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Journal of Catholic Social Thought

Volume 18, Issue 2, Summer 2021

Thomas Massaro
Pages 161-183

Justice in the World, Then and Now
How Pope Francis Carries Forward the Agenda of the 1971 Synod of Bishops

Many of the social concerns treated in the document Justice in the World are also addressed in the social teachings of Pope Francis. This is no coincidence, especially given the background and commitments of Francis—an innovative church leader from the periphery of Latin America who has emerged as a powerful voice for global justice. The seeds of faith-based advocacy for a liberative and just economic development, which were planted by the 1971 Synod of Bishops, continue to be cultivated by Francis in both words and deeds of solidarity with the poor. While Justice in the World and the social teachings of Francis display certain differences in focus, rhetoric, and vocabulary, the common message of these two Catholic voices demanding structural reform of the global economy remains striking. Half a century apart as they are, both serve as influential agents of change for church and world.

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