Inaugurating the first world congress of ecclesiastical organizations committed to promoting justice and peace yesterday, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, noted the injustices and humiliations suffered by people around the world and said that the faithful have the responsibility to continue announcing the Gospel of justice and peace.
The conference, entitled "Announcing the Gospel of Justice and Peace," is being attended by 300 representatives of various Church organizations from 92 countries, and delegates from 15 regional episcopal conferences and other international bodies.
"Throughout its history," said Cardinal Sodano, "the Church, as an institution and through its faithful, has always been committed to promoting justice and peace. We have the responsibility to follow this path, announcing the Gospel of Christ which is the Gospel of justice and peace."
Since Pope Paul VI’s statement in his 1967 Encyclical "Populorum progressio," that "the world was ill," said the cardinal, “the illness has gotten worse and the injustices and violence have multiplied.”
“All we have to do,” he said, “is think about the places where humiliation has become a way of life; in the areas where war, guerrilla warfare and terrorism spread; in refugee camps; in those in exile; in racial and religious discrimination; in the work place where people feel like they are being used; in the lack of political freedom and freedom to participate in unions and in so many situations where there is no justice and peace."
Even though we mustn’t overlook the fact that "the economic, health, work, cultural and spiritual conditions have improved in many parts,” noted Cardinal Sodano, “so many people are subject to human exploitation and they must not be seen as another statistic to be studied in a cold way."
The objective of the congress, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, “is to find more suitable and effective ways to present once again the pastoral activity of the Church in society and to be able to confront the great challenges of today," said the council president, Cardinal Renato Martino.