Pope Francis on Saturday met Italian judges and spoke to them about the importance of justice for the equilibrium and good of society in the changing contexts of time.
Justice is a "cardinal virtue" because it "indicates the right direction", and "without justice all social life remains jammed", the Pope told a group of representatives of the National Association of Judges of Italy who met him in the Vatican on the occasion of the 110thanniversary of their group.
The promotion of constitutional values, surveillance of democratic rules and service to the common good, the Pope said, are important tasks of judges who, he said, are "privileged interlocutors" for the legislative bodies of the state, because it gives them direct knowledge of the lives of citizens and their problems.
Reality , truth vs idea
Pope Francis also spoke about the struggle between reality and idea. While reality is what it is, an idea can be tampered with. In a world overflowing with information where truth is often falsified, "you must be the first to affirm the superiority of reality over the idea," the Pope told the judges, citing his Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”.
Speaking about legislative gaps between the real truth and ideas that are manipulated, he cited important issues such as the beginning and end of life, family laws or even "the complex reality of immigrants".
Whenever justice is called upon to pronounce on these issues, the Pope said, the judge is asked to assume responsibility that goes beyond his normal duties.
This calls for continuous updating on the part of judges so they can better understand changes in society and be able to wisely implement an evolving interpretation of the laws. It is therefore fundamental that the judiciary is independent in order to be able to reject pressure or solicitation aimed at influencing the administration of justice.
Justice respects human dignity
In meting out justice, the Pope said, we touch the "living flesh" of people, and of the weakest people. A court verdict can bring relief or consolation but it can also hurt or discriminate.
In administering justice, the Pope said, the judge must always seek to respect the dignity of every person with "a gaze of goodness", almost merciful, that favours the search for truth in a more authentic way.
In conclusion, the Holy Father reminded the judges they are much more than officials. They are models to all citizens, especially the young.
Source: Vatican News