Responsibility of the Ecclesial Community
The task of the Church consists in offering an alternative through the creation of a different community that expresses its desires through the symbols of freedom and of love, enabling individuals to find a new vocation, beyond consumerism, and where market and society, males and females, salaried and volunteer workers, personal freedom and political engagement, family and work can coexist. The Christian vision of personal identity should be creative and marked by the recognition of boundaries and by an absence of compulsive drives, the drives that characterize contemporary consumerism. It is necessary to find one’s true identity in a relationship with that Spirit of love and truth that was present in the ministry of Jesus and that resurrected Him.
In addition, there is a need to educate demand. Indeed, not all demands are endowed with a response and not all demands deserve a response. Not all demands are licit or possible.
Once demand is educated, an ethics of limits would have to be proposed, that would make people humble and realistic, that would show that the desire for transcendence cannot be appeased by any of the objects we want to own, that would train us to enjoy freedom and deliver us from the dilatation of desire and from the oppression of induced needs.
Moreover, we cannot forget another aspect that is closely linked to the economy-labour issue: namely solidarity not only among the people who work, but solidarity as the very sense and purpose of human work. In addition, an ethics of gift-giving needs to be promoted that would teach gratuitousness. A gift is such because it stops the circularity of exchanging, it interrupts the economy, it challenges reciprocity and symmetry.
Beyond this ethical-individual approach, but also wanting to be at the service of such approach, the Church asks itself what are the institutional forms that best allow to govern the market process and to equitably distribute its benefits. Criticising the merchant civilization from the standpoint of conscience leads to the development of a political project that is not hastily drawn up from the standpoint of the market, but responds to the question about the quality of the life that our civilization is producing.
A Pedagogy of Work
2.2.1. School and Formation
The meaning of the school cannot be reduced to its instrumental function of transmitting knowledge, which became consolidated in the modern National States and which is now expanding into the scenario of the knowledge society and/or of planetary citizenship. The school finds its meaning, by structuring itself as an environment (auxiliary but indispensable) of life, relationships and learning of the structured, formal, intentional, and professional type and which offers the opportunity of paths through which the right to education of each person takes shape within the context of social, cultural and technological complexity.
But before intervening on professional training in the strict sense it is urgent to start rethinking radically our educational curricula, curricula that are still anchored to a culture of labour centred on the Fordist scheme. Schools must stop conveying to the students the idea that they will be working “for someone”. Rather the school should
The challenges in education. Recovering the past, promises, commitments
Italian Episcopal Conference, European Symposium, Roma 1-4 July 2004