The responsibility of Catholic judges


It gives Us great satisfaction, beloved sons of the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists, to see you gathered round Us here and to bid you heartfelt welcome.
In the beginning of October another congress of jurists, dealing with international penal law, gathered in Our summer residence. Your convention is rather national in character, but the subject it is treating, “The Nation and the International Community,” touches again the relations between peoples and sovereign states.

The jurist, the statesman, the individual state, as well as the community of states should here take account of all the inborn inclinations of individuals and communities in their contracts and reciprocal relations; such as the tendency to adapt or to assimilate, often pushed even to an attempt to absorb; or contrariwise, the tendency to exclude and to destroy anything that appears incapable of assimilation; the tendency to expand, to embrace what is new, as on the contrary, the tendency to retreat and to segregate oneself; the tendency to give oneself entirely, forgetful of self, and its opposite, attachment to oneself, excluding any service of others; the lust for power, the yearning to keep others in subjection, and so on.
 
All these instincts, either of self-aggrandizement or of self-defense, have their roots in the natural dispositions of individuals, of peoples, of races, and of communities, and in their restrictions and limitations. One never finds in them everything that is good and just. God alone, the origin of all things, possesses within Himself, by reason of His infinity, all that is good.
 
From what We have said, it is easy to deduce the fundamental theoretical principle for dealing with these difficulties and tendencies: within the limits of the possible and lawful, to promote everything that facilitates union and makes it more effective; to remove everything that disturbs it; to tolerate at times that which it is impossible to correct but which, on the other hand, must not be permitted to make shipwreck of the community, from which a higher good is hoped for. The difficulty rests in the application of this principle.