Benedict XVI will speak on the issue of labor, says Cardinal Majella Agnelo

Source: FSSPX News

The question of work and of the precedence of man over profits will be a “very important feature of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, according to Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Salvador de Bahia, speaking to the Corriere della Sera of May 4, 2005. The president of the Brazilian Bishops Conference is expecting a “decisive intervention” from the pope on this subject during the “next few years.” “This could take the form of a document or an encyclical, we shall see.”

On the content of this future text, the Brazilian prelate explained that he “hoped that the question of work (today a poor second place behind the economy) would be tackled.” “It is a sad reflection on a world where people are cast aside in favor of machines, and where the number of jobs continues to diminish.” “The ensuing loss is one of human dignity,” he said.

 Questioned about the fact that this pontificate, which has scarcely begun, may not be in tune with the social themes developed in Latin America, or know about the fight against poverty and underdevelopment, the cardinal replied: “I think exactly the opposite. Pope Benedict XVI has a great capacity to analyze and reflect, and he will contribute something important. The social teaching of the Church is not a rigid code and all of the pontiffs have advanced in this domain since the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, Rerum novarum in May 1891.”

In answer to a question concerning the Church in Brazil, sometimes described as progressive since it is particularly orientated towards social issues, the cardinal replied: “We cannot accept that label.” “I believe that all of the clergy – and I would even say all who have been baptized – have to be conservative in matters of the faith where concessions cannot be made, on crucial issues such as divorce and abortion, but progressive when it comes to defending justice and life.”

 “Here in Brazil, like in the rest of the world, the main challenge remains that of evangelization,” said the bishop who reproached the Brazilian government for failing to face up directly to the social questions of education, health and work, “without which there can be no human development.” “It is obvious here that choices are necessary, how to rise to this challenge where poverty and hunger prevail.”

Lastly, speaking of liberation theology, the cardinal explained that it had “certainly made its contribution,” but “that after its years of success, the Vatican had been right to intervene when an attempt was made to associate evangelization with external ideologies such as class war.” “Liberation theology has not disappeared, but has evolved,” continued the archbishop of Salvador de Bahia. “Today we talk of liberation which is not only material progress, but also the development of man as a whole.” And “many of these themes are a part of our evangelization plan,” he concluded.