With this post, Pope Francis’ look at cities in Evangelii Gaudium comes to an end. Cities are places of grave sin against people:
75. We cannot ignore the fact that in cities human trafficking, the narcotics trade, the abuse and exploitation of minors, the abandonment of the elderly and infirm, and various forms of corruption and criminal activity take place. At the same time, what could be significant places of encounter and solidarity often become places of isolation and mutual distrust. Houses and neighborhoods are more often built to isolate and protect than to connect and integrate.
How do we work against these trends?
The proclamation of the Gospel will be a basis for restoring the dignity of human life in these contexts, for Jesus desires to pour out an abundance of life upon our cities (cf. Jn 10:10). The unified and complete sense of human life that the Gospel proposes is the best remedy for the ills of our cities, even though we have to realize that a uniform and rigid program of evangelization is not suited to this complex reality. But to live our human life to the fullest and to meet every challenge as a leaven of Gospel witness in every culture and in every city will make us better Christians and bear fruit in our cities.
Acting and living on behalf of others will help others. But it is also the path to grace for Christians who live in cities and who live and work there. Pope Francis admits there is no single program we can peel out of a book to succeed. We are called to be witnesses to a better life. Joe Walsh pretty much nails the diagnosis in this song.