American flag fluttering in the blue sky

Written by Don Byrd

In an address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis called on our legislators to pursue the common good, which he called “the chief aim of all politics.” As a part of that discussion of the common good, he acknowledged the need to combat violence around the world committed “even in the name of God,” but also reminded of the “delicate balance” we should seek between confronting extremism and safeguarding freedom.

Here is that excerpt, from the Washington Post transcript:

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.

He also emphasized the importance of the voice of faith – and diverse faiths – in addressing the challenges we face:

The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

Read the entire address here.

Listen to the BJC’s podcast discussing the Pope’s U.S. visit.