Pope Francis has released his prayer video for April, stressing the importance of fundamental human rights.
Fr. Fréderic Fornos, S.J., who heads up the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network which produces the monthly video, recalled that Pope Francis has often spoken up against the basic inequalities which people face, as some live in opulence while others see their rights trampled upon.
Pope Francis, he says, is urging us in April to remember those who face prison, danger, or death to stand up for people’s rights, whether in dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, or in some democracies in crisis.
“Many of them [do so] in the name of their faith in Jesus Christ,” says Fr. Fornos. “Let us not forget them; let us pray for them.”
The full text of the Pope’s prayer intention is below:
Defending fundamental human rights demands courage and determination.
I’m referring to actively combatting poverty, inequality, the lack of work, land, and housing, and the denial of social and labor rights.
Often, in practice, fundamental human rights are not equal for all.
There are first, second, and third-class people, and those who are disposable.
No. They must be equal for all.
In some places, defending people’s dignity can mean going to prison, even without a trial. Or it might mean slander. Every human being has the right to develop fully, and this fundamental right cannot be denied by any country.
Let us pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, and even in democracies in crisis, that they may see their sacrifice and their work bear abundant fruit.