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Job creation strengthens dignity in a way subsidies can't, pope says

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VATICAN CITY — While government subsidies are necessary sometimes to help a family survive, job creation is what will help them thrive, Pope Francis said.

"Some people have implied I said things that I do not support — that I propose a life without effort or that I despise the culture of work," the pope said in a video message Oct. 14 to Argentina's annual IDEA convention, a gathering of business, government and labor leaders under the auspices of the national institute for business development.

Pope Francis told participants it would be impossible for him, a descendant of immigrants from Italy's Piedmont region, to espouse such views.

His father and his mother's parents and immigrants like them "did not come to our country with the intention of being supported, but with a great desire to set to work, to build a future for their family. Interestingly, the migrants didn't put their money in the bank, but in bricks and soil: a house, first of all. They were looking ahead for their family."

Pope Francis reminded the business leaders that he often has spoken of the nobility of their work when they create jobs.

"I will never tire of referring to the dignity of work. It is work that gives dignity," he said. "Those who do not have work feel that something is missing, that they lack the dignity that work gives."

Work enables people to develop their "God-given talents," to forge relationships and to see themselves as "God's collaborator in taking care of this world and developing it," he said. Workers feel useful to society and proud to be able to provide for their families.

"It is therefore clear that subsidies can only be a temporary help," he said. "We cannot live on subsidies, because the great objective is to offer diversified sources of work that enable each person to build a future through effort and ingenuity," taking into account their personal abilities and responsibilities.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021