Pope urges promotion of social justice

There is an urgent need for "tenacious, lasting and shared efforts to promote social justice" and that "true social justice" must be promoted through "genuine solidarity", Pope Benedict said on Friday.

Catholic News Agency reports that the Pope made these remarks to members of Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation who are marking the occasion of an international congress currently being promoted by that organisation on the theme: "Democracy, Institutions and Social Justice."

"The Church," the Pope said quoting his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, "aims 'to contribute to the purification of reason and to the reawakening of those moral forces without which just structures are neither established nor prove effective in the long run.'"

The Foundation's name recalls that of the "the last great social Encyclical of John Paul II," which drew together 100 years of history of the Church's social doctrine.

The Holy Father expressed his pleasure because the organisation, which began its activities above all in the Italian sphere, "is progressively spreading to other areas of Europe and America."

"You are discussing problems of great topical significance," he told the delegates referring to theme of the conference. "At times we decry the slowness with which true democracy progresses, however it remains the most valid historical instrument for guaranteeing the future in a way worthy of man."

Democracy needs "appropriate institutions, credible and authoritative, not aimed at merely managing public power but capable of promoting various levels of popular participation, while respecting the traditions of all nations and with constant concern to protect the identity of each."

The Pope concluded his message by calling them to "perform your 'direct duty to work for a just ordering of society," because "charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as social charity'."

(Photo credit: Stefano Spaziani)

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22 May 2006