Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the “Judges’ Summit on Human Trafficking and Organized Crime”
[Vatican, 3-4 June 2016] (3 June 2016)
Good afternoon! I offer you a cordial greeting and once more I express my appreciation for your efforts to contribute to the human and social progress which the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences seeks to promote.
My heartfelt appreciation for this contribution also has to do with the noble service you can offer to humanity both by your analysis of the timely topic of indifference and the extreme forms it takes in our globalized world, and by your proposing solutions aimed at improving the living conditions of the poorest of our brothers and sisters. In fidelity to Christ, the Church is committed to meeting this challenge. The Enlightenment slogan that the Church must not be involved in politics has no application here, for the Church must be involved in the great political issues of our day. For, as Pope Paul VI pointed out, “political life is one of the highest forms of charity”. The Church is also called to be faithful to people and their needs, all the more so in situations of deep hurt and dramatic suffering in which values, ethics, social sciences and faith all enter into play. In such situations, your own witness as individuals and humanists, together with your expertise, is particularly valued.
In recent years, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, thanks to the efforts of its President, its Chancellor and a number of prestigious external collaborators – to whom I offer my heartfelt thanks – has engaged in important activities in defence of human dignity and freedom in our day. This has been particularly the case with efforts to eliminate human trafficking and smuggling, as well as new forms of slavery such as forced labour, prostitution, organ trafficking, the drug trade and organized crime. As my predecessor Pope Benedict XVI stated, and I myself have repeated on several occasions, these are true crimes against humanity; they need to be recognized as such by all religious, political and social leaders, and by national and international legislation.