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Pope Benedict: All Are Called to Solidarity with Poor and Refugees

Pope Benedict XVI calls all to commitment in living out the faith. He has insisted that “Christians be sensitive to the needs of everyone, without ever hiding the radical requirements of the Gospel message.” He asked that all baptized be committed, each in their own state of life, to transforming society by permeating the mentality and structures of the world with the light of the Gospel.

Benedict XVI asked that we not make the pursuit of wealth and power the greatest goals in life, but that we be peacemakers in this world of violence: “May the determination to create a world of authentic and lasting peace ever grow more in the heart of each and every one.”

With the plight of so many poor and excluded people, Benedict XVI insisted that the top priority is solidarity in the human family. When he welcomed new ambassadors to the Holy See on June 16, he asked that “rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all,” and that they “create a humanity that is increasingly fraternal, paying attention to all, in particular the poorest and excluded from society.”

“Our hearts cannot be at ease,” he continues, while we see brothers suffer for lack of food, work, a roof, and other essentials.”

The Pope calls for solidarity: “We must address the first challenge: solidarity between generations, solidarity between countries and between con-tinents, for an ever more just distribution of the world’s riches among all men. It is one of the essential services that men of good will must offer to humanity.”

The new Pope calls us back from our world of consumerism and power plays to the Gospel itself, reminding us that Christians need to embrace the sentiments of the Nazarene. “To penetrate into Jesus’ sentiments means not to consider power, wealth, and prestige as the highest values in life, as in the end, they do not respond to the deepest thirst of our spirit. To penetrate into Jesus’ sentiments: This should be the daily exercise of our life as Christians!”

According to Benedict, one way to penetrate into the sentiments of Jesus is welcoming those are forced to immigrate to other countries. In an Angelus address in June the Holy Father said, “My thoughts go to those who are far from their homeland and often also from their families. I hope that they will always meet receptive friends and hearts on their path who are capable of supporting them in the difficulties of every day.”

The Pope pointed out in the latest edition of our archdiocesan paper, the Texas Catholic Herald, that helping refugees is a sign of authentic faith.

According to the Herald, he said that the Catholic Church feels close to refugees and tries to help them spiritually and materially. People who find themselves far from their homeland should be made to feel that “the Church is a country where no one is foreign.”

The Pope continued by pointing out that serving the poor is a “criterion that confirms the authenticity of our liturgical celebration,” that with participation in the Eucharist, Catholics should naturally take greater interest in the poor and suffering, and try to build a more just society.

M.L.Z., L.Y.Z.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXV, No. 5, July-August 2005.