Europe

Pope warns of 'very grave sin' when jobs are cut unjustly

  • Pope Francis gestures as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis gestures as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis embraces a statue of the Holy Mary during his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis embraces a statue of the Holy Mary during his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis says employers who fire workers for unclear reasons are committing a "very grave sin" and should ensure dignified work for all their employees.

Francis made the comments at his Wednesday general audience after appealing for a resolution to a labor dispute at Sky Italia, where employees are facing job cuts and relocation as the satellite channel moves its offices from Rome to Milan. Speaking off-the-cuff, Francis said: "Those who for economic reasons or to conclude unclear negotiations, close factories and business ventures and take jobs away, this person is committing a very grave sin."

The audience was marked by an emotional encounter as a small group of Chinese pilgrims approached Francis on their knees and wept at his feet as he blessed them in St. Peter's Square.