Here is the translation of the Pope’s address to the Italian Superior Council of the Judiciary on Saturday at the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
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Mister Vice-President, Gentlemen Counselors,
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
I desire first of all to express to you my best wishes for the task assigned to each one of you following the renewal of the Superior Council of the Judiciary. This task is a responsibility of which you are fully aware and which constitutes a fundamental point of balance and stability for the exercise of the jurisdictional function.
Jurisdiction covers today a growing complexity, in consideration of the multiplication of interests and of rights that call to be confronted and that do not always find in the legislation a precise and full answer in face of the variety of concrete cases.
Globalization itself — as was opportunely recalled — also bears in itself aspects of possible confusion and disorientation, as when it becomes a vehicle to introduce uses, concessions, even norms that are foreign to a social fabric with the consequent deterioration of the cultural roots of reality that instead are respected; and this by the effect of tendencies belonging to other cultures, economically developed but ethically weakened (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 62). I have spoken so many times of ideological colonizations when I refer to this problem.
In this context of profound shaking of cultural roots, it is important that public authorities, and among these also the jurisdictional, use the space given to them to give stability and render more solid the bases of human coexistence through the recovery of fundamental values.
Christianity has offered these values the true and most adequate foundation: love of God, which is inseparable from love of neighbor (cf. Matthew 22:34-40).
Beginning form these bases, phenomenons such as the spread of criminality, in its economic and financial expressions, and the plague of corruption, of which the most evolved democracies are also affected, can find an effective defense. It is necessary to intervene not only in the repressive moment, but also in the educational, addressed particularly to the new generations, offering an anthropology — which is not relativist — and a model of life able to respond to the lofty and profound inspirations of the human spirit. For this purpose the institutions are called to recover a long-term strategy, oriented to the promotion of the human person and of peaceful coexistence.
Contributing to this work of construction, and I believe also in the front line, are all those who are invested with a jurisdictional function. . Although, as you rightly underscored, judges are called to intervene in the presence of the violation of a rule, it is also true that the reaffirmation of the rule is not only an act addressed to the individual person, but always surpasses the individual case to concern the community as a whole. In this connection, every judiciary pronouncement crosses the boundary of the individual process, to open itself to become the occasion in which the whole community (”the people,” in whose name the sentences are pronounced) finds itself around that rule, reaffirms its value and in this way, a yet more important thing, identifies itself in it.
Rightly, then, a particular accent is put at this time on the subject of human rights, which constitute the fundamental nucleus of the recognition of the essential dignity of man. This is done without abusing this category, whishing to bring back practices and behavior that, instead of promoting and guaranteeing human dignity, in reality threaten it or even violate it.
Justice is not made in the abstract, but always considering man in his real value, as a being created in the image of God and called to realize, here on earth, that likeness.
Among those who were fascinated by this task — and gave their life for it — I also want to recall, associating myself to you, Mister Vice-President, the figure of Vittorio Bachelet, who occupied your same office and was killed some 35 years ago. May his witness as man, as Christian and as jurist continue to animate your commitment at the service of justice and the common good.
May the Lord bless each one of you and your work. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]