Pope: Catholic Politicians Need to Be Aware of Christian Identity

Urges That They Act Against Injustice and Tyranny

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- One of the challenges facing the Church is to help Catholic politicians recognize their Christian identity and act accordingly, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope addressed this topic Saturday when receiving in audience a third group of Polish bishops making their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.

Recalling the teachings of the Second Vatican Council’s constitution «Gaudium et Spes,» the Holy Father said: «Those who are suited or can become suited should prepare themselves for the difficult, but at the same time, the very noble art of politics, and should seek to practice this art without regard for their own interests or for material advantages.»

Referring to Catholic politicians, he continued: «With integrity and wisdom, they must take action against any form of injustice and tyranny, against arbitrary domination by an individual or a political party and any intolerance.

«They should dedicate themselves to the service of all with sincerity and fairness, indeed, with the charity and fortitude demanded by political life.»

To do this, the Pope added, «Christian politicians cannot remain without the help of the Church.»

Applying values

«It is a matter of helping them, in a particular manner, be aware of their Christian identity and of the universal moral values that are based in the nature of man, in such a way that, in virtue of a correct conscience, they commit themselves to applying [the values] to civil law, to build a coexistence that respects man in all his dimensions,» the Holy Father said.

According to the Pontiff, «It is very important, especially where a pluralistic society prevails, that there be a correct notion of the relationship between the political community and the Church, and a clear distinction between the tasks which Christians undertake, individually or as a group, on their own responsibility as citizens guided by the dictates of a Christian conscience, and the activities which, in union with their pastors, they carry out in the name of the Church.»

Benedict XVI dedicated his discourse to the Polish bishops to analyze the role of the laity in the parish, in the movements and in the political sphere, as well as in the realm of volunteer work.

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