The Acting Person on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Revisiting Karol Wojtyla’s Idea of Being a Neighbor




humanitarian, Karol Wojtyla, migrants, neighbor, the acting person, U.S.-Mexico border


This article discusses the importance of being a neighbor, as understood through Karol Wojtyla’s idea of “the acting person,” in the context and experience of the migrants and humanitarian volunteers on the U.S.-Mexico border. There are three parts to this article. In the first part, I discuss the reality that migrants and humanitarian volunteers face at the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants live in a liminal and violent space at the border, and the volunteers choose to enter this space to meet the vulnerable others. In the second part, I examine an idea presented by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in his book The Acting Person. In the book─published in 1969 before he became Pope John Paul II in 1978─Wojtyla addresses the importance of being a neighbor through conscious participation in actions “together with others” for the achievement of the common good. In the third part, I present a critical reflection on the connection between migrants’ context and humanitarian work experience at the U.S.-Mexico border and Wojtyla’s idea of the acting person as a neighbor. By putting the idea of a neighbor in dialogue with the context of the U.S.-Mexico border, I intend to broaden Wojtyla’s thought to address the contemporary circumstances at the border. 


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Author Biography

Irene Ludji, Claremont Graduate University

Irene Ludji, Ph.D. (cand.) is completing a doctoral program at Claremont Graduate University, California. She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Theology, Satya Wacana Christian University, Indonesia, and an ordained pastor from the Timor Reformed Church (Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor). Her research interests include Christian Ethics, Social Ethics, and Ecological/Animal Ethics.



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How to Cite

Ludji, I. (2020). The Acting Person on the U.S.-Mexico Border : Revisiting Karol Wojtyla’s Idea of Being a Neighbor. Indonesian Journal of Theology, 8(1), 62-76.