Conference participants are reflecting on how justice and peace commissions can promote authentic development amid the coronavirus pandemic, drawing inspiration from Pope Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato si’ and his 2020 encyclical Fratelli tutti.
The pope recalled that in 1967, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission “Justitia et Pax,” which John Paul II renamed the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 1988.
In 2017, Pope Francis absorbed the pontifical council into the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, led by Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson.
The pope welcomed the justice and peace commissions’ focus on his two encyclicals during their Nov. 17-18 meeting.
“Indeed, in every part of the world, integral development, and therefore justice and peace, can be built only through these two paths: care for the common home and fraternity and social friendship,” he said.
“These two paths have their origin in the Gospel of Christ, but they are paths on which we can walk together with many men and women of other Christian confessions, of other religions and even without a specific religious affiliation.”
The pope acknowledged the challenges posed by COVID-19, conflict, and backsliding on human rights.
“The current crisis has revealed numerous contradictions in the economic and political system, while unresolved challenges persist that require the joint efforts of many actors,” he said.
“I urge you, therefore, to address these issues also in collaboration with other ecclesial and civil realities — local, regional, and international — committed to the promotion of justice and peace.”
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