I greet all of you who belong to the world of work, in the variety of its expressions. Among these there is also the negative one, namely the difficult and often distressing one of unemployment. Thank you for your welcome.
You represent different social groups, which are often engaged in bitter disputes, but you have learned that only together can we leave crisis behind and build the future. Only dialogue, in reciprocal competences, can enable effective and innovative answers to be found for all, also on the quality of work, in particular the indispensible welfare. It is what some call the “Emilia system”. Try to continue this. There is a need for stable solutions able to help to look to the future to respond to the needs of people and families.
The cooperative experience, born of the fundamental value of solidarity, has been developing in your territory for a long time. Today it has even more to offer, also to help the many who are in difficulty and who need that “social elevator” that some would consider out of order. Let us never distort solidarity according to the logic of financial profit, also because in so doing we take away – I could say we steal – from the weakest, who are in great need. Seeking a more just society is not a dream of the past but a commitment, a job, that all of us need today.
The situation of youth unemployment and that of many who have lost their job and are unable to re-enter the world of work are realities to which we must not become accustomed, treating them as if they were merely statistics. And this is the temptation.
Hospitality and the fight against poverty are in large part linked to work. One cannot offer true help to the poor unless they can find work and dignity. This is the challenge, as in the years of post-war reconstruction, that so much poverty has left. The recent “Jobs Pact”, in which all social parties, and also the Church, have signed a common agreement to help in the search for stable responses, not alms, is an important method that I hope may yield the desired fruits.
The economic crisis has a European and a global dimension; and as we know, this is also an ethical, spiritual and human crisis. At its root there is the betrayal of the common good, by both individuals and groups in power. It is therefore necessary to remove centrality from the law of profit and to assign it to the person and to the common good. But for this centrality to be real, effective and not merely proclaimed in words, there is a need to increase the opportunities for dignified work. This is a task for the whole of society: in this phase, in a particular way, all the social body, in is various components, is called upon to make every effort to ensure that work, which is the primary factor of dignity, be a central concern.
We are here in front of Saint Petronius, remembered as Pater et Protector and always portrayed with the city in his hands. From here we see, physically, three constitutive aspects of your city: the Church, the Municipality and the University. When these three engage in dialogue and collaboration, that precious humanism they express is strengthened and the city, so to speak, “breathes” – it has a horizon, and is not afraid of facing the challenges that arise. I encourage you to value this humanism of which you are depositaries, to seek wise and farsighted solutions to the complex problems of our time, seeing them as difficulties, yes, but also as opportunities for growth and improvement. And what I say applies both to Italy overall, and to the whole of Europe.
Dear friends, I am particularly close to you, and place all your troubles and concerns in the hands of the Lord and of Our Lady of Saint Luke. And now we turn to her, she who is so venerated by all the Bolognese, with the Angelus prayer.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday in Bratislava, Slovakia, the Salesian priest Titus Zeman was beatified. He joins the long line of twentieth-century martyrs, as he died in 1969 after being imprisoned for a long time for his faith and his pastoral service. May his witness sustain us in the most difficult moments of life and help us recognise, even amid our trials, the presence of the Lord.
This Sunday is the culmination of the week dedicated in a special way to the Word of God, on the occasion yesterday of the memorial of Saint Jerome, great master of the Sacred Scripture. Let us thank God for the gift of his Word and endeavour to read and meditate on the Bible, especially the Gospel.
Finally, let us join spiritually with the faithful gathered in the Shrine of Pompeii for the traditional Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary, presided at today by the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Bassetti.
I wish all of you, Bolognese both native and “adopted”, a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and a good Sunday!