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Prayer on the Social Concerns of The Church

By: Education for Justice

Please Note: all of the concerns and much of the language in this prayer is taken from the 1988 Encyclical of John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (The Social Concerns of the Church).

Creator and Ground of our being, guide us to recognize our vocation as responsible builders of our earthly society, which your church teaches is marked by continuity and renewal. We are grateful for all your teachings and strive to respond to them with our hearts, heads and committed activity.

We acknowledge that earlier hopes for the development of all people, especially for those in poor countries, have not yet been fulfilled, so many still suffer the intolerable burden of poverty, hunger and disease. We see the growing gaps between the wealth of some and the poverty of the majority of people on this earth. We recognize the signs of cultural underdevelopment: illiteracy, lack of participation in policy decisions, racial discrimination, religious oppression. We are beginning to understand how debt and trade policies frustrate economic initiatives in poor countries and add to human suffering.

Forgive us for turning away from Human Rights abuses, economic and social as well as political and legal.
Forgive us for turning away from unemployment and underemployment around the globe.

Forgive us the lack of adequate response on the part of developed countries.
Forgive the separation of ethics and morals from economic policies.
Forgive us for making security more important than cooperation.
Forgive us for our growing isolation from much of the global community.

We give thanks for the growing awareness of human dignity and human rights, and for the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
We give thanks for calls for global community and world-wide solidarity.
We give thanks for understanding that peace requires justice for all.
We give thanks for the concerns for Creation and for our fragile environment.
We give thanks for all those working to end hunger, to end poverty, and to build peace in the world.

Let us realize that true people-centered development is not simply about economic growth and the wealth of corporations.
Let us realize that "having" does not contribute to human development unless it contributes to the maturing and enriching of the human person.
Let us realize that the "overdevelopment" and materialism of rich countries contributes to the underdevelopment of poor countries.
Let us realize that there is not just distribution of the goods and services that were intended for all of God's children, and that there is a "social mortgage" on our private property we must honor.
Let us realize that structures of sin originate in the desire for profit and power.

We pray for conversion to solidarity and concern for the common good, based on a sense of relationship with our brothers and sisters around the globe.
We pray for authentic development that calls for recognition of the spiritual and social nature of human beings.
We pray that our faith in Christ reveals to us the just way of reconciliation between peoples in him.
We pray that people of faith make the needs of the poor a central priority and to participate in the love for the poor that Christ has modeled for us.
We pray that our leaders follow the path of collaboration to help solve poverty, that they recognize that people and nations have a right to their own development.
We pray that the respect for all human rights, in our country and around world, becomes a reality for everyone.
We pray that we protect Creation from growing threats.
We pray that we will trust in God's abundance to calm our fears about sharing justly with our neighbors.
We pray that developing countries will be supported in taking up responsibilities proper to them.
We pray that we will seek cooperation for these tasks with people of all religions.

In your name we pray for a more human life for every one.
In your name we pray for the hope and energy to be your presence to the poor, your agents of justice and peace in the contemporary world. Amen.