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Vatican statements on social justice

  • Today’s democratic societies . . . call for new and fuller forms of participation in public life by Christian and non-Christian citizens alike. Indeed, all can contribute, by voting in elections for lawmakers and government officials, and in other ways as well, to the development of political solutions and legislative choices which, in their opinion, will benefit the common good. —Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 1

  • By fulfilling their civic duties, guided by a Christian conscience, in conformity with its values, the lay faithful exercise their proper task of infusing the temporal order with Christian values. . . . The consequence of this fundamental teaching of the Second Vatican Council is that the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in ‘public life,’ that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good. —Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 1

  • It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. —Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 4

  • The Church] does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate the freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions. Instead, it intends—as is its proper function— to instruct and illuminate the consciences of the faithful, particularly those involved in political life, so that their actions may always serve the integral promotion of the human person and the common good. —Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 6

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Pope Benedict XVI on Social Justice

  • The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbour is emphasized. One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbour or hate him altogether. Saint John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbour is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us to God. Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), #16

  • In today’s complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Church’s social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the Church: in the face of ongoing development these guidelines need to be addressed in the context of dialogue with all those seriously concerned for humanity and for the world in which we live. Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), #27

  • The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society, on the other hand, is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. So they cannot relinquish their participation “in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.” The mission of the lay faithful is therefore to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility. Even if the specific expressions of ecclesial charity can never be confused with the activity of the State, it still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as “social charity.” Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), #29

  • Holy Mary, Mother of God, you have given the world its true light, Jesus, your Son – the Son of God. You abandoned yourself completely to God’s call and thus became a wellspring of the goodness which flows forth from him. Show us Jesus. Lead us to him. Teach us to know and love him, so that we too can become capable of true love and be fountains of living water in the midst of a thirsting world. Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), Dec. 2005

  • What is happening? How can Jesus distribute his Body and his Blood? By making the bread into his Body and the wine into his Blood, he anticipates his death, he accepts it in his heart and he transforms it into an action of love. What on the outside is simply brutal violence, from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:28). In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world: Violence is transformed into love, and death into life. Since this act transmutes death into love, death as such is already conquered from within, the Resurrection is already present in it. Death is, so to speak, mortally wounded, so that it can no longer have the last word. To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being — the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world. “Let Us Go Forward With Christ!” Homily of Pope Benedict XVI at closing Mass of World Youth Day, Cologne, Aug. 21, 2005

  • Today there are many forms of voluntary assistance, models of mutual service, of which our society has urgent need. We must not, for example, abandon the elderly to their solitude, we must not pass by when we meet people who are suffering. If we think and live according to our communion with Christ, then our eyes will be opened. Then we will no longer be content to scrape a living just for ourselves, but we will see where and how we are needed. Living and acting thus, we will soon realize that it is much better to be useful and at the disposal of others than to be concerned only with the comforts that are offered to us. I know that you as young people have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ; in this way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to discover the star that we follow as believers. “Let Us Go Forward With Christ!” Homily at closing Mass of World Youth Day, Cologne, Aug. 21, 2005

  • As Isaiah proclaimed, “For thus says he who is high and exalted, living eternally, whose name is the Holy One: On high I dwell, and in holiness, and with the crushed and dejected in spirit, to revive the spirits of the dejected, to revive the hearts of the crushed” (Isaiah 57:15). God chooses, therefore, to be with the weak, with victims, with the last: This is made known to all kings, so that they will know what their options should be in the governance of nations. Of course, he does not just say it to kings and to all governments, but to all of us, as we also must know which option we must choose: to be on the side of the humble, the last, the poor and the weak. Commentary on Psalm 137(138): God “Cares for the Lowly,” Dec. 7, 2005

  • To make a concrete response to the appeal of our brothers and sisters in humanity, we must come to grips with the first of these challenges: solidarity among generations, solidarity between countries and entire continents, so that all human beings may share more equitably in the riches of our planet. This is one of the essential services that people of good will must render to humanity. The earth, in fact, can produce enough to nourish all its inhabitants, on the condition that the rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all. Audience to seven new ambassadors to the Holy See, June 16, 2005

