Seeking Integrity in Justice Work


Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Each month, the pope sets a universal intention for the Church to rally around in prayer. Pope Francis has declared that the prayer intention for this July is the integrity of justice — that “those who administer justice may work with integrity, and that the injustice which prevails in the world may not have the last word.”

There are many layers to unpack here — after all, the political administration of justice alone varies dramatically from country to country. Beyond that are the social, religious, and non-profit sectors as well. As individuals, how much impact can we have on “the integrity of justice”? Is justice simply too big a concept for any one of us to tackle?

There is an African proverb that, translated, says, “When you pray, move your feet.” Saying a prayer is relatively easy. Moving your feet to take personal responsibility in seeing the prayer fulfilled requires more from us — that’s where the rubber meets the road. Do we really care about the issue at hand, or are we just saying a prayer to alleviate ourselves of any real sense of accountability?

If we’re sincere about wanting to see justice administered with integrity, there are things we can and should do in our own lives to move toward that goal. Most of us have the power to vote for our elected officials, in which case we have the grave responsibility of choosing the candidate with the most holistic view of human life — not simply the candidate who is loudest about one single issue. After an election, we then have the privilege of being able to contact our representatives and express our support for laws that affirm the dignity and human rights of all people, especially the marginalized. In simple ways, we regular old citizens can play a big part in seeing justice administered with integrity.

But surely there is more we can do. Beyond the political sphere, how else are we called to put proverbial feet to this prayer?

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Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)