IEC 2016: Vatican official warns vs 'electronic sweatshops'
MANILA, Philippines – A Vatican official warned Catholics on Wednesday, January 27, about “electronic sweatshops” in a “24/7 Internet culture” that gives little importance to leisure.
Cardinal Peter Turkson stressed the value of rest – and the Sunday Mass, also known as the Eucharist – in a world that is busy 24/7.
Turkson, the top Vatican official in charge of social justice issues, prepared these remarks for his session on Wednesday at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City, Philippines.
The IEC is a week-long Catholic conference to discuss the value of the Mass, as well as its impact on society. (READ: ‘Boring’ Mass? Adapt it to Filipino culture, priests say)
Turkson’s message was read by Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, as the cardinal couldn’t attend the IEC due to work at the Vatican.
Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, wrote a speech on the topic, “The Eucharist and the Care of Creation.” Like Pope Francis, he connected the care of creation with “the ways we ‘use and abuse’ fellow companions on the earth – plants, animals, the earth itself.”
Turkson, for one, warned about the forever busy world of the Internet.
The Vatican official said: “I often wonder whether the sweatshops, where mass-produced goods result in a dehumanization of too many of our brothers and sisters, are replaced in other cultures with the ‘electronic sweatshops’ of our Internet machines that lead to an equally dehumanized society.”
To stress this point, the cardinal recalled “a fairly new shopping center just outside of the New Gate in the city of Jerusalem.”
'24/6' shopping center
He said this shopping center “is filled with numerous stores, and is a remarkable architectural achievement.”
Turkson continued: “What is very poignant, especially for a Western Christian, is to see the neon sign that says, ’24/6’! That is the Sabbath in present day ‘up in lights.’”
“But as we all know, the Sabbath rest is not that simple, especially in a ’24/7’ Internet culture,” he said, referring to the Jewish term for the day of rest.
Turkson then cited the Pope, who also emphasized the value of rest in his landmark papal letter on the environment, Laudato Si (Be Praised).
In Laudato Si, Francis described Sunday as “a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the world.”
The Pope said: “We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning.”
“Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others. And so the day of rest, centered on the Eucharist, sheds its light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor,” the pontiff said.
In September 2015, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle already warned Filipinos about “worshiping their work.”
“Part of spirituality is rest, and as we rest, we don’t only allow our body to recuperate. We allow the earth to also rest,” said Tagle, also one of the speakers at the IEC. – Rappler.com
Follow Rappler’s special coverage of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress