Cardinal Bertone: Solidarity Is Everyone's Responsibility

Says Respect for Rights Cannot Depend on Stock Market Ups and Downs

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By Chiara Santomiero

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- With Italy's governmental debate on austerity measures leading to a nation-wide strike today, Benedict XVI's secretary of state has recalled that solidarity is the responsibility of individuals and the state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone addressed the Christian Associations of Italian Workers (ACLI) on Friday from the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, as today's strike had already been called by Italy's biggest workers' union.

Cardinal Bertone framed the debate on employment in the context of human dignity and justice, saying that access to steady work is a priority.

"The common good, fraternity, sharing -- all belong to the profound dimension of being and of man, which also gives meaning to work, as well as to the whole of society," he said.

The cardinal observed that ethical values bring a person to see his neighbor in every dimension: "as person in justice, as fellow citizen in participation, as different in dialogue, as poor in solidarity and as brother in communion."

"Solidarity, above all, is to feel responsible for all and, therefore, it cannot be delegated to the state alone," he affirmed.

"A civilized economy cannot neglect the social value of an enterprise and a corresponding responsibility toward workers' families, society and the environment," Cardinal Bertone stressed. Social rights, in fact, "are an integral part of substantial democracy and the commitment to respect them cannot depend merely on how the stock market is doing."

Still, the cardinal reminded, this commitment demands moral uprightness, "based in turn on a constant and strong relationship with God."

The ACLI president, Andrea Olivero, responded to the cardinal's address: "As laypeople, we are ready to assume our risks, and also to meet possible and inevitable errors. But we don't want to flinch. We don't presume to have the adequate answers for the many grave problems that affect the world of work, but we do have the conviction that the Gospel's values can illuminate and guide our steps in discerning."