2014-10-24 17:14:00

World Meeting of Popular Movements presented by Card Turkson

(Vatican Radio) At a press conference in the Vatican on Friday, the head of the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, Cardinal Peter Turkson presented details of a World Meeting of Popular Movements which will be held here in Rome from October 27th to 29th. The meeting is being organised by the Justice and Peace Council, together with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and leaders of various popular movements.

Please find below Cardinal Turkson’s address:

Your Excellency Bishop Sánchez Sorondo, Fr. Lombardi, Mr. Grabois, dear friends:

Pope Francis continually reminds the Church to go to the peripheries of human existence and embrace the excluded, the marginalized, those who are rejected and in danger of being discarded.

Individuals and whole families, communities and whole peoples, exist precariously – often with enormous sufferings– on the margins of all societies, not just the so-called “poor” or “developing” or “Southern” ones. Sadly, practically every country today seems infected with the “throw-away” culture, and experiences growing populations of marginalized and rejected, especially among the young and the old.

Faced with the challenges of globalization and indifference, Evangelii Gaudium calls on both the Church and the world to listen to the cry for justice and to respond with all our strength (see EG n. 188). Both as Church and as societies, we must learn to include the excluded. This means to reach out to those on the periphery and welcome the marginalized to become full members of our communities, economies, and societies.

But what is essential is first to listen humbly: not only to the sufferings, but also to the  expectations, hopes and proposals which the marginalized themselves have. They must be protagonists of their own lives, and not simply passive recipients of the charity or plans of others. They must be protagonists of the needed economic and social, political and cultural changes.

In order to do so, they organize themselves into popular groups and movements. Over a hundred representatives of such organizations are gathering from all over the world for the meeting to take place here next week. They will meet to share, discuss and face five key topic areas: the growing challenges of housing, work, land, violence and environment.

The Church wants to make its own the needs and aspirations of the popular movements, and to join with those who, by means of different initiatives, are making every effort to stimulate social change towards a more just world. At the same time, different popular organizations feel a great desire to meet with the Church and join in this quest for the many deep changes needed at local, regional and global levels.

In July 2013, the whole world followed Pope Francis as he walked into the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to communicate the simple yet powerful message of God’s love for those members of the human family who, excluded by society, might also feel excluded from God’s love and care. The proclamation of Christ’s mercy, of our Heavenly Father’s providence, must reach everyone, regardless of their situation in life. Pope Francis repeatedly calls on the Church to be poor in order to address a credible message to the poor – as well as to the world’s decision makers.

The World Meeting of Popular Movements promises to be a great dialogue with a view to on-going communication, cooperation and coordination amongst the grass-roots movements and between them and the Church at every level.

Thank you for your presence here this morning and for helping us to share the stories of people who struggle, day in and day out, to be active participants in their societies and artisans of our common future. Thank you!

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