CNA Staff, Sep 3, 2020 / 09:00 am
The U.S. bishops’ conference is encouraging solidarity, charity and compassion for low-income and essential workers during the upcoming Labor Day festivities in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“This Labor Day is a somber one. The COVID-19 pandemic goes on,” said Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City in a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Archbishop Coakley is the chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
“The dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, is not at the center of our society in the way it should be,” said Coakley. “In some workplaces, this has meant an emphasis on profits over safety. That is unjust. Consumerism and individualism fuel pressures on employers and policy makers that lead to these outcomes.”
The archbishop said that the coronavirus’ impact on the economy has brought damage to the country’s financial, mental, and physical health.
“Economic circumstances for so many families are stressful or even dire,” he said. “Anxiety is high. Millions are out of work and wondering how they will pay the bills. And for workers deemed ‘essential’ who continue to work outside the home, there is the heightened danger of exposure to the virus.”
While the situation is dire, said Coakley, Pope Francis’ reflections that the devastation wrought by the pandemic could result in a regeneration of beauty and hope.
“God never abandons his people, he is always close to them, especially when pain becomes more present,” said Coakley.