Friday, May 15, 2020

More Dangerous than Corona19 is Dehumanization

"When you go on horseback and you have to cross a river, don’t change horses in the middle of the river. Those who decided to leave Jesus changed horses midstream. Instead, moments of crisis require that we persevere, remain silent, stay grounded in our convictions. It is not the moment to make changes. It is the moment to remain faithful. It is the moment when God is faithful. A moment of crisis is a call to conversion in which remaining faithful may inspire changes for the better, but not to distance ourselves from the good."

Pope Francis on May 2nd in a talk to government leaders dealing with the Corona Virus in this time of crisis is quoted beginning an article in Being a Light in the World of the Catholic Times by a priest in the labor apostolate.

He quotes Robert B Reich a former Secretary of Labor in the US government on a new class division because of the coronavirus.

The Remotes: These are professional, managerial, and technical workers — an estimated 35 percent of the workforce — who can work remotely.

The Essentials: They make up about 30 percent of the workforce: nurses, home and child care workers, farmworkers, food processors, truck drivers, warehouse and transit workers, drug store employees, sanitation workers, police officers, firefighters, and the military. 

The Unpaid: They're an even larger group that the unemployed —whose ranks could soon reach 25 percent. Some of the unpaid are furloughed or have used up their paid leave. 

The Forgotten: This group includes everyone for whom social distancing is nearly impossible because they're packed tightly into places most Americans don't see — prisons, undocumented immigrants, camps for migrant farmworkers, Native American reservations, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. 

If society turns away from them, they remain forgotten and unseen. If a company prioritizes efficiency in a crisis, the impact of an infectious disease is likely to pass on to the weak. This is like the front and rear on the battlefield. Those who can endure are in the rear, and those who do not have the power to defend themselves are driven forward.

The real crisis is 'human marginalization'. Work is essential to sustain society. Food production, construction labor,  housework, kindergarten, nursing home, school meals, and restaurants. These tasks are usually low cost and require physical work. The cost determines the rank in society. It's a sad reality, but we live in a society that is determined by income. The class divisions are not created by Corona 19, but by money and our perception of it. 

The Pope declared Corona19 a serious crisis. On May 1, St. Joseph's Day and Labor Day, he said slavery is dehumanization. The real crisis is the moment when human dignity is lost. It is truly unfortunate when we understand everything by the cost. 

In the Compendium of the Social Gospel # 271: "The subjective dimension of work must take precedence over the objective dimension, because it is the dimension of the person himself who engages in work, determining its quality and consummate value. If this awareness is lacking, or if one chooses not to recognize this truth, work loses its truest and most profound meaning. In such cases — which are unfortunately all too frequent and widespread — work activity and the very technology employed become more important than the person himself and at the same time are transformed into enemies of his dignity."

Life has been enriched compared to the past, but alienation and dehumanization have also increased. Still in Korea alone, in 2019, 2,020 people died from industrial accidents and occupational diseases, and 12,889 people committed suicide. What's the problem? We are not living the way we should. Can we avoid the crisis? Our decision of what to do first in times of crisis is more important. Moments of peace and crisis coexist. Christians must be able to survive both of these moments. The way is to resist the temptation to enslave human beings in society and the workplace and practice the true values ​​and human dignity that sustain peace.

"Human work not only proceeds from the person, but it is also essentially ordered to and has its final goal in the human person." (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, #272).


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