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Worker layoffs can be ‘very grave sin,’ Pope says

March 15, 2017

During his weekly public audience on March 15, Pope Francis said that employers who lay off workers may be guilty of a “very grave sin.”

The Pope made that statement as he recognized a group of employers from the “Sky Italy” television network who were in attendance at his Wednesday audience. Sky Italy has recently announced plans to downsize and restructure its operations; the company forcing 300 workers to relocate from Rome to Milan. In his remarks to the workers the Pope said that he hoped the company could find a way to show “respect for the rights of all, especially for families.”

The Pontiff said: “He who shuts factories and closes companies as a result of economic operations and unclear negotiations, depriving men and women from work, commits a very grave sin.”


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  • Posted by: - Apr. 24, 2017 1:36 AM ET USA

    One reason that businesses lay off people[hopefully to rehire at a later date] is because the demand for the product or service has declined and if conditions improve, those who were laid off will be rehired. Those workers are often eligible for "unemployment benefits".

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Mar. 17, 2017 2:22 PM ET USA

    Don't worry: even if you chop 90% of your workforce on a whim, Amoris Laetitia taught us that you can still worthily receive the Eucharist if, after a period of prayer and discernment, you decide that your conscience tells you it's OK and you are at peace with God.

  • Posted by: feedback - Mar. 16, 2017 10:42 AM ET USA

    I would say: He who shuts parishes and closes churches as a result of economic operations and unclear negotiations, depriving men and women of places of worship, commits a very grave sin. This sin is happening right now in the Chicago Archdiocese on a mass scale.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Mar. 16, 2017 7:09 AM ET USA

    This shows the admitted theological unsophistication of our Jesuit pope. He cannot say that the person who does this "commits a very grave sin." At best, he can say that this is grave matter. There may be a "very grave material sin." But to judge freedom of will and understanding is beyond any person's competence outside the sinner himself.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Mar. 15, 2017 8:32 PM ET USA

    I thought he believed it was immoral to be in business and to try to make a profit? How do you not make a profit and manage to pay everyone or not lay anyone off?

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Mar. 15, 2017 8:07 PM ET USA

    Or, companies could continue on the trajectory they are on, and eventually close due to bankruptcy. Then, no one would have jobs...

  • Posted by: Terri11 - Mar. 15, 2017 7:27 PM ET USA

    Geez louise. I bet it's a very grave sin not to hire people too then. I guess I better refrain from ever starting a business. That's not immoral yet right? yet......

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Mar. 15, 2017 6:44 PM ET USA

    ALC is so right. Has this Pope ever owned a business Unless a business operates profitably it closes down and then ALL employees are out of work. Hos lack of kowledge about economics is beyond belief. He should be addressing the subterfuge in his own "house": (unless he is a part of it?) His Socialism tendencies are alarming.

  • Posted by: rpp - Mar. 15, 2017 6:07 PM ET USA

    "He who shuts factories and closes companies as a result of economic operations ... commits a very grave sin."? Really? How then is the employer supposed to pay those people? What responsibilities does the employer have to employees NOT laid off who jobs were saved as a result of the savings due to the layoff? I wish Bergoglio would stick to the gospel and stay out of economics and politics, he is remarkably poorly informed.

  • Posted by: ALC - Mar. 15, 2017 4:36 PM ET USA

    I am just baffled by this Pope. He spends more time talking about things that are really out of his area instead of taking care of the Church. If he would pay attention to the chaos that has been created in the Church by his own actions or inaction instead of everything else, we would be better off. He is supposed to be an expert in ecclesiastical matters, not global warming, immigration, and laying off workers.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Mar. 15, 2017 3:30 PM ET USA

    I don't know. Who is he to judge?