Prayer for our hurting world
to you we come in these dark and hard times.
To you we come to explain you the pain and death
that causes the pandemic that decimates our peoples.
And we put the words of the psalmist into our mouths:
"Say to the Lord: “My stronghold, my refuge,
my God in whom I trust!”
He will rescue you… from the deadly pestilence…
He will give you refuge under his wings.
You shall not fear the terror of the night…
nor the pestilence that stalks by night,
and the plague that destroys at noonday (Ps 91,2-6).
in you we trust at this time
that so many of our brothers and sisters,
so weak, who are sharing in their flesh
the pain of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, your Son.
to you we come to thank you
for so many of our brothers and sisters
that bring up to date the Resurrection of your beloved Son,
giving himself up with all his strength to relieve so much pain.
We thank you for all the medical professionals
for everyone who works in hospitals,
for those who care for their sick elders at home,
for the parents and grandparents who, with patience,
explain this situation to their young children.
For the young people who mature by assuming this experience,
and draw conclusions from it for the future.
We thank you for all the public employees
and officials from our countries and cities
that make life and living together more bearable.
We thank you for the workers who make
that public transportation works,
that there are medicines in the pharmacies
and food in the shops and in the markets.
And we thank you for the working men and women
that make our lives easier in these times of confinement,
and for those who continue to work from home.
Yes, we thank you for so many signs of solidarity
and for the responsibility and seriousness
with which so many citizens face this difficult reality.
we are afraid of the future, and the economic consequences
that are going to result from this pandemic
that is affecting so many, many countries.
We're worried about the jobs that are going to be lost,
the workers who will have their labour rights violated,
or that their purchasing power will be reduced,
the poor and impoverished
they'll have to go through social services,
the small businessmen who will have to start over.
we are also concerned about
the global economic situation in the coming years.
Help economic experts find ways out
viable and in solidarity with all our countries,
especially with the poorest peoples
and with less means to overcome this situation.
We also introduce you to the refugee camps,
and all those who live badly in them.
Lord, you know their precariousness.
Do not allow this pandemic to become fattening
in them, the poorest and most abandoned,
or the homeless who live on our streets,
nor in the prisoners confined in our prisons.
we pray you for our rulers.
Let them have the wisdom that comes from you
so that they can make the right decisions,
and be sensitive to the pain of so many families
who suffer illness or the death
of their loved ones.
May they have no spurious interests
and be moved only by selfless service.
we pray for all the dead of this pandemic.
Welcome them into your loving and tender embrace
of a loving mother with the bowels of mercy.
May they rest in your peace and enjoy your presence forever.
We also pray you for their families:
give them your comfort and your love so that,
after this ordeal, they can look back at life with hope.
we finally pray you for us.
Make this difficult experience
that we now go through we know how to take advantage
so that in the future we can live life with meaning,
so that we know to reject everything that is superfluous,
so that we can make ours
the saving experience of your Son Jesus Christ
and so, knowing him, loving him and following him
as disciples who want to live their Gospel,
let us fulfil your will that our world
is truly the kingdom you have dreamed for us.
Josep Jiménez Montejo
24 March 2020
Final statement of the Seminar "Digital work: between the desire for self-determination and the need for statutory provisions and labour law regulations ", held from 17th to 19th October, 2019 in Ostend (Belgium)
A dignified life for EVERYONE in the digital age!
The European Christian Workers Movement (EBCA/ECWM/MTCE) held a seminar entitled "Digital work: between the desire for self-determination and the need for statutory provisions and labour law regulations” from 17-19 October 2019 in Ostend, Belgium. 37 representatives of member organisations from more than 11 European countries participated in the seminar, and all contributed their experience and perspectives.
Conclusions of dialogues
Digitalisation is in full swing, advancing at an accelerated pace and changing our lives in both the private and working environments. It is a phenomenon that affects our whole society and, obviously, has a great attraction, which feeds its development and importance. However, this phenomenon - like many others - can be described as ambivalent and we understand that it is our task to contribute to the configuration of this process by understanding its principles, reflecting its effects on the basis of our horizon of values and considering how and what we can contribute to its configuration as actors. It is also important that we examine the use of digital media with self-criticism.
It is striking that there is a gap in society with regard to digitalisation. On the other hand, there are also a large number of people who, until now, have had little or no access to the new media and who, because of the great importance of digitalisation in the public and work spheres, run the risk of losing contact with society. This problem is worsened by the fact that digital development is very fast and is progressing in all directions at such speed that until now political leaders have regulated barely the process, which aggravates especially the situation of those who are discarded in this process.
In this context, a social message about the future design of a digital world of work is needed, and which we want to start with our calls to the church and society. They arise, among other things, in the following topics:
- Lifelong learning
- Ensuring employment in the transformation process
- Working time and private time with blurred limits
- Ecological issue - e.g. exploited countries supplying raw materials and energy in a global context
- Substitution of economic growth as the main development criterion by values such as solidarity, the common good, etc.
- Fiscal justice and distribution of wealth (prevention of tax evasion, tax harmonization, awareness of the positive dimension of taxation, etc.).
- Development of social security systems (basic income...)
- Work-free Sunday
- Valuation of other forms of work (care, services to society...)
