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To serve our neighbour, we must all see, judge, act

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Fr Marco Villani SDB, Province Delegate for Justice and Peace, reports on the recent Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Justice and Peace Assembly 2017 (Pictured above: CAFOD's Fr Augusto at Flame 2017)

At the end of January, the annual Justice and Peace assembly was held in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton Christian Education Centre (DABCEC) where parishioners and religious from around the diocese met to hear speakers including Fr. Augusto Zampini Davies, CAFOD’s Theological Advisor (and a recent speaker at FLAME 2017) and Jenny Sinclair, founder of Together For The Common Good.

Below is a summary of some of their thoughts.

There is a recognition that we must keep the Common Good in front of us. In our efforts, we must precede everything with prayer. Only this can help us to face the social problems that are faced even in the affluent South of England. For example, Brighton has the largest number of homeless of any city in the country. The charity Stone Pillow has reported a 30% increase in homelessness in Chichester in the past few months.

Globalisation benefits some, not others. The challenge of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si is to care for our Common Good. Fr. Augusto suggests that, in the words of Aristotle, if someone is so politically independent that they do not need anyone else, that person is either a beast or a god. We are all connected.

In the book of Genesis, four types of bond are in evidence: intimate (Adam and Eve), familial, societal and environmental. Being a person created in the image and likeness of God means existing in a relation to the other because God Himself is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, love is the connection between God and us. Hence there is a relational dimension to salvation. Therefore all of us must see, judge and act in order to serve our neighbour.

Pope Francis teaches that we are hearing two cries; the cry of poor and the cry of the earth. The individualistic concept of humanity has crept into our politico-economic models. Further challenges include the following: the myth of perennial progress, the globalisation of indifference, the lack of political will, a throwaway culture and a consumerist lifestyle. There is indeed an obligation to future generations, hence the need to live simply.

We must make a difference in the small things, such as recycling even when others make no effort. We are custodians of values for the next generation, promoting leadership qualities in the young. (Jeremiah 29:7). It is this type of Catholic Social teaching that is passed on effectively in Catholic schools.

Jenny Sinclair suggests that it is in our interests that the other person thrives. This care for the Common Good involves recognising the primacy of the human person and his / her equality. Solidarity and subsidiarity work hand in hand. Liberal values have failed to recognise poverty and marginalisation closer to home, where prosperity has not trickled down. Justice is about speaking truth to power.

Last modified on Friday, 17 March 2017 18:54


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