  • True global development, organized and integral, which is desired by all, calls on the contrary to know in an objective manner the human situations, to define the true causes of poverty and to provide concrete answers, with an appropriate formation of persons and communities as a priority. Thus the authentic freedom and responsibility will be activated, which are proper to human action. Technical progress will not be really effective unless it finds its place in a wider perspective, where man occupies the center, concerned with taking into account the totality of his needs and aspirations, because, as Scripture says, “man does not live by bread alone” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). This will also allow all peoples to draw from their patrimony of values, to share their own riches, both spiritual and material, for the benefit of all. Message to the director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Oct. 16, 2005

  • Enlightened by this Paschal truth, the Church knows that if we are to promote development in its fullness, our own “gaze” upon mankind has to be measured against that of Christ. In fact, it is quite impossible to separate the response to people’s material and social needs from the fulfillment of the profound desires of their hearts. This has to be emphasized all the more in today’s rapidly changing world, in which our responsibility towards the poor emerges with ever greater clarity and urgency. My venerable Predecessor, Pope Paul VI, accurately described the scandal of underdevelopment as an outrage against humanity. In this sense, in the Encyclical “Populorum Progressio,” he denounced “the lack of material necessities for those who are without the minimum essential for life, the moral deficiencies of those who are mutilated by selfishness” and “oppressive social structures, whether due to the abuses of ownership or to the abuses of power, to the exploitation of workers or to unjust transactions” Pope Benedict XVI Message for Lent, 2006, Jan. 31, 2006

  • . . . An important litmus test for the success of their efforts is religious liberty, understood not simply as the freedom to proclaim and celebrate Christ, but also the opportunity to contribute to the building of a world enlivened by charity. Message for Lent, 2006, Jan. 31, 2006

  • One of the recognizable signs of the times today is undoubtedly migration, a phenomenon which during the century just ended can be said to have taken on structural characteristics, becoming an important factor of the labor market world-wide, a consequence among other things of the enormous drive of globalization. Naturally in this “sign of the times” various factors play a part. They include both national and international migration, forced and voluntary migration, legal and illegal migration, subject also to the scourge of trafficking in human beings.. . With regard to those who emigrate for economic reasons, a recent fact deserving mention is the growing number of women involved (“feminization”). Speaking of the other category of migrants — asylum seekers and refugees — I wish to underline how the tendency is to stop at the question of their arrival while disregarding the reasons for which they left their native land. The Church sees this entire world of suffering and violence through the eyes of Jesus, who was moved with pity at the sight of the crowds wandering as sheep without a shepherd (cf. Matthew 9:36). Hope, courage, love and “creativity in charity” (“Novo Millennio Ineunte,” No. 50) must inspire the necessary human and Christian efforts made to help these brothers and sisters in their suffering. “Migration: a Sign of the Times,” Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Oct. 28, 2005

  • Especially in Africa, many have drawn comfort from the aid resolutions taken at July’s Gleneagles summit, when the G-8 Group met under the presidency of Great Britain. I pray that this effective solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters will be maintained and deepened in years to come. In the words of my venerable predecessor, Pope Gregory the Great, “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice” (Pastoral Rule, 3:21, quoted in Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 184). Address to Francis Campbell, the new ambassador of Great Britain to the Holy See, Dec. 23, 2005

  • Poverty is a plague against which humanity must fight without cease. Pope Benedict XVI, Public Audience, October 16, 2005

  • It is necessary not only to relieve the gravest needs but to go to their roots, proposing measures that will give social, political and economic structures a more equitable and solidaristic configuration. Message to Mexican Bishops, Sept. 29, 2005

