Source: Vatican Media
Pope Francis has written the preface to a new book: 'The Emergence of Popular Movements: Rerum Novarum of our time' which compiles five years of research into thousands of new movements and associations, which he says act as "a lever for profound social transformation."
Published in Spanish by the Vatican Publishing House (LEV) and prepared by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the book explores the series of World Meetings held in the Americas since 2014, attended by thousands of representatives of popular movements.
In his preface, Pope Francis says people who live in the existential peripheries of society are not merely a sector of the population that must be reached by the Church. Rather, they are "a sprout that, like a mustard seed, will bear much fruit."
People on the peripheries, he says, are not passive recipients of social assistance but active protagonists of their own futures. "Popular movements represent an important social alternative, a cry from the depths, a sign of contradiction, and a hope that 'anything can change'." Pope Francis says.
He adds that their way of resisting the "tyranny of money" through toil and suffering shows that popular movements are "sentinels" of a better future.
Pope Francis goes on to say humanity is facing an epochal change characterised by fear, xenophobia, and racism. Popular movements can counteract that tendency, he said, because they are "a source of moral energy to revitalise our democracies."
"The antidote to populism and political showmanship lies in the efforts of organised citizens," that promote the experience of the "we" over the cult of the self.
The Holy Father concludes the preface with a reflection on human labour as a sacred right that must be safeguarded, in line with the Social Doctrine of the Church.
"Popular movements are a concrete, tangible witness demonstrating that it is possible to contrast our throw-away culture… with the creation of new forms of work that are centered on solidarity and the community."
Finally, Pope Francis called for a "new humanism" to overcome the lack of compassion and care for the common good which has become so prevalent in our day.
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