Social Justice: rcsocialjustice.org
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace” (Is 52:7).
On February 4, the United Nations (UN) calls us to commemorate the International Day of Human Fraternity.
This commemoration was first celebrated in 2021 but originated from the landmark meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, who met on February 4, 2019, and signed the document Human fraternity for world peace and living together.
Human fraternity and tolerance are two critical components we must address and adopt as we move forward with the Church’s synodal process. We are called to listen to each other without judgement, and this includes those within and outside our Catholic community.
The beauty of our local Trinbagonian society is that our literal neighbour can be an individual from another creed and race entirely, giving each of us the opportunity to practise this process and our faith on a deeper level.
The time is right for this type of personal and collective mobilisation, especially as we move towards a world of peace.
According to the United Nations: “There is deep concern regarding acts that advocate religious hatred and, thereby, undermine the spirit of tolerance and respect for diversity, especially at a time when the world confronts the unprecedented crisis caused by the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, which requires a global response based on unity, solidarity and renewed multilateral cooperation.
“And in these times we need — perhaps more than ever before — to recognise the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.” (un.org/en/observances/human-fraternity)
The question is always, however, where, and how we start to listen, understand, and embrace each other. We begin in our homes, with our loved ones and, as Pope Francis reminds us in his 2022 World Day of Peace message: ‘Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace’:
“In every age, peace is both a gift from on high and the fruit of a shared commitment. Indeed, we can speak of an ‘architecture’ of peace, to which different institutions of society contribute, and an ‘art’ of peace that directly involves each one of us.  All can work together to build a more peaceful world, starting from the hearts of individuals and relationships in the family, then within society and with the environment, and all the way up to relationships between peoples and nations.”
Let us, for a moment, return to the original meaning of the word ‘catholic’. The idea of universality is not a distant concept or a label to differentiate our faith from others. It is a call to action.
As we define ourselves as Catholics, we are, in fact, announcing to our world that we are interconnected with the rest of humanity and with God’s creation, the Earth.
We are not separate, but an integral part of God’s whole divine plan. As we encounter those who hold different belief systems, ranging from vaccine hesitancy to religious diversity, we are each called now to listen, discern, and find a collaborative path. It is the only way to peace both within and without.
For guidance on how to start an intergenerational dialogue and foster peace, we strongly encourage everyone to download and read Pope Francis’ 2022 message of peace. And read Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship.
SOCIAL JUSTICE QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“…teaching and education are the foundations of a cohesive civil society capable of generating hope, prosperity and progress.” (3)
– Pope Francis, 55th World Day of Peace 2022, CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee