TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE "JUNTA NACIONAL
DE LAS SEMANAS SOCIALES DE ESPAŅA"
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 40th SOCIAL WEEK OF SPAIN
For the celebration of the 40th Social Week of Spain, which is taking place in Toledo, I am pleased to convey a special Greeting from His Holiness Benedict XVI to the organizers and participants, whom he encourages for their efforts to disseminate and spread knowledge of the Church's social doctrine, both in the contexts of culture and research and in the consciences of all, individuals and groups, who are called to contribute to the common good in accordance with their own condition and responsibility.
A hundred years after these Meetings began under the aegis of the Holy See and the Spanish Bishops' Conference, this commitment has acquired special importance as a highly qualified reference point for the examination of various social issues, the most serious and pressing, at every moment of life in Spain.
In keeping with its 100-year-old tradition, the theme Christian suggestions for a culture of harmonious coexistence has been chosen for these days. This theme, moreover, responds to the constant desire of the Church's Magisterium for everyone to find in the different social groups the values that attract them and prepare them to serve others (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 31).
Furthermore, the newness of a situation which is seen in this third millennium stands out as one of the principal challenges for the whole human community, in which the presence of citizens with different cultures and religions within a single social unit is constantly growing.
By the study of this topic, this year's Social Week is addressing a sensitive issue that frequently gives rise to misunderstandings or emotional attitudes, in which there are also undue simplifications.
In fact, the term "convivencia" expresses the intention not to accept a form of generic tolerance, the absence of discrimination or marginalization of the deep values and ideals which more than anything else mark the identity of individuals and groups. Respect for diversity is not submission, nor should it block the way to friendship, harmony and collaboration in what is common to all, and first and foremost, to the common good.
The celebration of this Social Week in Toledo, as well as offering a splendid setting of art, history and culture, also affords an opportunity for reflection in this very famous town where different cultures have sought the truth and achieved notable success in peaceful coexistence and fruitful encounters between different forms of thought and ways of life.
On this occasion, the Holy Father entrusts the work of the Week to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that this century-old institution with the light that shines from the Gospel and in harmony with the Church's social doctrine may contribute to building a human community that is more just, more fraternal and more supportive.
With these sentiments, he imparts to all the participants in the Week the implored Apostolic Blessing.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone