Society can become “ever more human” only when we introduce into all the mutual relationships which form its moral aspect the moment of forgiveness, which is so much of the essence of the Gospel. Forgiveness demonstrates the presence in the world of the love which is more powerful than sin. Forgiveness is also the fundamental condition for reconciliation, not only in the relationship of God with (people), but also in relationships between people. A world from which forgiveness was eliminated would be nothing but a world of cold and unfeeling justice, in the name of which each person would claim his or her own rights vis-a- vis others; the various kinds of selfishness latent in (people) would transform life and human society into a system of oppression of the weak by the strong, or into an arena of permanent strife between one group and another.
… which is what we have today in too many spheres.
My sense is that God made us for mercy and reconciliation. We are designed and created for cooperation. Strife and struggle may be considered fit for lower forms of life, but even there, cooperation and symbiosis is an important biological norm for many forms of life. If the intent of human life is survival of the fittest, then sure: we can make that descent back into permanent struggle. But why would anyone other than the strong wish for that?
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana