The “globalization of indifference” constitutes a serious threat to the human family, the Pope cautions, with an invitation to remedy prolonged situations of injustice and of serious social unbalance, to care for the common home, since everything is interrelated, to strive to ensure jobs, housing and dignity to every human being. In the message released December 15 by the Press Office of the Holy See, dated December 8, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, marking the opening of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope reaffirmed that
“Peace is both God’s gift and a human achievement.”
The setting is that of the Jubilee, on several occasions referred to explicitly, like in the invitations to churches, parish communities, and to every Christian to the witnessing of mercy or in his reminder that healing the wounded in this “third world war fought piecemeal” and assisting migrants is a work of mercy, a source of light illuminating every event.
In his message resonate the echo of Evangelii gaudium, Laudato si’ and Misericordiae vultus. Indeed, for Pope Francis everything is interrelated.
While the background is one of mercy and solidarity, the perspective is one of hope “in our human ability, with the Grace of God, to conquer evil” and “to combat resignation and indifference.”
The path traced by the Pope is thus marked by three stages: condemnation, recognizing what is positive (and showing gratitude towards those already operating for the benefit of others) and personally assuming responsibility for the establishment of peace.
First of all in existential peripheries, taking care of the most “fragile”, starting with migrants and detainees. As for the former, Francis asks to review legislation to this regard “so, while respecting reciprocal rights and responsibilities, it can reflect a readiness to welcome migrants and to facilitate their integration”, but “special concern” should be paid “to the conditions for legal residency”, since “having to live clandestinely can lead to criminal behaviour.”
Francis thanked in a particular way “all those individuals, families, parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines who readily responded” to his appeal “to welcome a refugee family.”
With regard to prisoners, underlined the Holy Father, “in many cases practical measures are urgently needed to improve their living conditions, with particular concern for those detained while awaiting trial. It must be kept in mind that penal sanctions have the aim of rehabilitation, while national laws should consider the possibility of other establishing penalties than incarceration. In this context, I would like once more to appeal to governmental authorities to abolish the death penalty where it is still in force, and to consider the possibility of an amnesty.”
Francis devoted equal attention to women “who unfortunately still encounter discrimination in the workplace” and to the unemployed, victims of a social plague “which affects many families and young people, with grave effects for society as a whole”, he underlined, reiterating the theme developed yesterday, December 14, in the audience to the Policoro Project.
The Holy Father expressed his hope “that effective steps will be taken to improve the living conditions of the sick” by ensuring that all have access to medical treatment (as well as home care) and pharmaceuticals.
Francis called upon individuals and institutions to undertake “concrete gestures” and “acts of courage.”
The Pope made a threefold appeal to the leaders of world nations “to refrain from drawing other peoples into conflicts or wars which destroy not only their material, cultural and social legacy, but also – and in the long term – their moral and spiritual integrity; to forgive or manage in a sustainable way the international debt of the poorer nations; and to adopt policies of cooperation which, instead of bowing before the dictatorship of certain ideologies, will respect the values of local populations and, in any case, not prove detrimental to the fundamental and inalienable right to life of the unborn.”
A “social cancer”: as in many previous occasions, the Pope speaks against “deeply rooted” corruption
“found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders”, that is also a serious threat to peace, just like water and air pollution, the indiscriminate exploitation of forests and the destruction of the natural environment. The key words for Francis are education, solidarity, responsibility, commitment, an avenue of truth that he calls upon everyone to undertake living the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.