Vatican Radio recalls Pope's guidelines for political activism
August 31, 2012
In his prayer intentions for the month of September 2012, Pope Benedict XVI includes the petition that “politicians may always act with honesty, integrity, and love for the truth.” Vatican Radio points out that the Holy Father fleshed out his ideas on the moral responsibilities of political leaders during a 2010 address to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
In that talk, the Pope the Church does not provide political training, but does “pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it.” It is the role of the laity, he said, to use those moral judgments as the basis for action in the secular world. The Pontiff continued:
It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner consistently in accordance with the Church's teaching, bringing their well-founded reasons and high ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among all those who care about the defense of life and freedom, the safeguarding of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy and the crucial search for the common good. Christians do not seek political or cultural hegemony but, whatever their work, they are animated by the certainty that Christ is the cornerstone of every human structure.
“There is a need for authentically Christian politicians,” the Pope said—although he quickly followed up by saying that the need is even greater for lay faithful who bear witness to the Gospel with their everyday days.
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