We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice.1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
Quotes from Church Documents:
At another level, the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them. . . It is precisely in this sense that Cain's answer to the Lord's question: "Where is Abel your brother?" can be interpreted: "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9). Yes, every man is his "brother's keeper", because God entrusts us to one another. (St. John Paul II, The Gospel of Life[Evangelium Vitae. . . ], no. 19)
[Solidarity] is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. (St. John Paul II, On Social Concern [Sollicitudo rei Socialis. . . ], no. 38)
Interdependence must be transformed into solidarity, based upon the principle that the goods of creation are meant for all. That which human industry produces through the processing of raw materials, with the contribution of work, must serve equally for the good of all. (St. John Paul II, On Social Concern [Sollicitudo rei Socialis. . . ], no. 39)
The solidarity which binds all men together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist. (St. John XXIII, On Christianity and Social Progress [Mater et Magistra. . . ], no. 157)
Topics related to Solidarity:
Solidarity and Immigration - A person has the right to emigrate to another country, especially if his or her rights are not being upheld. Society at large, on the other hand, has the right to regulate and enact laws regarding immigration. Everyone is guaranteed basic rights (food, water, shelter, jobs, religious freedom, etc.). When these are not being upheld, it might be necessary for families to migrate to other nations where these rights are protected. Authorities have the responsibility to protect the common good for those they govern. They may set laws regulating immigration which ought to be followed by those migrating.
Solidarity and Peace - Christians are called to peace. This peace originates with Christ and begins in one's own heart, and should be the driving force of societal decisions. The Vatican II document: Guadium et Spes says the following regarding peace:
Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice. The common good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning in the eternal law. But since the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority.
But this is not enough. This peace on earth cannot be obtained unless personal well-being is safeguarded and men freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their inner spirits and their talents. A firm determination to respect other men and peoples and their dignity, as well as the studied practice of brotherhood are absolutely necessary for the establishment of peace. Hence peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide. (Guadium et Spes, #78)
Just War Doctrine - (These criteria must be met before a government can legitimately declar war)
- Just Cause - The damage inflicted by the aggressor on a nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain.
- Legitimate Authority - Those declaring wars of defense have the legeitmate responsibility to represent the people and are entrusted with the common good.
- Right Intention - War is waged for the best reasons and with a commitment to postwar reconciliation with the enemy. Needless destruction, cruelty to prisoners, and other harsh measures are not tolerated.
- Probability of Success - The odds of success should be weighed against the human cost of the war.
- Proportionality - The damage to be inflicted and the costs to be incurred by the war must be proportionate to the good expected.
- Last Resort - War must be a last resort, justifiable only if all peaceful efforts have been tried and exhausted and there are no alternatives.
Standard of Restraint in a Just War - (These standards ought to be followed by a nation that is engaged in a just war of defense)
- Immunity of Noncombatants - Civilians may not be the object of direct attack. Military strategies must avoid and minimize any indirect harm inflicted on noncombatants.
- Proportionality - The military should use the minimum force necessary to obtain their objectives and avoid undue collateral damage to civilians and property.
- Right Intention - Political and military leaders must always see that peace with justice is the only reason for the use of arms. Vengeful acts are forbidden and immoral.
Solidarity - Solidarity is the realization that all people are inter-connected as part of one human family. It is a mark of catholicity and a moral virtue. It calls on each individual to work for the common good. Solidarity is the reason that we should have compassion for those we have never met. Solidarity is not only a requirement for individuals, but it also calls upon richer nations to promote the well-being and development in poorer ones.
Emigration - migration from the perspective of leaving ones's country; one emigrations to somewhere else.
Immigration - Migration from the perspective of the country receiving those who are moving.
Just War Doctrine - The criteria must be met before a government can legitimately declar war.
Principle of Proportionality - The rule that requires the damage inflicted and the costs incurred in a war (or a particular action in war) to be commensurate with the good expected.
Conscientious Objectors - People who refuse to join the military or participate in a war based on moral or religious grounds. Conscientious objectors must be open to otehr forms of service.
Conscientious Objection - The moral right to refuse to follow laws or other social constructs based on moral or religious grounds (An example is choosing not to fight in an unjust war).
Terrorism - A systematic use of subversive strategies aimed at the destruction of material goods or the killing of people in order to coerce certain actions or decisions. Terrorist actions are used to sow fear or to further idealogical purposes of the terrorist group.