Each year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issue a Labor Day Statement. This year’s statement, penned by Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, is especially noteworthy for its emphasis on the problem of unemployment and underemployment among young adults and how this discourages the formation of new families.
Meaningful and decent work is vital if young adults hope to form healthy and stable families. Work and family life ‘must be properly united and must properly permeate each other. In a way, work is a condition for making it possible to found a family, since the family requires the means of subsistence which man normally gains through work.’ (Laborem Exercens, No. 10). Research is bearing out the consequences of neglecting this relationship: marriage rates have declined by close to 20 percent in the last 40 years, and the birth rate is the lowest on record. Among young adults, the decline in marriage has been steeper, at 40 percent. Although not the only reason, many young adults, because they are unable to find decent work, are delaying marriage and starting a family.
Posted: August 22, 2014