Address to Social Security Institute
Pope Francis met with the Italian National Social Security Institute on November 9, 2015, and noted with a joke (“How strange this Pope is”) that while he had begun to speak about rest, he really spoke about work. This is because, he said, “True rest comes precisely from work! One can rest when one is sure of having a secure job, which gives one dignity, to oneself and to one’s family.”
He thanked the Institute for the way they seek to protect the rights of workers. He said that insurance, pensions, and special care for feminine work and provision of maternity leave are all necessary. He noted that “the protection of the right to rest” is “entrusted in a particular way” to the Institute’s concern. The rest of man, the pope said, is “an occasion to live fully one’s creatureliness” and “enables one to take care of family, cultural, social and religious life.”
The Holy Father pointed out that when work is precarious, a person cannot rest. They are necessarily preoccupied with making sure they can provide for themselves and their families. He lamented this widespread situation.
The pope noted that work is how the human person “prolong[s] God’s work in history, contributing to it in a personal, useful and creative way.” By supporting the people who work, Pope Francis said, the members of the Institute support the work itself. Work must be oriented toward man, he said, since the “principle, subject and end [of all social institutions] is and must be the human person (cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 25). His dignity can never be harmed, not even when he ceases to be economically productive.”
In conclusion, the pope exhorted in the Institute to, “Support the weakest, so that no one lacks the dignity and freedom to live an authentically human life.”