Employers who make business deals that threaten people's livelihood commit a sin that robs men, women and their families of their dignity, Pope Francis said, according to Catholic News Service.
"Whoever – because of economic manoeuvering and business dealings that are not all clear – closes factories and businesses and takes work away from men and women commits a grave sin," the Pope said yesterday before concluding his weekly general audience.
He was speaking to a group of employees from Italy's Sky television; several hundred employees risk losing their jobs after the company announced plans to move its Rome headquarters to Milan.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Sky Italia claimed the move was due to rising costs and an outdated digital infrastructure in Rome. Local workers' unions have criticised the company's decision that will force 300 workers to transfer from the capital while an estimated 200 employees will be left without a job.
In his main audience talk, part of a series on Christian hope, Francis reflected on St Paul's call in his Letter to the Romans for Christians to be "joyful in hope" and sincere in their love.
A Christian's "highest vocation" is the call to love and charity. However, the pontiff said, St Paul also warns of "the risk that our charity can become hypocritical".
"Hypocrisy can infiltrate anywhere, even in our way of loving," he said, especially when acts of love or charity are done "to put ourselves on display or so that we feel fulfilled".
Christians, he added, must ask themselves if their love is sincere and "not that of a soap opera".
"There is a false, misleading idea behind all this: namely that if we love, it is because we are good, as if charity was a creation of man, a product of our heart," Francis said.
Charity and love, he continued, are a grace that is meant to shine forth what "the Lord gives us and what we freely receive".