New Year greetings are exchanged between the Holy
Father and the authorities of the City of Rome, the Region of Lazio, and the
Province of Rome. On one level this meeting is a formality, because it is. But
there is a deeper issue at hand: collaborate with others to build up the
Kingdom even when your partner is perhaps secular. As Saint John Bosco did, as
well as countless other good educators, if you want to influence others, then
get to know the other person. Rome’s ecclesial leaders aren’t always on the
same page as the civil leaders, but absenting oneself from the other is no way
to advance the good life. And the Pope realizes this fact. 

He said on January

“The challenges we are currently facing are numerous and complex, and can
be overcome only if we reinforce our awareness that the destiny of each of us
is linked to that of everyone else. For this reason … acceptance, solidarity
and legality are fundamental values. The present crisis can, then, be an
opportunity for the entire community to verify whether the values upon which
social life is founded have generated a society that is just, fair and united,
or whether it is necessary to undertake a profound rethink in order to
rediscover values which … not only favor economic recovery, but which are
also attentive to promoting the integral good of human beings.”

Civil life is too well-defined by 

“individualism which clouds the interpersonal dimension of man and leads him to close himself into his own little world, concerned first and foremost with satisfying his own needs and desires with scant concern for others… [among the consequences of such is an approach that shows a “speculation in housing, increasing difficulty for young people to enter the world of work, the solitude suffered by so many elderly, the anonymity which often characterizes urban life, and the sometimes superficial attention paid to situations of marginalization and poverty.”

Benedict XVI’s recommend for a more human society is (1) “to rediscover relationships as the constituent element of our lives”; (2) “to defend the family founded on marriage as an essential cell of society”; with the recognition that (3) “individuals may learn to consider the place in which they reside as a ‘common home’, in which to live and for which to care”; (4) to show empathy young people, “who are most penalized by the lack of work, … implementing policies which ensure fairly priced accommodation and which help to guarantee employment”, so as to avoid the risk that young people “fall victim to criminal organizations offering easy takings”; and finally, leaders are called upon “to promote a culture of legality, helping citizens to understand that law exists to channel the many positive energies that exist in society, and thus to promote the common good. … Institutions have the task … of issuing just and fair provisions, also taking account of the law which God inscribed in man’s heart, and which everyone can understand through reason.”

He articulates what Catholics know: we made for another; we are made to live in community, and particularly to be with God who lives in perfect community.  Humanity “is capable of welcoming man unconditionally and of giving him infinite love.”

All this is lived in the context of solidarity in that “charity and justice require that, in times of need, those with the greatest resources should look after the disadvantaged.”