December 25 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Standing up for justice, a job for Catholics not superheroes

This week's editorial leader

What’s the point; why bother; what difference will it make; what good would it do anyway? Keep Christmas all year through. Overcome indifference and win peace. Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace on January 1 2016 on one very important level addresses the death penalty, debt and migrants. No doubt in light of the events of 2015, the Holy Father has taken the opportunity to urge countries to review migration laws to help refugees.

It is all too easy to be indifferent, even complacent, to look away, to keep our heads down when feeling powerless to face or address injustice. The phrase ‘pick your battles,’ however, is painful. It makes it seem as if there is a limit to how many times we can stand up for what is just in an in-just world.

In this, the Year of Mercy, let the celebration of Christ’s birth steel our resolve to speak up against injustice as much as it readies us to forgive those who perpetrate it.

Those who demand, aspire to or abuse power are like children seeking the attention of a weary parent—God. It is all puff and propaganda, tantrums and tears, sound and fury ultimately signifying nothing. And, like the Pharisees in the temple, there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy from those who claim to stand up for the traditions of a religion who then conspire, in reality, to be divisive and demonstrably lacking in charity. There is also a distasteful arrogance to that dishonest behaviour, and horrific consequences if left unchecked, as we have seen by ISIS.

As highlighted by Matthew in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth… Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” As we make our New Year’s resolutions as Hogmanay approaches, we would all do well to remember that the eight blessings recounted in the Sermon on the Mount do not include Blessed are the agitators, nor does it say Blessed are the malcontents, nor Blessed are those who seek to further their own agenda and not God’s.

The Beatitudes echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on mercy, spirituality, and compassion, and so should we. We must find peace and mercy in our hearts for the world, humankind and all its flaws.

Pope Francis said we are called to ‘compassion, love, mercy and solidarity’ in our relationships with one another. Now that is worthy of the front page for 2016.

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