In the political sphere, a dignified life of all people is our criterion in the case of digitalisation. In Laudato si, no. 128, Pope Francis says: "The broader objective should always be to allow them (human beings) a dignified life through work." To achieve this goal, we talk inside our movements and externally, we bring our specific vision in dialogue with representatives of the Church (COMECE, Caritas, Justice and Peace, local Episcopal Conferences, IYCW, ICYCW...), civil society (Trade Unions, NGO´s...) and politics at all levels. An exemplary action is Decent Work Day, which is celebrated on 7th October each year.
Ostend, 19th October, 2019
Petr Koutný, ECWM President, May 2019
The last European elections have given us the possibility of focusing on the rich and diverse mosaic which the European Union represents. At the same time, it is an occasion to reflect about what UE has been and is, and to think about the way it should take in the near future.
The EU concept is that of the common home inhabited by people with diverse characters, customs and postures. This fact supposes a huge richness to be respected and taken care of. At the same time we can say that, for the same reasons, our continent is not a paradise and coexistence has not always been idyllic, since there are many realities that -rightly- we consider painful, unpleasant or unfortunate.
But, let’s start with that could appear at the end of this reflection. The EU main objective from the beginning has been a peaceful coexistence of nations. And we must affirm that this purpose has been fulfilled in a wonderful way. We have the privilege that Europe has lived a long period of peace, that it is - from the historical point of view- something exceptional. It has been preferred to solve conflicts sitting around a table, based on dialogue.
In the period that has finished, the EU has had to face to several adversities that have endangered its cohesion. EU has had important tests with phenomena as brexit, the migratory crisis or terrorism that have divided the continent and have reinforced the anti-European trends.
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The ECWM (European Christian Workers Movement) is a coordination of movements of christian workers from 10 European countries, fighting for a socially just Europe based on the Gospel and the Social Doctrine of the Church. With a view to the elections to the European Parliament, which will take place from 23 to 26 May 2019, we present our main demands. In this way, we fulfill our responsibility as citizens of the European Union (EU) by providing our point of view of christian workers.
The criterion of all political action
The foundation of our positions is the dignity of each person and our condition as daughters and sons of God. Politics at all levels must protect this dignity and promote it, which, for christians, is a requirement of the Gospel.
Consequences and suggestions
We consider the following demands, of vital importance for the development of our societies in the European context:
- • The social dimension of the EU must oblige the Member States to do justice to every concrete human being with their concerns and needs, since more than 120 million people in Europe risk falling into poverty and social exclusion . The dignity of each of these people demands an urgent response.
- • As suggested by the Social Commission of the COMECE (European Commission of Episcopal Conferences) in its November 2018 document, "Modeling the future of work", we ask everyone's effort to configure the work according to the criteria of human dignity (fair working conditions, decent income, balanced work schedules), sustainability (assuming our responsibility through ecological action), co-management through social dialogue and the participation of everyone in the work process.
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From February 14 to 16, the VII European Social Week was held in Milan. The motto was "Solidarity, Subsidiarity and Common Good - ways to overcome poverty and social inequality in Europe".
It has been attended by almost 100 people, from 21 countries in Europe, representing organizations, parties, unions and Christian movements concerned about justice and social rights. Mr. Antoine Hérouard, president of the Social Commission of COMECE and auxiliary bishop of Lille (France) has also attended. On behalf of the MTCE, we have attended two representatives.
The following presentations, presentations and panels have been developed:
- Ways to get out of the social crisis in Europe
- Changes that await us in the world of work. Work for all?
- The digitalization of the economy and work
- Reality and new challenges in social dialogue
- The new European social order
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The European Christian Workers Movement (ECWM) has participated in the conference "Building the future of work. A faith-based contribution to the initiative for the centenary of the ILO" that has been convened by the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) on November 27, in Brussels.
The world of work faces profound changes. Digitization, the acceleration of globalization, artificial intelligence and the need for an ecological transition alter the conditions and the concept of work and employment. To respond to these challenges, the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the Initiative on the Future of Labour as part of the centenary of this UN agency scheduled for 2019.
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From 18 to 20 October 2018 the annual ECWM Seminar was held in Birmingham (England) with the theme: "Digital work - working anytime, anywhere - impact on workers and their families".
We gathered representatives of 12 Christian workers' movements from 10 European countries to discuss the impact of digital technologies on people, families and social life.
The seminar took place in different working dynamics: communication of experiences and testimonies, expert presentations, group work, plenary dialogues, etc.
The seminar has been structured in three parts: SEE, JUDGE and ACT. This is the formative pedagogy proper to our movements.
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(Outcome of the ECWM seminar on "Decent Work and Precarious Employment" held from 12 to 15 July 2017 in Avila, Spain)
We find that:
Many people around the world are living in unworthy conditions because their basic needs are not guaranteed. They have no access to land, work and housing, which prevents them from enjoying a good life. The globalization of the economy has not had as a consequence a globalization of social rights. The power of multinational corporations in many ways makes it impossible to implement policies that are more respectful of the convictions of the people. Capitalism often drives forward a type of economic progress that does not involve social and environmental accountability. Work is gradually being replaced by precarious employment which, on the one hand, affects people’s health and, on the other, pushes them away and out of society. People are not given the same opportunities in life. Poverty and hunger continue to increase. Many are forced to leave their homeland, because of war and destruction or of poverty. The fate of refugees and migrants shows how unfair the current global economic order is. "This economy kills!" said Pope Francis in his apostolic letter Evangelii Gaudium.
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