  • [T]he celebration of World Food Day reminds us that hunger and malnutrition are, unfortunately, among the most serious scandals that still affect the life of the human family, which makes all the more urgent the action undertaken . . . The millions of people whose very lives are threatened, because they are deprived of a minimum of the necessary nourishment, call for the attention of the International Community, because we all have the duty to take care of our brothers. In fact, famine does not depend only on geographic and climatic situations or on unfavorable circumstances linked to harvests. It is also caused by man himself and by his egoism which is translated in deficiencies in the social organization, the rigidity of economic structures too often geared only to profit, and also practices against human life and ideological systems that reduce the person, deprived of his fundamental dignity, to be but an instrument. Message to the director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Oct. 16, 2005

  • Humanity is presently experiencing a worrisome paradox: Side by side with ever new and positive advances in the areas of the economy, science and technology, we are witnessing a continuing increase of poverty. . . There is a need to base international relations on respect for the person and on the cardinal principles of peaceful coexistence, fidelity to commitments undertaken and mutual acceptance by the peoples who make up the one human family. There is likewise a need to recognize that technical progress, necessary as it is, is not everything. True progress is that alone which integrally safeguards the dignity of the human being and which enables each people to share its own spiritual and material resources for the benefit of all. Address to Participants in the U.N. Food Conference, Nov. 24, 2005

  • It must not be forgotten that the vulnerability of rural areas has significant repercussions on the subsistence of small farmers and their families if they are denied access to the market. A consistent course of action would call for recognizing the essential role of the rural family as a guardian of values and a natural agent of solidarity in relationships between the generations. Consequently, support should also be given to the role of rural women and at the same time to children for whom not only nutrition but also basic education must be assured. Address to Participants in the U.N. Food Conference, Nov. 24, 2005

  • In the era of globalization, it is important that political policies should not be guided mainly or solely by economic considerations or by the search for higher profits or a heedless use of the planet’s resources to the detriment of the people, especially those who are the least privileged, at the risk of jeopardizing the world’s future in the long term. . . I therefore encourage the Leaders of nations and all people of good will to commit themselves with ever greater determination to building a free, brotherly and supportive world, where attention to people takes precedence over mere economic aspects. It is our duty to accept responsibility for one another and for the functioning of the world as a whole, so that it cannot be said, as Cain did in answer to God’s question in the Book of the Genesis: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”. Address to ambassadors from Australia, India, Chad, Cape Verde and Moldova, May 18, 2006

  • Indeed, it is not enough to opt for peace or collaboration between nations in order to achieve them. Again, each person must be actively committed and concerned not only with the interests of those close to him or her or with one specific class of society to the detriment of the general interest, but must seek first of all the common good of the country’s people and, on a wider scale, of the whole of humanity. Address to ambassadors from Australia, India, Chad, Cape Verde and Moldova, May 18, 2006

  • With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter’s current successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers. First message from the Sistine Chapel, April 20, 2005

  • The wounds resulting from more than four centuries of separation cannot be healed without determined efforts, perseverance, and above all, prayer. I give thanks to God for the progress that has been made in recent years in the various ecumenical dialogues, and I encourage all those involved in this work never to rest content with partial solutions but to keep firmly in view the goal of full visible unity among Christians which accords with the Lord’s will for his Church. Ecumenism is not simply an internal matter of concern to Christian communities; it is an imperative of charity which expresses God’s love for all humanity and his plan to unite all peoples in Christ (cf. “Ut Unum Sint,” 99). It offers a “radiant sign of hope and consolation for all mankind” (“Letter of Pope Paul VI to Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras” I, 13 January 1970), and as such has an essential part to play in overcoming divisions between communities and nations. Address to Francis Campbell, the new ambassador of Great Britain to the Holy See, Dec. 23, 2005

  • We are comforted by the fact that our search for unity is guided by the presence of the Risen Lord and by the inexhaustible power of his Spirit ‘which blows where it wills. As we prepare to mark the 500th anniversary of the events of 1517, we should intensify our efforts to understand more deeply what we have in common and what divides us, as well as the gifts we have to offer each other. Address to the bishop president of the Lutheran World Federation, Nov. 7, 2005

