VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Democracy is weakening because of relativism and individualism, and Christian politicians face an “exacting challenge,” says Benedict XVI.
At the same time, the Pope affirmed that genuinely Christian politicians are necessary, but even more necessary are laypeople who give witness to Christ.
The Holy Father made this reflection today when he addressed the 24th plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
He began his discourse first considering the make-up of this group. “The composition itself of your dicastery,” he said, “[…] offers a significant image of the organic community that is the Church, whose common priesthood, proper of the baptized faithful, and the ordained priesthood, sink their roots in the one priesthood of Christ, according to essentially different modalities, but ordered one to the other.”
He made reference to the concluding Year for Priests, renewing gratitude for the “amazing and generous donation and dedication of so many men ‘conquered’ by Christ and configured to him in the ordained priesthood.”
The Pontiff then took up the theme of the assembly, which was witnessing to Christ in politics.
He noted that the “technical formation of politicians certainly does not enter the mission of the Church.”
But her mission is, he said, to give a moral judgement to things of the political order, whenever this is required by the fundamental rights of the person and the salvation of souls.
“The Church concentrates particularly on educating the disciples of Christ,” Benedict XVI explained, “so that, increasingly, they will be witnesses of his presence, everywhere.”
And he said that the laity must show how “faith enables one to read reality in a new and profound way and to transform it.”
They also must show that Catholic social principles “such as the dignity of the human person, subsidiarity and solidarity, are very timely and of value for the promotion of new ways of development at the service of every man and of all men,” the Holy Father added.
Benedict XVI acknowledged that politics is an opportunity for charity, which “asks Christians for a strong commitment to the citizenry, for the construction of a good life in nations, as also for an effective presence in the headquarters and programs of the international community.”
He affirmed, “Genuinely Christian politicians are necessary, but even more so lay faithful that are witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel in the civil and political community.”
And the Pope suggested this need should be very present in the minds of educators and pastors. He said membership in associations and ecclesial movements could be a good context for learning these values.
“It is an exacting challenge,” the Pontiff declared. “The times we are living in place us before great and complex problems, and the social question has become, at the same time, an anthropological question. […] The spread of a confused cultural relativism and of a utilitarian and hedonist individualism weakens democracy and fosters the dominance of the strong powers.
“A genuine political wisdom must be recovered and reinvigorated.”
“A real ‘revolution of love’ is necessary,” he said.
Benedict XVI acknowledged that youth have great challenges before them and he noted the work done with youth by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, particularly through World Youth Days.
He reflected that in addition to apostolic fruits, 25 years of World Youth Days have also brought “social and political commitment, a commitment based not on ideologies or selfish interests, but on the choice to serve man and the common good, in the light of the Gospel.”
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