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Lay Catholics responsible for political action, Pope says

May 21, 2010

Speaking on May 21 to members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that lay Catholics are responsible for political activity that promotes a Christian moral order.

The Church does not engage in "technical formation of politicians," the Pope remarked, although the teaching magisterium does "pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls require it."

However, the lay faithful have the duty to put the Church's moral teaching into practice in society, the Pope continued. "It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church, bringing their well-founded reasoning and great ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among everyone who cares about the defense of life and freedom, the protection of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy, and the vital search for the common good."

This lay activism is especially necessary today to counter "a confused cultural relativism" and a "utilitarian and hedonistic individualism," the Pope added. He called for a new burst of activity by lay Catholics in the political world, saying that any such initiatives would have the support of the Church.


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 21, 2010 8:16 PM ET USA

    What?! Didn't the Holy Father get the memo that that laity should only attempt only transforms a society after the bishops do? Seriously now, the American bishops should stop undermining lay organizations like the Catholic League, Catholic Answers, EWTN and many others which are already engaged in this work.

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 21, 2010 7:11 PM ET USA

    Seems like the K of C can move forward now - "to put the Church's moral teaching into practice..."