  • Aware of this, I address everyone, including the followers of other religions, or those who are simply seeking an answer to the fundamental questions of life and have not yet found it. I address all with simplicity and affection, to assure them that the Church wants to continue to weave an open and sincere dialogue with them, in the search for the true good of the human being and of society. First message from the Sistine Chapel, April 20, 2005

  • The history of relations between our two communities has been complex and often painful, yet I am convinced that the “spiritual patrimony” treasured by Christians and Jews is itself the source of the wisdom and inspiration capable of guiding us toward “a future of hope” in accordance with the divine plan. Address to a delegation of the International Jewish Committee for Inter-religious Consultations, June 9, 2005

  • The Church hopes to continue an open and sincere dialogue with believers of other religions, in search of the authentic good of man and society. The meeting in truth between believers of different religions is an imperative challenge for the future of peace in the world, and this calls for much perseverance. To surmount the reciprocal ignorance and prejudices,” the Holy Father added, “it is important to create bonds of trust between persons, sharing in particular daily life and work in common, so that the free expression of different confessions is not a reason for mutual exclusion, but rather an occasion to learn to live, each one respecting the other’s identity. Address to the new ambassador from Algeria to the Holy See, Dec. 1, 2005

  • Tolerance and respect for difference . . . derive from an appreciation of the innate dignity and the inalienable rights of every human person. . . Above all, it directs us toward a proper understanding of human freedom which can never be realized independently of God but only in cooperation with his loving plan for humanity (cf. “Homily for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception,” Dec. 8, 2005). Tolerance and respect for difference, if they are truly to benefit society, need to be built upon the rock of an authentic understanding of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God and called to a share in his divine life. Address to Francis Campbell, the new ambassador of Great Britain to the Holy See, Dec. 23, 2005

    * Peace is rooted in respect for religious freedom, which is an essential and primordial aspect of the people’s freedom of conscience and of nations’ freedom. It is important that throughout the world every person adhere to the religion he wishes and practice it without fear, as no one can base his existence solely on the pursuit of material well-being. Address to ambassadors from Australia, India, Chad, Cape Verde and Moldova, May 18, 2006

  • Even in the “valley of darkness” of which the Psalmist speaks (Psalm 23:4), while the tempter prompts us to despair or to place a vain hope in the work of our own hands, God is there to guard us and sustain us. Yes, even today the Lord hears the cry of the multitudes longing for joy, peace, and love. As in every age, they feel abandoned. Yet, even in the desolation of misery, loneliness, violence and hunger that indiscriminately afflict children, adults, and the elderly, God does not allow darkness to prevail. Even now, the compassionate “gaze” of Christ continues to fall upon individuals and peoples. He watches them, knowing that the divine “plan” includes their call to salvation. Jesus knows the perils that put this plan at risk, and He is moved with pity for the crowds. He chooses to defend them from the wolves even at the cost of His own life. The gaze of Jesus embraces individuals and multitudes, and he brings them all before the Father, offering Himself as a sacrifice of expiation. Message for Lent, 2006, Jan. 31, 2006

  • [T]he Christian community has as its constant reference point Christ, who left to his disciples, as a rule of life, the new commandment of love. Christian love is, by its nature, prevenient. This is why single believers are called to open their arms and their hearts to every person, from whatever nation they come, allowing the authorities responsible for public life to enforce the relevant laws held to be appropriate for a healthy coexistence. Continually stimulated to witness the love that the Lord Jesus taught, Christians must open their hearts especially to the lowly and the poor, in whom Christ himself is present in a singular way. Acting in this way, they manifest the most qualifying characteristic of their own Christian identity: the love that Christ lived and continually transmits to the Church through the Gospel and the sacraments. Obviously, it is to be hoped that Christians who emigrate to nations with an Islamic majority will also be welcomed and their religious identity respected. Address to Assembly of Council for Migrants, June 7, 2006

