I. SYNOPSIS OF THE POPE??™S ENCYCLICAL
Pope John Paul II re-introduces the Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical to remind the people about the dignity of work and the right of its workers. To also reiterate that the poor should not be neglected by the State and affluent individuals. Not necessarily to solve the problem of poverty but to at least make an effort to minimize the growing crisis. The Pope also emphasized that society and the State should take responsibility in protecting the workers from unemployment, receive just wages, and have better working conditions. Recognizing that Third World Countries are in need of help, the Pope states that for the purpose of global development and the advancement of the poor constitutes a great opportunity for the moral, cultural, and even economic growth of humanity.
Pope Leo XIII asserts that Man should consider his material possession as not his own but common to all. He states that there is another form of ownership which is becoming no less important than land: the possession of know-how, technology and skill which is what workers need and is more important than material possessions. Profit is a driving force of a business but it should not base its success solely on this. An important factor that would make a business successful is its concern for its employees by providing just wages, good working conditions and a security in their tenure. People should be aware of their actions, not just what they are getting out of things, but how it affects the people around them. Their beliefs and education starts from their home, their family.
The Church reminds the democratic countries to keep their ideals entrenched in human rights. Culture of a nation is a driving force that determines a country??™s progress. Peace is the key to having a thriving country. Wars can only cripple the country??™s resources, both in financial and human resources. It does not help develop a country and provide opportunities to its people.
The Church acknowledges that in order for them to be able to share their social teachings, they have to their words into actions. We are beckoned to act now before it is too late. To help those who need it the most.
II. WHAT THE POPE??™S MESSAGE MEANS TO YOU AS A BUSINESS PRACTITIONER
The Pope??™s words reinforced by own belief that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Because as a ???worker???, I am fully aware how the companies continue to grow financially and yet its employees are not duly compensated for their hard work. A few special bonuses to show the company??™s appreciation would really inspire the workers more. If employers value their workers more it would instill loyalty and hard work. In the company I work in, in my department alone we had 4 resignations last year because they were unhappy with their compensation. In our economy, everything is getting expensive and yet the salaries do not increase to accommodate the economic change. So how can a person build a family in this kind of situation It is no wonder why there are a lot of people going abroad to look to for work or migrating to other countries. The government does not put any effort in helping its people survive the growing crisis of poverty.
If I were to have my own business, I would definitely make sure that my employees are justly compensated for their hard work. For me, there is no price high enough to pay for loyalty. Earning a profit is well and good but if by doing so you are increasing the poverty rate by not helping out your employees then the business will not be profitable in the long run. Providing employment for those in need, whether they are a college or high school graduate, will help a few people. Helping a few people might not make a big difference but at least you started somewhere. It might even influence other (i.e. friends, colleagues) to follow your example especially if the employee performs exceptionally well due to his appreciation for its work. Some might say that what drives a person to work hard is the compensation they receive, rather than the recognition. I don??™t really blame them, because with times as hard as it is, people??™s goals tend to vary as they grow older. As a child, one dreams of helping the community even as a volunteer worker, not realizing that without the compensation one receives, one cannot survive unless you are born well off.
I think the reason why the rich stay rich and works hard for it is because they are afraid of experiencing the hardships of being poor. While some poor individuals are contended with what they have and do not strive for more is because they do not know any other way to live. I would like to help the less fortunate by providing work for them. It does not necessarily have to be a blue collar job, but something that would help them feed their families. The Pope??™s words made me conscious of the blessings I have since I was privileged to have an education and a job. If I were to have my own business I would offer benefits like additional education for those who would like to further their education. Currently, to help the less fortunate, my family would offer our maid further education (i.e. college degree) aside from the salary she is receiving. We have been practicing this for as long as I can remember, our relatives follow this practice as well because we believe that everyone deserves a chance for a higher education.
III. WHAT BEHAVIORS WILL YOU CHANGE AS A RESULT OF UNDERSTANDING THE PRINCIPLES OF CENTESIMUS ANNUS
I would change my way of thinking that employers are always right. Sometimes it is not right to say silent when we are fully aware that sometimes they are really short changing their employees. Some employers are really cutting back on the wages of their workers to cut their expenses but unfortunately it makes the workers unsatisfied with their work. The dissatisfaction they are feeling will only drive them away, which will cost the company to hire new employees and train them all over again. I am admittedly wary of poverty-stricken individuals not because of their status in life but because from experience they tend to be brash, aggressive and have a tendency towards violence. There are also those people who tend to swindle money out of the good hearted ones. It??™s no wonder why some people are hesitant in helping the impoverished.
I will also try to change my outlook in life about material possessions. I admit that I can??™t change overnight but by taking it one day at a time, I??™m sure that I could lessen my attitude towards material possessions. As a woman especially, it is hard not to value things like bags and shoes since we are vain by nature. I will make it a habit of only buying those things that are necessities and not just because of want. I know that the money spent on frivolous things would come a long way in feeding the impoverished.
I would like to start donating a portion of my salary to an institution that offers scholarships to deserving children. A certain amount will automatically be debited from my salary monthly which is convenient so that I would not have to pay over the counter. Everything is done anonymously which ensures that donations are not done for recognition but for the joy in helping a child receive an education.