By Vatican News staff writer
In his video message to social rights judges of Africa and America, Pope Francis notes that in order to build on and analyse the idea of social justice, we must first turn to the foundations on which it should be based. There are six, he says.
The first has to do with the dimension of reality, he begins. “The ideas on which you will surely work, should not lose sight of the distressing picture in which a small part of humanity lives in opulence, while to an increasing number of people their dignity is unknown and their human rights are ignored and violated.”
Generation of justice
The second, he continues, reminds us of how justice is generated. “I am thinking of a collective work, an ensemble work, where everyone and all well-meaning people challenge utopia and admit that, like good and love, the just is a task that must be conquered every day, because imbalance is a temptation at every moment.” For this reason, he adds, “every day is a conquest”.
The third is that we should remember to "commit" to shaping and uniting this new social justice, says the Pope. We must recognise that "temptation is so frequent to disinterest in others, especially the weakest.” The unconditional commitment is to take on the pain of the other, and not to slip into a culture of indifference, he explains.
The fourth and "obligatory" reflection, continues the Pope, is “the idea of history as a guiding axis”: add the perspective of the past to the approach, he says. “In the past there are all the roots of the experiences, even those of social justice that today we want to rethink, grow and strengthen."
The fifth is the people, continues the Pope. History leads us to the people. “Starting from the Gospel, what God asks of us believers is to be God's people, not God's elite. Because those who follow the path of "God's elite" end up in the well-known elitist clericalisms that work for the people, but do nothing with the people, do not feel like a people.”
And finally, says the Pope: “Solidarity”. "Fighting against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, lack of work, land and housing. Land, roof and work, techo, tierra y trabajo, the three "T's" that make us worthy." Struggling, in short, against those who deny social and labour rights. Struggling against that culture that leads to use others, to enslave others and ends up taking away the dignity of others. Do not forget that solidarity, understood in its deepest sense, is a way of making history, says Pope Francis.
Pope Francis concludes his video message by noting that “righteous are those who do justice. Righteous, knowing that, when, resorting to law, we give the poor what is essential, we do not give them our belongings, nor those of third parties, but we give them back what is theirs.”
Finally, Pope Francis wishes the judges an excellent day of reflection and prays that all they build will be “more than a mere theory”.