  • News of war is arriving from every part of the world. This morning I would like to make a new appeal to the leaders of nations and to all people of good will to cooperate in order to put an end to the violence that disfigures humanity and jeopardizes the growth of peoples and the hopes of numerous populations. Without the commitment to peace by one and all, creating an atmosphere of pacification and a spirit of reconciliation in all social milieus beginning with the family, it will not be possible to advance on the path of a peaceful society. Message to Eleven New Ambassadors to the Holy See, Dec. 1, 2005

  • The principal victims of war are always the people whose lives are so badly disrupted by violence and destruction. Many are forced to flee from their homes, or to seek refuge in neighboring states. The Church is close to refugees and displaced persons, “not only with her pastoral presence and material support, but also with her commitment to defend their human dignity” (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 505). Address to Eritrea’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Dec. 4, 2005

  • I spoke of “our common mission.” And what is this, if not the mission of peace? The Church’s task is none other than to spread the message of Christ, who came, as St. Paul writes in the Letter to the Ephesians, to proclaim peace to those who are far away and to those who are near (cf. 2:17). Address to the diplomatic corps, Jan. 10, 2006

  • Man is capable of knowing the truth! He has this capacity with regard to the great problems of being and acting: individually and as a member of society, whether of a single nation or of humanity as a whole. The peace, to which he can and must be committed, is not merely the silence of arms; it is, much more, a peace which can encourage new energies within international relations which in turn become a means of maintaining peace. But this will be the case only if they correspond to the truth about man and his dignity. Consequently one cannot speak of peace in situations where human beings are lacking even the basic necessities for living with dignity. Here my thoughts turn to the limitless multitudes who are suffering from starvation. They cannot be said to be living in peace, even though they are not in a state of war: Indeed they are defenseless victims of war. Immediately there come to mind distressing images of huge camps throughout the world of displaced persons and refugees, who are living in makeshift conditions in order to escape a worse fate, yet are still in dire need. Are these human beings not our brothers and sisters? Do their children not come into the world with the same legitimate expectations of happiness as other children? One thinks also of all those who are driven by unworthy living conditions to emigrate far from home and family in the hope of a more humane life. Nor can we overlook the scourge of human trafficking, which remains a disgrace in our time. Faced with these “humanitarian emergencies” and other human tragedies, many people of good will, along with different international institutions and non-governmental organizations, have in fact responded. But a greater effort is needed from the entire diplomatic community in order to determine in truth, and to overcome with courage and generosity, the obstacles still standing in the way of effective, humane solutions. And truth demands that none of the prosperous states renounce its own responsibility and duty to provide help through drawing more generously upon its own resources. On the basis of available statistical data, it can be said that less than half of the immense sums spent worldwide on armaments would be more than sufficient to liberate the immense masses of the poor from destitution. This challenges humanity’s conscience. To peoples living below the poverty line, more as a result of situations to do with international political, commercial and cultural relations than as a result of circumstances beyond anyone’s control, our common commitment to truth can and must give new hope. Address to the diplomatic corps, Jan. 10, 2006

  • What can be said, too, about those governments which count on nuclear arms as a means of ensuring the security of their countries? Along with countless persons of good will, one can state that this point of view is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all - whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them - agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament. The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor. In this regard, one can only note with dismay the evidence of a continuing growth in military expenditure and the flourishing arms trade, while the political and juridic process established by the international community for promoting disarmament is bogged down in general indifference. How can there ever be a future of peace when investments are still made in the production of arms and in research aimed at developing new ones? It can only be hoped that the international community will find the wisdom and courage to take up once more, jointly and with renewed conviction, the process of disarmament, and thus concretely ensure the right to peace enjoyed by every individual and every people. . . The first to benefit from a decisive choice for disarmament will be the poor countries, which rightly demand, after having heard so many promises, the concrete implementation of their right to development. Message for the World Day of Peace, Dec. 13, 2005

