(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received employees of the Holy See’s curial dicasteries and Vatican offices on Thursday morning, along with their families, for an exchange of Christmas greetings and well-wishes.
In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis spoke to his guests of the duty to be grateful to heaven for the gift of work, and of the duty employers have to respect the rights and dignity of the people who work for them.
“Work is very important for the person who works, and for that person’s family,” said Pope Francis. “While we give thanks [for the work we have], let us pray for the persons and the families – in Italy and in all the world – who do not have work, or who so often do unworthy jobs, poor-paying jobs, jobs that are harmful to their health,” he continued.
The Holy Father went on to say, “We must commit ourselves, each of us according to his responsibility, to guaranteeing that work be always worthy and dignified (It. degno): that it be respectful of the person and of the family; that it be just.”
“Here in the Vatican,” Pope Francis explained, “we have an additional reason to do this: we have the Gospel, and we must follow the directives of the Social Doctrine of the Church.”
“No keeping employees ‘off book’ (or ‘paying them under the table’) [It. lavoro in nero],” Pope Francis specified, adding emphatically, “No sneaky games and tricks [It. sotterfugi, literally ‘subterfuges’].”
“Les us all give thanks to the Lord, therefore,” Pope Francis continued.
“For my part, however, I would like today to thank you for your work,” the Pope told his employees. “I thank each one of you, for the dedication each one of you puts into his work each day, trying to do it well, even when one is perhaps not feeling well, or when there are worries at home,” Pope Francis added.
The Holy Father went on to discuss one of the things that makes the Vatican a special place to work.
“A nice thing about the Vatican is that, since it is a very small operation, it is possible to perceive it as a whole, with the various tasks that make up the whole, and each is important: the various areas of work are close and connected,” he said, “[and] everyone knows more or less everyone else.”
Pope Francis went on to say that it is satisfying to be able to participate in such an orderly and well-ordered operation.
“One can feel the satisfaction,” the Pope said, “of seeing a certain order, [of seeing] that things work, with all the limitations, of course – one can always do better and one must always must [try to] – but it is good to hear that each sector does its part and that the whole works well to the advantage of all.”
“Here, this is easier,” Pope Francis continued, “because we are a small outfit – but this does not detract from [your] commitment and personal merit, and therefore I feel the desire to thank you.”
The Holy Father concluded with special thanks for the work done during the course of the recently-concluded Jubilee of Mercy, and promised prayers for all the employees and their families – especially for those who are sick, or elderly, or too young to come – even as he asked theirs for himself.