During his recent speech to Congress on September 24, Pope Francis paid special tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are some quotes:
“I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.”
King’s call for racial equality is echoed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity.” (CCC 1934).
In his remarks, Pope Francis noted that King’s message of equality is rooted in the Gospel passage of the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). “This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development . ” Let us continue to live this dream that helps us be more ourselves and show the beauty and preciousness of life.