MONDAY mornings in this country have traditionally been objects of fear and revulsion. Perhaps the burden of the working week is not so much to bear now that so many have no joh to get up for.
Pope John Paul presents work in his new encyclical in a positive way. The Monday morning feeling might be a product of the Fall, but, from the first, man and woman were appointed to work.
Not only does the Pope place work as the key to the whole of the Church's social teaching, but he picks it out as the very mark which distinguishes man from irrational creation. Man is made in the image of God, the Creator; Christ became a man and a worker.
The sublimity of these truths is so marred by the complexities of society and individual failings that it is possible to spend a lifetime without ever coming at the heart of the dignity of work. The Pope admits there are complications and does not pretend to a full treatment of them.
While stopping off to put down Marxism and classical Liberal capitalism as dual aspects of materialism (and coining the new perjorative 'economism', which must leave one weekly journal perplexed) he lays in to the horrors of dehumanising .profiteering, the international imbalance of wealth and those guilty of provoking the evil of unemployment.
Something is terribly wrong, he admits, with that apocalyptic vision which he has applied to the nuclear threat.
In response his urgent call, the call of the Church and of the Vatican Council, is for the implementation of a reawakened spirituality of work, in which all, not without the Cross, can approach the Risen Christ.
That is why the encyclical is addressed to all men and women of good will. Work is common to all — even, as the Pope points out, the disabled whose frustrated activity is especially pleasing to God.
Pope John Paul accepts that recent changes in the Organisation of work present a challenge to the Church. But the fight for justice in employment is one in which Catholics may join with their fellowcitizens on common ground.