“A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members.” Pope John Paul II’s words resonated in my conscience when I made a very important decision in my life, to pursue Social Work and advocate for those whose voices had been silenced by despotic leaders. I was raised Catholic in a little town in Africa, and was impressed by the wisdom in the scriptures and how the Church had dedicated its time and effort in feeding the less fortunate, and advocating for justice and peace.
At the time, atrocious deeds were being committed around the world. The iniquities of the Rwanda Genocide were still vividly imprinted in our dismayed minds. The dreadful apartheid in South Africa was in existence, so was the Cold War and civil wars in other countries. It was a time when most of us needed to reflect on the purpose of our existence, the value of human life and most importantly, our values and morals as people of one community, one Creation!
The church reminded us on the value of life and so we wondered how people could be easily murdered. Jesus himself was an advocate for the poor and the vulnerable, yet society treated them as its contemptible members. We were constantly reminded through Catholic Social Teaching that “…people have a rightand a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being
of all, especially the poor and vulnerable” As a Catholic and a Christian, is it not my duty to regard Christ’s teachings, follow his example and serve humankind with love like he did? It is not just the right thing to do, it is exceptionally fulfilling too.