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Pope Calls for Recovering the Meaning of Politics

Says there is a need to get to the foundation of political principles, which is transcendent

Pope Francis says there is a need to “rediscover the meaning of politics.”

The Pope said this today when he received in audience participants in a pilgrimage of French elected representatives from the region of Rhône-Alpes, accompanied by the cardinal archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin, and by the bishops of the province of Lyon.

In his brief address, Francis emphasised that in the current international context, “characterised by frustration and fears, intensified by the attacks and blind violence that has so deeply lacerated your country, it is ever more important to seek out and develop the sense of common good and general interest.”

“Therefore I would like, along with the bishops of France, to underline the need, in a changing world, to rediscover the meaning of politics,” he said, referring to a document drafted by French bishops. He also recalled that 20 years ago the prelates published the text “Rehabiliter la politique,” which he said “did great good. And now there is this other, which will also do good.”

“There is no doubt,” he continued, “that French society is rich in potential, diversity that is called to become opportunity, provided that the Republic’s values of liberty, equality and fraternity are not merely proclaimed in an illusory fashion, but are instead deepened and understood in relation to their true foundation, which is transcendent. A genuine debate on the values and directions that are recognised as common to all is currently underway. In this debate, Christians are called to participate with believers of every faith and all men of good will, also non-believers, in order to promote the growth of a better world.”

“In this sense, the search for the common good that inspires you, leads you to listen with particular attention to all people in precarious conditions, without forgetting the migrants who have fled their countries as a result of war, poverty and violence. In this way, in exercising your responsibilities, you will be able to contribute to the building of a more just and humane society, a welcoming and fraternal society.”

The Pope concluded by commending their pilgrimage to Christ, “wellspring of our hope and our commitment to the service of the common good,” invoking the Lord’s blessing upon those present.

The Pope has spoken about the need for a recovery of politics on other occasions. For example, on his return trip from Azerbaijan in October, when asked a question about the political situation in the United States, he said he wanted to respond generally, not speaking to specific countries, but to emphasize that “when a country has two, three or four candidates who are unsatisfactory, it means that the political life of that country is perhaps overly ‘politicized’ but lacking in a political culture.”

“One of the tasks of the Church and of higher education is to teach people to develop a political culture. There are countries – I am thinking of Latin America – that are excessively politicized but lack a political culture. People belong to one party or another party or even a third, but for emotional reasons, without thinking clearly about the fundamentals, the proposals.”

About Kathleen Naab

United States

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