Liberty, Brotherhood and Responsibility

Author: Pope Paul VI


Pope Paul VI

The remembrance of Robert and John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the human and Christian condemnation of violence was the theme of the brief speech given at midday by Pope Paul VI before the recital of the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on Trinity Sunday.

Last week, the world has been shaken by the murder of Robert Kennedy and by the dramatic and tragic circumstances of this event, which is inscribed indelibly not only in the history of the United States, but also in the conscience of humanity, as a mad and abominable act, and therefore as a stimulus to a permanent and salutary spiritual reaction.

These painful and deep impressions must be part of the intentions of our Sunday prayer, because we should join these impressions to that providential fruitfulness which raises the figure of the famous and good victim beside that of his brother John and of Martin Luther King—to a human and Christian condemnation of violence and crime, and confers on him the splendour of a witness, whose voice we would do well to remember, raised as it was, in favour of the poor, the destitute, the segregated, of the urgent need of progress, in a word, of social justice, to be attained, not by violence and discord between citizens and brothers, but by the energetic and coherent affirmation of liberty, brotherhood and responsibility, whereby civil life between men should be renewed.

The ideal and moral courage of these victims should inspire each one of us to devote our thought and action to the real values of life which find in this courage, their splendour; this courage which recommends to our generous choice: truth, goodness, justice, love.

Do not let us forget these real values. They are the values proclaimed by Christ, the Divine victim for human redemption. Let us pray that we may be worthy imitators, with the same faith in Christ, which these heroes knew how to attain.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
13 June 1968, page 8

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