  • Prior to any positive law emanated by States, such rights are universal, inviolable and inalienable, and must be recognized as such by everyone, especially by the civil authorities who are called to promote them and guarantee that they are respected. Although in modern culture, the concept of ‘human nature’ seems to have been lost, the fact remains that human rights cannot be understood without presupposing that man, in his very being, is the bearer of values and norms that must be rediscovered and reaffirmed, not invented and imposed in a subjective and arbitrary manner. Address to Members of the International Theological Commission, Dec. 1, 2005

  • Tomorrow, 1 December, is World AIDS Day, a United Nations initiative planned to call attention to the scourge of AIDS and to invite the International Community to a renewed commitment in the work of prevention and supportive assistance to those afflicted. The figures published are alarming! Closely following Christ’s example, the Church has always considered care of the sick as an integral part of her mission. I therefore encourage the many initiatives promoted especially by the Ecclesial Community to rout this disease, and I feel close to persons with AIDS and their families, invoking for them the help and comfort of the Lord. Appeal of the Holy Father, Nov. 30, 2005

  • Brother Bishops, I share your deep concern over the devastation caused by AIDS and related diseases. I especially pray for the widows, the orphans, the young mothers and those whose lives have been shattered by this cruel epidemic. Address to the Bishops of South Africa, June 10, 2005

  • The horror of events unfolding in Darfur, to which my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II referred on many occasions, points to the need for a stronger international resolve to ensure security and basic human rights. Today, I add my voice to the cry of the suffering and assure you that the Holy See, together with the apostolic nuncio in Khartoum, will continue to do everything possible to end the cycle of violence and misery. Address to the Archbishop of Khartoum, Sudan, and Sudanese Pilgrims, Nov. 28, 2005

  • There seems to me to be an almost paradigmatic illustration of these considerations at that nerve point of the world scene, which is the Holy Land. There, the state of Israel has to be able to exist peacefully in conformity with the norms of international law; there, equally, the Palestinian population has to be able to develop serenely its own democratic institutions for a free and prosperous future. Address to the diplomatic corps, Jan. 9, 2006

  • If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace. Appeal to representatives of Muslim communities in Germany, Aug. 21, 2005

  • To all who nurture sentiments of hatred and to all who carry out such repugnant terrorist acts I say: God loves life, which he created, and not death. Stop in the name of God! Angelus address, July 10, 2005

  • Terrorism is irrational. There is no clash of civilizations, but small groups of fanatics . . . [T]he dialogue between religions which have Abraham as a Father is important. We must ask God to reinforce this will and hope that it will be much stronger than violence. Statement on July 21, 2005

  • Let us cry out to God, with all our hearts, at the present hour, when new misfortunes befall us, when all the forces of darkness seem to issue anew from human hearts: whether it is the abuse of God’s name as a means of justifying senseless violence against innocent persons, or the cynicism which refuses to acknowledge God and ridicules faith in him. Prayer at Auschwitz concentration camp, May 28, 2006

  • [The Church] stimulates believers to love justice and to participate honestly in public or professional life with a sense of respect and solidarity, to promote the common good organically and institutionally. [The Church is] committed to the promotion and defense of human rights, because of her lofty consideration of the dignity of the person in his integrity, in any place or situation in which he finds himself. Address to the new ambassador to the Holy See from Spain, May 21, 2006

  • Work tirelessly so that the Gospel will penetrate ever more profoundly in the heart and life of believers, inviting the faithful to assume increasingly their responsibility in society, in particular in the field of the economy and politics, with a moral sense nourished by the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church. Address to the Bishops of Rwanda, May 22, 2005

