How to properly respond to indifference and injustice in our world

In the ninth step of the “Way of the Heart” of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, we read, “in the cry for peace and justice, we hear the Father’s voice calling us to return to him.” Responding to that cry for peace in a practical way is not easy.

It demands both honesty and dialogue. Pope Francis urges us not to be indifferent to others, to find ways of responding to injustice and brokenness.

He wrote in his Lenten message of 2015, this “attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.”

So we ask, what has gone wrong? Whose interests are being protected and threatened here and why? Who is causing the violence and who is cooperating with it? We say this behavior must stop.

At the same time, we want to bring about deep, lasting peace with justice, to find opportunities to work things out together. This requires deep listening even with a perpetrator or “enemy.” We want to appeal to the other to make better choices that will affirm the humanity of all those involved.

Jesus did both and inspired Gandhi who developed the nonviolent approach of satyagraha, truth or soul force, waging a struggle and searching for an alternative, deeper harmony beneath the conflict.

Imagine two hands of nonviolence. The upright hand says: Stop, this is not acceptable. The open and outstretched hand says: We need to talk; I am open to you; we must face this together and change.

-Pat Gaffney
General Secretary of Pax Christi UK
London (United Kingdom)