"Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity." Pope Francis, Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015

Pope Francis’ Address to US Congress

Pope Francis’ address to US Congress on 24 September 2015 covered a broad range of social justice issues from migration to interfaith dialogue to peace building and action against climate change. In doing so he drew on a range of Catholic Social Teaching principles.

For Reflection:

  • How do you see the links between freedom, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity?
  • What are some ways in which love of the common good could be better expressed in the political life of your country?

"You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics." Pope Francis' Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015

For Reflection:

The political community is one of the great themes in Catholic Social Teaching. As Pope Francis’ address to US Congress explains, the very purpose of the state is to foster, organise and defend the common good.

  • Would you consider entering political life in order to promote the common good?
  • How do you encourage politicians to remain focused on the common good?
  • "It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. " Pope Francis' Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015

    For Reflection

    Pope Francis’ address to US Congress highlighted the importance of religious liberty, and the positive role of the voice of faith in society. But it also acknowledges the reality of violence perpetrated in the name of religion, of different forms of religious fundamentalism, and the simplistic reductionism “which sees only good or evil.”

    • Can you think of examples of how the voice of faith is playing a positive role in your society?
  • In what ways does your society respect, or fail to respect, the religious liberty of all?
  • "On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? " Pope Francis' Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015.

    For Reflection:

    Pope Francis urged members of Congress to draw on the Golden Rule – treat others as you would have them treat you – in responding to the global refugee crisis and also to the movement of people from Latin and Central America into the USA seeking safety and decent life. As the son of immigrants, he appealed to the people of the USA not to forget their own history of migration. He also recalled the violent and unjust treatment of the First Peoples in this process and urged that such “sins and errors” not be repeated.

    • How well is your community responding to the global refugee crisis?
  • What might help members of your community to see refugees, asylum seekers and migrants as people who want only what we all want for our children?
  • "Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation." Pope Francis' Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015.

    For Reflection:

    • Do you find it difficult to believe that people who have committed serious crimes can change?
  • Does your own experience of mercy and forgiveness encourage you to hope that others too can experience such hope and transformation?
  • "In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints." Pope Francis' Address to US Congress, 24 September 2015.

    For Reflection:

    Pope Francis’ address to US Congress called for a continuing effort to address poverty and hunger globally. He reiterated many of the concerns he expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’, especially the need for sustainable development and action on climate change.

    • Who are the people in your community who are inspired by their faith to take action for social justice and to care of the earth?

    • How are poverty and care for creation intertwined in your country?

    About the author: Sandie

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