Pope Francis, on November 30, 2020, sent a message to participants at the virtual meeting of judges who are members of the Committee for Social Rights of Africa and America, reported Vatican News.

“Dear Judges, (men and women), of Africa and America,” said the Pope. “I rejoice to be able to address these words to you before you begin the beautiful work you have proposed. I congratulate you on this initiative of thinking, decoding, and building the ‘new’ social justice.

The meeting was themed: “The construction of social justice. Towards the full application of the fundamental rights of people in vulnerable conditions.”

Recalling a previous meeting at the Casina Pio IV, Pope Francis reminded the judges what he told them on that occasion, affirming that like the social movements, they too were poets.

Taking up the idea again, the Pope underlined that “the poet needs to contemplate, think, understand the music of reality and shape it in words.” The judges too – in a similar manner – “in every sentence, are faced with the happy possibility of making poetry;” poetry that heals the wounds of the poor integrates the planet, protects the earth and all her descendants – “a poetry that repairs, redirects, and nourishes.”

Exhorting the Judges, the Pope urged them to assume the grace they bear, with resolve and courage, and be aware that “everything you can bring with your uprightness and commitment is very important.”

The Pope further advised them to “remember that when justice is truly just, that justice makes countries happy and their people worthy,” adding that “no sentence can be just, nor can any law be legitimate if what it produces is more inequality” or a “greater loss of rights, indignity or violence.”

Concluding, the Pope enjoined the participants to make of their poetry “a practice” in order to become “better poets and better judges.” He wished them a successful meeting and reminded them never to forget “that a poem that does not transform is just a handful of dead words.”

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