Holiness in the Making

Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (2):278-290 (2017)
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Abstract

In this essay, I will argue that a political theology of human work can provide the sacramental principle underlying the theology of labor. This principle could complement the foundations of Catholic social teaching, since the sacramental aspects of work have not been made very explicit in the ethical framework of the Church's theology of work. The view of labor as the active participation in God's future is an important aspect of such a theology. In order to serve as a foundation for faith-based labor organizing, I will claim that it needs to be complemented by a sacramental view of labor as art, a labor-aesthetic that undergirds a labor-ethic, in which labor itself becomes a sign and instrument of the way the Church becomes God's work in the world. First, I will sketch an outline of some of the major positions on labor in modern Catholic theology. Then, I will draw on the writings of the British poet and painter David Jones to explore a sacramental view of human work, arguing that a sacramental view of work could support the Church's social criticism of laborer's circumstances.

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