John Paul II's Glance at Work


The article presents the key elements of John Paul II’s teaching on human labor. The Pope examines the work from the philosophical and theological perspective. Holy Father understands work as “any activity by man, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very nature, by virtue of humanity itself”. In the subjective sense, work is an important expression of theperson, who is its subject and author. The person is the most important source of the dignity of work itself. In the objective sense, work consists of all the resources, tools and techniques, which are used by man and make changes in the surrounding world. According to John Paul II, work should be seen as a personal, social, moral, cultural, religious and economic value. Having in mind such a definition of work, the Pope formulates the principle that work has priority over capital. He also emphasizes that human work is the essential key to the whole social question.


human work; human capital; solidarity; rights of workers; laborism; the principle of the priority of labor over capital

Published : 2014-06-01

Święs, K. (2014). John Paul II’s Glance at Work. Verbum Vitae, 25, 203-226.

Kazmierz Święs

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

(1) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC license Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. 

(2) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

(3) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).