The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Solidarity

The Catholic social teaching principle of solidarity is about recognising others as our brothers and sisters and actively working for their good. In our connected humanity, we are invited to build relationships - whakawhanaungatanga - to understand what life is like for others who are different from us.

Walking Together

Being in solidarity is recognising others as our brothers and sisters and actively working for their good. From the food we eat and the clothes we buy, to the news we read and the websites we browse, we are connected to people and places all over the world.  

In our connected humanity, we are invited to build relationships – whakawhanaungatanga – to understand what life is like for others who are different from us; to help us understand what life is like for the poorest, most vulnerable, most overlooked, wherever they are in the world.  

As a human family we commit to work together for the well-being of all to ensure everyone has what they need to live with dignity.

_______________

Searching the Scriptures...

Social Justice teaching is founded on firm scriptural foundations.

  • 'There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.'
    Galatians 3:28
  • 'If one member suffers, all suffer with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.’
    1 Corinthians 12:26
  • ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
    Mark 9:37

...And in the light of Catholic social teaching.

  • ‘While modern society places more importance on one’s own interests regardless of or even to the detriment of others…[true Christians] ban individualism in order to encourage sharing and solidarity.’
    Pope Francis, General Audience, June 26, 2019
  • ‘I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security...More than by a fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by fear of remaining within structures that give us a false sense of security...while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: ‘Give them something to eat’ (Mk 6:37)’
    Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium, paragraph 49, 2013.
  • ‘Respecting human dignity is important in any profession … because even behind the simple account of an event there are sentiments, emotions, and ultimately, people's lives.’
    Pope Francis, Audience with National Council Order of Journalists, 2016
  • ‘‘Solidarity is also an authentic moral virtue, not a ‘feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good. That is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.’
    St John Paul II, as quoted in the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching, paragraph 193

_______________

Great Examples: NZ Catholic Schools in solidarity

Every year, thousands of young Catholic students from all over New Zealand choose to unite together to walk alongside and support those in need.

At Caritas, we have been privileged to share this journey with so many students from all year levels through our events including the Caritas Challenge, Mufti Mania and Justice Leadership Days.

Standing in solidarity with others is not always comfortable, as many students taking part in the Caritas Challenge have discovered. Reflecting on vulnerable families and what they experience daily, students have slept overnight in basic cardboard structures, given up luxuries like technology and gourmet food, worked hard in tough conditions for hours on end, or pushed themselves to the limit through events requiring a lot of movement and exercise. Over the last seven years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised through the Caritas Challenge to provide for families connected to Caritas programmes in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Cambodia, Kiribati, Timor-Leste, and South Sudan.

Since 2017, through Mufti Mania, Catholic primary schools throughout New Zealand have responded in solidarity to schools in need throughout the Pacific. Through Mufti Mania more than $300,000 has been provided for books and resource, classroom repairs and new toilets.

Through Justice Leadership Days, senior secondary student leaders have been challenged to reflect on how they can act in their communities to empower others to choose solidarity over the many other tempting options faced in today’s society.

It is both heart-warming and inspiring to consider how so many youth today are seeking to stand with others and sacrifice their own time, money, and benefits, in order to help others. In almost every case, it is to stand in solidarity with members of our global community who they may never have even met.

_______________

Living out CST: Ideas for putting faith into action

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • What do the students in the video teach us about solidarity?
  • Who are groups or individuals in our community who demonstrate solidarity in their actions?
  • How does Christ's removal of distinctions between people link us together in our common humanity?
  • What does St Paul mean when he wrote, "if one member suffers, all suffer together"?
  • What are some practical ways we can show solidarity with people in need?

Acting in Faith

  • Watch the Social Justice Week 2020 video example above and reflect on the questions.
  • Reflect on the following whakatauki (Māori proverb) and how it is relevant to solidarity: Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa. / Let us keep close
    together, not far apart.
  • Put a can of food in the parish foodbank to help organisations like St Vincent de Paul feed families in need.
  • Raise awareness on injustices that are in line with your desires. Take part in peaceful protests and sign petitions. Work within your context and capacity.
  • Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37 or watch this animated version. Discuss how the Samaritan depicted solidarity.
  • Share some kai with your neighbours.
  • Watch this great video from our partners, Catholic Relief Services: CST 101: Solidarity
  • Write letters of hope to prison inmates. Make contact with a prison chaplain to see what you can do: Prison Chaplains
  • Hold a parish discussion. Read and reflect on Pope Francis’ Easter Message for 2020 that was given at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Gather a group of young people in your community/parish and take part in the Caritas Challenge!
  • Include a prayer of solidarity in your parish liturgy. You can choose one from our Social Justice Week 2020 resources.
  • Offer your time, treasure and talents to those who may be in need in your community.

_______________

Closing Prayers

United in solidarity we pray for the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect may grow among nations and peoples.
Leader: E te Ariki...     All: whakarongo mai rā ki a mātou.

United in solidarity we pray for those in positions of public trust, that they may serve justice and promote the dignity and freedom of all people.
Leader: E te Ariki...     All: whakarongo mai rā ki a mātou.

United in solidarity we pray, for those who wish us harm, and for all whom we have injured or offended.
Leader: E te Ariki...     All: whakarongo mai rā ki a mātou.

May Christ inflame the hearts of all people
to break through the barriers which divide them,
to strengthen the bonds of mutual love,
to learn to understand one another,
and to pardon those who have done them wrong.
Through Christ's power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters,
And may the peace we long for ever flower and ever reign among us.
Amen.

(St John XXIII)

Want to receive communications from Caritas?  

Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust