Solidarity

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)
  • Can you be more specific about Solidarity?
    • Solidarity is not
    • “a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of others. It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good”. (SRS, 38)
    • “The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.” (CIV, 53)
  • To whom does Solidarity apply?
    • The commitment to Solidarity explicitly calls for dedication to individual actions and collective initiatives to make social, political, and economic structures more just and fraternal -- for all.
    • The same duty of solidarity that rests with individuals exists for nations. (GES, 86)
    • "Peace and prosperity, in fact, are goods which belong to the whole human race” (CA, 27) 
    • “[c]oncern for our neighbor transcends the confines of national communities and has increasingly broadened its horizon to the whole world.” (DCE, 30)
    • “In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations.” (CIV, 7)
  • How is Solidarity a component of our faith?
    • Perhaps more importantly, we should note that the practice of Solidarity is part of our call to holiness and is a necessary component of our faith.
    • As Pope Benedict XVI said, 
    • “love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God.” (DCE, 16) 
    • “Only my readiness to encounter my neighbor and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well.” (DCE, 18)
    • Benedict’s is probably the best definition of Solidarity we have in CST – that love of God and love of neighbor are, in fact, linked and form one, single commandment. Faith and works, in the context of solidarity, are inseparable. 
    • Solidarity is for our own good!
  • How does Solidarity play out practically?
    • Benedict XVI reminded us that we should search for the causes of underdevelopment
    • “...first of all, in the will, which often neglects the duties of solidarity”. (CIV, 19)
    • The Church holds that
    • “...the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order…it is rather the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations.” (PP, 66)
    • “In the last analysis, they are to be found in a current self-centeredness and materialistic way of thinking.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Vatican Diplomatic Corps, 11 January 2010)

    • Solidarity transcends cultural, political, social, and geographic boundaries to embrace the other as thyself.

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