  • Genuine democracies require that self-interest and efforts to reinforce positions of dominance be resisted, so that every citizen will enjoy the right to choose leaders through free and transparent multiparty elections. Respect for human dignity demands that “public administration at any level — national, regional, community — is oriented toward the service of its citizens” who, in turn, make a valuable contribution to the nation as true partners in governance (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 412). . . [The Catholic Church] has much to offer in her social teaching which seeks to increase moral awareness of the demands of justice and solidarity, demands which are predicated on the incomparable worth and centrality of the human person. Address to Tanzania’s New Ambassador to the Holy See, Dec. 4, 2005

  • The recent elections in Zimbabwe have laid the basis for what I trust will be a new beginning in the process of national reconciliation and the moral rebuilding of society. . . As you rightly noted in that Statement, responsibility for the common good demands that all members of the body politic work together in laying firm moral and spiritual foundations for the future of the nation. Through the publication of the Statement and your most recent Pastoral Letter The Cry of the Poor, you yourselves have brought the wisdom of the Gospel and the rich heritage of the Church’s social doctrine to bear upon the thinking and practical judgments of the faithful both in their daily lives and in their efforts to act as upright members of the community. . . In your preaching and teaching the faithful should be able to hear the voice of the Lord himself, a voice that speaks with authority of what is right and true, of peace and justice, of love and reconciliation, a voice that can console them in the midst of their troubles and show them the way forward in hope. Address to the Bishops of Zimbabwe, July 6, 2005

  • A recognition of the rich patrimony of values and principles embodied in [universal moral] law is essential to the building of a world which acknowledges and promotes the dignity, life and freedom of each human person, while creating the conditions of justice and peace in which individuals and communities can truly flourish. It is precisely the promotion and defense of these values, which must govern relations between nations and peoples in the pursuit of the common good of the human family, that inspires the presence and activity of the Holy See within the international community. As the Second Vatican Council stated, the Church’s universal religious mission does not allow her to be identified with any particular political, economic or social system, yet at the same time, this mission serves as a source of commitment, direction and strength which can contribute to establishing and consolidating the human community in accordance with God’s law (cf. “Gaudium et Spes,” 42). Address to Francis Rooney, the new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Nov. 13, 2005

  • Men and women of today, humanity come of age yet often still so frail in mind and will, let the Child of Bethlehem take you by the hand! Do not fear; put your trust in him! The life-giving power of his light is an incentive for building a new world order based on just ethical and economic relationships. Christmas Message, Dec. 25, 2005

  • An adequate approach to these issues [the “scandal of continued widespread hunger, grave illness and poverty in large areas of our world”] cannot be limited to purely economic or technical considerations, but demands broad vision, practical solidarity and courageous long-term decisions with regard to complex ethical questions; among the latter I think especially of the effects of the crushing debt that feeds the spiral of poverty in many less developed nations. Address to Francis Rooney, the new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Nov. 13, 2005

  • May [Christ’s] love guide every people on earth and strengthen their common consciousness of being a “family” called to foster relationships of trust and mutual support. A united humanity will be able to confront the many troubling problems of the present time: from the menace of terrorism to the humiliating poverty in which millions of human beings live, from the proliferation of weapons to the pandemics and the environmental destruction which threatens the future of our planet. May the God who became man out of love for humanity strengthen all those in Africa who work for peace, integral development and the prevention of fratricidal conflicts, for the consolidation of the present, still fragile political transitions, and the protection of the most elementary rights of those experiencing tragic humanitarian crises, such as those in Darfur and in other regions of central Africa. May he lead the peoples of Latin America to live in peace and harmony. May he grant courage to people of good will in the Holy Land, in Iraq, in Lebanon, where signs of hope, which are not lacking, need to be confirmed by actions inspired by fairness and wisdom; may he favour the process of dialogue on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere in the countries of Asia, so that, by the settlement of dangerous disputes, consistent and peaceful conclusions can be reached in a spirit of friendship, conclusions which their peoples expectantly await. Christmas Message, Dec. 25, 2005

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