Pope Francis urges members of the International Catholic Legislators Network to work for a more just, fraternal and peaceful world through legislative processes that promote the good of all and address situations of inequality in society.
According to Benedict Mayaki, SJ Pope Francis met on Thursday with participants at a meeting promoted by the International Catholic Legislators Network.
In his prepared address, he greeted the organizers and those present for the event, thanking in particular Cardinal Schonborn and Dr Alting von Geusau for their words of greeting. He also acknowledged the presence of Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
The Pope then offered his reflections on three keywords: justice, fraternity and peace. He said he hopes these three themes can guide the discussions of the meeting, which is being held to consider the important theme of advancing justice and peace in the current geopolitical situation, marked by conflicts and division which affects many areas of the world.
The first word – justice, said the Pope, is defined “as the will to give to each person what is his or her due”, though, according to the Biblical tradition, it also involves “concrete actions aimed at fostering right relationships with God and with others, so that the good of individuals as well as the community can flourish.”
In our world where many people cry out for justice, particularly the vulnerable who look to civil and political authorities to protect their fundamental human rights through effective public policy and legislation, the Holy Father reminded the lawmakers of their duties.
“Yours is the challenge of working to safeguard and enhance within the public sphere those right relationships that allow each person to be treated with the respect, and indeed the love, that is due to him or her,” the Pope said.
Here, the Pope extended his thoughts toward the poor, migrants and refugees, the sick and elderly, victims of human trafficking and those “who risk being exploited or discarded by today’s throw-away culture.”
Pope Francis stressed, “A just society cannot exist without the bond of fraternity – without a sense of shared responsibility and concern for the integral development and well-being of each member of our human family,”
For this reason, a global community of fraternity based on the practice of social friendship “calls for a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good.”
So, in order to heal the world from rivalries and violence that result from a desire to dominate rather than serve, we need not only responsible citizens but also “capable leaders inspired by a fraternal love directed especially towards those in the most precarious conditions of life.”
In this regard, the Pope encouraged ongoing efforts on national and international levels for work for the adoption of policies and laws “that seek to address, in a spirit of solidarity, the many situations of inequality and injustice threatening the social fabric and the inherent dignity of all people.”
Pope Francis then went on to add that the effort to build our common future demands the constant search for peace.
Peace, he added, “is not merely the absence of war”. Rather, the path to lasting peace calls for cooperation, especially on the part of those charged with greater responsibility, in pursuing goals that benefit everyone.
He further explained that peace results from an “enduring commitment to mutual dialogue, a patient search for the truth and the willingness to place the authentic good of the community before personal advantage.”
To achieve this, the Pope highlighted the importance of lawmakers and political leaders, noting that true peace can only be obtained through far-sighted political processes and legislation in order to build a social order founded on universal fraternity and justice for all.
Concluding, the Holy Father prayed that the Lord may enable the Catholic legislators to become “a leaven for the renewal of civil and political life and witnesses of political love for those most in need.”
He further prayed that their zeal for justice and peace, nourished by a spirit of fraternal solidarity, continue to guide them “in the noble pursuit of contributing to the advancement of God’s kingdom in our world.”