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Pope Institutes Labor Office at Vatican

January 25, 1989

VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope John Paul II on Wednesday created an Office of Labor of the Holy See that a union representing Vatican City law workers had been requesting for 10 years.

The office, described as a ministry of labor for the Vatican, will open March 1. It is designed to help negotiate solutions to labor problems between the Holy See and its lay workers, including those in the curia, or the administration of the Vatican, and Vatican Radio.

John Paul, in creating the office, said it must operate according to a spirit of true justice and always seek conciliation in times of controversey.

The pontiff announced his intentions to institute such an office in a document he issued last year on reforms in the curia.

Mariano Cerullo, the president of the Association of Vatican Lay Workers, called the creation of the office a positive development.

In February 1988, the union staged an unusual labor protest against a change in the Vatican pay schedule and to press its demands for the creation of such an office. In the protest, the workers performed their jobs but pledged to donate their first three hours pay to the pope to help feed the poor.

Archbishop Jan Schootte, a Belgian who handles Vatican labor relations, said at the time that the protest was unjustified and that negotiations were in progress toward creating the office.

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