Cardinal Martino Extols Church’s Public Value

Vatican Official Makes 9-Day Tour of U.S.

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut, NOV. 5, 2006 ( The Church has a public value though it is not a political agent, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

“In Christ’s message,” according to Cardinal Renato Martino, “the human community can find the strength to love one’s neighbor, to combat all that is contrary to life, to accept the fundamental equality of all, to struggle against all forms of discrimination, to surmount a purely individualist ethic in view of civil friendship and fraternity.”

Approached in this way, “religious liberty is a good for society,” the cardinal added. “An autonomy of secular realities that is truly such must guarantee religious liberty and allow the Church to fulfill her task, which has a public value, though it is not directly political.”

Cardinal Martino’s words were heard last Monday at Fairfield University, bringing to a close a nine-day U.S. trip that included meetings and conferences to present the social doctrine of the Church.

The cardinal, during his Fairfield visit, explained that it is part of the preaching of the Gospel to be concerned about human promotion, and to proclaim the norms for a new coexistence of peace and justice, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace reported in a communiqué.

The cardinal also said that the preaching of the Gospel involves working with all people of good will to establish more human relations and institutions.


In recent days, Cardinal Martino spoke about Benedict XVI’s encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and, in the same state, presented the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

At St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, the cardinal gave a general view of the Church’s social teaching, beginning with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum.”

In San Francisco, California, he centered his address on cooperation and solidarity, at the annual Archbishop John Quinn Colloquium, which focused on the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter “Economic Justice for All.”

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, elaborated at Pope John Paul II’s request by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was presented to the press in October 2004. Since then, the council’s president has presented it in numerous countries.

The Compendium can be read online at: