Monday, September 16, 2013

Pope Francis: "Citizens cannot be indifferent to politics"


For some time now, in discussions with others, I have been emphasizing how important it is for Catholics to become politically involved, but have felt that my words are falling on deaf ears. Many times fellow Catholics retort, "But that's not Catholic, it's political. The two are totally separate from one another." Or "I don't need be involved in politics. It's a dirty, corrupt business and I don't want anything to do with it." To me those are both irresponsible and even immoral responses.  We are all involved, whether we like it or not, simply by virtue of being citizens and members of a democratic society.

Now the Holy Father speaks out about it. Here is what he had to say during his homily at daily Mass today:

Saint Paul exhorts those who are governed to lift up prayers for those who have authority, so that they might be able to lead a calm and peaceful life. Citizens cannot be indifferent to politics:

“None of us can say, ‘I have nothing to do with this, they govern. . . .’ No, no, I am responsible for their governance, and I have to do the best so that they govern well, and I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability. Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good. I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!”

There is a tendency, the Pope observed, to only speak ill of leaders, and to mutter about “things that don’t go well.” “You listen to the television and they’re beating [them] up, beating [them] up; you read the papers and their beating [them] up. . . .” He continued, “Yes, maybe the leader is a sinner, as David was, but I have to work with my opinions, with my words, even with my corrections” because we all have to participate for the common good. It is not true that Catholics should not meddle in politics:

“‘A good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.’ That’s not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! That’s what Paul says: “Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.” “But Father, that person is wicked, he should go to hell. . . .” Pray for him, pray for her, that they can govern well, that they can love their people, that they can serve their people, that they can be humble.” A Christian who does not pray for those who govern is not a good Christian! “But Father, how will I pray for that person, a person who has problems. . . .” “Pray that that person might convert!”

Read the entire homily.

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