By Robin Gomes
“In your mission as judges, never lose sight of the fact that there is no democracy with hunger, no development with poverty, and much less justice in inequality. Remember that the first commitment that the State must have is the welfare and happiness of the people, starting with the most fundamental needs.” Pope Francis stressed this point in a video message to a meeting of the Argentinian Chapter of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine. He said that any plan or theory lacks legitimacy if it leads to greater suffering and greater discarding of people.
The Pan-American Committee of Judges for the Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine, which has its headquarters in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, was established on June 4, 2019, in Vatican City, under the inspiration of Pope Francis. It took place during the First Pan-American Summit of Judges for Social Rights and the Franciscan Doctrine, sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences in the Vatican, June 3 and 4, that year. The Committee draws inspiration from the teaching of Pope Francis to promote the economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Wealth and power in the hands of few
In his message sent on Thursday to the 2-day event in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis said that high levels of poverty are the clearest indicators of the distributive injustice that prevails in the world and the failures in implementing the most basic rights. He lamented that "the periphery increases and the centre of power and wealth becomes smaller and narrower, that is, most of the money and possibilities are for very few,” while the majority suffer poverty.
Essential human needs
Moreover, the pandemic has exacerbated these social ills, which, the Holy Father said, urgently demands creative and effective responses for the many brothers and sisters who are suffering. The first thing that any plan must achieve, he pointed out, is the attention to the people and their essential needs.
In this regard, he recalled the three “Ts” in Spanish that popular movements strive for, namely, “Tierra, Trabajo y Techo, or “Land, Work and Housing”. Any plan or theory that comes to replace this, the Pope warned, will lead to more suffering and discarding of people.
The Argentine Pope hoped that the debates of the judges will serve to transform the reality of those who most need justice. While thanking them for their efforts, he urged them to always seek the good of their homeland and of the people.
The meeting of the Argentinian Chapter of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine was organized by Judge Roberto Andrés Gall, Chairman of the Committee. It was attended among others, by Argentine Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and Judge Carlos Balbín, coordinator of the Argentine Chapter of the Pan-American Committee.