Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice" Foundation, marking the occasion of an international congress currently being promoted by that organization on the theme: "Democracy, Institutions and Social Justice."
The foundation's name recalls that of the "the last great social Encyclical of John Paul II," which drew together 100 years of history of the Church's social doctrine
The Holy Father expressed his pleasure because the organization, which began its activities above all in the Italian sphere, "is progressively spreading to other areas of Europe and America." He then went on to consider the specific theme of the current conference.
“You are discussing- he told the delegates- problems of great topical significance. At times we decry the slowness with which true democracy progresses, however it remains the most valid historical instrument for guaranteeing the future in a way worthy of man."
Democracy needs "appropriate institutions, credible and authoritative, not aimed at merely managing public power but capable of promoting various levels of popular participation, while respecting the traditions of all nations and with constant concern to protect the identity of each."
"Equally, there is an urgent need for tenacious, lasting and shared efforts to promote social justice. There can be no true social justice if not in the light of genuine solidarity,” the Pontiff declared.
"The Church - as I wrote in the Encyclical 'Deus caritas est' - aims 'to contribute to the purification of reason and to the reawakening of those moral forces without which just structures are neither established nor prove effective in the long run.'
The pope concluded his message by calling them to “perform your 'direct duty to work for a just ordering of society,' because 'charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as social charity'."