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Solidarity is a principle of Catholic Social Teaching and a Christian virtue articulated by Pope John Paul II which amplifies the concept of the common good and holds that for Christians it is essential to act in favor of the well being of all, particularly those who are most poor and marginalized from political influence.
In Solicitudo Rei Socialis, a major document of Catholic Social Teaching, Pope John Paul II identifies the concept of solidarity with the poor and marginalized as a constitutive element of the Gospel and essential for lasting peace. Some quotes:
- 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.(#39)
- A world divided into blocs, in which instead of solidarity imperialism and exploitation hold sway, can only be a world structured in sin. Those structures of sin are rooted in sins committed by individual persons, who introduced these structures and reinforced them again and again. One can blame selfishness, shortsightedness, mistaken political decisions, and imprudent economic decisions; at the root of the evils that afflict the world there is -- in one way or another -- sin.(#36)
- Solidarity is a Christian virtue. It seeks to go beyond itself to total gratuity, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It leads to a new vision of the unity of humankind, a reflection of God's triune intimate life;(#40)
- Solidarity helps us to see the 'other'-whether a person, people or nation-not just as some kind of instrument, with a work capacity and physical strength to be exploited at low cost and then discarded when no longer useful, but as our 'neighbor,' a 'helper' to be made a sharer on a par with ourselves in the banquet of life to which all are equally invited by God.(#39)
- Interdependence must be transformed into solidarity, grounded on the principle that the goods of creation are meant for all. Avoiding every type of imperialism, the stronger nations must feel responsible for the other nations, based on the equality of all peoples and with respect for the differences.(#39)