The Holy Father's initiative is consistent with his pattern of placing the marginalized at the center of his concerns, his identification and "solidarity" with the poor. We remember the celebrated stories at the beginning of his pontificate about how he cooked his own meals, rode the bus rather than the limo, eschewed pomp, and abandoned the luxurious papal apartments for more modest accommodations elsewhere.
Such initiatives, however, are sometimes accompanied by unforeseen consequences of other decisions that suggest a contravening message. On January 1, 2015, some five hundred workers in the employee of the Vatican Office of Papal Charities will be dismissed. These are calligraphists, painters, and printers who have been in the employee of the Vatican producing decorated parchments for Papal Blessings "for specific persons" ordered and sold in bookshops and stores licenced by the Vatican whose proceeds have gone for the benefit of the Office of Papal Charities for their donations to charitable causes.
Starting next year, the Office of Papal Charities will reportedly arrange of its own initiative with other calligraphists, for the production and selling of the parchments, either directly from the Internet, or through the nunciatures throughout the world. What was the reason for this decision? Cost-cutting measures? Excessive extravagance? No one has said. (Papal Almoner) Archbishop Konrad Krajewski gave notice to these nearly 500 men and women of the imminent termination of their contract in a circular letter dated April 12, 2014.
On June 29 of this year, the five hundred workers reportedly sent a letter to the Pope in which the begged him to not "cast hundreds of families into economic poverty and precarious situations," concluding:
“We are placing our future in Your holy hands, and our plea to revoke this decision, which will have the effect of diminishing the charitable work done by the Office of Papal Charities in the course of years and still being done today, also by means of work offered by so many devoted people.”Apparently no response to this appeal to the Holy Father has been received thus far.