Friday, June 17, 2005

Humanity's Great Challenge

As he received seven new ambassadors to the Holy See, Pope Benedict urged that man be centrally placed "so that the just destiny of peoples is the main concern of those who have agreed to administer public affairs, not for themselves, but for the common good."

The Holy Father went on to say, "We must address the first challenge: solidarity between generations, solidarity between countries and between continents, for an ever more just distribution of the world's riches among all men. It is one of the essential services that men of good will must offer to humanity." (cap tip: Zenit)

Moving beyond the fuzzy desire "to help," the principle of solidarity requires a determination for each person to commit to the common good, not just in the sense of the good of all, but for each individual as well. In other words, we must act, or as Acton's Fr. Robert Sirico put it:
[W]e can no longer believe that the call of compassion is satisfied by simply writing a check. The poor are asking for much more than our money. We must begin to make the more difficult sacrifices of our time, energy and talents. We must go to the poor where they live and enter into their poverty in order to help them rise above it. In our efforts to help those suffering the effects of poverty, dollars may be the least important consideration.
We cannot stop with individual effort, as challenging as that effort is. We must also act that our "love of preference for the poor" is expressed in our social institutions. Of course, how best to give authentic help is where much contention lies today. Here too, as difficult it is, we must continue to treat those with genuine (legitimately directed toward helping the poor) disagreements from the basis of solidarity; actually, we ought to do so even for those who disagreements are not genuine.

For more check out the tour de force post at Against the Grain. (cap tip: PowerBlog)

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