Common Grounds

A Recurring Theme of My Pontificate …

January 17, 2020

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, 19 January 2020

A Recurring Theme of My Pontificate …

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.


One of the recurring themes of my pontificate is the firm conviction that human progress only becomes possible if there is an effective and guaranteed respect for the skills and inalienable rights of every human person. The many forms of injustice and discrimination inflicted on the weak in too many parts of the world prove that the world is still far from that goal.


It is the important duty of every democratic system of fundamental people to demand and protect every category of those rights. This applies to the rights relating to material survival, but also to the human mind with its incessant search for truth and freedom.


Today the international community urgently needs a renewed and more effective commitment to respond to the needs of so many people. They seek to alleviate from their suffering. They strive for appropriate training, which enables them to play an active role in the life of their nation. 1 



It is a hopeful sign that world religions are becoming increasingly aware of their common responsibility for the welfare of humanity. It is a decisive aspect of the globalization of solidarity if one wants to secure the future of the world. This sense of common responsibility grows to the extent that we discover what we as religious people have in common.

Who does not struggle with the secret of suffering and death?

Who does not love life, truth, peace, freedom and justice?

Who does not believe that the way to God requires prayer, submission, silence, sacrifice and humility?

Who does not expect scientific and technical progress to be guided by a spiritual and moral consciousness?

And who is not convinced that the challenges to society can only be accepted if a civilization of love is founded, based on universal values ​​of peace, solidarity, justice and freedom.

Those who live according to the Beatitudes, experience and show in concrete terms that the Kingdom of God has already arrived. The characteristic of every true mission life is the inner joy that comes from faith. In a frightening world that is troubled by many problems and inclined towards pessimism, the proclaimer of the Good News must be men and women who have found true hope in Christ. 2

1. Excerpts Papal address to the Indian ambassador Praveen Lal Goyal in the Vatican, 13 December 2003.
2. Excerpts Papal address to representatives of the world’s religions and interdenominational Christian faiths in New-Delhi-Vigyan Bawan on 7 November 1999.

Abraham A. van Kempen is Sr. Editor of the Building the Bridge Foundation, The Hague.




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