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Dignity of work and the rights of workers

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Diginity of work and the rights of workers is the fifth of the seven key themes of Catholic social teaching. Society must pursue economic justice and the economy must serve people, not the other way around. Employers must not "look upon their work people as their bondsmen, but... respect in every man his dignity as a person ennobled by Christian character."[1] Employers contribute to the common good through the services or products they provide and by creating jobs that uphold the dignity and rights of workers.

Workers have a right to work, to earn a living wage, and to form trade unions[2] to protect their interests. All workers have a right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, and to safe working conditions.[3] Workers also have responsibilities—to provide a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, to treat employers and co-workers with respect, and to carry out their work in ways that contribute to the common good. Workers must "fully and faithfully" perform the work they have agreed to do.

In 1933, the Catholic Worker Movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. It was committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the marginalized and poorest in Society. Today over 185 Catholic Worker communities continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.


  1. Rerum Novarum § 20.
  2. Rerum Novarum § 49.
  3. Economic Justice, Major themes from Catholic Social Teaching, Office for Social Justice, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Catholic social teaching. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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