Solidarity is fundamental to the Christian view of social and political organization. It teaches us that each person is connected to and dependent on all humanity, collectively and individually.
"it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good" (SRS, 38)
We are all interdependent. We are “our brothers’ keeper”.
According to Pope Francis, solidarity
“entails weaving a fabric of fraternal relationships marked by reciprocity, forgiveness and complete self-giving, according to the breadth and the depth of the love of God offered to humanity in the One who, crucified and risen, draws all to himself”. (Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message, 1 January 2014, 10)
SOLIDARITY APPLIES TO INDIVIDUALS AND NATIONS
The same duty of solidarity that rests with individuals also exists for nations.
"[I]t is a very important duty of the advanced nations to help the developing nations in discharging their...responsibilities" (GES, 86)
"Peace and prosperity, in fact, are goods which belong to the whole human race: it is not possible to enjoy them in a proper and lasting way if they are achieved and maintained at the cost of other peoples and nations," (CA, 27)
"Concern for our neighbour transcends the confines of national communities and has increasingly broadened its horizon to the whole world." (DCE, 30)
SOLIDARITY FLOWS FROM FAITH
"Love of neighbour is thus... It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know" (DCE, 18)
How is this possible?
"This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God," (DCE, 18)
Solidarity is also part of our call to holiness and is a necessary component of our faith. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote,
"love of neighbour is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us to God." (DCE, 16)
Further in the letter, he continued,
"Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well." (DCE, 18)
SOLIDARITY PRESUPPOSES A "COMMON FATHER"
“True brotherhood among people presupposes and demands a transcendent Fatherhood.”
“[B]ecause the love of God, once welcomed, becomes the most formidable means of transforming our lives and relationships with others, opening us to solidarity and to genuine sharing.”
“[A] fraternity devoid of reference to a common Father as its ultimate foundation is unable to endure.” (Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message, 1 January 2014)
SOLIDARITY IS RADICAL
We must internalize just how radical the principle of solidarity really is. In his second encyclical, Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI said,
"Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie." (SS, 38)
Think about that for a moment. If the principles we are describing do not stand above our own comfort – let alone our physical well-being – we are told that our life becomes a “lie”! And a bit later Pope Benedict says,
"Let us say it once again: the capacity to suffer for the sake of the truth is the measure of humanity." (SS, 39)
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