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International Social Justice Day – Texts

The prayers presented use the principles of Catholic Social Teaching which remind us of the essentials we need to live to make social justice a reality in our world. In a spirit of solidarity and communion with all of creation and all our brothers and sisters, we recall the words of Micah and pray that our observance of this day may lead to a deeper living of and fulfilment of God’s invitation to us (in Micah 6:8):

God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

The following texts are offered for your reflection and prayer:

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

“Every person, created in the image and likeness of God and therefore radically oriented towards the Creator is constantly in relationship with those possessed of the same dignity.  To promote the good of the individual is thus to serve the common good, which is that point where rights and duties converge and reinforce one another.”

Pope John Paul II, 1999 World Day for Peace Message, no.2

Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person

“Every fundamental human right draws its indestructible moral force form the natural law, which in granting it imposes a corresponding obligation.  Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget to neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other.”

Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris, 1963) no. 30

Call to Family, Community and Participation

“The life of the community, both domestically and internationally, clearly demonstrates that respect for rights, and the guarantees that follow from them, are measures of the common good that serve to evaluate the relationship between justice and injustice, development and poverty, security and conflict.  The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security.”

Pope Benedict XVI address to the United Nations, 18 April 2008

Option for and with the Poor and Vulnerable

“It is the strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish.  It is also necessary to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources.”

Pope John Paul II, On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum (Centesimus Annus 1991) no. 34

Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

“It is clear that recognition of the proper position of labour and the worker in the production process demands various adaptations in the sphere of the right to ownership of the means of production.”

Pope John Paul II, On Human Work (Laborem Exercens 1981) no. 14

Care for God’s Creation/Stewardship

“…international action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation.”

Pope Benedict XVI address to the United Nations, 18 April 2008

Global Solidarity

“Positive signs in the contemporary world are the growing awareness of the solidarity of the poor among themselves, their effort to support one another, and their public demonstrations on the social scene which, without recourse to violence, present their own needs and right in the face of the inefficiency or corruption of the public authorities.”

Pope John Paul II, On Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis) no. 39

Promotion of Peace

“It is too easy to throw back on others responsibility for injustices, if at the same time one does not realize how each one shares in it personally, and how personal conversion is needed first. …For beneath an outward appearance of indifference in the heart of every man (and woman) is a will to live in brotherhood (and sisterhood) and a thirst for justice and peace, which is to be expanded.”

Pope Paul VI, On the Occasion of the Eightieth Anniversary of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum (Octogesima Adveniens 1971) no. 48

Texts are taken from those prepared by the Commission for Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation – USG/UISG Via Aurelia 476, CP 9099 Aurelio, 00165 Roma, Italy

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