’s minimum wage for the agricultural sector.
May 1 is recognized as Labor Day in Italy and many countries throughout Europe, however it is not an official holiday in the Vatican, which instead celebrates the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, established by Pope Pius XII in 1955.