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Integrity of justice

In The Pope Video for the month of July, Pope Francis asks all Catholics to pray for the magistrates, judges, and lawyers who administer justice throughout the world, that their work may always be guided by correct intentions and integral criteria. The Pope puts special emphasis on the fact that justice must always be at the service of the human person, respecting human dignity at all times. In addition, he insists that they should follow the example of Jesus, “who never negotiates the truth.”

According to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (New York, 2004), the integrity of justice is one of the most significant victims of the scourge of corruption. In addition, the corruption of justice impacts most strongly on those who are the poorest, because it foments inequality.

For the Holy Father, justice cannot be merely a “spare suit,” or a disguise we only wear to go to parties. This is why this month he’s asking us to pray particularly that those responsible for imparting justice may do their job with integrity, without selfish personal interests or hidden agendas, in a framework of transparency and impartiality. In his own words, “The decisions made by judges influence the rights and property of citizens.” This power brings with it great responsibility, especially the duty of maintaining a position that is “safe from favoritism and from pressures that could contaminate the decisions they have to make.”

Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (which includes the Eucharistic Youth Movement), emphasizes that the Holy Father is keeping in mind especially those who have suffered greatly from the times and forms in which justice is done. Regarding the difficult struggles that administrators of justice must sometimes fight in order to judge and discern correctly, Francis asks that they always look through the prism of kindness. He reminds us that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

The Pope’s special prayer intention is directed towards those who have in their hands the destiny of many people, “because when justice arrives late or doesn’t arrive at all, it creates great pain and suffering.” It is his desire and hope that injustice may never have the last word.