25 August 2022 | Address of His Holiness



Your Beatitude,
Your Eminences,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to offer a warm welcome to all of you who are present for this
meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network. I thank Cardinal
Schonborn and Dr Alting von Geusau for their words of greeting, and I am grateful
as well to all who have organized this gathering. I also greet His Holiness Ignatius
Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and I am happy he is present
with us.

You have come together to consider the important theme of advancing justice and
peace in the current geopolitical situation, marked as it is by the conflicts and
division affecting many areas of the world In this regard, I want to offer a few brief
reflections on three key words that can help guide your discussions during these
days: justice, fraternity and peace.

The first word, justice, classically defined as the will to give to each person what is
his or her due, involves, according to the Biblical tradition, concrete actions aimed
at fostering right relationships with God and with others, so that the good of
individuals as well as the community can flourish In our world today, many people
cry out for justice, particularly the most vulnerable who often have no voice and
who look to civic and political leaders to protect, through effective public policy and
legislation, their dignity as children of God and the inviolability of their fundamental
human rights Here I am thinking, for example, of the poor, of migrants and
refugees, of victims of human trafficking, of the sick and elderly and of so many
other individuals who risk being exploited or discarded by today’s culture that “uses
and throws out”, the “throw-away” culture Yours is the challenge of working to
safeguard and enhance within the public sphere those right relationships that allow
each person to be treated with the respect, and indeed the love, that is due to him
or her As the Lord reminds us: “Do to others as you would have them do to you”
(Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31).

This brings us to the second key word: fraternity In fact, a just society cannot exist
without the bond of fraternity, that is, without a sense of shared responsibility and
concern for the integral development and well-being of each member of our human
family For this reason, “A global community of fraternity based on the practice of
social friendship on the part of peoples and nations calls for a better kind of politics,
one truly at the service of the common good” (Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, 154)
If we are to heal our world, so sorely tried by rivalries and forms of violence that
result from a desire to dominate rather than to serve, we need not only responsible
citizens but also capable leaders inspired by a fraternal love directed especially
towards those in the most precarious conditions of life With this in mind, I
encourage your ongoing efforts, on the national and international levels, to work for
the adoption of policies and laws that seek to address, in a spirit of solidarity, the
many situations of inequality and injustice threatening the social fabric and the
inherent dignity of all people.

Finally, the effort to build our common future demands the constant search for
peace Peace is not merely the absence of war Instead, the path to lasting peace
calls for cooperation, especially on the part of those charged with greater
responsibility, in pursuing goals that benefit everyone Peace results from an
enduring commitment to mutual dialogue, a patient search for the truth and the
willingness to place the authentic good of the community before personal
advantage In such an effort, your work as lawmakers and political leaders is more
important than ever For true peace can be achieved only when we strive, through
far-sighted political processes and legislation, to build a social order founded upon
universal fraternity and justice for all.

Dear friends, may the Lord enable you to become a leaven for the renewal of civil
and political life, witnesses of “political love” (cf. ibid., 180ff.) for those most in
need May your zeal for justice and peace, nourished by a spirit of fraternal
solidarity, continue to guide you in the noble pursuit of contributing to the
advancement of God’s kingdom in our world.

To you, your families and your work, I impart my blessing And I ask you, please, to
pray for me. Thank you.