Aparecida 537: The Church Can Guide Us In Justice

Some good insight from Pope Benedict XVI in this section. Let’s dive in with encouragement that there is a world waiting to be guided to higher aspirations:

537. Latin America and the Caribbean should not only be the continent of hope but must also chart the way toward the civilization of love. So stated Pope Benedict XVI at the Marian shrine of Aparecida:(Introductory Address 4) for our common house to be a continent of hope, love, life and peace, like Good Samaritans we must go out to meet the needs of the poor and those who suffer and create “just structures” which “are a condition without which a just order in society is not possible.” These structures, the Pope continues, “neither arise nor function without a moral consensus in society on fundamental values, and on the need to live these values with the necessary sacrifices, even if this goes against personal interest” and “where God is absent . . . these values fail to show themselves with their full force, nor does a consensus arise concerning them.”(Ibid.)

I think it is possible to aspire to and achieve ideals without Christianity. But the root of the Gospel guides us along these lines quite well. It presumes all persons have a God-given dignity. It is not about maximizing personal potential for the sake of the individual or the corporation:

Such just structures arise and function when society perceives that man and woman, created in the image and likeness of God, possess an inviolable dignity at the service of which the fundamental values that govern shared human life should be conceived and acted.

The best of Christian morality would address the challenges of injustice. The Church doesn’t have a spotless record in this regard, but we can challenge ourselves to live up to the ideal presented to us by Jesus.

This moral consensus and change of structures are important for lessening the galling inequity now existing in our continent, among other things through well directed government policies and social expenditures, as well as in curbing excessive profits by large companies. The Church encourages and fosters exercising an “imagination of charity” to allow for effective solutions.

For deeper examination, check an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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