“[A previous Pope], with his vision of a Church placed at the service of the human family especially through her specific mission of evangelization, conceived of social doctrine (…) as an essential element of this mission, because it is “an integral part of the Christian conception of life” (…) This was particularly true of the Church’s social doctrine, of which Truth is its light, Justice its objective, and Love its driving force.

(…)

The social question today is without a doubt one of world social justice (…) Furthermore, it is a question of the just distribution of material and non-material resources, of the globalization of substantive social and participatory democracy. For this reason, in a context in which a gradual unification of humanity is taking place, it is indispensable that the new evangelization of society highlight the implications of a justice that should be achieved at a universal level.

With reference to the foundation of this justice it should be emphasized that it is impossible to achieve it through social consensus alone, without recognizing that, to be permanent, it must be rooted in the universal good of humanity. With regard to the plan of realization, social justice should be practised in civil society, in the market economy, but also by a proportionately honest and transparent political authority, also at the international level.

With regard to the great challenges of our day, while the Church trusts primarily in the Lord Jesus and in his Sprit, who lead her through the events of the world, for the spread of the social doctrine she also relies on the activity of her cultural institutions, her programmes for religious instruction and social catechesis in the parishes, on the mass media and on the proclamation and witness of the Christifideles laici”

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Pope Benedict XVI

Address to the Participants in the Meeting

promoted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

on the 50th Anniversary of the Encyclical “Mater et Magistra”


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