29 April 2022
Associations and Movements

Deepening the issue of working conditions within lay aggregations

The synthesis and available texts of the Annual Meeting with the Moderators held yesterday, April 28, 2022
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On April 28, 2022, at the Aula della Congregazione of the General Curia of the Jesuits in Rome, the customary Annual Meeting with the Moderators of Associations of the Faithful, Ecclesial Movements and New Communities was held, organized by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life.

"Working Conditions within Associations. A service according to justice and charity" was the theme of the meeting, which was attended by 180 people, including moderators and members involved in the governance of associations, participating in presence and remotely.

At the opening, the greeting of Card. Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery, underlined the pastoral concern of the Dicastery in accompanying the associations, in a constant process of listening and discernment, directed also to the promotion of just and dignified working conditions, respecting the different situations of the members.

"It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that the members who work within the association receive adequate remuneration appropriate to their condition so that they can provide for their own needs and those of their families in a decent manner. It is necessary to provide for their welfare, so that they may enjoy a proper pension; it is necessary to guarantee social security and health care," said Farrell, adding that "guaranteeing decent working conditions is part of the task entrusted to you to govern your associations with a Good Shepherd's heart.

The morning's keynote addresses were given by Prof. Luis Navarro and Fr. Pierre Martinot-Lagarde, S.I.

Prof. Navarro, canonist and Rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, before dealing specifically with work in ecclesial movements and social security and remuneration issues, offered an extensive introduction, touching on the themes of the ecclesiality of associations, the need to respect the dignity of the person and the faithful within them, and the meaning of ecclesial service according to the state of life of the faithful.

Jesuit Pierre Martinot-Lagarde, who has 14 years of experience working as a consultant to the Director General at the UN's International Labor Organization (ILO), focused his talk on a number of aspects inherent to the labor standards set forth by the ILO, which are also applicable to Kingdom work in associations, along with the pillars upon which decent work rests.

In the second part of the day, the reports of two officials of the Department, Dr. Isabelle Cassara and Dr. Philip Milligan, focused on practical aspects of work in the associations and concrete examples to ponder.

Dr. Cassarà presented some experiences in which the mediation of the Department intervened to protect former members who found themselves in a condition of material distress, as a result of the lack of payment of pension contributions by the association to which they belonged, for the period in which they carried out a full-time service. Dr. Milligan, on the other hand, presented some of the Department's guidelines on fair remuneration and pension benefits for association members, combining his presentation with some concrete examples, in continuity with Cassarà's presentation.

Both in the morning and in the afternoon, much space was given to questions to the speakers and to the debate in the hall, from which an evident interest in the theme and, at the same time, the need to continue the in-depth study at the theological and canonical level, emerged.

Finally, the participants expressed their interest in following up on the reflection that had begun, with the proposal to set up working groups to continue to explore the issue of working conditions and a path of self-evaluation to examine how organizations implement working practices within them.

The day concluded with a Holy Mass at the St. Lawrence Youth Center.

Available texts and photographs of the day are on the website of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, in the section Events/Annual Meeting with Moderators of Associations of the Faithful, Church Movements and New Communities.