Easter Monday: Duty of Solidarity

By Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ 

To develop the “duty of solidarity,” Saint Pope John Paul II underscored the urgency of connecting action for justice to faith.  For him, solidarity was the structural response demanded by Gospel love. Solidarity, as a social principle, involved fundamental economic and social changes.  What does this solidarity require?  


John Paul’s answer connects us directly to the preferential love of the poor, a theme we have heard anew from Pope Francis, or, as John Paul describes them, “God’s beloved poor”:

It is above all a question of interdependence, sensed as a system determining relationships in the contemporary world in its economic, cultural, political and religious elements, and accepted as a moral category. When interdependence becomes recognized in this way, the correlative response as a moral and social attitude, as a “virtue,” is solidarity. This then 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. [Solicitudo40, emphasis added]

So, as we reflect this Easter Monday on social and political realities of our community, country, and world, it is not enough to bemoan this or that action by others.  We have to make our own the “firm and persevering determination” to act on behalf of others in the interest of the common good.