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Pope Calls Faithful to Participate Actively in Politics (5933)

Catholics also should pray for political leaders, the Holy Father instructs, petitioning that they govern with humility and love.

09/17/2013 Comments (6)
Lauren Cater/CNA

– Lauren Cater/CNA

VATICAN CITY — Catholics should not be indifferent to politics, Pope Francis said, but they should offer their suggestions, as well as prayers, that their leaders may serve the common good in humility and love.

In his Sept. 16 daily homily at St. Martha House, the Pope rejected the idea that “a good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.”

“That’s not true. That is not a good path,” he said, according to Vatican Radio. “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.”

“None of us can say, ‘I have nothing to do with this; they govern,’” Pope Francis told those present for the Mass. Rather, citizens are responsible for participating in politics according to their ability, and in this way, they are responsible for their leadership.

“Politics, according to the social doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good,” he explained. “I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!”

He noted that it is sometimes common for people to speak only critically of their leaders, to complain about “things that don’t go well.”

Instead of simply complaining, we should offer ourselves — our ideas, our suggestions and, most of all, our prayers, the Holy Father said.

Observing that prayer is “the best that we can offer to those who govern,” he pointed to St. Paul’s Letter to Timothy inviting prayer for the conversion and strong leadership of those in authority.

Even if they believe certain politicians to be “wicked,” Christians should pray “that they can govern well, that they can love their people, that they can serve their people, that they can be humble,” he said.

At the same time, the Pope reflected on the role of those who hold political power, stressing the need for humility and love.

Reflecting on the Gospel of the centurion who humbly and confidently asked for the healing of his servant, the Holy Father explained that “a leader who doesn’t love cannot govern — at best, they can discipline; they can give a little bit of order, but they can’t govern.”

In addition, he emphasized, “You can’t govern without loving the people and without humility.”

“And every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble, and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’”

“If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good,” Pope Francis continued. “The man or woman who governs — who loves his people — is a humble man or woman.”

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